Driving Guide

Bangladesh Driving Guide

Bangladesh is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

2023-12-15 · 9min read

Are you yearning to explore the enchanting landscapes of Bangladesh at your own pace? Driving through the "Land of Rivers" reveals the true beauty of this diverse country, taking you beyond ordinary tourist paths into the heart of its rich culture.

Picture yourself cruising through mesmerizing scenic landscapes, and historic architectural heritage, and along the country's vibrant coastlines while enjoying the freedom to uncover hidden gems on your own terms.

If you're a first-time visitor to Bangladesh, don't let the uncertainty of driving in a foreign country stop you. This guide will provide all the information you need for a memorable road trip across Bangladesh.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Navigating through an unfamiliar destination can pose challenges, particularly when it comes to driving.

This comprehensive guide is your key to unraveling the crucial details necessary for a smooth driving experience in Bangladesh. You'll find valuable insights into the country itself, its driving regulations, and the prevailing road conditions, ensuring you're well-equipped for your journey.

General Information

Known for its natural beauty and diverse culinary heritage, Bangladesh promises a captivating experience for travelers. From breathtaking scenery to abundant wildlife, the country has much to offer, making it an ideal destination for those with an adventurous spirit.

Geographic Location

Bangladesh is situated in South Asia, shares borders with Myanmar to the southeast, India to the north, east, and west, and is embraced by the Bay of Bengal to the south. The bustling city of Dhaka serves as the country's capital, a vibrant metropolis where a majority of Bangladesh's locals reside.

Languages Spoken

Bengali, or Bangla, stands as the official language, spoken by an impressive 98% of the population. In addition to English, which holds significance in education, media, business, and government, other indigenous languages such as Chittagonian, Rangpuri, and Sylheti are also prevalent, bringing the total number of languages spoken in the country to 39.

Land Area

Covering a landmass of 148,460 km², Bangladesh ranks 92nd globally and stands out as one of the world's most densely populated countries. The land is organized into six administrative divisions and four primary municipal corporations, each contributing to the rich biodiversity of the nation.

Approximately 17% of Bangladesh is forested, hosting around 2.6 million forests primarily managed by the Bangladesh Forest Department.


With roots in the historical Bengal region, Bangladesh has witnessed various rulers, from the Mauryan Empire advocating Buddhism and Jainism to the division under British rule in the 17th century. Post-British rule, East Bengal joined Pakistan but sought independence, leading to a liberation war in 1971 and the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent nation.


Bangladesh operates under a parliamentary system of government with a president and prime minister elected through the national assembly. The Jatiya Sangsad, or House of the Nation, represents the parliament, featuring 350 seats, most filled through direct elections, with additional seats reserved for women.

The president serves a five-year term with a limit of two terms, while the prime minister, the leader of the legislative majority party, is appointed by the president.


While not a mainstream tourist destination, Bangladesh witnessed the arrival of over 300,000 visitors in 2019, showcasing a gradual increase. The country's allure lies in its captivating landscapes, warm hospitality, and intriguing locations. With top-tier attractions, exploring Bangladesh unveils a hidden gem, offering a journey well worth your time.

International Driving Permit FAQs

An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is your passport to driving in foreign lands, a legal translation of your local driver’s license into 12 globally recognized languages. Let's delve into some essential details to guide you through the process.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Bangladesh?

While your local driver’s license is a good start, driving legally in Bangladesh, especially for U.S. citizens, requires an additional document—an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) for Bangladesh. This dual combo ensures you're on the right side of the law. Always keep both handy to steer clear of fines for driving sans proper documentation.

Does an IDP Replace a Local Driver’s License?

No, the International Driving Permit (IDP) is a supportive document to your local driver's license, not a replacement. Both are vital while navigating the roads of Bangladesh. Failure to carry both could lead to fines, so stay compliant and check our website for specific requirements.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

Anyone above 18 years old, armed with a valid local driving license, can seamlessly apply for an IDP to cruise through Bangladesh. Our online application process is user-friendly. Submit your details accurately, including zip codes, to expedite the process. Once approved, a digital IDP copy is yours within 2 hours, swiftly followed by the physical copy.

What Do I Do When I Lose My IDP?

International Driver’s Association issues replacements for free, though you'll incur the shipping cost for the physical copy. Accuracy in your address details, especially the zip code, ensures smooth delivery and uninterrupted driving adventures.

Can I Use My IDP in Other Foreign Countries After Bangladesh?

Absolutely! The IDP from the International Driver’s Association is a global traveler. With validity in over 150 countries, it's your trusty companion beyond Bangladesh. Just ensure it's not inching towards expiration. Remember, the IDP complements your local license; both must be valid for foreign road exploits.

What Is the Unit to Measure Speed in Bangladesh?

When zipping through Bangladesh, think in kilometers per hour (km/h). The country aligns with the 81% global majority that uses this unit to measure a car’s speed. Keep this in mind to stay in sync with local norms.

Is Driving in Bangladesh Safe at Night?

Navigating Bangladesh's roads, day or night, demands vigilance. While the road network is commendable, some local drivers might stretch speed limits and use high beams.

Renting a Car in Bangladesh

Exploring the picturesque destinations in Bangladesh becomes even more enjoyable when you have the convenience of your own car. The comfort it provides enhances your travel experience.

If you don't have your own vehicle, worry not, as renting a car in Bangladesh is a convenient option. Read on for valuable tips on car rentals in the country.

Car Rental Companies

In Bangladesh, you can rent a car through online platforms or at airport booths. The best car rental in Bangladesh are companies like Hotwire, Avis, Hertz, Kayak, Europcar, and Sheba offer online rental options with diverse budget-friendly choices. While airport booths provide immediate service, online rentals generally offer more options at competitive prices.

Documents Required

To rent a car, you'll need your local driver’s license, International Driver’s Permit, and passport. Ensure these documents are valid, and some companies may request an additional ID. Having these documents ready streamlines the car rental process.

Vehicle Types

Car rental companies in Bangladesh offer various vehicle types, including manual to automatic transmissions, small to large cars, and compact to standard models. Explore the options based on your preferences and needs.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental fees can vary based on factors such as the type of car, season, additional insurance, add-ons (Wi-Fi, GPS, car seats), and extra drivers. Consider additional expenses like tolls, fuel, and parking fees when budgeting for your trip.

Age Requirements

While the general age requirement for renting a car in Bangladesh is 18, different companies may have varying age restrictions. Additional fees may apply for young or senior drivers, and the age requirement might differ based on the car type.

Car Insurance Cost

Car rental fees usually include Third-Party Liability Insurance in Bangladesh. You can also opt for additional coverages like Collision Damage Waiver, Theft Protection Insurance, and Road Assistance Insurance. Be aware that extensive coverage can come with higher costs.

Car Insurance Policy

Various insurance options cover damages to the car, theft, and third-party liability. Collision Damage Waiver addresses exterior damages in accidents, Theft Protection Insurance covers attempted theft or actual theft, and Third-Party Liability Insurance handles damages to other cars. Road Assistance Insurance is crucial for breakdowns.

Additional Tips

Understanding additional details about car rentals in Bangladesh is crucial. To ensure your trip to Bangladesh is both memorable and cost-effective, taking these extra tips with you is highly beneficial.

  • Plan your car rental budget.
  • Consider all potential expenses.
  • Compare offers from different companies.
  • Choose deals that fit your budget.
  • Opt for online rental for a variety of deals.
  • Online rental services often offer more budget-friendly options than airport services.

The Road Rules in Bangladesh

Driving on urban and rural roads necessitates familiarity with fundamental road rules and regulations, ensuring your road safety. A comprehensive understanding of these rules not only enhances your driving experience in Bangladesh but also keeps you clear of road-related issues with Bangladeshi authorities.


Bangladesh strictly enforces a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol, as it is entirely prohibited in the country. Authorities possess the right to arrest any driver found with alcohol in their bloodstream.

Despite the general prohibition, acquiring a permit to consume alcohol in Bangladesh is possible. Alcoholic drinks exceeding 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) are categorized as alcoholic beverages in the country.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

Attention is paramount when making turns at intersections. Proper utilization of turning signals is crucial. When approaching an intersection with the intention to turn left, positioning yourself in the leftmost lane is essential.

Activate your left signal light 30m or 100 feet before the intersection to alert fellow drivers of your intention. Before executing the turn, ensure the absence of oncoming traffic and check your side mirrors.


Adhering to designated parking areas in Bangladesh is imperative to avoid fines, particularly a TK100 penalty for illegal street parking. Ensure your vehicle is securely parked in well-lit areas. Be mindful of the upcoming parking policy in Dhaka, which plans to implement digital tools and mobile apps for fee collection. Whenever possible, opt for official parking bays.

Ensure Good Condition

Prioritize your mental and physical well-being before driving. Thoroughly inspect your vehicle's functionality, covering the steering wheel, engine, mirrors, tires, brakes, and signal lights. Stay updated on weather forecasts for safe driving conditions.

Always adhere to safety measures, including wearing your seatbelt, locking the car door, and carrying essential legal documents and a spare tire.

Also, maintain focus on the road, abstain from mobile phone use, and diligently observe road signs to prevent accidents. Dedicate your full attention to driving throughout the journey.

Speed Limits

Strictly observe speed limits in Bangladesh for your safety and to avoid legal complications. The limits are as follows:

  • Highway/Motorway: 80 km/h
  • Rural Areas: 30 km/h
  • Urban Areas: 25 km/h
  • Exceeding these limits may lead to fines, starting from TK10000. Pay attention to road signs indicating speed limits.

Seatbelt Laws

While Bangladesh lacks a national law specifically on seat belts, cultivating the habit of wearing one is strongly encouraged. Ensure both front and back passengers wear seat belts while riding or driving, contributing to overall safety and minimizing the impact of potential injuries in case of an accident.

Driving Directions

Navigating roads in Bangladesh mirrors the situation in most countries. The prevalence of roundabouts, especially in urban areas, necessitates familiarity with rules when entering them. Exercise caution, given the sometimes aggressive driving behavior of local drivers. Intersections are common, making driving in Bangladesh straightforward for experienced drivers.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in Bangladesh, similar to those in other countries, play a crucial role in guiding and informing drivers. Key categories include:

  • Warning Signs: Road works, roundabouts, uneven roads, pedestrian crossing, slippery roads, junctions.
  • Prohibitory Signs: No entry, no trucks, no overtaking, no left turn, no U-turn, no horns, no parking, no stopping.
  • Priority Signs: Stop, priority road, give way, end of priority road.
  • Mandatory Signs: Pass left, pass right, pass either side, footpath.
  • Information Signs: Motorway, expressway, one-way traffic, toll road, low-speed road.

Right of Way

Understanding right-of-way rules is crucial, especially at roundabouts and intersections. Yield to traffic on your left before entering a roundabout, and decrease your speed accordingly. At intersections, the first vehicle to arrive claims priority. In simultaneous arrivals, the vehicle on the right proceeds first, effectively preventing collisions.

In Bangladesh, the minimum driving age is 18 years, while the maximum is 65 years for legal driving. Attaining a Bangladeshi driver’s license requires passing a driving test. Those below 18 cannot legally drive, even if they possess a local driving license. This rule extends to those undergoing driving training in Bangladesh.

Law About Overtaking

Although Bangladesh lacks a national law specifically addressing overtaking, it is commonplace to overtake on the right side of the road. Straying from this rule may lead to road accidents, highlighting the importance of adhering to this basic driving principle.

Driving Side

Overtaking on the right side corresponds to driving on the left side of the road in Bangladesh. This distinct approach deviates from the driving norms in some countries where overtaking is typically done on the left. Drivers transitioning to Bangladesh should be mindful of this difference.

Additional Tips

Beyond the aforementioned rules, additional tips contribute to safe driving in Bangladesh:

  • Equip your car with a first-aid kit, reflective jacket, and emergency warning triangle.
  • Always carry essential documents, including your local driving license, IDP, passport, and other required items.
  • Prohibit phone use while driving, as it is strictly prohibited and can result in fines, imprisonment, or both. If necessary, pull over safely to use your phone.

Observing these guidelines and tips ensures a safe and secure driving experience in Bangladesh.

Driving Etiquette in Bangladesh

Driving in Bangladesh involves understanding and adhering to specific road rules and cultural norms. This section provides insights into various scenarios, offering guidance on how to navigate the roads effectively and courteously in Bangladesh.

Car Breakdown

Even with a fully functional car, breakdowns can happen unexpectedly. Knowing how to handle these situations calmly is crucial for safety. The following guidelines outline the steps to take in case of a car breakdown.

When Your Car Breaks Down on an Expressway

Navigating a breakdown on expressways, where traffic is dense, requires strategic actions. Follow these steps to ensure a safe response to the situation.

  • Activate your hazard lights immediately.
  • If possible, carefully move your car away from traffic.
  • Wear a reflective jacket when exiting the car.
  • Set up a warning triangle at the rear to alert other drivers.
  • Call emergency rescue using the Bangladesh emergency number 999.

When Your Car Breaks Down on Quieter Roads

Even on quieter roads, a breakdown demands a careful approach. Here's what to do when facing this situation.

  • Turn on hazard lights and move your car to the roadside.
  • Exit the car cautiously, wearing a reflective jacket.
  • Place the warning triangle at the rear.
  • Call emergency road assistance through the Bangladesh emergency number 999.

Police Stops

Encountering a police stop requires specific conduct to ensure a smooth interaction. Follow these steps for a respectful and cooperative engagement.

  • Wait for the police officer to approach and knock before opening your window.
  • Speak in a polite and kind tone, demonstrating respect.
  • Keep your hands visible, preferably on the steering wheel.
  • Provide requested legal documents promptly.
  • If asked to accompany the officer, ask politely about the reason.
  • Cooperate if the reason is valid, avoiding any attempt to escape.
  • After resolving the situation, bid farewell to the police officer and close your window.

Asking Directions

Navigating unfamiliar roads often involves seeking directions. In Bangladesh, where locals are friendly, remember these for positive interaction.

  • Approach locals politely when asking for directions.
  • English is widely understood; language barriers are minimal.


Road checkpoints are common in Bangladesh, requiring drivers to be prepared. Follow these steps when approaching a checkpoint.

  • Reduce speed as you approach the checkpoint.
  • Open your car window when signaled by the officer.
  • Provide necessary legal documents for inspection.
  • Thank the officer after the inspection and continue your journey.

Additional Tips

Beyond specific scenarios, these additional tips cover various situations you might encounter on the roads in Bangladesh.

  • In case of an accident, remain at the scene and call emergency services.
  • Avoid moving anything at the scene of the accident.
  • Use the Bangladesh emergency number 999 for emergency assistance.

By following these guidelines, you can enhance your driving experience, ensuring safety and courtesy on the roads of Bangladesh.

Driving Situations and Conditions

While some Bangladeshi drivers exhibit assertive behavior on the roads, it's essential to note that many diligently adhere to established road rules and regulations. The majority of local drivers display a commendable level of discipline and respect for the implemented policies.

However, it's crucial not to become overly complacent when driving in Bangladesh. Despite the generally disciplined driving culture, keeping vigilant is crucial to preventing potential accidents.

Accident Statistics

In 2019, Bangladesh recorded a total casualty of 5227, which is a 788 increase from 2018’s total of 4439. The alarming situation has prompted the Bangladeshi authorities to take immediate action. In response, the Bangladesh government has reassured the public that they are committed to implementing essential precautions promptly, aiming to reduce the occurrence of road accidents in the country.

Common Vehicles

Bangladesh has cultivated a fondness for imported vehicle brands, with Toyota currently reigning as the most popular choice in the country. Boasting a vehicle count surpassing 500,000, residents in Bangladesh own an array of luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and compact sedans, with the Toyota Corolla earning particular favor among the populace.

Toll Roads

In Bangladesh, there are presently four toll roads and five toll bridges. Regrettably, none of these employ an electronic toll collection system. Following the construction of these roads and bridges by the Bangladeshi government, the Operation and Management (O&M) takes charge of maintenance and toll fee collection.

Road Situations

The majority of roads in Bangladesh experience consistent congestion, a natural consequence of being one of the most densely populated countries globally. Traffic jams are a common occurrence, requiring a considerable amount of patience from drivers.

While navigating through these jams might be frustrating, the enchanting scenery and numerous tourist destinations in the country serve as a compensating reward.

Driving Culture

The driving culture in Bangladesh presents a mix of behaviors, with some drivers displaying aggressive tendencies and lacking a valid driving license. These individuals often disregard established road rules and regulations. Conversely, other drivers exhibit commendable respect on the roads. Adopting a defensive and cautious driving approach is essential to avoid potential road accidents.

The Top Destinations in Bangladesh

Top destinations are abundant in Bangladesh. This country is filled with mesmerizing natural beauty and rich culture that every tourist would love to witness. The best time to visit Bangladesh is between October and March, as the weather is generally dry and cool during this time.

Here are some of the most breathtaking destinations you can find in Bangladesh:


Dhaka, the vibrant capital and largest city of Bangladesh, serves as a bustling residence for over 17 million people. Positioned as the epicenter for economic, cultural, and political activities, it stands as the ideal starting point for your journey.

Cox’s Bazar

Cox's Bazar, renowned for its 120-kilometer-long coastline along the Indian Ocean, is a beach lover's dream. This city on the southeast coast of Bangladesh boasts the world's third-longest beach, making it a popular tourist destination.


Chattogram, also known as Chittagong, is a major port city in Bangladesh and the country's second-largest city. Despite its bustling nature, the city offers fascinating experiences like the Chittagong Hill Tracts.


Sylhet, located in northeastern Bangladesh, is a picturesque region known for its lush tea gardens, rolling hills, and vibrant cultural heritage. The city is surrounded by scenic landscapes, including the Ratargul Swamp Forest, making it a captivating destination for nature lovers. One of the best things to do in Bangladesh is to visit the Shrine of Hazrat Shah.


Rangamati, situated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, is a serene district characterized by its stunning lakes and hills. The Kaptai Lake, the largest artificial lake in Bangladesh, enhances the beauty of this region. Rangamati offers a tranquil escape with its unique blend of natural beauty and indigenous culture.

Unlock the Wonders of Bangladesh with an IDP

Eager to embark on an unforgettable driving journey in Bangladesh? Equip yourself with an International Driver's Permit from the International Driver's Association. It's your ticket to a seamless, confident driving experience in this vibrant country.

Don't delay; start your application today! Apply for your International Driving Permit here.


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