Dhaka is a thriving, colourful and congested metropolis of some 18 million people. Given the number of people that live there, and the density they live in, Dhaka is one of the most frenetic places on Earth. The streets and rivers are filled with colourful chaos. It also plays host to the highest number of rickshaws in any city in the world, totalling around 400,000; you certainly won't miss them. Experiencing the city for the first time can often seem overwhelming.
The existence of a settlement in the area that is now Dhaka dates from the 7th century. The area was ruled by the Buddhist kingdom of Kamarupa and the Pala Empire before passing to the control of the Hindu Sena dynasty in the 9th century. The Islamic Mughal Empire soon seized control of the city and turned it into a center of trade and governance. In the years of their vigorous rule, the successive governors and princely viceroys who ruled the province adorned it with many noble monuments, mosques, tombs, fortifications and 'Katras', often surrounded with beautifully laid out gardens and pavilions. The city passed through another phase under the rule of the British, until it became the seat of the eastern division of Pakistan after Indian partitioning. The Liberation War of 1971 gave Bangladesh its independence and Dhaka was declared the country's capital.
Since then, Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is the country's centre of industrial, commercial, cultural, educational and political activity. The gap between rich and poor is widening throughout the country, but it's at its most glaringly obvious here. Depending on where you start from, a thirty minute rickshaw ride can take you from impossibly crowded shanty towns near Old Dhaka to the glitzy high-class neighbourhoods of Gulshan and Banani where a meal costs more than most people earn in a week.
Motijheel is the main commercial area of the city. Dhaka's main waterfront, Sadarghat, is on the banks of the river Buriganga in Old Dhaka and is crowded with various ferries, yachts, paddle steamers, fisherman's boats and floating dhabas all bustling with activity.
The weather is tropical - hot and very humid during the summer monsoon season (April-September) and drier and cooler in the winter (October-March). Visitors from colder countries might want to visit in the winter when temperatures are around 20C and humidity is low (around 60-70%).
Visa extensions are available at the Immigration and Passport Office on Agargaon Rd in Central Dhaka. Most rickshaws and taxis will know where this is. An auto-rickshaw from Old Dhaka to the office will cost about Tk 150.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (formerly known as Zia International Airport) (ICAO: DAC) is the primary airport serving both the city and the country. There are international flights available from most continents. Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the flag carrier of Bangladesh, and is connected to approximately 18 international destinations, including London and Rome. Although, these services change frequently due to financial issues. Most flights to Dhaka depart from Istanbul, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Kolkata. There is also significant traffic from Middle Eastern cities including Muscat, Jeddah, Bahrain, Doha and Kuwait.
There are frequent services from surrounding countries. Biman operates flights to most of these. Indian carrier Jet Air has direct flights from Kolkata, Dehli and Mumbai. Pakistan International Airlines has flights from Karachi. Biman and United Airways offer flights from Kathmandu, and Druk Air has flights from Paro, Bhutan. Dragonair operates flights from Hong Kong. As of 2012, there are surprisingly no flights from Myanmar, although both governments are investigating reopening the route. A diversion via Bangkok is the shortest route to Yangon.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is modern and reasonably efficient. However, excessive numbers of mosquitoes seem to inhabit the baggage reclaim area, so be sure to wear long sleeves and cover your legs and feet. Immigration can take a notoriously long time during peak hours (45 minutes plus) as the system is manual and there are only 2 lines for foreign passport holders.
Kamalapur Railway Station
The Maitree Express was reopened in 2008, and is a direct service from Kolkata, India. It is the only international rail service in Bangladesh. The train is renowned for attracting few passengers, running below 50% occupancy. Trains from Kolkata to Dhaka depart Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the reverse departs Tuesdays and Sundays. The journey to Dhaka takes 10 hours 50 minutes, and the train to Kolkata takes 11 hours 45 minutes.
The train has been criticised due to the long waits at the border crossings on both sides. Yet, it is still recognised as being a much safer, speedier and less stressful experience than going by bus.
Being the capital and geographical centre of the country, Dhaka is the natural hub for the country's bus companies. There are several bus stations around Dhaka, each of them serving a different region of the country. The stations are not for the faint of heart, being extremely crowded and noisy.
Mohakhali bus station is for buses to and from areas north of Dhaka, including Tangail and Mymensingh. There are occasionally services to and from cities in the north-western portion of the country, such as Bagura.
Luxury buses serve locations dotted all over the country. These private buses are air-conditioned, spacey and usually have reclinable seats. Popular operators include Green Line, Shyamoli, Silk Line and Shohagh.
They all have ticket offices around town, the most well-known being those at the Pantapath. Green Line serves many major cities, with approximate times and prices listed below:
From India, there are a number of entry points for buses. The most common method is the air-conditioned buses from Kolkata to Dhaka, via the Haridaspur/Benapole border crossing. The private bus companies listed above also run cross-border services from India. Public buses run under the label of the state-owned West Bengal Surface Transport Service Corporation (WBSTSC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). WBSTSC and BRTC both operate buses from Kolkata every Tu, Th and Sa at 05:30, 08:30, 12:30, while from Dhaka they leave M, W and F at 07:00 and 07:30. The normal journey time is around 12 hours, with a one-way fare of Indian Rs 750 or Tk 600-800 (roughly US$12-20). The journey just to the Indian border town of Haridaspur will take 2 and a half hours, with a fare of approximately Rs 86, or Tk 116.
There are no travel options from Myanmar, as the border is closed.
It is possible to cross from India via private vehicle. There are many border crossings, but the most popular is the one at Haridaspur/Benapole, located on the highway between Dhaka and Kolkata. Visa formalities take a notoriously long time.
The border with Myanmar is closed and heavily militarised with land mines.
Most ferries arrive at and leave from the port in Sadarghat of Old Dhaka. This area and the streets surrounding it are unbelievably hectic, so allow plenty of time and keep an eye on your valuables. If arriving at the port, fight your way to the left on the frontage road and then make your first right; this turns into Nawabpur Road and leads north to the hotels. Even if you aren't staying in this area, it's easier to walk several hundred meters north to catch an onward rickshaw or taxi; the ones near the port are at a constant standstill.
The Rocket Steamers (named P.S. 'Tern', 'Masud' and 'Ostrich') depart to Barisal and Khulna several times per week, leaving from Sadarghat around 6pm. To Barisal is Tk 480 and Tk 300 in first and second class respectively, while the ride to Khulna will run Tk 1010 for first class and Tk 610 for second. The Khulna trip takes 26-30 hours. Tickets should be booked at the BIWTC office in Motijheel, just east of Dilkusha Circle I. It's open until 5PM Sunday to Wednesday, until 2PM on Thursdays and closed on Fridays.
Chandpur is a second major river station, located 3-4 hours from Dhaka and 5-6 hours from Barisal.
Numerous other boats are available for short and long distances. Head to Sadarghat or Badam Tole ghat (about 1 km further west) and ask around. Tickets cannot be pre-booked and bargaining is likely necessary.
Given the plethora of all forms of transport, if you're having trouble getting a decent fare with a driver walk a few feet to the next one. Not all are out to gouge you, so better to find the honest ones and give them your business. Occasionally a driver will demand more money on arrival; the best way to deal with this is to hand over the agreed or metered fare and walk away. Make certain from the start that the driver knows where you're headed (unless you can direct him yourself) - they often have limited local knowledge, but will always say that they know where somewhere is, and take you 'round the whole city searching whilst the meter ticks. Make sure that you take a card with your hotel or hostel written on it so that you can actually get home. Having a card for the hotel with the actual address makes this a whole lot easier.
The trains in Bangladesh only operate between major regional cities. There is no suburban or metro rail system in Dhaka, although there are plans to build an elevated inner-city line by mid-2013. Due to the lack of proper public transit, Dhaka suffers from choking traffic. Often, some areas of the city can become deadlocked for a number of hours.
Rickshaws, Old Dhaka
Cycle-rickshaws or simply, rickshaws, are the most popular form of transport, and good for short distances, mainly on side streets. They make up the bulk of the city's horrendous traffic, and charge around Tk 30 to 50 for a 15 minutes ride in Banani, Baridhara or Gulshan and less in other parts of Dhaka. Negotiating a fare beforehand is essential as a foreigner. Rickshaws are not allowed to cross most of the mainroads. If you're a woman, it's particularly inadvisable to ride around alone in rickshaws after dark; you're a slow-moving target asking for trouble from thugs and muggers.
Driving a car in the capital can be a nerve wrecking experience. Officially, cars drive on the left, although the reality can be different. Locals will often zoom down the wrong side of the road in an attempt to overcome the traffic. Traffic police monitor most intersections in the city, in an attempt to keep the traffic flowing. Many intersections have been upgraded with traffic signals, but these are often ignored by both drivers and traffic police, who will direct cars as they see fit.
There are some options for car rental, with Europcar  being the notable Western brand name. The Government's Virtual Bangladesh  website has more options. Many companies may also offer the option to rent-a-driver for a number of days; it is common for most middle to upper-class locals to have their own drivers.
Auto-rickshaws, locally known as 'CNGs' (named after compressed natural gas, their fuel source) are also abundant and have meters, which drivers can sometimes be persuaded to use. They're the cheapest way to cover longer distances; an 8km ride from Old Dhaka to Gulshan should cost around Tk 150-250. The meters start at Tk 25 for the first 2 km and Tk 7 for each subsequent km, but you'll likely have to negotiate a fare instead. The city does become very congested at times, so allow plenty of time for getting around.
Taxis ply the roads, some yellow and some black, all with meters. Black taxis start the meter at Tk 25 but usually you have to negotiate about the fare. A ride between Old Dhaka and Gulshan in a black cab will probably cost you around Tk 250-350. Yellow taxis have slightly higher standards in terms of comfort but are more expensive and will probably cost you Tk 500. Black taxis are typically in notoriously poor condition and lack air conditioning. Yellow taxis are required to have air conditioning; the fleet consists mostly of Toyota Corollas, with some Mitsubishis and Hondas. But if you are a foreigner, a CNG is in many cases the better option because in a car, you are clearly visible as a foreign passenger which will in many cases attract many beggars and street vendors.
Buses run routes on the main roads, but are often horribly crowded and noisy, signed only in Bengali and aren't likely to be of much use to travellers. But there are some buses which only take passengers if seats are available (at least in theory, but compared to the other buses they are usually not very crowded) and you have to buy a ticket at one of the bus counters in advance. During the rush hour, it can be difficult to get a seat and maybe you will have to wait in line with the other passengers. But taking the bus is cheap and once you found out which bus you have to take and where you have to get off, it is possible without speaking any Bengali. But going by bus takes usually more time than going by CNG and buses are also frequently involved in collisions. Save yourself a headache and take a rickshaw or CNG, or for long distances, a comfortable, air-conditioned bus or train.
Many locals often use bicycles as a primary form of transport. They can be useful in their ability to squeeze through tight situations, where traffic may prevent a larger vehicle from moving at all. Some newer roads in the capital have dual bike/rickshaw lanes. Unfortunately, there are few formal opportunities to rent a bike and the roads are in such bad condition, but with heavy traffic, that the chance of a collision is high.
Sometimes, walking may actually be the fastest way to get from point A to B. Always ensure you walk on the footpath, or if one isn't available, as far to the side of the road as possible. The road is a dangerous place in Dhaka, and many pedestrians are often injured by passive drivers. Those who are squeamish to pollution or have asthma may need to wear a mask; the air pollution from passing trucks and buses, combined with the searing heat and humidity can be overwhelming at times.
Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection, Armanitola Rd, Old Dhaka, ☎ +880 2 731-6953. A small, cosy church built in 1781 by Armenian missionaries. Mass is conducted only a few times throughout the year, usually during Christmas and Good Friday. Tours are informal, and could be organised by the caretaker 'Mr Martin'.Free, but tipping the caretaker is a friendly gesture.. (latitude,)
Baitul Mukarram Mosque. The national mosque of Bangladesh. It was built in 1968, and is the 10th largest mosque in the world.(latitude,)
Chawk Mosque, Chowk Bazaar, Old Dhaka. A mosque in Old Dhaka that dates from the 17th century, most likely built by the Mughals.(latitude,)
Dhakeshwari Temple (Dhakeshwari Jatiya Mandir), Dhakeswari Rd, Dhaka. National Temple of Bangladesh, built in the 12th century.(latitude,)
Dhammarajika Bouddha Maha Vihar (Kamalapur Buddhist Monastery), Atisha Dipankar Sarak, Kamalapur, ☎ +88 02 841-162 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A Buddhist temple and monastery established in 1960, with a number of other facilities on site. There are various mosaics, murals, statues and artefacts at the monastery.(latitude,)
Holy Rosary Church (Tejgaon Portuguese Church), Farmgate, Tejgaon, Dhaka, ☎ +880 2 814-2093, . An old Portuguese-influenced church built in 1677. The façade was recently repainted into heavy Indian-style colours. A large, new building has been built next door to allow a larger congregation.(latitude,)
Hussaini Dalan Mosque, . Built during the 17th century by the Mughals as a house for the imam, a religious leader. It's architecture possesses a mix of both Mughal and British influences.(latitude,)
International Buddhist Monastery, Merul Badda, Gulshan, Dhaka, ☎ +88 02 881-2288 (email@example.com). A Buddhist monastery that was founded in 1981, and has been at its current site since 1989. It is popular with visiting Buddhist businessmen and foreign dignitaries.(latitude,)
Musa Khan Mosque, University of Dhaka. Located west of Shahidullah Hall at Dhaka University, this historical mosque was built to honour the former ruler of the region. The inscriptions on the mosque seem to state that it was originally built 1484 CE, but was repaired heavily in 1700 CE.
Ramakrishna Mission, 27 R K Mission Road, Gopibag, Dhaka, ☎ +880 2 955-3703 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . A Hindu temple and complex that was first founded in 1916. The architecture is Indian-influenced.(latitude,)
Saat Masjid (Seven-domed Mosque). A Mosque built during the 15th century; it is characterised by its seven white domes that peek upwards from the structure.(latitude,)
Sitara Mosque (Star Mosque), Armanitola Rd, Old Dhaka. Built in the early 18th century, it has since been redecorated with hundreds of tiles with star patterns. Tourists are welcome to visit outside of prayer times.(latitude,)
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace), Ahsanullah Road, Dhaka (On the banks of the Buriganga River), ☎ +88 02 7391122 (email@example.com), . Apr-Sep: Sat-Wed: 10:30-17:30, Fri: 14:30-19:30; Oct-Mar: Sat-Wed: 09:30-16:30, Fri: 14:30-19:30; Ramadan: Sat-Wed: 09:30-15:30. A British Raj-era building that served as a residence for the Nawab of Dhaka. It lies on the banks of the Buriganga River, and is famous for its pink stonework. There are 31 rooms within, and the huge dome atop can be seen from miles around. It has recently been renovated into a museum with various displays concerning its history, with a beautiful garden accompanying the building.Foreigners: Tk 75, under-12s: Tk 2, locals and SAARC citizens: Tk 5, disabled persons: free. (latitude,)
Banga Bhaban, . Official residence of the President, located in the city. This grand palace of the British India era is only visible from the outside.(latitude,)
Curzon Hall, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, ☎ +88-02-8614150 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . An architecturally beautiful building named after Lord Curzon. Once intended as a town hall, it now houses the Science Faculty of the University of Dhaka.(latitude,)
Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (National Parliament), Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, ☎ +88 02 8112755 (email@example.com), . Open normal office hours. Designed by the famous American architect, Louis I. Kahn, it is renowned as a modern architectural wonder of the region. The Parliament is surrounded by gardens that form a peaceful getaway from the chaos of the city. The building is also surrounded by heavy security. Foreigners have to fill out a form, providing passport photocopies, to visit the building.Tk 500 for advanced bookings, Tk 600 for on arrival visits. (latitude,)
Pari Bibi's Tomb, at Lalbagh Fort.
Lalbagh Fort (Bengali: Lalbagh Kella), Lalbagh, Old Dhaka (Best method is to simply ask a rickshaw driver for 'Lalbagh Kella'; the streets surrounding it are a maze.). 10am-5pm, closed Saturdays. Built in 1678 AD by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort was the scene of many bloody battles, including those during the Mughal era, a revolt against the British during the time of the Raj and protection for the revolutionary forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Monuments of the Lalbagh site include the Tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Mosque, the Audience Hall and the Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan, which now houses a museum.There are separate fees for locals and tourists; both are fairly cheap.. (latitude,)
Old High Court Building, Kazi Nazrul Islam Ave, Ramna, Dhaka, ☎ +88-02-9562941 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Originally built as the residence of the British Governor, it illustrates a happy blend of European and Mughal architecture. Now houses the Supreme Court. It is unknown whether tours are conducted.(latitude,)
1857 Memorial (Bahadur Shah Park), Sadarghat. Built to commemorate the martyrs of the first Liberation War (1857-1859) against British rule. It was here that the revolting sepoys and their civil compatriots were publicly hanged. A large park surrounds the memorial, with various other monuments.(latitude,)
Aparajeya Bangla, University of Dhaka. A statue dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 1971 Liberation War.(latitude,)
Central Shaheed Minar, In front of the Dhaka Medical College, University of Dhaka. A symbol of Bengali nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquets gather on 21 February annually, paying respect to the departed in a solemn atmosphere. The date was designated by the UN as International Mother Language Day due to the event. Celebrations begin at midnight.(latitude,)
Jatiyo Smriti Soudho (National Martyrs' Memorial), Savar, Dhaka District (35km north-west of the city.). The memorial was designed by architect Moinul Hossain, and is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 War of Liberation.(latitude,)
Mausoleum of National Leaders, Southwestern corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan. Eternal resting place of great national leaders, Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khaja Nazimuddin.(latitude,)
National Poet's Graveyard, (Adjacent to the University's mosque). Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 29 August 1976 and was buried here.(latitude,)
Baldha Garden, Wari, Old Dhaka. A unique creation of the late Narendra Narayan Roy, the landlord of Baldha. Established in 1904, the garden with its rich collection of indigenous and exotic plants is one of the most exciting attractions for botanists, naturalists and tourists.(latitude,)
National Botanical Gardens, Mirpur, Dhaka, ☎ +88 02 803-3292 (email@example.com), . Covering a total of 205 acres of land at Mirpur, the Gardens are a haven of peace in the chaos of the city. It is situated right next to the zoo, so both can be visited in one trip.(latitude,)
Ramna Green (Ramna Park), Ramna, Dhaka (Near the Sheraton Hotel). A vast stretch of green surrounded by a serpentine lake.(latitude,)
Suhrawardi Uddyan (Ramna Racecourse), Suhrawardi Uddan Rd, Ramna, Dhaka. A racecourse of the British times, it has now been converted into a park. It was the place where independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Raman delivered a historic oath of independence speech before the 1971 War, and then ironically where the Pakistani army surrendered a few months later. The 'Shadhinota Stambha' monument has been erected here, as well as an eternal flame to mark its significance.(latitude,)
Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, Road #32, Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Thu-Tue: 10am-6pm. Former residence of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It has been transformed into a museum and contains a rare collection of personal effects and photographs of his life and times. He was assassinated in 1975 along with most of his family members.(latitude,)
Dhaka Zoo (Mirpur Zoo), Mirpur, Dhaka, ☎ +88 02 8035035 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Apr-Oct: 9am-6pm; Nov-Mar: 8am-5pm. Closed Sundays.. Colorful and attractive collections of different local and foreign species of animals and birds, including the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. Elephant and horse riding is available for a very cheap Tk 5 and Tk 3 respectively.Tk 10, 0-2 years, school and University students are free with ID.. (latitude,)
Institute of Arts and Crafts (Charukola Institute), University of Dhaka, Shahbag, ☎ +88 02 9675219, extension 8570/8571 (email@example.com), . Houses a representative collection of folk-art, modern art and paintings by numerous artists of Bangladesh.(latitude,)
Liberation War Museum, 5 Segun Bagicha, Dhaka, ☎ +88 02 9559091 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Apr-Oct: 10am-6pm; Nov-Mar: 10am-5pm. Closed Sundays.. Contains rare archival photographs and items used by the freedom fighters during the nine month Liberation War of 1971.(latitude,)
National Museum, Shahbag Rd Dhaka, Bangladesh, ☎ +88 02 9674796 (email@example.com), . Apr-Sep: Sat-Wed: 10:30-17:30, Fri: 14:30-19:30; Oct-Mar: Sat-Wed: 09:30-16:30, Fri: 14:30-19:30; Ramadan: Sat-Wed: 09:30-15:30. Contains a large number of interesting collections, including sculptures and paintings from the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods. Next door is a popular public library.Foreigners: Tk 75, locals and SAARC citizens: Tk 10, disabled persons: free. (latitude,)
National Museum of Science and Technology, Agargaon, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, ☎ +88 02 9114128 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 9am-5pm. Closed Thursdays.. A museum and modern learning center displaying the latest scientific discoveries. Each weekend, a starwatching evening is held for Tk 10.Tk 5. (latitude,)
Sadarghat River Front. A huge river port on the banks of the Buriganga River. Catch a ride on a boat here and cruise along the river, soaking in the surrounding chaos and sites.(latitude,)
Have a picnic in one of the designated parks, including Chandra and Salna.
Ride a rickshaw through the maze of narrow laneways that is Old Dhaka. * Visit a nearby village and see the way of life, including the jute cultivation and pottery making.
If you go shopping ready to bargain then there are certainly bargains to be had among the bazars and markets of Dhaka. To get a feel for what things should cost in the local markets check prices in the western-style fixed price shops and then deduct 10%. If you prefer hassle free shopping then head to Bashundhara City, a huge shopping center with more modern shops and other ameniteis you would expect to find in a mall.
Banga (or Bango) Bazar, is a block west of the Gulistan bus station on Kamruzzaman Sharani Street at the edge of Old Dhaka. For shopaholics this is probably a paradise but for others it can be a nightmare. There are thousands of small stalls intersected by narrow walkways which are often jammed with people. The quality varies widely but the prices can be cheap, cheap, cheap, after you bargain vigorously. Try US$1 for a T-shirt, US$3 for blue jeans and US$5 for jackets. However, this is not a market for the brand conscious.
New Market on Mirpur Road in Dhanmondi, just west of Dhaka University. This is the largest market in the city and it has more class, more room and just as much choice. Prices may be a little higher because the stall rent is likely to be more expensive. As well as clothing, there is leather, linen, jewelry, household goods, CDs and DVDs and so on. It is normally closed on Tuesdays.
Bashundhara City on Pantha Path just west of the Pan Pacific Hotel. This multi-story complex is the closest replica of the malls found in Asia. It is the newest and most modern place to shop in the city with small shops spanning over a whopping 10 floors.
Garment seconds, Banga Bazar and Pallwell Market (BB: Gulistan area, just West of Motijheel); PM: Purana Paltan area (just beside Jonaki Cinema Hall). Many items only have minor defects, but do not meet export requirements.
Pink Pearls. Available in many handicraft stores, with some dedicated outlets in Gulshan. There you can also design your own jewellery, but stores demand usually 4 to 5 times higher prices from foreigners, so better to discuss about the price with a local first.
Aarong, . A well known chain with several outlets around Dhaka and one in London. It is owned by BRAC (the largest Development Organization in the world) and sells handicrafts and clothing at moderately high prices.
Aranya, 60 Kemal Ataturk, Banani, . Another good store with beautiful crafts at moderately high prices. Supports fair trade practices and clothes are dyed with natural colours. Closed Su..
Sopura Silk Mills Ltd., 121/C Gulshan Avenue ,Gulshan -2 (1st Floor, same building like Movenpick icecream), . 09:00-20:00. Well known store for silk scarfs and silk sarees. Very reasonable prices and big sortiment.
Jatra, 60 Kemal Ataturk, Banani (same building like Aranya), . Jatra sells beautiful handicrafts and cotton as well as silk clothes that are dyed with natural colors at moderately high prices. Very famous among hip locals and foreigners. Probably one of the best places for buying souvenirs. Closed on Sunday.
Anjans, . Good place for buying local dresses and handicrafts. Several outlets in Dhanmondi, Bashundhara City and Banani (Road 11).
Nogordola, . Famous for ready-made three pieces and sarees. Accessories and handicrafts are also available. Several outlets in Dhanmondi, Banani (Road 11) and Bashundhara City.
Dhaka has an enormous variety of food catering to all budgets. Old Dhaka is overflowing with cheap Bangladeshi food where a meal can be had from Tk 50 ($0.70), while in the upscale neighborhoods like Gulshan and Banani you can find just about any type of cuisine you can imagine - Chinese, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Mexican, and franchises such as Pizza Hut, KFC are abundant - at prices that the majority can't afford. Reservations are usually not required in most restaurants. A lot of the Buffet-style restaurants in this neighborhood have Taka: 250 to 400, fixed price menu.For strict vegetarians especially Hindus,beef free restaurant is a bit difficult to get but there are few Indian restaurants where one can get vegetarian and beef free environment.
Local sweets (misti/mishti) like rasogollah and golap jam/pantuya/ledikeni are excellent. To the uninitiated these are bite-sized soft milk curd balls dipped (drenched) in syrup, coming in white and red varieties. Shops throughout the town (and especially near Gulshan) sell imported condiments from the U.S., Dubai and Malaysia at a premium. Imported chocolate is especially expensive - and usually not in the best condition as it gets melted and re-solidified daily in the tropical heat. Fresh is better.
Be careful when buying food from street vendors as health and hygiene standards are not always top notch. Unlike Bangkok -- street food in Dhaka is only for locals. Foreigners should stick to larger, organized (and unfortunately a little expensive) food outlets.
Old and Central Dhaka
Restaurants are crammed throughout the narrow alleys and along the main streets - duck into one of them and you'll likely not to be too disappointed. A full meal will usually run less than a dollar, though fish will push it closer to two.
Hotel Al-Razzaque, 29/1 North South Rd (Nazira Bazaar), ☎ +880 2 956 1990. On the ground floor of the hotel is a large and popular restaurant, busy anytime of the day with Bangladeshi families and businessmen. Food is pretty darn good, if unpredictable in its timing. Sometimes you'll have a choice of chicken and mutton curries, fish and vegetables, other times it's chicken biryani or the highway. Fish will double the price of your meal, at least. It's sandwiched between a clean and well-stocked juice bar and a clean and well-stocked sweet shop. Each plate cost 80 Taka.Tk50-150.
Hajjee Beryaniin Nazira Bazar, close to Bango Bazar, old Dhaka. Old Dhaka was famed for its lines of beryani restaurants. Some of the more famous outfits are still going and Hajjee Beryani is one of them. It revels in its eccentric reputation for opening only at certain times and only cooking a certain amount (well below demand)
Hotel Star Thathari bazar, Near Nawabpur Bazar. Does fantastic Beryani & Goat Leg Roast (ask for it).
Bismillah Kabab Address-Nazira Bazar
Jharna Grill, In Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, ☎ +880 2 811 1005. The top restaurant in the hotel serves very good seafood. Expect to pay Tk 3,000 for a 3 course meal with drinks. The hotel has other good restaurants too.
Cafe Jheel, opposite the National press club. Serves good local dishes for the budget traveler. Expect to pay Tk 150-200 for a 3 course meal. Although you can possibly get lunch/dinner for as low as Tk 60.
These areas are packed with crowded trendy and upscale restaurants, a magnet for the Dhaka elite who like good food or just want to be seen in their shiny new sedans.
A&W, The north-east corner of Gulshan 1 Circle. Yes, the American chain, and in full swing. A burger, fries and rootbeer float will set you back nearly BDT.300, which seems to be no problem for the well-off young Bangladeshi teens that fill the tables. The pumpin' jukebox filled with Backstreet Boys adds/detracts from the experience.
Andersen's of Denmark, House 34, Road 136, Gulshan Circle I, ☎ +880 1 881 8553, . 11:30AM-midnite, Fridays 2PM-midnite. Excellent ice cream such as mint chocolate chip, oreos & cream and banana fudge, sundaes and milkshakes, cappuccinos, espressos and hot chocolate. Resist the urge to spend the entire day here. Attached to a fast food restaurant ('Chicken King') serving fried chicken and steaks. Tk 80-260.
Bamboo Shoot, Gulshan avenue (upstairs from Agora department store). A Chinese/Thai restaurant that prides itself in offering 'authentic' cuisine, and this is backed up by the number of Chinese expats seen eating there on any given night.
Bella Italia, Gulshan 2 (2nd floor of the Eastern Bank Limited building - beside Shoppers' World). Located near Gulshan circle 1. The proprietor was employed in the restaurant business in Italy and this place serves fairly authentic thin-crust pizzas and pastas. Mains are around Tk 300-600.
Bittersweet Cafe, House 10, Road 53,Gulshan 2 (On the first floor), (email@example.com). noon-00:30 daily. Famous for the cupcakes, the milk shakes, the cheese cake and other pastries. A wide range of sandwiches and other extrem tasty dishes are also available. Free WLAN is also available and the comfortable sofa and homelike atmosphere make you wanna come back.Food items 200-300 Taka, Cupcakes around 160 Taka.
CoFi 11, House 6A, Road Number 113, Gulshan-2 (Behind the Delvista Grameenphone Center opposite of Agora), ☎ 029897794, 01713364499, . 11:00-00:00 daily. Offers different coffee specialities made from imported beans as well as exotic drinks like Lemogini, Shikanjee, Guava Frappe, Mango Yogurt & Mandolito. CoFi 11 has a beautiful terrace with nice view over Gulshan. They also have brownies, waffles, local dishes and sandwiches. Free WiFi is also available as well as live musical performances from time to time. They have recently opened a branch in Chittagong - 36/7 CDA Avenue overlooking the forest hill. CoFi-Ctg Tel: 01842364499. A new miniature CoFi 11 has just opened up at House # 11, Road # 68, Gulshan-2, Tel: +8801911929906. Its on the same road that has the rear entrance of the American Club. Free WiFi150-300.
Dhanshiri, Gulshan 2 (beside the Westin). The food is good and they serve decent local stuff. However, make sure to check prices on the menu card before ordering and examine the bill afterwards. There are better places to get Bengali food, but Dhashiri's location is especially convenient,very delicious. Also, its a local trick by the staff to say that the requested dish is not available and would serve you the same thing with some different name and a higher price.100-400 Taka.
El Torro, House 1A, Road 138, Gulshan I, ☎ +880 1 861 6343. 11:30AM-10:30PM. A Mexican restaurant serving burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like.Mains around 250-300 Taka.
Fakruddin, Bir Uttam AK Khandakar Road, Gulshan-1, Dhaka (in the road that goes from Gulshan-1 circle into the direction of Badda), (firstname.lastname@example.org). 10:00-22:00. Famous for the Biryani. Usually very crowded on weekdays during lunchtime.Mains around 120-250 Taka.
Gulshan Khabar Ghar, Road 52, Plot 48-49 (at Gulshan-2 circle, next to Gulshan police barrack). 06:00-afternoon. Local food and very reasonable prices, delicious Naan and usually safe for the foreign stomach.Mains around 150 Taka.
Half Past Eleven, House 67/C, Road 11, Block E, Banani (take Banani Road 11 eastward towards Gulshan bridge, the restaurant will be on your left before the junction of Road 11 and Road 12), ☎ +880 2-988 4215, +880 16-7813 1590, . 11:00-23:00 daily. Offers different fast food, grill and tandoori dishes. From western style Chickens, Burgers, Sandwiches, Hot Subs, Fish 'n Chips, T-bone Steaks to Tandoori and Asian delights. They serve Movenpick ice creams as well as coffees. Free WiFi.200-500 Taka for a meal.
Heritage, House 10, Road 109, Gulshan-2, ☎ +880 18-820 350. Run by British-Bangladeshi celebrity chef Tommy Miah, this Mugal décor restaurant features Bangla-fusion cuisine.500-700 Taka.
Khushboo, House 60/B, Road 131, Gulshan-1, . 10:30-22:30. Cozy interior and delicious local and chinese food.200-500 Taka.
La Forchetta, House #10, Road-53, Gulshan Circle-2 (at Gulshan Avenue, near Gulshan-2 circle, at the corner of Road 53, on the first floor). Serves fairly authentic thin-crust pizzas and pastas. 300-600 Taka.
Oh Calcutta, House #49 Road #11, Banani, ☎ +880 881-2763/64. An Indian restaurant serving Bengali cuisine especially of West Bengal.Here delicious veg and non-veg Bengali food is available. A meal for one can cost on average BDT 600.
Roll Express, House 34, Road 21, Block B, Banani, ☎ +880 17-2010 0016. 10:00-23:00. Big range of different rolls and dosa and a nice garden to sit outside. 200-400 Taka.
Sajna, House 14, Road-11, Block–H, Banani, ☎ 8811684. noon-22.30. Indian restaurant with a very elegant interior and authentic indian food.500-700 Taka.
Spaghetti Jazz, located at Gulshan-2 circle. Decent Italian that delivers pizza and pasta! A meal will cost 400-600 Taka, even for something fairly simple.
Spitfire, NWF-8, Gulshan North Avenue, Gulshan-2, ☎ +880 2-989 0135 (email@example.com), . Serves continetal cuisine. Expect to pay around 2000 Taka per person for a 3 course dinner. 700-3500 Taka.
Steakhouse, House 8, Road 53, Gulshan-2, ☎ +880 2-886 1604 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Serves steaks. Expect to pay at least 2000 Taka per person for a 3 course dinner. 800-1800 Taka.
Sura, Gulshan-2. Korean restaurant located across near the Egyptian embassy. Table-top barbecue and most popular Korean dishes are available, along with a selection of sushi and sashimi. Popular with Koreans and other expats. Expect to pay at least 500 Taka per person for a 3 course dinner.
Star Kabab-Opposite of Abahani Club playground and on Shat Maszid Road. Famous for its beef and mutton Kabab.
Star Hotel & Retaurant-At Dhanmondi Road 2. Also famous for its Kabab and Biriani.
Xindian-Dhanmondi 27 and Shankar crossing. One of the more luxurious restaurant in Dhaka which has been established lately.
Jeni Kabab An old and famous restaurant for Kababs.
Kozmo Lounge A very cozy hangout joint at Dhanmondi 4/A. The cafe sometimes arrange quality musical performances.
Mama HalimNew Circular Road 2nd Floor,(Opposite of Aarong)Moghbazaar, Sells: biryani, kabas cakes, ice cream, biscuits, fruit and, randomly, gifts.
Coopers- Kalabagan. Very famous for cakes and fast food.
Cafe Mango-Dhanmondi Road No.4. The ambiance is fantastic.
Red Tomato-Dhanmondi Road-27. A medium quality old Chinese restaurant which serves both Chinese and Thai food.
BBQ Tonight- Best in Town kebab and Mughlai food. Mouth watering and unbelievably tasty. Located on Road 27, Dhanmondi.
Nandos-A famous franchise located at Dhanmondi road 27.
Pizza Hut- Opposite of Abahani Club playground and on Shat Maszid Road.
VOOT- An upscale restaurant with a haunted theme (VOOT-meaning ghost in Bengali),high quality food, right next to the well known Rifles Square Market .
KFC-A famous franchise located at Dhanmondi road 7/A.
There is a party network between the different expat clubs (Dutch Club, Canadian Club, Nordic Club, International Club, American Club, etc.) and some Bangladeshi clubs (Heritage, Privilege, etc.). These clubs usually require membership to enter, or befriend a member and have them sign you in. From there, you can purchase a book of tickets or a cash card and then use it to order your drinks.
Although alcohol is most easily available at the international clubs and top hotels, there are quite a few local places to find a drink for the enterprising traveller. Local bars are to be found in most neighbourhoods but can be difficult to locate due to lack of advertising. Popular brands of beer (Heineken, Carlsberg, Tuborg, Foster's etc) and major types of liquor are available at these places, and at much lower prices than at hotel bars.
You can try:
H. Kabir & Co., Ltd. (The duty paid shop in Mohakhali), 12 Abbas Garden, New Airport Road, ☎ +880 2-988 1936-9. Su-Th 09:30-16:30. This off-licence is only permitted to sell alcohol to passport-bearing foreigners or their drivers who bring their passports in when they purchase.
La Diplomat at Road 20, House number 7, near Gulshan 1. Don't expect to be rubbing shoulders with any French ambassadors, however.
The Dip, like most other Bengali bars, is a smoke-filled darkened room where many of its patrons would rather not be recognized too easily. Definitely an experience, nonetheless. Beers cost upwards of Tk 150 and "tots," which are single ounce servings of gin, vodka or whiskey, are available from Tk 70(local brands)-Tk 200. Female patrons may feel slightly uncomfortable.
North End Coffee, Kha-47-1 Pragati Sarani, Shahzadpur, North Badda (Around the corner from US Embassy, across from Cambrian College and above the DBBL ATM), ☎ +880 17-4105 5597, . Seven days 08:00-21:00, except Tuesday closed and Friday 14:00-21:00. With foreign ownership, their own roasting machine and big huge burlap sacks of coffee in the back, this is definitely the place to get your caffeine fix. Prices reasonable. No meals yet, just muffins and brownies. (23.79098243,90.41939287)
Gloria Jean's Coffees, House 35, Gulshan Avenue, Gulshan-1 (near Gulshan-1 circle (south)), ☎ +880 1970 008989, . 09:00-22:00. Newly opened coffee shop with broad range of coffees, snacks and large inside and outside sitting areas. Reasonable prices and definitely a great and cosy place to spend the afternoons and evenings.
Hotel Al-Razzaque, 29/1 North South Rd (Nazira Bazaar), ☎ +880 2-956 1990. A moderately priced hotel popular with Bangladeshi men, it's got decent clean rooms with attached bathrooms with squat toilets, and a popular restaurant.From Tk 160.
Hotel Grameen, 22 Nawabpur Rd, ☎ +880 2-956 2422. A big hotel on busy Nawabpur Rd, just south of Bangsal Rd.Tk 60-150.
Hotel Sugandha, 24 Nawabpur Rd, ☎ +880 2-955 6720. Its cheap and it's what to be expected of a cheap hotel, not very exciting or hygienic.Tk 100-350.
Hotel Zakaria International (Zakiria Hotel), 35, Gulshan Road, Mohakhali C/A, Dhaka 1212, ☎ 8825003, 8825004, (88) 06662613127, . Value for money. The rooms are clean and en-suite.
Hotel White House, 155, Santinagar (Near Siddheswari Circle.). In a central location and rooms have air con, TVs and most importantly Internet Connection with a decent speed!.....
Hotel Motijheel 28/i Toyenbee circular Road, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000, near Dainik Banglar mor, price Tk. 300-600
Sabrina's Home (Home Stay), C1,Hs-137,RD-4,Blk-A，Banani, ☎ +880 11-9981 2848，+880 19-1175 8668 (email@example.com). checkin: 13:00; checkout: noon. Rate includes WiFi, fan and AC, guests' kitchen, satellite and cable TV (in dining area, 24 hour hot water shower, mosquito net (for each pure handmade wood bed), generator(one ceiling fan and one light in each bedroom will work within one hour power off), 24 hour security, 24 hour reception, elevator. Other paid service include 24 hour airport transfers, 24 hour meals, laundry. Phonecall and email needed for reservation, foreign passport required for checkin，No call girl is allowed entry".US$30/head/bed/night.
If you're staying long term, flat shares or furnished apartments as well as guesthouses in Gulshan and Banani are widely available. Most foreigners find a flat share (around 200$/month) through an advertisement in one of the expat clubs. If you want to rent your own place, advertisements for apartments are usually directly affixed in front of the respective building or on one of the trees in the streets. Air conditioning is standard in mid-range hotels as well as in apartments in Gulshan, Baridhara and Banani.
Ambrosia Guest House, in Dhanmondi Residential Area, tel:+880 2 (0)966850/9665760. The room rates are 45, $55 and $65 per night, with breakfast and free broadband Internet connection from the rooms. The ambiance is very nice. It also boasts of a small piece of greenery within its boundaries. And also, for Kebab lovers it is just bang behind Star Kebabs. The variety in the cuisine is limited but, you have the option of asking the chef to cook according to your preference.
BRAC Centre Inn, 75 Mohakhali Dhaka 1212, +880-2-988 6681 & 82, firstname.lastname@example.org, . Near to the diplomatic enclave overlooking the Gulshan lake. A hotel that probably usually caters for business trips due to its location and facilities such as conference rooms. This will mean however,that your rooms will have as standard, air-con, TVs and en-suit. There is also a restaurant serving both local and international cuisine. Rooms from: Tk 4,100-5,460 ($60-80).
Green House Guesthouse, Road 13, House 6, Baridhara Diplomatic Zone.Tel: +880 19-3936 5803, e-mail: email@example.com, web:  Located within walking distance from some foreign missions to Bangladesh. Prices range between 50 and 75 $ and include breakfast and free Wi-Fi internet access.
Eastern House, , House Number 04, Road Number 24, Gulhan-1. Has internet braodband in every room and breakfast is included in the price. Rooms from: Tk 3,420-6,156 ($50-90).
Grand Prince HotelTel:+880 2-901 2952, +880 2-802 1599 . This hotel is located in Mirpur 1 near the Grameen Bank making it popular amongst interns. Breakfast is included with rooms. Internet is available in the lobby at 50 Tk per hour. Rates from Tk 1,368-6,840($20-$100).
Ideas Manzil, House -19, Road -79, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh (From Zia international Airport Kuril Bissha Road to American Embassy then to Gulshan-2 then next to Italian Embassy Road-79, House-19), ☎ +880 2-989 6791 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +880 171 4206336), . Ideas Manzil could be called Bangladesh's first "heritage accommodation," meaning it is the kind of place which attempts to display and preserve the richness and heritage of Bangladeshi culture. Rates from Tk 4,446 ($65)$65-75. (latitude,longitude)
Hotel de Crystal Garden, House number 28, Road number 63, Gulshan-2 Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh, ☎ +880 2-882 3147 (email@example.com, fax: 880-2-8827076), . All rooms are air conditioned, en-suite and has cable TV. In close proximity you can find the American,Australian, British and a few other international clubs where you are likely to be able to get a beer.$50-80. (latitude,longitude)
Grand Azad Hotel,firstname.lastname@example.org,  55 Purana Paltan, +880-2-955 9399. Located only 500 meters away from the main city and some of the main tourist attractions. Newly built modern hotel with facilities including a gym, lounge, restaurant, snooker room and an on site beauty salon. Prices from $37-106.
Marriott Guesthouse, House-5, Road-54/A, Gulshan-2, ☎ +880 2-881 0521 (email@example.com). Very central Guest House within walking distance of most European embassies, Banani and the Gulshan-2 circle. The Guest House is located in a quiet side street and offers a broad range of services (e.g. airport pick up, free internet, breakfast also included).$40-50. (latitude,longitude)
Regent Guest House, House 100, Road 13/C, Block-E, Banani, ☎ +880 2-988 6978. Nice central Guest House, central and quiet neighborhood.$50-80. (latitude,longitude)
Tropical Daisy, House-31/B, Road-35/A, Gulshan-2, ☎ +880 16-7543 4731 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Cozy Bed&Breakfast in quiet, central location and right next to the Banani lake and very close to the diplomatic area as well as many restaurants and shops. Apartments with kitchen are also available.$50-80. (latitude,longitude)
Bengal Inn, House 7, Road 16, Gulshan-1 (near BRAC university, post office and Gulshan-1 circle), ☎ +880 2-9880236 (email@example.com), . Boutique hotel in a not too busy side street at Gulshan 1. Offers different services like WiFi, airport service and fitness center.$110-200. (latitude,longitude)
Dhaka Regency Hotel & Resort, Airport Road | Nikunja 2 | Dhaka 1229 | Bangladesh (The closest 5 star business hotel from the international airport), ☎ +880 17-1333 2616 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +880 2-891 1479), . Dhaka Regency offers 214 rooms and 24-hours multi-cuisine dining, live performance bar lounge, Thai spa center, health club and a Mediterranean hookah lounge. Dhaka Regency has 8 B&E venues located on various levels in various sizes to cater up to 1500 Persons. A team of meeting planners are available to arrange corporate meetings, seminars, banquets, exhibition or wedding functions.$125-1200. (latitude,longitude)
Hotel Sarina, Plot # 27, Road # 17, Banani (in the diplomatic area of town), ☎ +880 2-885 9604 (email@example.com, fax: +880 2-988 9989), . 5* hotel, all rooms have high speed internet connection along with dedicated port for laptop, mini bar , in room safe and satellite TV. Has an Italian restaurant on site.$110-450. (latitude,longitude)
Hotel Orchard Plaza, 71 Nayapaltan Rd, Motijheel, ☎ +880 2-933 3904, . Built in 2003 it's one of the newer top end hotels in town. Rooms are equipped with complimentary Internet, and it's comfortable and clean with super friendly staff. The restaurant on the 11th floor is also good and has broad city views.$70-150, but immediate 30% discounts are offered.
Lake Castle Hotel, House 1A, Road 68/A, Gulshan 2 (in the diplomatic area of town), ☎ +880 2-881 2812 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Next to the Gulshan Park. Conference rooms, internet and barrier-free rooms are available.$100-180. (latitude,longitude)
Lake Shore Hotel, Road 41, House 46, Gulshan 2 (next to Banani lake), ☎ +880 2-885 9991 (email@example.com), . Luxury 80-room hotel, rooftop pool, fitness, wireless and LAN Internet. Corporate discounts of 30% available. Probably the best medium sized 5* in the city. $100-220. (latitude,longitude)
Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, 107 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, ☎ +880 2-811 1005 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +880 2-811 3324), . This hotel has been running for over a decade now, and was, for a long time, considered one of the top hotels in the city. In room internet access is available and works well. The hotel also has a swimming pool to enjoy. A room on the Pacific floor (7/8) will cost $290 including breakfast. These rooms are a good choice since laundry and wired internet access are included in the price, plus a free bar in the Pacific lounge from 18:00-20:00. There are good restaurants and service is excellent throughout the hotel.(latitude,longitude)
Quality Inn, Road No-50, House No-6,Gulshan-2 (in the diplomatic area of town), ☎ +880 2- 988 1886 (email@example.com), . Central hotel in the middle of the diplomatic area. Gym, internet and other services are available. $100-220. (latitude,longitude)
Radisson Water Garden Hotel, Airport Road (15 miles from downtown, immediately outside the diplomatic enclave but close to the International airport), ☎ +880 2-875 4555 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Huge luxurious hotel sprawling over seven acres of manicured grounds and gardens with water features. The hotel is almost a resort as it has a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, spa and even a golf course. Probably the best 5* Hotel in Dhaka but unfortunately no stores and restaurants are in walking distance and to reach Gulshan or Banani without own car is difficult because of the lack of public transportation and rickshaw ban in main streets.$240-900. (latitude,longitude)
Ruposhi Bangla Hotel formerly Dhaka Sheraton, 1 Minto Road, ☎ +880 2-833 0001 (email@example.com), . This hotel has been running for over a decade now, and was, for the longest time, considered one of the top hotels in the city. It was part of the Sheraton group but not quite comparable with 5* Sheraton's you would find in other countries. Internet access in the room is expensive. Room service choice is fairly limited.(latitude,longitude)
The Westin, Plot-01, Road 45, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212 (in the diplomatic area of town), ☎ +880 2-989 1988, . - relatively new, modern, clean, great service, and would be at home in any major western city. However, extortionately expensive - over US$10 for a small beer!$170-240 in winter, varies seasonally.
Dhaka isn't terribly unsafe, but as in any huge city you should keep aware of your surroundings and try not to walk around at night, especially females travelling alone. There's a very large number of people living on next to nothing in the city, and while the vast majority are friendly there's undoubtedly a few that would love to help you part with some of your seemingly abundant wealth.
As a foreigner, many beggars will surround you in Gulshan and Banani. Especially children who will try to sell stickers and, if you are not interested in their items, will ask for money or food and try to make you buy some more expensive items in one of the supermarkets or small stores. But before giving something to them, think about the fact that by giving money or buying expensive items, which they will probably resell, that in many cases these children are trained or forced to beg and have to give all the money or items to the person who organizes them. So be aware of this and the fact that your gesture of goodwill will maybe support these structures and exploitation.
Be careful when you see a group of Hijras. Usually they are rare in Bangladesh, but their begging can be very aggressive.
There has been a recent rash of incidents (as of July 2007) in which some foreigners have been targeted for bag snatchings while riding rickshaws. Often these have occurred at night, after 11pm. If you must be out after this time please do your best to leave your valuables at your friends' places or hotel and you can pick them up in the morning. The simplest way to reduce your potential loss is to not leave with valuables in the first place if you anticipate the need to travel after 11pm. The safest mode for travel for a tourist is to hire a yellow cab. These can be rented for a trip as well as by the day. Be sure to write down the license plate number.
The greatest danger probably comes from speeding buses and rickshaws - keep well alert when walking along main roads.
Being the capital, it's the area most affected during hartals, and you should do your best to keep a low profile during times of political unrest. Avoid any sort of large gatherings, even positive ones, as there's a good chance you'll become the center of attention and you probably don't want that from a group of raucous chanters.
Pollution is, compared to other countries in the subcontinent, not very high because most vehicles are run by gas. But dust can be a problem, especially during winter when rain is rare. It's not uncommon to see people with face masks on, and at the very least you should carry a handkerchief with you to cover your mouth and nose during rickshaw rides.
Some places such as Mohammadpur are hot spots for drugs, narcotics, etc. Don't answer to the people along the streets.
Internet is now widely available in all over Dhaka at Internet cafes hidden in the various shopping complexes - ask around. Tk 20-30 per hour, but be careful, anti-virus programms are not widely used. So think twice before tipping any sensitive data on a public computer or in a cyber cafe. In Gulshan and Banani, most coffee shops are offering free WiFi.
Another new restaurant in Mohakhali, opposite the East West University, named Newsroom Cafe - provides free Wi-Fi and Internet kiosks for their customers. Free Wi-Fi is also available in Kozmo Lounge situated in Dhanmondi.
Post There are many Post Offices in every area. Working hours are 09:30 to 14:30. Some big Post offices also have evening shifts from 15:00 to 19:00. Bangladesh Post is pretty good. The cost of sending a letter is very reasonable. The main Post Office (Dhaka G.P.O) is situated at Paltan, near to Gulistan and is open from 09:00 to 19:30. You can send Registered and normal letters, Parcel, E.M.S(Express Mail Service) from there at a reasonable price. It's better to send a parcel via E.M.S because it goes faster.
FM Radio Stations
Radio Foorti - 88.0 MHz
Radio Amar - 88.4 MHz
ABC Radio (Dhaka) - 89.2 MHz
Radio Today - 89.6 MHz
Bangladesh Betar (relays BBC World Service) - 100.0 MHz
If you feel the need to escape and take a break from the chaos of Dhaka, Songargon, about 29 km. from Dhaka offers you the chance to do just that. The town has a few worthwhile sights that are separated from one another and whilst going from sight to sight, you have the opportunity experience rural life and take in the less chaotic surroundings.
Lok Shilpa Jadughar (Folk Arts Museum) in Sonargaon.
Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th century. From then onward till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was a subsidiary capital of the Sultanate of Bengal. The main places of interest in Sonargaon are the ruins of Panam Nagar, the local crafts museum or the Lok Shilpa Jadughar (charges an entrance fee), the tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin, the Goaldi Mosque, and the shrines of Panjpir and Shah Abdul Alia. The first two lie on one side of the Dhaka-Chittgong Highway and the rest lie on the other side. Once at Mograpara, a rickshaw may be hired for sightseeing. It is best to hire the same rickshaw for a fixed amount (BDT 200-250) to visit all the places in Sonargaon. Most rickshaw pullers know the more popular destinations like Panam Nagar, the Lok Shilpa Jadughar, etc. Some may not know of the tomb of Sultan Ghiyasuddin or the Goaldi Mosque and the shrines. Usually rickshaw drivers who are locals from the village know all of these places.
Frequent bus services to Sonargaon operate from Gulistan, Saidabad and other bus stands in Dhaka. Tickets may be bought on roadside counters. Mention your destination as Mograpara as you might end up at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel instead. The price of the ticket from Gulistan bus stand is Tk 35.
Hajiganj is another place of historical interest, situated about 10 kms from Mograpara bus stand. However, the above mentioned places usually take up most of the day and it is best to return to Dhaka before evening. Sonargaon and Hajiganj may be combined into a single day if one sets off very early from Dhaka.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!