If you are visiting Australia and plan to stay in Melbourne for a few days, a must do is a road trip on the Great Ocean Road. It is by far one of the most scenic set of roads one will get a chance to drive on and if you like driving, this 300km long road edging the Pacific Ocean is the Holy Grail. Many travellers plan to go on this road trip, but then decide against it thinking about the treacherous road and hassle of driving in foreign conditions and then many think that they can drive in Australia without a local driver’s license and think that renting a car is very expensive and difficult. All are wrong assumptions and hopefully I can guide you to one of the best road trips of your lifetime.



The first thing you need to decide when planning a road trip is the duration of the trip. I have found during my trip is 2 days is the best allocation of time for the Great Ocean Road which a night stopover in one of the towns on the road. 2 days gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the full experience without facing any kind of rush. There are many things to see on the road, and even in 2 days it will not be possible to see all of them, but at least you will be able to cover about 80% of what the Great Ocean Road has to offer.


The Great Ocean Road starts from the town of Geelong and the road sign is B100. Geelong is around 1 hour drive from Melbourne City and there are many road signs that will lead you to B100. Once you are on B100, you simply follow the signs and coast along. The road stretches up to a town called Warranambool and on the way there will be towns like Torquay, Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell, Peterborough etc. The main attractions of the Great Ocean Road are the 12 Apostles, which are basically rock formations on the sea floor which is a remarkable natural sight to behold. 12 Apostles is between the towns of Port Campbell and Peterborough.


Map of The Great Ocean Road B100


I will share my experience here and try to cover all the details of the trip so that you can get an idea about this trip and plan yours accordingly. I also had a lot of reservations and doubts whether I can do this trip on my own without any locals and it turned out great. My major goal in Melbourne was the Great Ocean Road and so I landed in Avalon Airport, rather the main Tullamarine International Airport. Flights to and from Avalon airport are rare and there are also very few car rental options there as the airport is no bigger than our Jessore Airport in Bangladesh. But the major advantage was that Avalon is closer to Geelong and I can avoid the hassle of driving in Melbourne. If anybody is staying in Melbourne, they can rent cars from the airport or any outlets from the cities. Major car rentals include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget etc. All of them have offices in the airports and also in the city. You will need a Driver’s License and an active credit card to rent a car, it’s that easy! The new driver’s license that BRTA is currently distributing is written in English and thus accepted by all car rentals in Australia. I picked a brand new Hyundai 4WD Santa Fe with GPS navigation and it cost me around $200 US for 2 days. My pick up and drop off location was different and so the cost was a little high. Fuel was my responsibility, I took a full tank and also had to return with a full tank. Once you sign the documents, they will give you the car key and car number and you pick it up from the parking lot and are good to go.

Driving in Australia is easier than in US or Canada as roads in Australia are similar to Bangladesh, they drive on the left hand side of the road and all cards are right hand drive. You just need to go through a basic driving instructions guide in YouTube and that should be good enough to get going. Once I got in my car I gave a quick glance on the controls and set my GPS to Torquay and was good to go.


My first destination was near the town of Angelsea, Split Point Lighthouse. Its 150 year old lighthouse with mesmerizing view from the bottom. They charge around AUD 30 to go up but I decided not to. The view from below was too good already.


From there I went back on the road drove for around 2 hours across some of the best landscapes in the world. The beauty of sea on my left and mountains on my right was a sight to behold. After every 10 minutes or so there are places where you can stop, get down from the car enjoy the scenic lookouts. The drive itself is also challenging, as it’s a 2 lane road similar to Bangladesh and it’s pretty busy especially on the weekends. And unlike Bangladesh, overtaking by going to the other lane is not well received here, you may have to drive behind a slower vehicles for miles before he gives you space to overtake in designated zones. You don’t have to maintain speed limit to the point, but they are a good pointers and you shouldn’t take too many risk on twisty hairpin bends and zig zag roads.

new image - 4m936

Zig Zag Roads coupled with epic scenery!


I crossed, Lorne and drove to Apollo Bay where there are many restaurants on the side of the road. I had lunch at an Italian place and also ate a beef pie from a bakery store. You will not find halal food here, so if you want to have halal food, you will have to live on snacks and vegetable sandwiches.


Most travel blogs suggested to stay the night in Apollo Bay as there are many options of hotels and restaurants here but I decided to stay in port Campbell which is about 10 minutes from 12 Apostles. It was a very good decision as I was able to enjoy the beautiful sunset at 12 Apostles and drive only about 10-15 minutes in the dark to reach my hotel. Having dinner afterwards could be an issue, as there are only 2-3 restaurants and they close after sunset. Also you should book hotel there beforehand as there are only a handful of available rooms.


The 12 Apostles are actually spread across the coastline and I found 4 great spots to enjoy them:

1.       Gibson Steps (2 kms before 12 Apostles)

new image - 0h9cx

Gibson Steps

2.       12 Apostles Observation Point

new image - d2vte

12 Apostles

3.       Loch Ard and Gorge

4.       London Bridge

new image - 0t206

London Bridge : 12 Apostles


I visited London Bridge the next day and then went to Peterborough to look around before starting back towards Melbourne. I am very fond of driving and so for me the Great Ocean Road Drive was a very immense experience. I loved every second of it and so I suggest everyone to go on this trip if they have the opportunity to do so.


Some Important Guidelines:

1.       Summer is the best time to visit (Nov-Feb) but beware of Australian flies. They are a menace outdoor, and you will be constantly disturbed by them. No matter what you do they will be all over you and it’s something you just have to put up with.


2.       The Entire B100 is 2 lane road and so take extreme caution when driving and avoid overtaking. If you are driving slowly, there are places where you can slow down and let the cars behind pass. Watch out for wildlife on the road!


3.       When renting cars, check the car properly first for dents and damages and find out how to open the fuel tank lid.


Simple Tricks That Will Change the Way You Air Travel

 We are travelling in planes more than ever before. Bangladesh has one of the highest growth of international travellers in the last 4-5 years. We are travelling abroad for business, vacation and even I hear nowadays some people fly out of the country for wedding shopping. Not to mention our fellow brothers and sisters who are working in different countries, their contribution to our economy can never be taken for granted. Many airlines are making very good money targeting the migrant workers. So the summary is that we are travelling by air more than ever and so I am making a list of some very common tricks that is sure to make your next travel experience a little better.

Air Tickets:

Air Ticket is the most important part of your air travel experience.  It is important to book air tickets smartly, as airfare is pretty much 50% of your entire travel budget. So any savings you make here, contributes a great deal on your overall budget. There is a rule of thumb that says air fare is cheapest 90 days before you travel. 90 days is too far out for us to book a ticket unfortunately but I have seen that you can make up to 30-40% savings on some flights by booking about 30 days in advance.

Travel agents in our country are notorious and they will always try to get some extra money from you if you are not careful. Previously we could use credit cards to book tickets online but for some reason Bangladesh Bank banned it 2 months ago. So your only option is to book through travel agent or go to the airlines office directly.

Booking through travel agent is the most convenient option and I do the same. But I have some tricks up my sleeve. Before you call your agent, check these sites:


I have found a real buddy in . They also have a beautiful app which I use all the time. They are sure to get you the best deal for a given day and you can use that as a reference when you negotiate with your travel agent. Remember travel agents get around 7% commission for each ticket from the airlines so bargain hard and they will lessen that commission for you.

If you are travelling to North America or Europe, keep an eye open for the special fares given by Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad. They are giving amazing offers almost every month if you book in advance. Last month I found Dhaka-New York return flights only at 52,000 taka given by Emirates. But it was soon over within a few days. So if you plan to fly to the far West, let your travel agent know in advance to keep searching deals for you.


I am taller than an average person and that is a big disadvantage when travelling economy. During my early flying years, I would really struggle to be comfortable in flight. But over the years, I have learned from experience how to go around this problem. You see, every plane has some seats with twice the legroom than other seats. One set of them is right at the front of each cabin class where you can stretch your legs a little and also chat with the flight attendants. But one big drawback of the front seat is BABIES. The front seats have the option to attach a bassinet so these seats are offered to parents carrying babies and if you have a grumpy baby next to you then even the cutest of flight attendants won’t make your flight experience any better.

So the next option are the seats on the Emergency Door Row. Previously I used to ask for them at the check in counter in the airport and they would give me those seats no questions asked. But the number of smart travellers are increasing every day and if I arrive late for check in I hardly get those seats nowadays. Even then if you ask really nicely, and plead a little they would sometimes change the seats right at the end when you board the aircraft. This is something I only learned this year that you can change your seats right when they scan your boarding pass before getting on the waiting room in the gate. They would simply change your seat no with a pen on the boarding pass, so don’t give up on that extra leg room until the last moment.

If 2 people are travelling together, you can try another trick. Normally there are 3 seats a set on each side of the row, A – B – C. Then ask for seats A & C when you check in. If the flight is not full then there is 75% probability that the middle seat will remain empty and you can be comfortable the whole journey. It’s a neat trick for couples and even if they do put one person, you can then request him or her to exchange seats. In this case you have nothing to lose.

Long haul flights are usually 70-80% full so as soon as the Seat Belt sign is turned off, I would bounce off my seat and go straight to the back. There is bound to be a 3-4 empty rows with nobody sitting on them. For most airlines you can lift the seat handle and make a very comfortable bed and with a warm blanket you can tuck yourself in for the night. The trick here is to be quick, as beds are given on a first come first serve basis and don’t worry about flight attendants telling you off, because it’s a very common practice.

Carry On Bags:

This is very much a Bangladeshi problem especially when you return to Dhaka. It takes ages for our luggage to come from the plane and once I had to wait around 90 minutes to get my luggage coming from a 2 hour flight. So whenever I travel, I always take my luggage on board. I try to keep the weight below 7-8 kgs and carry no liquid containers over 100ml. It’s a trick that has saved me countless of hours at Dhaka airport. This is very handy if you travel on regular business trips.

But there is a catch when you come back. We love to shop and during the return flight every passengers will carry a lot of carry-on luggage.  So on most occasions the overhead compartment cannot store all the bags, so the crew would take your bag and put it in the baggage ruining your carefully crafted plan.  The trick here is to board the plane early. If necessary be one of the first to wait in line when they call for boarding. It’s a little uncomfortable but believe me it’s worth it.

Airport Terminals:

Waiting in the airport is not the most pleasant experience especially if you have a long connection between flights. Airports like Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok, Doha, etc gives passengers a variety of options to pass their time. So when you are in one of these fancy airports, be sure to check the maps and you are sure to find some hidden gems here and there. For example Singapore Changi Airport has a beautiful rooftop Sunflower Garden. There are of course numerous duty free shops to roam around but you are sure to get tired after a while carrying your luggage with you.

If your connection is more than 6 hours, the airlines is bound to give you Airport Hotel or Lounge card. So be sure to ask your travel agent about this. Sometimes airlines gives you hotels which are outside of the airport. So you would have to go through immigration and get out of the airport and come back after a few hours and again go through immigration. For me it’s a big hassle.

So I got myself a PRIORITY PASS. This is a cool card, which many banks are offering with their Platinum Credit Card. This card gets me to lounges in almost 95% of the major airports in the world and I can eat, sleep, and shower in the lounge for free even when I fly economy. I got this card with my City Bank Amex card and it has made my air travel very convenient and comfortable. Other banks are also offering this card now with their credit cards and truth be told the charges related to it are nothing compared to the benefits you will get. They also have a neat app named Priority Pass which allows you to search for the nearest lounge. There is a list and directions on how to get to the lounge.

If you don’t want to take this card, then you have one last option. Most international airports have a Muslim Prayer Room, and it’s away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. You can easily slip in there and go to one corner of the room to lie down and take some rest. Keep your mobile in silent mode and try not to disturb others who are praying. Last month I had a 6 hour connection at night in Bangkok domestic terminal when I was flying to Phuket and I found an empty Prayer Room and was able to sleep it off. Just make sure you don’t miss your flight!


Some Other Handy Notes:

  1. If you miss your connecting flight because of delay in your first flight you need not worry. Just go the airlines counter and they will book you to the next flight for free. If your next flight is more than 6 hours later, they are bound to take you to a hotel and bring you back also free of charge. This is only applicable if both flights are of the same airlines.
  2. When you book a connecting flight, try to keep minimum 90 minutes gap between the flights. Sometimes even if you catch the connection fight at ease, your luggage may not be so lucky! It is very common to arrive and find that your luggage has missed the connection flight.
  3. You will always find fellow migrant workers brothers coming back or going to their working country. Needless to say, they are not as educated as some of us. So try to help them out with immigration forms whenever possible. Some people find it very annoying when many of them ask for help, but I always take time to help them and you should too.
  4. When you are planning to go the airport, always go early. I believe, waiting in the airport is always better than waiting somewhere else.
  5. Don’t carry batteries and power bank in your main luggage. Carry them with you in your hand luggage.

I still believe there are many other ways to improve our air travel experience. These are the tricks that I have learned over the years. If anybody can share some of their own personal ways then that would be great.

Vacation in Thailand? Yes Please! (Bangkok)


Thailand has become one of the most common abroad holiday destinations for us and rightly so. It’s a country which can cater the need for almost all tourists around the globe. If you want a calm and serene holiday, Thailand is the place; If you want white beaches and crystal clear water, Thailand is the place for you; If you want adventures like para-sailing, bungee jumping, white water rafting, sky diving, again Thailand is the place for you; If you are a shopaholic, look no further, go book a ticket for Thailand. Oh and If you like to party hard, they welcome you too.

Getting There:

There are a number of airlines operating daily flights to Bangkok from Dhaka. It is important to book air tickets smartly, as airfare is pretty much 50% of your entire travel budget. So any savings you make here, contributes a great deal on your overall budget. At present airlines flying this route directly are:

  1. Thai Airways
  2. Bangkok Airways
  3. Biman Bangladesh Airlines
  4. Regent Airlines

It’s a very short flight so direct route is basically are the only feasible options. There are many parameters when you decide on a flight. For me the 2 most important factors are Airfare and Time. For a 2.5 hours flight service is not an issue for me. I have seen that you get the best rates in Bangkok flight if you book minimum 25-30 days in advance. The later you book the ticket prices gradually increases and can go as high as 50% over the previous price. Also as Thailand is a popular tourist destination now, tickets are sold out even 7 days before the flight date.


If I book now for a return flight dated June 13- June 20 I see the following rates:

  • Regent: 23,000
  • Biman Bangladesh: 25,000
  • Bangkok Airways: 33,000
  • Thai Airways: 87,000!!!


Not sure why the Thai rate is showing so high, normally it’s around 50-60K. These are online rates and you are sure to get a better deal from your travel agent if he is genuine. You can use these prices as a bench mark and push your travel agent for a better deal.


Another thing to note here is that Regent and Biman are day flights and Bangkok Airways is a night time flight. So if you travel Bangkok Airways you can save a day but prepare to reach Bangkok at 2AM. For me I prefer Bangkok Airways simply because I can travel by night and add 1 extra day to my vacation.

Also there is a common conception about local airlines not being very good and that they have very bad service. I don’t necessarily agree with this. I have found Regent Airlines having a very professional service and a good Boeing 737 plane  for their international service. Of course it’s all about the fare here and you can’t compare Regent with Thai Airways. As for Biman, I am always weak towards our national carrier. I love their new planes and whenever there is a chance, I try to travel Biman. They use the new 737-800s Mayurpankhi and Meghdoot for these short haul flights and they are absolutely brilliant with the Boeing new Sky Interior. Biman is still a bit down on service, especially when it comes to inflight catering. I really hope they get a professional chef in order to make their food worthy of the new planes.




Bangkok is an amazing city if you ask me. If you like hustle and bustle, then this is the place. If you like shopping then Bangkok is second to none. If you want to do some sightseeing then there are some temples and parks where you can roam around but my suggestion for Bangkok stayers is to Shop and Eat.


Where to Stay:


Sukhumbhit road is the most widely known area in Bangkok for tourists. There are thousands of hotels here and most give very good rates. From the airport you can take a taxi to Sukhumbhit road. Once you take your luggage follow the signs to the taxi stand. Normally it takes around 270-300 Baht from Airport to Sukhumbhit road by metre. To avoid jam, ask the driver to take the expressway. Although you will have to pay the 60-70 Baht toll charge it’s worth it to save 30-45 minutes of traffic. There is also a Train Service from Airport to Sukhumbhit road but I am yet to try that out.


As for hotels in Bangkok, you can book ahead by asking your travel agent. You can also book online in sites like or It’s worth having an account here as you can get some really sweet deals that your travel agent may not be able to give you. You will need a dual currency credit card to book in these sites. Even if you don’t have a credit, still check these sites to get a reference. You can get really good 4 star hotels for $35-50 in Bangkok. Check user reviews in before confirming your hotel, the reviews there are pretty accurate. I would avoid booking hotels at the airport or during visit as you may end up paying a lot more than usual price. When you pick a hotel, make sure it’s close to a MRT station otherwise you will have to walk a lot, along the narrow alleys of Sukhumbhit Road.


Where to Shop:

Like I said before, Bangkok is the place for all shopaholics. From designer labels to big wholesale markets to pawnshops on the road, Bangkok has it all. If your target is the brand shops then you can check out these places:

  1. Central World
  2. Siam Paragon
  3. Central Embassy Mall

These are the mother of all malls. The sheer size of them are huge and the stores are tastefully decorated. Although I loved roaming around these malls, buying anything here is totally a different matter. I rather checked out the only IMAX Theatre in Bangkok in Siam Paragon, so you can check that out too. These malls also have really good food courts serving different cuisines.


For us normal folks, try the MBK Centre or the Platinum Fashion Mall. These two malls are really good for clothes and shoes. There are hundreds of shops here, ready to give you a good bargain. Rule #1: Always Bargain. You can find T-shirts, Polos, Pants, Jeans, Tops, Underwear, Shoes, and Accessories all at very affordable price and they are off pretty decent quality too. Also check Robinson Store in Sukhumbhit Road. They sell many brands but there are always some kind of SALE going on there and you can end up getting some really good deals. I have also heard about a legendary market named ChatuChak weekend market. It is basically a street market of epic proportions. I suggest you Google about this market before you set foot in Thailand.


If you are looking for IT products, you can visit Pantip Plaza. It’s a lot like IDB back home but 5 times the size. I tried to buy a laptop here but I could not trust a single shop. Also the price is not as cheap as you would think. For IT products and Mobile Phones, Singapore is much much cheaper. I found the prices similar if not a little cheaper than Bangladesh.  If you want to buy a phone, try to buy from a good well established retailer in the bigger malls like Platinum 21, Central Plaza or Siam Paragon. I once bought a Samsung Mobile from Samsung Showroom in Central Embassy Mall. The rates there were okay and they gave 1 Year Thai Warranty.



Places to Visit:

 Truth be told I have never visited any of the tourist spots in Bangkok. Whenever I am there its always business. But I remember going to a Crocodile Farm when I was very young, maybe 12 years ago.

I suggest to check online to get some idea. I have heard of Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw to be really majestic. Another nice temple is Wat Arun also known as the Temple of Dawn. Then there is Chinatown, Floating market and the old town. I am not sure how much one can enjoy them but it’s worth a look I guess if you have time in your hand.


In my last trip I found a gem of a place, Khaosan Road. This road will give you the whole essence of Thailand in a space of 2 hours. It’s a lively place with roadside shops, lights, rock bars, restaurants with live music, food carts, massage parlours all locked together. For me it was a stunning experience. Especially there is another road parallel to Khaosan Road, Rambuttri Alley. If you ask me, this is one of the best place in Bangkok. It’s beautifully decorated with colourful lights, and the restaurants here are playing soft live music and massage parlours on the road side giving very good foot massages. There is a stark contrast between the 2 roads which fascinated me. Khaosan Road was all about the hustle and bustle, rock and roll and Rambuttri Alley on the other hand seemed more serene but it was still musical and colourful.



What to Eat:

For food, there is nothing much to add. It’s very good wherever you go. The street food looks really yum and I only tried the seafood and they were very tasty. There are hundreds of restaurants serving such a varied kind of food, I cannot even think of what to suggest. I can just say try Coconut Ice Cream and Sea Food. If you want to eat a little upscale try the food courts in the mall. If you want to eat halal food, there are also good options. You will find many Arabic restaurants serving halal food. Unlike Singapore, McDonalds and KFC don’t have halal certificates in Thailand. After all this, if you crave for bhat and alu bharta, go to Soi Sukhumbhit 11 behind Ambassador Hotel, there are 2-3 Bangladeshi restaurants serving good old gorur mangsho.


How to Move Around:

Taxi is the most readily available transportation in Bangkok but it is on the expensive side. If you are travelling more than 1 person then I suggest to take the Tuk Tuk. They are fast and cheap. Bargain with the driver to get a good fare keep your eyes open as they may not be 100% safe. Sometimes the Tuk Tuk driver will suggest you to take you to a shop, basically he will get commission if you buy anything from there. Thai taxi drivers are also known to be a little notorious. They tend to take the longest possible route from point A to B to increase the fare, so keep Google maps with you and don’t be hesitant to give the drivers instructions. A good way to travel in Sukhumbhit road is using the Sky Train. It’s very cheap, safe and convenient as most of the stations are connected with the big malls. You just need to follow the signs. For the tickets, you will need to use the machine and if you need coins, you can go to the counter and they will change your notes to coins.



This is a very noob guide to the city of Bangkok, I will try to add another Phuket Guide in the coming days. Hope it helped.