Reconsider your need to travel to Bangladesh due to the high threat of terrorist attack and the uncertain security situation.
- If you do decide to travel, take additional security measures, register your travel on Smartraveller and monitor the media and other sources about possible security risks.
- There is reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Western interests in Bangladesh.
- On 24 March 2017 a reported suicide bombing occurred at a checkpoint near Shahjala International Airport in Dhaka. The airport is operating normally. Anticipate heightened security arrangements when using the airport and follow instructions of local authorities. See Safety and security.
- A hostage taking incident at the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the Gulshan 2 area of Dhaka on 1-2 July 2016 resulted in the death of two police officers and 20 hostages. Most of the hostages were foreigners. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
- There have been a number of other fatal attacks in Bangladesh claimed by ISIL and Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) since late September 2015. Foreigners, religious minorities, human rights and LGBTI activists and bloggers have been among those killed.
- Local security authorities remain on high alert and continue to arrest individuals alleged to be planning further acts of violence. The threat of further terrorist attack persists at this time. Remain vigilant and adopt enhanced safety precautions.
- Australian officials in Bangladesh have been advised to avoid high-profile shops frequented by foreigners. Officials continue to be advised to travel only by motor vehicle. We recommend you adopt similar security measures and subscribe to this travel advice to stay informed.
- In recent months, security authorities have increased the number of checkpoints around Dhaka, particularly in the expatriate and diplomatic areas of Banani, Baridhara and Gulshan. We recommend Australians, including dual nationals, carry copies of their passports or other ID with them, especially when travelling at night, to assist identification at these checkpoints.
- Security at the Australian High Commission in Dhaka has been strengthened and remains under constant review.
- Political violence occurs regularly in Bangladesh. You should exercise particular caution around hartals (general strikes), demonstrations, blockades by political groups and trials of alleged war criminals, as these events may become violent.
- Criminal violence and armed robberies are common in Bangladesh, including in the Banani, Baridhara and Gulshan areas of Dhaka where resident expatriates have been victims of robbery, pickpocketing and snatch and grab attacks.
- Local laws impose penalties, which include fines and imprisonment, on Bangladeshi citizens if they purchase, carry, possess, transport or consume alcohol without a permit. These laws apply to dual nationals as well.
- The Chittagong Hill Tracts region has a risk of violence and kidnapping. If you choose to travel to this region, be particularly vigilant and have contingency plans in place.
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
Entry and exit
Australians departing from Australia require a visa to enter Bangladesh. For information about visas, please see the
Bangladesh High Commission website. Australians can obtain a one month visa on arrival for official, business, investment and tourism visits.
Travellers to Bangladesh must declare to customs authorities if they are carrying more than US$5,000 when entering or exiting the country.
Australian citizens working in Bangladesh are required to obtain an Income Tax Clearance Certificate or an Income Tax Exemption Certificate prior to each departure from Bangladesh. Full details of the requirements and those exempted from these requirements can be obtained from the
Bangladesh Board of Revenue.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Be aware that visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice.
Safety and security
There is a high threat of terrorist attack in Bangladesh. There is reliable information to suggest that militants may be planning to target Western interests in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has experienced a number of terrorist incidents in the past and security agencies in Bangladesh continue to arrest people connected to militant and terrorist organisations. Some of these groups have an anti-Western outlook.
There have been a number of fatal attacks claimed by ISIL in Bangladesh since September 2015. Foreign nationals, religious minorities, human rights and LGBTI activists have been among those targeted, including in Dhaka. There have also been a number of attacks against writers, bloggers and publishers, many of them fatal.
A hostage taking incident at the Holey Artisan Bakery restaurant in the Gulshan 2 area of Dhaka on 1-2 July 2016 resulted in the death of two police officers and 20 hostages. Most of the hostages were foreigners. ISIL claimed responsibility.
On 24 March 2017, a reported suicide bombing occurred at a checkpoint near Shahjala International Airport in Dhaka. The airport is operating normally. Anticipate heightened security arrangements when using the airport and follow instructions of local authorities.
Local security authorities remain on high alert and continue to arrest individuals alleged to be planning further acts of violence. The threat of further terrorist attack persists at this time. Remain vigilant and adopt enhanced safety precautions.
If you do decide to travel, we advise you to be vigilant, monitor the media for additional security information and follow the advice of local authorities at all times. We recommend you also consider the advice below given to Australian Government staff and adopt similar security precautions. Read the general advice on the
travel advice explained page and
subscribe to this advice to stay informed.
In planning your activities, consider the kind of places known to be terrorist targets and the level of security provided. Possible targets include commercial and public areas, government buildings including courts, foreign government and commercial interests, military and police facilities, embassies, hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, markets and shopping areas, banks, places of worship, political rallies, cinemas, outdoor recreation and cultural events, public transport including bus terminals and railway stations, tourist areas and historic sites.
Advice to Australian Government staff
The Australian Government has taken a number of additional measures due to the uncertain security situation and the impact of continuing security restrictions. The Australian Government has a "no children at post" policy in Bangladesh. Australian officials in Bangladesh plan and undertake their movements cautiously, including with the assistance of local authorities where necessary. Domestic travel requires an individual risk assessment and approval process. Security at the Australian High Commission in Dhaka has been strengthened and remains under constant review.
In light of this, we advise you to maintain a high level of vigilance and security awareness at all times. Avoid walking in public areas and on local roads. Travel only by motor vehicle. Avoid public locations with lax physical security measures. Avoid shops, malls, hotels and restaurants and other locations that do not have robust security measures in place and are frequented by foreigners. Australians in Bangladesh should consider all these factors carefully when planning their own travel.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
Civil unrest/political tension
Political violence in 2015
During an escalation of political tensions in early 2015, violent incidents including arson attacks took place across the country, resulting in death and injury. Hartals (general strikes) and blockades usually take place during the working week (Sunday to Thursday). Violent clashes between anti-Government protestors and the security forces have been reported.
Indiscriminate attacks involving the detonation of small improvised explosive devices (known locally as 'cocktails') periodically occur in public areas. Dhaka's expatriate and diplomatic areas of Banani, Baridhara and Gulshan also saw an increase in security incidents in 2015.
Australians should be aware that normal travel in Bangladesh is at times inhibited by protests and arbitrary acts of violence. Travellers should follow the advice of local authorities, carefully plan their movements, and keep clear of all protests and large crowds as violence could occur without warning.
Events potentially triggering violence
Exercise particular caution around the following events, which have been accompanied by the shutdown of services and movements, and by violence resulting in death and injury:
- hartals (general strikes) enforced by political groups, which can involve the shutdown of all activity nationwide or in a particular area, and are frequently accompanied by violence targeting public and private transport;
- periodic blockades of rail, road and river transport networks by political groups, which are also frequently accompanied by violence targeting public and private transport, and by shortages of fuel and other supplies;
- the trials of alleged war criminals under the International Crimes Tribunal, including the when verdicts are handed down and sentences are implemented.
Significant dates and anniversaries can attract violence. Dates of national significance include: Mother Language Day on 21 February; Independence Day on 26 March; Bengali New Year on 14 April; and Victory Day on 16 December. Crowds at these celebrations have been targeted for attacks in the past. We advise Australians to avoid crowds and areas where such celebrations are taking place. International events and political developments in the region may trigger demonstrations.
Chittagong Hill Tracts region: There is a risk of politically motivated violence and kidnapping in this region so all travellers should take extra precautions. Violence between indigenous groups, and clashes between Bengali settlers and the indigenous people, continues to take place.
For more information about kidnapping, see our
Kidnapping threat bulletin.
Criminal violence and armed robberies are common in Bangladesh, including in Gulshan and Banani in Dhaka where resident expatriates have been victims of robbery, pickpocketing and snatch and grab attacks.
In recent months, law enforcement agencies have increased the number of check posts around Dhaka, particularly in Dhaka's expatriate and diplomatic areas of Banani, Baridhara and Gulshan. We recommend Australians, including dual nationals, carry copies of their passports with them, especially when travelling at night, to assist identification at these checkpoints.
Thieves, often armed and operating in teams, prey upon people travelling in rickshaws (a popular mode of transport), taxis and CNGs (motorised rickshaws, also known as baby taxis). Petty crime, including theft and purse snatching, is also common.
The risk of robbery increases after dark, especially on public transport. Avoid walking or travelling alone on public transport after dark.
Money and valuables
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Australian officials are advised to travel only by vehicle.
We advise you to exercise particular caution when using the transport networks in Bangladesh. In 2013, passenger trains were derailed or set on fire as acts of political violence, resulting in injury to passengers.
Travel, particularly at night and outside the major cities, is dangerous and fatalities are common. Cars, buses and trucks frequently drive at high speed without headlights illuminated or on full beam. Drivers overtake other vehicles at inappropriate moments and head-on collisions are common. The practice of people sitting on the roof of buses and trains, coupled with severe overcrowding inside vehicles, adds to the risks. Roads are congested, road conditions can be hazardous and the traffic is chaotic. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), you are two times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Bangladesh than in Australia. For further advice, see our
road travel page.
Due to monsoon floods, most rural roads are built up and the shoulders can have a two to three metre drop. Flooding can result in roads being damaged and impassable, hampering overland travel. Travellers should monitor the media for road closures.
Traffic accidents, even minor ones, often attract large crowds of onlookers. The situation can quickly get out of control and turn violent. Drive with caution and immediately contact police if you are involved in an accident.
Cars, rickshaws and CNGs travel erratically. Many are unlit at night and therefore difficult to see in the dark.
Train travel is risky as the tracks are dilapidated and there are a high number of unauthorised and unmanned crossings.
River craft such as ferries may be overloaded or lack necessary life-saving equipment. Hundreds of lives can be lost in major accidents.
Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. See our travel advice on
piracy for more information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Bangladesh.
Please also refer to our general
air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Bangladesh, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Local authorities can demand to see identification. We recommend Australians, including dual nationals, carry copies of their passports with them, especially when travelling at night.
Australians who might engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support), are strongly advised to seek professional advice and ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include mandatory prison sentences (including for small amounts of illegal drugs) and the death penalty. See our
Illicit drugs are increasingly available in Bangladesh, especially in venues frequented by teenagers and young people. Law enforcement agencies have raided such sites. See our
Drugs page. "Hukka (or smoking) pipes", common in some bars and cafes, have sometimes been spiked with illicit drugs. Avoid using these pipes.
The death penalty may be imposed for crimes including murder, trafficking of children, rape causing death, abduction, espionage and hijacking an aircraft.
Corporal punishment (whipping) may be used as an alternative sentence to jail.
Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include imprisonment. Recently, LGBTI activists have been targeted by terrorist attacks, including in April 2016 when a prominent LGBTI activist was killed (see Safety and security). See our
LGBTI travellers page.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan occurs annually. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our
Standards of dress and behaviour are conservative in Bangladesh. Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Shorts are not worn and women should wear scarves around their necks and shoulders.
Public displays of affection are not socially acceptable and may attract attention from law enforcement officials.
Information for dual nationals
If you or your parents are of Bangladeshi origin, the Bangladeshi Government may consider you a Bangladeshi citizen, even if you have never held a Bangladeshi passport. In these circumstances, our ability to provide consular assistance, if needed, may be limited.
Local laws impose penalties, which include fines and imprisonment (between two and five years) on Bangladeshi citizens if they purchase, carry, possess, transport or consume alcohol without a permit. These laws apply to dual nationals as well.
Dual nationals page provides further information.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities in Bangladesh is poor and is very limited outside the capital, Dhaka. Doctors and hospitals generally require up-front payment prior to commencing treatment. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities would be necessary. Medical evacuation costs could exceed AUD$25,000.
Malaria is prevalent throughout rural areas of Bangladesh and outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases (including dengue fever,
Zika virus and Japanese encephalitis) occur in many areas. We recommend that you seek medical advice on taking prophylaxis against malaria and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
The mosquito-borne disease Japanese encephalitis is found throughout many regions of North, South and South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is registered for use and is currently available in Australia. For further details please consult your travel health doctor.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, Nipah virus, tuberculosis and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne parasites. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Several hundred cases of the coetaneous form of anthrax were reported in 2010 in people who consumed beef or had close contact with diseased animals. Further outbreaks could occur. Travellers should avoid handling raw meat or butchering. Beef and beef products bought from reliable sources, and which are fully cooked, are safe to eat.
Avoid temporary 'black henna' tattoos and body painting as they often contain a dye which can cause serious skin reactions and permanent allergies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed human cases of avian influenza in Bangladesh. See our
health pages for further information on influenza.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below:
Australian High Commission, Dhaka
184 Gulshan Avenue
Telephone: Due to a technical problem the Australian High Commission telephone network is temporarily out of order. If you are an Australian citizen and have an urgent consular issue please contact the Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or for all clients please contact us during office hours (08:00am until 04:00pm Sunday to Thursday) on +880 1713243805.
The Australian High Commission is open Sunday to Thursday in accordance with local practice. See the Australian
High Commission's website for more information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are travelling to Bangladesh, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can
register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 7 day 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Monsoon season and cyclones: During the monsoon season (June to September) and cyclone season (May to June and October to November) flooding and landslides can occur with little warning throughout the country. Services and transport are often affected. If you are travelling during either typhoon or cyclone season, you should contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.
In the event of a cyclone, monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. The direction and strength of cyclones can change with little warning. You can check the latest information at the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre website. Identify your local shelter if one is available. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who choose to stay. Also familiarise yourself with your hotel's evacuation plans.
Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. Contact your airline for the latest flight information. The cyclone could also affect access to sea ports in the region. Carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification, etc.) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.
For further information, see our
Severe Weather page.
Earthquakes: Bangladesh is in an active seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes. Be prepared for a major emergency, including by maintaining a functional emergency kit.
Tsunamis: All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis. The Indian and Pacific Oceans experience more frequent occurrences of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.