Nestled in the picturesque Surma Valley amidst scenic tea plantations and lush green tropical forests, greater Sylhet is a prime tourist destination. Sylhet has developed due to remittances from the expatriates living in Britain. 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 Mainpuri 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 Monipuris perform their famous dance, based on allegorical love themes of their ancient mythology.
- 1 Osmani International Airport (ZYL IATA). Served by Biman Bangladesh Air, US Bangla Airlines, Novoair, and Air Astra. Domestic flights are available to Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, and Dhaka. International flights are available to Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, London, Manchester, and Sharjah.
There are many luxury coach and bus services from Dhaka to Sylhet. Some notable services are Hanif, Ena Transport, Green Line, London Express etc. These services are available from 5:30AM to 12:30PM. For latest schedule it is recommended to contact with the particular company.
- 1 Green Line, Humayun Rashid Chattar, 22 Kadamtoli Mur, ☏ . Daily services with Dhaka BDT 1,500 (Dhaka).
- London Express, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily services with Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar BDT 1200-1400 (Dhaka–Sylhet–Dhaka), BDT 1400 (Sylhet–Chittagong–Sylhet), BDT 2200 (Sylhet-Cox’s Bazar–Sylhet).
There are train services from Dhaka, Chittagong and Comilla to Sylhet every day. From Dhaka, there are four trains named Joyontika, Kalni, Parabat and Upoban that depart at morning, noon and evening. From Chittagong there are two trains named Udayan and Paharika that depart at morning and night.
- 2 Sylhet railway station (সিলেট রেলওয়ে স্টেশন) (on the south side of river Surma). The main railway station.
Uber ride sharing service is available to travel within the city. A rental service called 'Jatri' also available to move around. Rickshaw ride could be a good option for short distances. CNG auto rickshaw widely available in the city to get around. Sylhet is not a walkable city. It lacks good quality footpaths.
Tea Gardens, shrines of Hazrat Shah Jalal Yamani and Hazrat Shah Farhan (rahmt.), Shahi Eidgah, Chandni Ghat, Ali Amjad's Clock Tower, Keen's Bridge, Shah Jalal Bridge, Osmani Museum, Jaflong, Parjatan, Shah Jala University, Osmani Medical College and Hospital, Sylhet Polytechnic Institute, Theme Parks, etc.
- 1 Ali Amjad's Clock, Hadarpar, Goainghat (from Amberkhana Point of Sylhet City to Hadarpar Bazar By CNG Taxi, or any Behicle then By Boat to Bichanakandi). It is known as "the Big Ben of Sylhet", is the oldest clock tower located on the bank of Surma River. The tower was constructed around 1895 under the supervision of Nawab Ali Amjad Khan, the landlord of former Prithimpasha estate in Sylhet.
- 2 Shah Jalal Dargah (Hazrat Shahjalal Mazar Sharif). Resting place of historic Sufi guru who in large part brought Islam to this area, with distinctive blue and white coloration.
- 3 Shah Paran Dargah (Hazrat Shah Paran R. Mazar Masjid). Tomb and honorary masjid for another historic Islamic Sufi figure of the 14th century.
- Greeva Peet - Mahalakshmi peet: About 4 km south of Sylhet is a place named Joinpur (Dakshin Surma - Surma is the river that flows through Sylhet). Sri Mahalakshmi bhairav temple is situated close to the Shakti shrine, as is custom.
- 4 Museum of Rajas', Raja-Kunjo, Zinda Bazar (folk museum in Sylhet). Huge and rare collection of folk musical instruments, artifacts of Hason Raja movie (recipient of the best movie award 2002) and various folk and mystic poets.
- 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 a tea garden also there.
- Sri Mangal: Sri 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 Sri Mangal. 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. Make sure to take the taste the seven layer tea at Sri Mangal. 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. Also, visit the Mini Zoo created by Sirishranjan in 1972. The best time to see the tea plantations is during rainy season, which is when the tea is harvested by women in bright saris. Photographers often visit during this time.
- 5 Bichanakandi, Hadarpar, Goainghat (from Amberkhana Point of Sylhet City to Hadarpar Bazar by CNG taxi, or any vehicle then by boat to Bichanakandi). This is the excellent place for travellers who love nature. Near Bangladesh-India border; famous for crystal water, stone, hills, green & wide landscape.
- 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. Also the Kalibari temple, one of the 51 Sakthi peet, is situated near Jaflong. This place is not maintained, due to the reduced local Hindu population.
- Ratargul (2nd Sundarban), North side of Saheb Bazar of Goainghat. Ratargul Swamp Forest is a freshwater swamp forest in Goainghat. It's known as 2nd sundarban of Bangladesh. It is the only swamp forest in Bangladesh and one of the few freshwater swamp forest in the world.
- 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 habitat 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: A highlight here is the Madhobkundo waterfall surrounded by lush tea estates and ponds full of waters lilies. Unfortunately there are a lot of burnt trees from an oilfield disaster, but it is still a picturesque landscape with rubber & lemon plantations.
At day time you can visit all the major attractions. There is no night-life in Sylhet 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-Amazad 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 and Kumarpara Road are the shoppers' paradise where most of the big mall are located. For famous local fabric manipuri fabric, all the good 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
- Manipuri bazar, Lamabazar Point. A big area with lots of shopping mall for famous hand weave Manipuri Shari and fabrics.
- , Lamabazar Point, ☏ . 10AM-10PM. All types of monipuri sarees, salwar & other clothes for both man & woman.Quality of clothes are high & medium & price is not much.
The two most well-known restaurants in Sylhet for Bengali food are Panshi and Panchbhai. Both restaurants are located in Jallarpar, Zindabazar. They are both very popular with people of all classes because of their affordable prices and good quality food. In addition to these two restaurants, there are several other restaurants of similar quality in this area.
Light meals or foreign food restaurants can be found throughout Sylhet. However, there are more restaurants in Naya Sarak and Jail Road. This area has a variety of shops selling everything from drinks to local and foreign food.
There are a few buffet restaurants in the city. One of the most notable is Grand Buffet Restaurant, located in East Zindabazar. Here, you can get buffet lunch for ৳750 and buffet dinner for ৳850.
Alcohol is not readily accessible in Sylhet, with Porjoton Motel being the sole establishment featuring a bar, situated on Airport Road. It is recommended to refrain from consuming alcohol in public spaces.
Sylhet has many hotels which offer decent accommodations at reasonable prices. Bargaining always helps.
- 1 Grand Sylhet Hotel and Resort (গ্র্যান্ড সিলেট হোটেল এন্ড রিসোর্ট), Khadimnogor, Airport Road (just beside the airport), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00.
- 2 Shuktara Nature Retreat (শুকতারা নেচার রিট্রিট), Shahporan Upashahar, Khadimnogor, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 3 Hotel Golden City (হোটেল গোল্ডেন সিটি) (East Zindabazar), ☏ .
- 4 Nirvana Inn, Mirza Jangal Rd, ☏ . 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.
- 5 Richmond Hotel & Apartments Sylhet, Al Hamra Tower (in Zindabazar district), ☏ . Hotel suite and apartment with restaurant.
Embassies and consulates
- 2 Indian Visa Application Centre (IVAC), Rahim Tower, Subhanighat Biswa Road, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-Th 08:00-16:00.
- Sunamganj, one of the most beautiful lakes of Bangladesh located here. Boat house available here for both day and night trip.