For me, getting a Bangladeshi visa was a cakewalk. And the best part was, It cost me absolutely FREE!! Yes, the Bangladesh visa office (Assistant High Commission) located at Agartala did not charge anything to grant me the visa to enter Bangladesh. (video : Crossing Akhaura border on foot ). Read this article on crossing Akhaura border with a free visa.
Why did I plan Bangladesh trip
Actually, due to some circumstances I had to cut short my North-East India trip 4 days earlier. So I had two options to return Kolkata. Either travel all the way to Guwahati and Siliguri or just cross Bangladesh and reach Kolkata. The first way was approximately 1550 kilometres long, whereas the second was just 450 kilometres. Meaning the second way was shorter by 1100 kilometres. Also, the later option offered a bonus opportunity of getting a new country visited.
How to get Bangladeshi visa from Agartala
After landing at the Agartala main bus terminal in the early morning, I straight away headed to the Bangladesh visa office located here. Office opens at 8:30 AM. There were many other people filling up the application form. I submitted the application with my passport. Got interviewed by an official and after about an hour I got my passport back stamped with a Bangladeshi visa. Sometimes they may ask you come in the evening to collect your passport.
That was my first visit to Agartala. I kept the full day to explore the city. Stayed overnight at a budget hotel near Hawker’s corner and left for the border on the next early morning. Akhaura border checkpoint is just 4 kilometres away from Hawker’s corner. A cycle rickshaw ride takes hardly 15-20 minutes to reach the border. (Video : How I reached Akhaura border from Agartala)
Reached the border
There was a beautiful building on the left side of the Akhaura border check-post. This is operated by the ‘Landports authority of India’. Immigration, customs and foreign exchange offices are located inside. Trucks and other vehicles carrying goods between the two countries are provided with a huge ‘Transport area’ behind the building. It seemed that I reached the border quite early. No Indian officials had reached there till then whereas my plan was to enter Bangladesh as early as possible so that I could reach Dhaka in time. After waiting for an hour or two, officials turned up and stamped ‘Departure’.
Bangladesh Entry gate is just 2 minutes walk from the ‘Landports authority of India’ building. In between, I had an opportunity to purchase chocolates and biscuits from a BSF stall. Some famous brands are not easily available in Bangladesh. So it is better to top-up your bag before leaving India.