3rd Leg – Dhaka

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After the luxury of Hong Kong it’s always a culture shock arriving in Dhaka. Bangladesh is the world’s eighth most populous country, with over 160 million inhabitants and Dhaka city ranked no 9 in terms of population density with 12 million residents. It’s also a desperately poor country, with 26% of the population living below the national poverty line of US $2.00 per day.

Clothing in Bangladesh is a $19 billion a year industry, second only to China as the worlds largest exporter of apparel to the western markets. The Bangladesh clothing industry has been under heavy scrutiny of late, with the Tazreen factory fire in 2012 killing 117 and the collapse of Rana Plaza in 2013 with a death toll of over 1,100. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly over the 5 years I’ve been travelling to Dhaka. What isn’t often reported is the good factories stand up against any you’ll find globally, with modern spacious facilities and ethical, social & environmental practices that would shame some businesses in Europe.

What I love most about Bangladesh is the people, it’s an old cliche but despite the poverty and social issues they are some of the warmest, friendliest people I’ve met. Don’t ever get into a conversation about politics with a local though, or you can kiss goodbye to the rest of your evening…