Sylhet is the capital and richest city of the Sylhet Division in Bangladesh with a population of over 500,000 residents.
Nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, greater Sylhet is a prime attraction for all tourists visiting Bangladesh. Sylhet has developed due to remittances from the expatriates living in Britain and America. Laying between the Khasia and the Jaintia hills on the north, and the Tripura hills on the south, Sylhet breaks the monotony of the flatness of this land by a multitude of terraced tea gardens, rolling countryside and the exotic flora and fauna. Here the thick tropical forests abound with many species of wildlife, spread their aroma around the typical hearth and homes of the Monipuri Tribal maidens famous for their dance.
The Sylhet Valley is formed by a beautiful, winding pair of rivers named the Surma and the Kushiara both of which are fed by innumerable hill streams from the north and the south. The valley has good number of haors which are big natural depressions. During winter, these haors are vast stretches of green land, but in the rainy season they turn into turbulent seas.
These haors provide a sanctuary to the millions of migratory birds who fly from Siberia across the Himalayas to avoid the severe cold there. Sylhet has also a very interesting and rich history, Before the conquest by the Muslims, it was ruled by local chieftains. In 1303, the great Saint Hazrat Shah Jalal came to Sylhet from Yemen with a band of 360 disciples to preach Islam and defeated the then Raja Gour Gobinda.
An interesting feature of Sylhet region is the aboriginal tribes such as the Tipperas, the Monipuris, Khasis and Garos who still live in their primitive ways in the hills, practising their age-old rites, rituals, customs and traditions. During festivals such as, Rash Leela (Full-moon night in February) and Doljatra, the attractive young girls dressed in colorful robes, dance with the male members of their choice & love. The Monipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of the ancient mythology.
Sylhet is one of the richest cities in Bangladesh, with the vast majority of rich residents have money sent from the UK and America, along with some of the most affluent residential areas in the country, third to only Dhaka and Chittagong.
Osmani International Airport (ICAO: ZYL) is served by all major domestic carriers, Biman Air , United Airlines and Regent Airways . Please check the airline's website for latest schedule. Most of the flights in Sylhet are destined to the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, Dhaka. However, Fly Dubai has flights directly to Dubai.
There are many luxury coach and bus services from Dhaka to Sylhet. Some notable services are Hanif, Shohag Poribahan, Green Line etc. These services are available from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. For latest schedule it is recommended to contact with particular company.
For budget travelers , there are non AC bus services available from the Sayedabad bus terminal (locally known as a Jonopath Mor, near Sayedabad Hujur's Mosque) which depart every half hour from 6 am to midnight. Efficient budget bus service companies are Hanif, Unique Service etc. Ena non AC bus service available from Uttara(Dhaka) to Sylhet.
From Mymensingh 440 taka, 8 hour by non AC bus.
There are train services from Dhaka, Chittagong and Comilla to Sylhet everyday. From Dhaka, there are three trains named Joyontika, Parabat and Upoban depart at morning, noon and evening.There is a new train named Kalni depart at afternoon from Dhaka.
From Dhaka, it takes 8-9 hours.
Rickshaws are a common mode of transportation throughout the small town, along with the CNGs (auto-rickshaws). Don't take buses as they are usually unreliable for foreign tourists. If you stay with a friend or family member, they usually have atleast 1 driver who drives a car for them. Do not take taxis if you are a foreigner, as crimes may happen. The traffic is relatively light to moderate in contrast to Dhaka's long jams.
Stone collecting boats in Jaflong,Sylhet
Tea Gardens, shrines of Hazrat Shah Jalal Yamani and Hazrat Shah Farhan, Shahi Eidgah, Chandni Ghat, Ali Amjad's Clock Tower, Kean Bridge, Shah Jalal Bridge, Osmani Museum, Jaflong, Parjatan, Shah Jalal University, Osmani Medical College and Hospital, Sylhet Polytechnic Institute, Theme Parks, etc.
- Tamabil-Jaflong: Situated amidst splendid panorama, Tamabil is a border outpost on Sylhet-Shilong Road about 55 km. away from Sylhet town. Besides enchanting views of the area one can also have a glimpse of the waterfalls across the border from Tamabil. Jaflong is also a scenic spot nearby amidst tea gardens and rate beauty of rolling stones from hills.The natural view has gotten effected due to rock quarring. It's located in the Bangladesh-India border
- Kalibari at Jaflong: Kalibari temple which is one of the 51 Sakthi peet is situated near Jaflong. Currently this place is not maintained due to less hindu population.
- Greeva Peet - Mahalakshmi peet: South of Sylhet around 4 Kms from the city is place named Joinpur (Dakshin Surma - Surma is the river that flows through Sylhet). Sri Mahalakshmi temple is situated at this place. As every shakthi peet has its bhairav temple and for this peet Bhairav temple is situated 1 km away from this sakthi peet.
- Sree Mangal: Sree Mangal is famous for the largest tea gardens of the world covered by lush green carpet. One can have a look into the spectacular tea processing at Tea Research Institute. Bangladesh produces and exports a large quantity of high quality tea every year. Most of the tea estates are in SreeMangal. It is called "The land of two leaves and a bud". It is also called camellia, green carpet or Tea Mountain. There are a lot of tea estates including the largest one in the world. The terraced tea garden, pineapple, rubber and lemon plantations from a beautiful landscape. It is known as the tea capital in Bangladesh. Just offer entering into the tea estates the nice smells and green beauty will lead you many kilometres away.
- Lawacherra Rain Forest: Lawacherra Rain Forest is one of the important & well-reserved forests in Bangladesh. Here visitor may see gibbons swimming through the trees and birds like bee-eater owls parrot. It is a good habitant of Deer, leopard, wild chicken, squirrel, and python. Don't miss it especially if you are bird watcher. The terrain is hilly and vegetation is fairly thick. Only one rare Chloroform tree of Asia is here and a prime attraction of travel
- Madhabkunda: Madhabkunda surrounded by lush tea estates and full of waters lilies is a unique one. Magurchara ruined gas & Oil reserved field, which was inadvertently blown up while digging 3 years ago and was burning a 500-feet height for more than 3 months. A lot of burnt trees now carrying the symbols of disaster. Ever where a lot of rubber & lemon plantation form a beautiful landscape. And you can have a visit to Madhobkundo waterfall.
- Nazimgarh Resorts: This luxurious resort accomodates wealthy guests and visitors visiting Sylhet. It has an outdoor swimming pool, high class hotel suites, Wi-Fi internet, and a beautiful view of the jungles of Sylhet.
- Tilagor. It is a place with small and big hills which are cut or not. There are poultry farms, and dairy farms and houses on cut hills. There is also a tea garden
At day time you can visit all the major attractions . There is not much night-life in Sylhet compared to Dhaka, although some bars are available in major hotels and the Station club. Drinking is strictly prohibited in public areas.
At evening it is a must see recommendation to visit Chadnighat area where you will enjoy a beautiful view of Surma river, Ali Amjad clock along with iron made Kean Bridge built in 1854.
Sylhet has a variety of malls and bazaars which offer shoppers plenty of goods for sale. The relatively new influx of expatriate money has rapidly transformed Sylhet into a shoppers' city. Hand-made textiles are a speciality. Zindabazar is the shoppers paradise where most of the big malls are located. For famous local fabric Monipuri fabric, the shops located in Lamabazar area. Be aware of your personal belongings as you walk around, pickpockets are rampant and unnoticeable among large crowds.
Places to shop:
- Al Hamra
- Blue Water
- London Mansion
- Manipuri Bazar, Lamabazar. A big area with lots of shopping mall for famous hand weave Monipuri Sari and fabrics.
- Sizzling Restaurant, Rose View Hotel.
- Silver Palace, noya sorok.
- Eatopia, Barutkhana, Zindabazar.
- Chiangmai Chinese Restaurant.
- Chicken Hut.
- Pizza Shop.
- Alpine Restaurant (traditional).
- Prithiraj (traditional).
- Paktoon, Rose View Hotel.
- Pearl Orient, Rose View hotel.
- Four Season, Rose View Hotel.
- Sizzling Restaurent, Rose View Hotel.
- Exotica Restaurent, Hotel Supreme.
- Dinette Restaurent, Hotel Fortune Garden.
- Woondal Restaurant.
- Spicy Restaurant, Sylhet City Centre,10th floor, Zindabazar,Sylhet.
- Panshi Restaurant. Located at Mirzajangal, near Zindabazar, at the heart of the city. It is known for its cheap and delicious food. It is a large area to accommodate a huge number of people. It also has excellent services and a friendly environment.
- Sylhet Station Club. You have to be member to enter or be invited in by a member.
- Club Royale, Rose View Hotel.
Sylhet has many hotels which offer decent accommodations at reasonable prices.
- Hotel Abu Humza near main bus terminal. The rooms are clean, with insaid western toilet, free WiFi, generator, english speaking, friendly manager, very good value. Price s/d with fan, noAC from 300/400-600 taka; d with fan, tv, western toilet 700Tk 04.2017. Bus terminal Rd. Bharthokhola, Sylhet. Tel. 0821-722216, mob. 01749-924852
- Hotel Supreme
- Hotel Palash
- Hotel Western
- Hotel Anurag
- Hotel Garden's Inn
- Hotel Hilltown
- Hotel Rose View
- Hotel Golden City, East Zindabazar, . Tel: +88 0821-812846
- Nirvana Inn, Mirzajangal, Ramer Digher Par Sylhet -3100, ☎ +88 0821 2830576, . Modern hotel in centre of town. Air conditioned. Air conditioning in rooms can be too effective and beds are a little hard. Restaurant has very good reasonably priced food. Indoor pool on ground floor. Wireless Internet is available throughout.
- Hotel Famous, (Between railway station and the Surma keane bridge.), ☎ 01827864653. Single room 150-200Tk / twin or double room 250-300Tk
- Hotel Gulshan. Single room 150-300Tk / Twin or Double room 250-400Tk
- Novem Eco Resort, Bishamoni, Radhanagar, Sreemangal Bangladesh Moulvi Bazar, Sylhet, Bangladesh, ☎ +8801709882000, . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 11.00. Located in the tea capital Sreemangal, one of the closest destinations to experience the tropical paradise of Bangladesh. Roughly 4 kilometers away from Lawachara National Park, the 3 acres resort has its own tea garden placed on the hillocks surrounding the valley. It is outfitted with facilities like fully equipped conference room, equipped indoor sports room, an outdoor swimming pool, and a badminton court. You can come and visit the Novem Restaurant to fill your appetite. All the structures built inside are of wood, mud, straw and bamboo that are environment friendly. The wooden bridge that connects two hillocks gives you a view of the overall resort. You can take a stroll over the bridge for leisure and to set off to your chosen accommodation. The mud cottage is furnished and blended in urban comforts, it has its very own adjoining swimming pool. The wooden villa gives you a flavor of a modern chalet with Private pool on the top of the hillock and a personal outdoor bar-b-que space. Try the Novem tents to smell the nature from close. You will experience luxury in the Novem VIP cottages. Go trekking and bicycling through the Sreemongol landscape in the surrounding. 5500.