Some of Bangladesh's most memorable experiences lie in the lap of unspoilt nature. Whether it's a boat trip down a mighty tropical river, a lazy bicycle ride through the lush countryside or a vigorous hike through dense forests, travellers will find enough reason to step out of urban limits and come face-to-face with the pristine beauty of the country.

Practicalities

With the changeable security situation, some activities are periodically restricted by the authorities. At the time of writing, officials were reluctant to allow foreigners to trek in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and cycle in the hills around Srimangal, but this could change at any time – seek local advice before you travel.

Best Activities

Sundarbans Spend a night on board a boat and meander down muddy rivers spying on tigers.

Srimangal Pedal your bicycle or walk through lush tea gardens and explore tribal villages along the way.

Barisal Ride the Rocket in style along with locals and savour watery Barisal's beautiful river scenery.

Bandarban Explore unseen rural wonders on a hike in this pristine corner of the country.

Cox's Bazar Surfing, anyone? This beach resort has some nice breakers and even a school for surfing.

Ratargul The swamps of Ratargul, redolent in primeval charm, await your arrival on board a skiff.

Cycling

Bangladesh’s lush and lazy terrain makes it a wonderful place for cycling. Among several options, the best place for casual cycling is Srimangal, although the outskirts of Dhaka can also be a fantastic place to explore on wheels.

Barring the summer and monsoon months stretching from April to August, the weather is clement for cycling. The country also has a decent network of back roads that have little motorised traffic, which makes them ideal stretches to pedal along.

If you don't want to haul your own bicycle all the way from home, cycles can be bought or rented for cheap in most places that have a cycling culture. Crash helmets, gloves, service kits and other accessories are also available locally at premium cycle stores in big cities.

Hiking

There is some lovely walking and hiking to be done in forest reserves and national parks, particularly in Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, but undoubtedly the best place for hiking is the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

You may want to bring along a sturdy pair of hiking shoes, as good branded footwear is hard to come by in local shops. Guides are available on day-hire basis at trailheads in most hiking zones. It is strongly advised that you go into the wilderness escorted by a local guide.

The autumn and winter months from October to February provide the best window for hiking, although some places such as Hum Hum Falls in Sylhet only come alive during the monsoons.

River Trips

Travelling by riverboat is a way of life in Bangladesh, and river trips are a highlight for most travellers. The monsoons are particularly beautiful, when the rivers swell and the skies turn dark and cloudy, but the fog-veiled winter months also work their own charm on the rivers.

Khulna and Barisal are the best places to enjoy a boat safari. From speedy catamarans to hulking overnight launches and of course the iconic Rocket paddle-wheel steamer, boat rides here come in many experiential packages. In Khulna, you can arrange for an adventurous boat cruise into the heart of the tiger-rich Sundarbans.

While travelling in other parts of Bangladesh, you can jump on a boat from time to time to explore certain outlying areas, such as the river chars in Rajshahi or the wetlands of Sunamganj.