Dubai to Dhaka
On 3 September we finally set off for what was a bit of an epic flight with Emirates as I couldn’t find a direct flight to Bangladesh. Now, it is possible to fly directly from London Heathrow to Dhaka and London Heathrow to Sylhet with Bangladesh Airlines (Biman) but not every day of the week and sometimes the Dhaka flight stops in Sylhet and the Sylhet flight always stops in Dhaka. This is quite interesting if you wanted to avoid Dhaka (hard to do, admittedly) or start or end your trip in Sylhet.
Either way, the best flights I could find us were on Emirates via Dubai so we took, via the No. I Lounge, the EK30 flight to Dubai at 16.55 with a 7.5h layover in Dubai overnight. It was a bit of an experiment but we survived and it worked! We had around 3 hours before Tiger went into the bassinet and was asleep by her usual time of 8pm which then meant she had 4 hours sleep in the bassinet before we landed in Dubai International Airport at 02.50 which is around midnight UK time.
I had researched online and asked friends about what to do… There are sleeping pods (without toilets) in Terminal 3 where we were arriving and departing from and an airport hotel but you are looking at almost £100 for just 4 hours. So another experiment. I booked a room at the Terminal 3 Premier Inn for just £35.
I was warned that Dubai airport is huge, and indeed it is, but forewarned is forearmed. I let my big checked in bag go straight through to Dhaka and took my little backpack including Tiger’s bed (which I didn’t need as they gave us a travel cot) and walked as fast as I could to exit the airport knowing it was a fair old walk. What made it fairly easy was it was late at night and we landed at 02.48. We went through the immigration fast track because of the baby (but it was so quiet it wouldn’t have made much difference) so got stamps in our passports.
We had to walk out to the hotel bus stops and this was the only tricky part as it was quite warm outside of the AC even though it was the middle of the night. We were on the hotel bus for 03.17 (I kept notes!!) and in the hotel for 03.45. Despite the fact that Tiger threw up all over me in the hotel lobby (possibly because of the sudden change in temperature) by 04.10 we were in bed (the Premier Inn having speedily put up a travel cot for Tiger) and everyone was asleep!
My alarm went off at 07.45, I got showered and dressed and at 08.30 we were on the airport shuttle and despite the walking had arrived at Gate A24 for 09.00. We did have to go through security but this was easier with just one small backpack, and of course we already had the boarding passes.
The flight was really busy and boarding took a long time – what was also quite interesting was that this flight was now full of Bangladeshis and there was absolutely no early boarding for babies and children just a massive rush to get on!
So in the end with our 7.5h layover we did still manage to get almost 4 hours sleep in a lovely bed and a shower. It definitely helped it was the middle of the night but I would definitely do this again.
At 10.30 we took off for Dhaka and after a flight time of almost 5 hours we landed in Dhaka at 17.20. I had sorted out the Bangladesh tourist visas (£105 each) in London but was hoping for a double entry 30 day visa but they only gave me single entry 30 days… so given the visa on arrival is 51 USD each, I am not sure I would recommend this route but I am guessing it did save us some time at the airport as I walked past everyone to the front of the immigration queue for “special assistance” and was one of the first out.
Luckily the bag arrived and Aslam Hussein, owner of Green House Guesthouse in Gulshan 2 (House 6B, Road 68 and very near to Lake Castle Hotel), was there to meet me. It was 1000 taka (£9.45) for the meet and taxi versus 242 taka (£2.30) but definitely for the convenience was worth it! Every time after this however I took Uber which works just amazingly well in Dhaka City.
We’d booked the Green House Guesthouse for 3 nights for a room with ensuite and the cost was £75 plus £14.91 taxes so approx. £30 a night. The room was perfectly cosy for our needs and it was particularly great as time went on to stay there as our base. The more we came back, the more we felt like part of the family with Aslam, his son Mustafa Chisty and the houseboy.