I need to preface my comments about food by letting you know that I am not a “fine diner” – I am a does it give me energy and fill me up type of eater. So if you are looking for reviews of a detailed type you will need to look elsewhere.
In general I found the food in Bangladesh to be very tasty, even though some times I didn’t really know what I was eating. Most dishes come with either rice or potato, and you have good choice of fish, beef, goat, sheep and beef. There was possibly other varieties of meat also but it pays not to ask sometimes.
Often I had difficulty explaining what I would like to eat – one one occasion I asked questions about three different types of meal to figure out which I would prefer only to be served all three. Better too much than not enough I guess. I am not a big vegetable eater but found that if it was coated in seasoning or gravy I could (almost but not quite) enjoy it. Chicken seemed to be widely eaten and I tried many different varieties.
The meals were all inexpensive and I never once had stomach trouble. The food all seems to be very fresh – I watched as chickens were killed, skinned (not plucked) and gutted immediately the customer pointed out which one they wanted – much better than buying them in a supermarket on a polystyrene tray wrapped in glad wrap after having been killed last week (if you are lucky).
You could have spicy or mild, hot or cold, however you wanted your food they could make it – I never ate western food – the bigger hotels served it but I always eat what the locals eat – that is part of the experience.
I wouldn’t say the food was a highlight of the trip, but it was adequate, tasty and cheap – in other words it ticked all my boxes.
Accommodation was very much a mixed bag for me, and that was by choice. Since I was traveling on my own I was willing to stay anywhere as long as it was clean, safe and hopefully not too expensive. I probably paid more than I needed to at most places but I am not usually worried about haggling down to the last dollar
Most places I stayed in were around NZ$40 per night. The most expensive was NZ$90 (in this instance I did barter them down from NZ$250). Apart from Dhaka and Sylhet I didn’t book in advance but preferred to walk in and try my luck. I always checked out the room first – apart from security and cleanliness internet was next priority followed by air conditioning and a good shower.
At the other end of the scale I stayed in an absolute dive in Comilla – I befriended a couple of guys on the train to Comilla who tried to find me accommodation when we got there. It seemed like a dirty town with no heart – the first dive we went to wouldn’t let me stay for some reason and the second place where I did stay was a filthy hovel – see Bangladesh 10 for the detail.
Here is a list of where I stayed (the ones I have records of).
Dhaka – Hotel71 – very good, clean tidy, secure and well located
Khulna – CSS Ava Centre – apparently a Christian Society – very clean, safe, huge room, nice park out back
Rajshahi – Hotel Nice International – clean, good internet, only here 1 night, but would return.
Bogra – Hotel Naz Garden – large grounds, large Hotel, clean and nice but lacked soul
Joypurhat – DMSS – an aid organisation run by Apurbo – I emailed him and he organised accommodation on their premises including food and also local touring. A highlight was visiting and also sleeping in a local village.
I stayed in a room with the Village Head Man and had to push some forms together to sleep on without any mattress. I slept quite well and was treated to a real meet the locals experience including the Villagers putting on a ceremony and dancing for me – very special. I was very well looked after in Joypurhat. See Bangladesh 5, 6 & 7
Chittagong – Peninsula Hotel – the nicest Hotel I stayed in on the trip. Excellent in all respects.
Comilla – an unmentionable dive – no internet, not on the web, filthy, avoid Comilla
Sylhet – Nirvana Inn – clean and tidy. Nice restaurant – but the hardest bed I have ever slept on – I checked to see if there was a mattress. Changed when I came back a few days later to another room with good bed. Check the bed before you take the room.
Srimangal (Sreemongol) – a semi dive with no internet or web address, cheap and not very flash.
My advice would be to look at the room and make an offer – you can normally get a good deal, just check to make sure you get the things that are important to you – ie Internet?, Air Con etc…
Overall the accommodation met my expectations, I wasn’t looking for the Ritz and didn’t want to pay large amounts of money – with the exception of Comilla and Srimangal I was happy where I stayed.