D for Dhaka [17 – 20 Feb 2012]
Why Bangladesh? Because it’s there.
I’ve used my BMI Diamond Club miles to return to Singapore from Tokyo and since the redemption allowed for a free stopover, I could add another flight to a destination in the same zone as SIN.
My first choice was Manila as Philippines is the last ASEAN country that I haven’t set foot on. Although the route was initially approved, BMI Diamond Club kept calling me while I was in Europe to inform that the route NRT-SIN-MNL was not valid.
When I finally had the chance to contact Diamond Club (from an apartment in a small town in Romania), I checked with the agent if NRT-SIN-DAC would be a valid routing. Bangladesh was the only country in Zone 7 besides Philippines which I hadn’t visited (although this will change by April this year). Her answer was positive but it was a little tricky finding J class redemption for SIN-DAC.
After checking a couple of dates, she managed to book me on SQ 446 on 17 Feb. No extra 20 GBP incurred as the change was involuntary.
For the inbound three days later, I had the choice between the two Star Alliance carriers serving DAC: SQ 447 to SIN or TG 322 to BKK.
I decided to go for the Thai Airways flight as it left at a more humane 13:40. Although the direct flight took only four hours, it would leave DAC just before midnight and arrived in SIN at 6:00. It meant that I would feel like a zombie the next day, something that I could do without.
The redemption was a simple Zone 7 to Zone 7 redemption on BMI Diamond Club miles with the route DAC – BKK – SIN (Stopover) – MNL. It cost me almost S$580 which wasn’t cheap but the alternatives (read Biman Bangladesh for close to S$400 in Y) weren’t exactly exciting.
The route: SIN-DAC-BKK-SIN
My sister helped me to send and collect my passport to get my Bangladeshi visa at the Bangladesh High Commission; the privilege of visiting Bangladesh for one month is S$24 for Singaporeans.
I kept procrastinating and only booked my hotel two days before my trip. Tropical Daisy was the cheapest choice on Agoda at a not-so-cheap price of US$144. The day before departure I ventured to Mustafa to get some Takas; S$48.90 got me 3000 BDT which was almost sufficient for my two and a half days there.