Bangladesh has experienced significant economic growth in recent years, primarily driven by its manufacturing sector. However, tourism is still a relatively small but growing component of the country’s economy. Since gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh has developed a strong national identity. With a population of over 160 million people, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Dhaka, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis that offers a glimpse into the country’s vibrant culture and lifestyle. If you’re looking for a more serene experience, Bangladesh also boasts pristine coastlines and landscapes that are worth exploring.

To photograph Bangladesh is to immerse in an intense, relentless, visually tantalizing world, heartbreaking at times, but always inspiring. Under the guidance of tour leader Patrick Firouzian and award-winning local photographers, you’ll delve into Dhaka’s buzzing bazaars, engaged in the rituals of daily life. While iconic landmarks demand attention, we’ve prepared unique destinations where you’ll encounter traditional lifestyles in the backdrop of architecture that tell the tales of centuries gone by. Most memorable will be Bangladesh’s famously warm, welcoming people, eager to be photographed. This journey, for intermediate and advanced photographers, will emphasize portrait photography to bring out the visual storyteller in you.


Day 1: (Dec 1)
Arrival in Dhaka. Upon arrival at DAC airport, be greeted by the local team and transferred to a 5-star hotel in the city which will be our base for the next few days before we fly to Cox’s Bazar. Orientation, drinks, and dinner. Overnight in Dhaka.

Day 2: (Dec 2)
Start the day with a visit to the shipyard area of Dhaka, where you can see the bustling activity of one of the largest cargo ship maintenance facilities in the city. Take a short boat ride across the river to the area where the towering ships are propped up along the riverbank. Observe the skilled workers performing various tasks, such as molding new propellers from recycled metal, grinding the ship’s carcass, and replacing damaged sections of the hulls with huge metal plates. You will also learn about the harsh working conditions and the low wages that these workers endure while capturing portraits of their faces and expressions. After this eye-opening experience, we will head back to the city for lunch. In the afternoon, we will explore the largest vegetable market in Dhaka, where you can find a wide variety of fresh and colorful produce. You will be amazed by the sheer volume of vegetables that are sold here every day, estimated at around 700,000 kgs. You will also witness the lively interactions between the vendors and the customers, as well as the challenges of transporting and storing the vegetables in this crowded and chaotic environment. This is a great place to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Bangladesh. We will return to the hotel for a relaxing dinner and a comfortable overnight stay in Dhaka.

Day 3: (Dec 3)
An unforgettable journey to one of Dhaka’s largest brick factories, where you will witness the incredible efforts and resilience of the brickmakers, unfortunately, many of whom are underaged. You will be amazed by the sight of thousands of bricks stacked up in neat rows, waiting to be baked in the massive ovens. You will also see how the workers use traditional methods and tools to shape, cut, and transport the bricks, often carrying them on their heads or shoulders. You will have the opportunity to interact with the workers and learn about the environmental and social challenges that the brick industry faces, such as air pollution, deforestation, child labor, and low wages. This is a unique chance to capture the beauty and hardship of the brickmakers’ world, with stunning contrasts of colors, textures, and emotions. This will be an all-day activity. We will return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay in Dhaka.

Day 4: (Dec 4)
Today we take a scenic drive from Dhaka to the countryside, where you will discover the beauty and diversity of traditional village life in Bangladesh, where the culture and customs have remained unchanged for centuries. You will also witness the efforts of humanitarian organizations to improve the sanitation, living, and education conditions of rural communities. You will have the opportunity to interact with the hospitable villagers, who will share their stories and lifestyles with you. You will also make friends with the local children, who will show you their schools and playgrounds. You will enjoy a delicious lunch (fresh and safe) with a host family, who will treat you to some of the local delicacies. You will have the opportunity to capture unforgettable images of village life, with its rich colors, textures, and emotions. You will see the contrast between the simplicity and the vibrancy of the rural scenes, as well as the harmony and the resilience of the people. This is a unique and immersive experience that will give you a deeper insight into the culture and the history of Bangladesh, as well as the challenges and opportunities of rural development. We will return to the Dhaka hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 5: (Dec 5)
Today we experience the thrill of Dhaka’s train station, one of the busiest and most vibrant places in the city: the Kamalapur railway station, the largest and most modern station in Bangladesh, designed by American architects in a neo-Islamic style. You will witness the hustle and bustle of the commuters, who travel to and from different parts of the country every day. You will see the diversity and the dynamism of the people, who come from different backgrounds, cultures, and professions. You will also observe the challenges and opportunities of the railway system, which plays a vital role in the economy and the society of Bangladesh, and capture stunning portraits of the commuters. Afternoon free for image editing, overnight in the hotel in Dhaka.

Day 6: (Dec 6)
Prepare to be amazed by the riverside unloading area of Dhaka, where you will see the hard work and the skill of the workers who unload tons of coal, cement, and sand every day for a handful of dollars. You will witness the incredible strength and endurance of the workers, who carry heavy loads of coal, cement, and sand on their shoulders, heads, or backs. You will also see how they use simple tools and techniques, such as ropes, pulleys, and buckets, to unload the materials. You will learn about the challenges and the risks that the workers face, such as low wages, poor working conditions, and health hazards. You will have the opportunity to capture stunning images of the unloading area, working with your camera setting to get different styles such as backlight or motion blur, contrast the black coal, the gray cement, and the yellow sand, against the blue sky, the water, and the brown boats. You will also capture the expressions and the emotions of the workers, who show their determination, pride, and camaraderie and interact with them to learn their stories and experiences with you. Overnight in the hotel in Dhaka.

Day 7: (Dec 7)
Old Dhaka and the spice market are two of the most fascinating and colorful places in Bangladesh. They offer a glimpse into the rich history, culture, and cuisine of the country. Here are some of the highlights of this trip segment: Old Dhaka is the historic part of the city, where you can see the influence of the Mughal, British, and French colonial eras. We will explore the narrow alleys and bazaars of Old Dhaka, where you can find a variety of handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, and antiques. The spice market is the largest and most vibrant spice market in the country, where you can smell the aroma of different spices, such as cumin, ginger, cardamom, garlic, cloves, bay leaf, saffron, and more. You can also see how the spices are processed, packaged, and sold by the traders. You can learn about the history and importance of the spice trade in Bangladesh, and how it has shaped the culinary traditions of the region. We will learn how to use the natural light, the contrast, the colors, and the angles to create stunning images. We will also continue to learn how to interact with the locals, respect their culture, tell their stories through their photos, and express your creativity and emotions through your artistic work. Overnight in the hotel in Dhaka.

Day 8: (Dec 8)
Today we visit a plastic recycling area where waste is collected, sorted, processed, and transformed into reusable materials. Plastic recycling is a vital activity for reducing plastic pollution and promoting green growth in Bangladesh. However, plastic recycling faces many challenges, such as the cost of collection and sorting, the diversity of plastic types, the lack of awareness and incentives, and especially the health and environmental risks. You can see how plastic waste is managed and recycled by the local workers. The next area is the aluminum worker’s area, a place where aluminum products are manufactured, such as kitchen utensils, and other metal products. The processes are highly manual; you will witness workers in very hazardous and grunge environments, allowing some very strong images. Overnight in the hotel in Dhaka.

Day 9: (Dec 9)
Early morning flight to Cox’s Bazaar (1h15mn), check-in in the hotel which will be our base for the next few days, lunch then rest and visit the beach market (one of the many bazaars there) to mingle with locals. Cox’s Bazar is a tourist destination in southeastern Bangladesh and is famous for having the longest uninterrupted natural beach in the world, which stretches for about 120 km along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight in the hotel in Cox’s Bazaar.

Day 10: (Dec 10)
It’s early morning, and we’re going to capture the fish landing – a daily spectacle with a hive of activity where everyone has their role to play, from kids to elders, women and men. As the sun’s rays pierce the horizon, you see the fishing boats returning after days at sea. The boats, each with its unique design, are a testament to the area’s rich maritime heritage. We will make a conscious effort to isolate stories and frames out of the buzzing activity: each frame telling a story – of the fishermen’s struggle, their camaraderie, the anticipation of the vendors, the excitement of the locals, the ecosystem, the rivalries. We will return for breakfast, some rest, and lunch, and return for exploring fish-drying fields, under the open sky. This traditional method of preservation involves drying the fish in the sun and air to remove the water content, allowing for long-term preservation that can make the fish last for months or even years. In the afternoon, we will drive south to see how boats loaded with motivated fishermen leave for their overnight fishing trips or return with a boatload of fish, some exotic like sharks. The crescent moon shape of the fishing boats in Cox’s Bazar, also known as “Moon Boats,” is a result of practical design and traditional craftsmanship. The curvature of the boat’s keel line allows these vessels to cross the sandy barrier located a few hundred meters from the shore. This design enables the boats to navigate the rough waters of the Bay of Bengal effectively. These boats are made by local Bengali carpenters using generations-old techniques, the high bows and sterns, along with the curved keels, give them their distinctive half-moon shape. This unique design not only serves a functional purpose but also adds to the aesthetic appeal of these boats, making them a symbol of the region’s rich naval heritage. After sunset, a short drive back and overnight in the hotel in Cox’s Bazaar.

Day 11: (Dec 11)
This early morning we will travel to a boat landing on the beach. Boats at sea for days or weeks arrive to unload, trade, refuel, and reload, then return to sea. You will witness another ecosystem here, where everyone plays a role, to maximize the quantity and quality of the fish captured and then processed. This is an opportunity to meet many locals, young and old, and capture many portraits and sceneries of people unloading and loading, weighing, and trading all kinds of fish. In the afternoon, we will visit the fish drying areas, a unique place with endless photo opportunities. Dinner and overnight in Cox’s Bazaar.

Day 12: (Dec 12)
Today, we’re embarking on an adventure that’s as much about the people we’ll meet as it is about the places we’ll see. We’ll start our day hopping onto speedboats for a 20-minute zip toward a nearby island (life jackets provided). The island is like a small country, ecosystems emerged through centuries, and we will meet boat builders, bakers, fishermen, salt farmers, blacksmiths, and much more. These craftsmen have been shaping vessels for generations, and we’ll get a chance to see them at work, their hands expertly handling the tools as they breathe life into the wood. In the vast, flat expanses of the salt farms, we’ll see how the farmers harness the power of the sun and sea to produce salt. Salt farming is a significant industry in the coastal regions of Bangladesh, particularly here in the south. The salt fields, also known as salt flats, account for 25% of the country’s total cultivated. After sunset, a short speedboat back and overnight in the hotel in Cox’s Bazaar.

Day 13: (Dec 13)
Today we’ll fly back to Dhaka and check in at our hotel. In the afternoon, we will rest, with an optional photo review, editing, and coaching time. Before dinner and overnight in Dhaka.

Day 14: (Dec 14)
Today is our last day in Dhaka, where we will visit some handicraft-making areas, old places of Dhaka, and mode nearby culturally significant locations. Lots of opportunities for casual shopping and street photos today. In the evening, we will have our farewell dinner, and then get ready for the next day’s return home.

Day 15: (Dec 15)
Departures from Dhaka.