This article provides information on things to do in Dhaka, where to stay in Dhaka and how to get around Dhaka.
Blocks of buildings, stacked one after another with a haze lingering on top of them, welcoming us to a grey and sad Dhaka.
We were in Bangkok in the morning and we could already tell that Bangladesh was not a common travel destination. There were no tourist or backpackers on the plane with us. Only local businessmen, it seemed and maybe a handful of women.
After a mechanical problem with our first plane (which luckily was discovered prior to take off), we switched planes and were on our way to Dhaka.
We landed safely in Dhaka and were welcomed to Bangladesh with a USD $50 visa on arrival fee. Ouch.
Once we passed immigration, paid the fee in US Dollars and gone through currency exchange (though we generally advise against changing currency at the airport), we noticed travel brochures: exactly what we were looking for since we didn’t get a chance to draft an itinerary and anticipated sporadic Internet connections. Even though that didn’t give us ideas as to what to do in Dhaka, it helped us decide where we were going to go in Bangladesh.
In between stares, out of curiosity as there are not many tourists in Dhaka, and Chicken Biryanis, we managed to visit most of the city in two days.
How to Get Around in Dhaka
The best and safest way to get around Dhaka is by tuk tuk or by cycle rickshaw. We didn’t want to use public transportation especially after we’ve seen the looks of the buses in Dhaka (I believe I said they looked like buses “that have just gone through an action scene in Transformers”.) Unlike all of Asia, tuktuks in Bangladesh are fully closed just like golf range cage. From Dhaka airport to the our hotel, a tuk tuk cost: 250 Taka (USD $3.25).
To see most of Dhaka, we hired a cycle rickshaw for the day who speaks English and he showed us around the city and its monuments. A day in cycle rickshaw cost: 700 Taka (USD $9) – this was most likely a tourist-inflated price – he charges 200 Taka per hour. We met Shahid Ali coming out of our hotel (see below) where he waits around for clients. He is a friendly person and knows what to show tourists. If you want to contact him, his cell: 01710883267 or 01921171675 or 01724605919.
Where to Stay in Dhaka: Dhaka Hotels and Accommodations
Hotel Pacific: Located in Motijheel, the Business District of Dhaka, we stayed in this hotel for 3 nights. It was a fine stay with WiFi, a restaurant, clean bed and bathroom. Price for a double room with private bath is 1,400 Taka (USD $18).
It was convenient because it is walking distance from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation – where we booked our Rocket Steamer trip.
Platinum Hotel Residence: Located close to the airport, it is a clean hotel with WiFi and air-conditioning. A double room with private bath costs USD $22. There is also a restaurant in the hotel.
What to do in Dhaka – Activities in Dhaka
Shahid Minar – Martyr Monument : Monument in Dhaka in memory of the 1952 Bengali Language Movement demonstrations.
Lalbagh Fort : located in the Old Dhaka and close to the Bariganga River, a historical for complex in Dhaka worth a visit. Entry Fee: 100 Take per person (USD $ 1.30)
Dhakeshwari Temple: a Hindu temple in the middle of Dhaka. Very peaceful and quiet.
Sadarghat: The oldest port in Bangladesh. You can do a boat ride on the Bariganga River at sunset. Beautiful and very busy place. Highlight of Dhaka. We paid 200 Taka for a roughly 30 minutes ride (USD $2.60)
How To Get Away – Local Transportation
Our itinerary taking us to the South of Bangladesh, we opted for a rocket steamer to visit the Sundarbans. During our other trips throughout the country, we traveled by bus (though road conditions are not of the safest) or by train (we’ve taken the Chittagong-Srimangal route and it was convenient and more comfortable than buses). A bus ride from:
Dhaka to the Sundarbans costs 350 Taka per person (USD $4.50).
Dhaka to Chittagong costs 450 Taka per person (USD $5.80).
What did you do in Dhaka? How long were you there? Share your travel experience with us! We love to hear from you.
Happy Travels !!xx
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By Rolling Coconut