Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh.
Dhaka is a thriving, colorful and congested metropolis of some 12 million people, and growing steadily. Given the number of people that live there, Dhaka is one of the most frenetic places on Earth. The streets and rivers are filled with colorful chaos. It also plays host to the highest number of rickshaws in any city, totaling around 400,000; you certainly won't miss them. Experiencing the city for the first time can often seem overwhelming.
According to recorded history it was founded in 1608 A.D. as the seat of the imperial Mughal viceroy of Bengal. Dhaka has been developing fast as a modern city and is the country's center 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 shantytowns near Old Dhaka to the glitzy high-class neighborhoods of Gulshan and Banani where a meal costs more than most people make 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 monsoon season (April-August) 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 drivers know where it is. An auto-rickshaw from Old Dhaka will cost about Taka (BDT)150. Su-Th 10AM-1PM receiving applications, 3-5PM delivery.
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport ( Formally known as Zia International Airport) (ICAO: DAC) is well served by international flights from most continents. Biman Bangladesh Airlines is the national carrier of Bangladesh; which is well connected in 18 international destination. Mainly in Middle East also Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and also Indian Subcontinent.
Thai Airways has direct flights from Bangkok. There are also gateways from Nepal on GMG Airlines, Hong Kong on Dragon Air, Malaysia, Singapore, Delhi, Kunming and Kolkata. You can also travel to Dhaka from Middle East by Gulf Air, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Yemenia, and Both Dhaka & Chittagong by Bahrain Air, Oman Air and Air Arabia.
Shahjalal airport is modern and reasonably efficient. However, half the worlds mosquito's seem to live in the baggage reclaim area, so be sure to wear long sleeves and covered legs/feet.
Being the capital and geographical center of the country, Dhaka is the natural hub for the country's bus companies. There are several bus stations around Dhaka, and which one you need to be at depends where you want to go, so ask around before heading out to one of them. Most are as crowded as you would expect them to be(because of population).
Mohakhali bus stationserves mainly to Tangail, Mymonsing and other northern districts of Dhaka. Sometimes also Bagura and other western-northern part of Bangladesh.
Luxury buses like Green Line, Shyamoli, Silk Line and Shohagh serve the major cities and tourist attractions. They all have a few offices around town, the most central being those near the Eastern Hotel on Inner Circular Rd in Central Dhaka, just north of the Motijheel area. Green Line serves Chittagong (400 taka, 5-6 hours), Cox's Bazar (630 taka, 8-9 hours), Rajshahi ( Tk 350, 4 hours), Sylhet (Tk 400, 5 hours), Khulna (Tk 450, 7 hours) and Jessore ( Tk 400, 5-6 hours) in its comfortable Volvo buses. It also has a couple of super luxury Scania buses to Chittagong (Tk 550) and Cox's Bazar (Tk 850) if you feel comfortable floating through a developing country in high style and have enough taka to spend(however the money spent could go towards helping develop Bangladesh more). Seats are huge and fully recline. The quality of these buses are comparable to Business class of an airline!! (there are also Hino A/C luxury buses as well as Volvo and Scania). Recently, the S.Alam and the Saudia, two of the leading (non-ac) bus service providers have jointly launched a Mercedes-Benz luxury bus service to Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and some other major cities. One of the ticket counters has been opened at the Panthapath, an area where you can locate all major luxury bus ticket counters.
From India there are a number of land entry points for Buses. The most common way is the regular comfortable a/c buses from Kolkata to Dhaka via the Haridaspur / Benapole border post. Private bus companies Shohagh, Green Line, Shyamoli and others operate daily bus services. Government 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 Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 5:30AM and 8:30AM, and 12:30PM while from Dhaka they leave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00AM and 7:30AM. The normal journey time is around 12 hours with a one-way fare of Indian Rs.550 or Tk.600-800, (roughly $8-12). If you're only headed to Haridaspur the fare is Rs.86, or Tk 116. The journey should take around 2.30 hours.
Most ferries arrive at and leave from Sadarghat in Old Dhaka. This area and the streets surrounding it are unbelievably hectic so allow plenty of time and watch your bags and pockets carefully. If arriving here, 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, the ones near the ghat are at a standstill.
The Rocket Steamers (P.S. 'Tern', 'Masud' and 'Ostrich') run to Barisal and Khulna several times per week, departing from Sadarghat around 6pm. To Barisal is Tk 480/300 in first/second class, while all the way to Khulna will run Tk 1010/610 and take 26-30 hours. Tickets should be booked at the BIWTC office in Motijheel just east of Dilkusha Circle I. It's open until 5PM Su-W and until 2PM on Thursdays, closed on Fridays. A quick heads-up in that the link to the BIWTC tariff mentioned above is in 'Takas' and one should double check the fares.
Chandpur is the second major river station 3 to 4 hours journey from Dhaka and 5 to 6 hours Journey from Barisal.
Multiple 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 aren't pre-sold, 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 fare/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 on it so that you can actually get home - many of the drivers do not even know where the more touristy sites are let alone the hotels so they will have to ask people at the side of the road. Having a card for the hotel with the actual address makes this a whole lot easier.
- Cycle-rickshaws are the most popular form of transport, and good for short distances -- mainly on side streets. They make up the bulk of the cities horrendous traffic, and charge around BDT.5 per kilometer. Negotiating a fare beforehand is essential as a foreigner. Cycle-rickshaws in wealthy areas such as Banani and Gulshan often must pay local mafia men for the privilege of servicing the high-price areas. Additionally, foreigners should also be warned that cycle-rickshaws will sometimes begin the ride with a pitch to sell drugs or prostitutes. One or two simple, but firm, declines will generally solve the situation. If you're a woman -- it's particularly inadvisable to ride around alone in cycle-rickshaws after dark -- you're a slow-moving target asking for trouble from thugs and muggers.
- Auto-rickshaws (also known as 'CNG') 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 70. The meters start at Tk 13.50, but for shorter distances 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 also ply the roads, some yellow and some black, all with meters. Black taxis start the meter at Tk 15 while yellow taxis are a little nicer and start at Tk 20. Black taxis are typically in notoriously poor condition and lack air conditioning. Yellow taxis are required to have air conditioning, (they consist of Toyota Corollas mostly, Mitsubishis or Hondas even). They are also considered far safer by the local Dhaka elite. (when compared to black taxis and auto-rickshaws).
- Buses run routes on the main roads, but are horribly crowded and noisy, signed only in Bengali and aren't likely to be of much use to travelers. Save yourself a headache and take a rickshaw or if you go to far distance, take a comfortable, luxurious A/C bus or a train!!
Dhaka, predominantly was a city of the Mughals. 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 Parliament building designed by, Louis Kahn, is definitely something to see along with numerous memorials, parks and mosques. Places worth visiting include: Ramna Park, Lal Bagh Fort and museum, Old Dhaka, the Shahid Minar memorial, the Shadarghat port, Ahsan Manjil, Bangabandhu Memorial, National Poet's Graveyard, Suhrawardy Uddyaan, National Leader Mausoleum, Banga-Bhaban, Shadhinota Stambha, Curzon Hall, Old High Court and 1857 Memorial, the Botanical Gardens, Baldha Garden, Sitara Mosque, Baitul Mukarram Mosque as well as Hindu, Buddhist and Christian churches and temples.
- Ahsan Manjil:, the pink palace, has a Tk 2 entrance fee and a small exhibition about the history of the palace and a garden.
- Mosques around Dhaka: Dhaka has several hundred mosques. Prominent are Baitul Mukarram-National Mosque, the Seven Domed Mosque (17th century), Star Mosque (18th century) inlaid with mosaic and tiles , Chawkbazar Mosque and Huseni Dalan Mosque.
- Hindu Temples: Dhakeshwari Temple (11th Century), Ramkrishna Mission.
- Churches: Armenian Church (1781 A.D.) St. Mary's Cathedral at Ramna, Church of Bangladesh or former Holy Rosary Church (1677A.D.) at Tejgaon.
- Buddhist Temples: Dhammarajika Bouddha Maha Vihar , Atisha Dipankar Sarak, Kamalapur. Tel:+88 2 841-162. email: Mahathero@Dhammarajika.com. International Buddhist Monastery, Merul Badda, Gulshan. Tel:+88 2 881-2288. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The National Memorial:, located at Savar, 35, km. from Dhaka city. The memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossain is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the war of liberation.
- Lalbagh Fort: It was built in 1678 A.D. by Prince Mohammad Azam, son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort was the scene of bloody battle during the first war of independence (1857) when 260 sepoys stationed here backed by the people revolted against British forces. Monuments of the Lalbagh which are outstanding include the, tomb of Pari Bibi , Lalbagh Mosque, Audience Hall and Hammam of Nawab Shaista Khan now housing a museum. The fort is closed on Saturday but open until 5pm every other day.
- 1857 Memorial: ( Bahadur Shah Park) Built to commemorate the martyrs of the first liberation war (1857-59) against British rule. It was here that the revolting sepoys and their civil compatriots were publicly hanged.
- Curzon Hall: Beautiful architectural building named after Lord Curzon. It now houses the Science Faculty of Dhaka University.
- Old High Court Building: Originally built as the residence of the British Governor, it illustrates a happy blend of European and Mughal architecture.
- National Park: Situated at Rejendrapur, 40 km. north of Dhaka city , this is a vast (1,600 acres) national recreational forest with facilities for picnics and rowing etc.
- Central Shahid Minar: 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 (most march barefoot) on 21 February every year (designated by the UN as International Mother Language Day) to pay respect to the departed in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at midnight.
- National Poet's Graveyard: Revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam died on the 29 August 1976 and was buried here. The graveyard is adjacent to the Dhaka University Mosque.
- Suhrawardy Uddyan (Garden): A Popular Park. The oath of independence of Bangladesh was taken here and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheik Mujibur Rahman gave the clarion call for independence on the 7th March 1971. The place is famous for its lush greenery and gentle breezes. An eternal flame in remembrance of the martyrs of the war of Liberation burns here.
- Mausoleum of National Leaders: Located at the southwestern corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan, it is the eternal resting place of great national leaders, Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khaja Nazimuddin.
- Banga Bhaban: The official residence of the President, located in the city. One can have an outside view of this grand palace.
- Baldha Garden: Unique creation of the late Narendra Narayan Roy, the landlord of Baldha. Year of establishment was 1904. Located in Wari area of Dhaka city, the garden with its rich collection of indigenous and exotic plants is one of the most exciting attraction for botanists, naturalists and tourists.
- Ramna Green: A vast stretch of green garden surrounded by a serpentine lake near the Sheraton Hotel.
- Parliament House: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban (Parliament House) located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar has distinctive architectural features. Designed by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, it may be called an architectural wonder of this region.
- Sonargaon 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.
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.
Dhaka has several museums on offer as well as a Zoo and Botanical gardens. In the surrounding areas you can enjoy a picinic in one of the designated 'picinic areas' whilst en route to a near by village to take a look at local arts and crafts.
- Bangabandhu Memorial Museum: The residence of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Dhanmondi (Road 32) has been turned into a museum. It 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.
- Liberation War Museum: Situated at Segun Bagicha area of the city (close to National Press Club) the museum contains rare archival photographs and items used by the freedom fighters during the nine-month long Liberation war in 1971.
- Ahsan Manzil Museum: On the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka the pink majestic Ahsan Manzil has been renovated and turned into a museum recently. It is an example of the nation's rich cultural heritage. It was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka and a silent spectator to many events. The renovated Ahsan Manzil is a monument of immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms with a huge dome atop which can be seen from miles around. It now has 23 galleries displaying portraits, furniture and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
- Dhaka Zoo: Popularly known as Mirpur Zoo. Colorful and attractive collections of different local and foreign species of animals and birds including the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger are available here.
- Botanical Garden: Built on 205 acres of land at Mirpur and adjacent to Dhaka Zoo. You can do both the zoo and the botanical garden in one trip.
- National Museum: Located at the central point of the city Shahbag, the museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods. Next to the Museum is the popular public library and the Charukola (Arts and Crafts) Institute under Dhaka University.
- Science Museum: The museum is a modern learning center related to the latest scientific discoveries. It is situated at Agargaon.
- Institute of Arts and Crafts: Situated in the picturesque surroundings of Shahbagh the Institute of Arts and Crafts (Charukola Institute) has a representative collection of folk-art and paintings by artists of Bangladesh.
Other attractions in and around Dhaka include: Aparajeya Bangla monument, picnic spots such as Chandra and Salna, industrial estates of Tongi, Narayanganj, Demara, Tejgaon and cruising by country boat in the nearby river or a visit to a village to see jute cultivation, weaving and pottery making.
Last but not least, a rewarding experience is simply traveling by a horse driven cart or rickshaw along the busy Dhaka streets and observing the local everyday scenes.
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.
- 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 PearlsAvailable in many handicraft stores, with some dedicated outlets in Gulshan
- Aarong http://brac-aarong.comA well known chain with several outlets around Dhaka and one in London. It is owned by BRAC (a large NGO) and sells handicrafts and clothing at moderately high prices.
- Aranya 60 Kemal Ataturk, Banani Another good store with beautiful crafts. Supports fair trade practices..
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.
Local sweets (misti/mishti) like rasgullah and gulab jamun are excellent. To the uninitiated these are bite-sized soft cheeseballs 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 topnotch. 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 Tk50-150 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.
- Hajjee Beryaniin 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 International Thathari bazar, Near Nawabpur Bazar. Does fantastic Beryani.
- 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.
- 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. Serves beer.
- 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.
- El Toro House 1A, Road 138, Gulshan I +880 1 861 6343 11:30AM-10:30PM Mains around Tk 250-300 A Mexican restaurant serving burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and the like.
- A&W just south of Circle I, Gulshan 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 http://andersensofdenmark.com/w_bangla.htm 11:30AM-midnite, Fridays 2PM-midnite Tk 80-260 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.
- CoFi 11 House Number 34, Road Number 21, Block B, Banani Take the road opposite of Priyo Departmental Store & Fahim Music in Kemal Ataturk Avenue, ie Road number 18, cross the South East Univeristy Campus & immediately make the 1st left turn & its the 2nd house on the right. Very close to the Swiss Embassy 06662628822, 01713364499 http://cofi11.com/ 11AM-midnite daily Possibly the best coffee available in Dhaka, they import beans from Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Indonesia and even Starbucks beans and offer exotic drinks like lemogini, Shikanjee, Guava Frappe, Mango Yogurt & Mandolito. They also have espresso dipped brownies and good sandwiches. Free WiFi. They also have live musical performances on the 1st Saturday of every month & on the Wednesday of the 3rd week of the month
- Heritage House 10, Road 109, Gulshan-2 +880 1 882 0350 Tk 500-700 per person Run by British-Bangladeshi celebrity chef Tommy Miah, this Mugal décor restaurant features Bangla-fusion cuisine.
- Spaghetti Jazz Gulshan Decent Italian that delivers pizza and pasta! A meal will cost 400-600 taka, even for something fairly simple.
- Bella Italia Gulshan 1 attached to Apex Gallery Located near Gulshan circle 1, beside the Gulshan-1 market. 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.
- 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 Tk 500 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, Tel.+88 06662625097. 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 .
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 traveler. Local bars are to be found in most neighborhoods 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:
- 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.
There is a duty paid shop in Mohakhali which is only permitted to sell alcohol to passport-bearing foreigners or their drivers who bring their passports in when they purchase. The address is 12 Abbas Garden, New Airport Road, phone +88 2988 1936-9. Their stated opening hours are from 9:30pm - 4:30pm, and closed on Fridays. To get there you need to go towards the flyover as if you were going to Banani, but instead of going on to the flyover, you take the second left after it begins. You will see a small sign labelled "Abbas Garden." Turn left and tell your transport to wait while you purchase.
- Hotel Al-Razzaque 29/1 North South Rd (Nazira Bazaar) +880 2 956 1990 From Tk 160 A moderately priced hotel popular with Bangladeshi men, it's got decent clean rooms with attached bathrooms with squat toilets, and a popular restaurant.
- Hotel Grameen 22 Nawabpur Rd +880 2 956 2422 Tk 60-150 A big hotel on busy Nawabpur Rd, just south of Bangsal Rd.
- Hotel Sugandha 24 Nawabpur Rd +880 2 955 6720 Tk 100-350 Its cheap and it's what to be expected of a cheap hotel, not very exciting or hygienic.
- Hotel Zakaria International Zakiria Hotel 35, Gulshan Road, Mohakhali C/A, Dhaka 1212 8825003, 8825004, (88) 06662613127 http://hotelzakariabd.com 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 and TVs.
- Sabrina's Home (Home Stay) C1,Hs-1*7,RD-4,Blk-A，Banani +88-01199812848，01911758668 email@example.com 1PM noon US$30/head/bed/night 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".
If you're staying long term consider one of the many guesthouses in the Gulshan and Banani areas.
- Ambrosia Guest House, in Dhanmondi Residential Area, tel:+88 2 (0)966850/9665760. Tk 2,76 ($40) per night, with breakfast and free broadband Internet connection from the rooms.
- BRAC Centre Inn, 75 Mohakhali Dhaka 1212, +880-2-9886681 to 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).
- 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 Hotel  tel.+88-29012952, +88 2-8021599 . 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 email@example.com 880 171 4206336 http://bisonhospitality.com/location.html $65-75 latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labelsIdeas 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)
- Hotel de Crystal Garden House number 28, Road number 63, Gulshan-2 Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh +880 2 8823147 firstname.lastname@example.org 880-2-8827076 http://degardenhotel.com $50-80 latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labels 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.
- Grand Azad Hotel,email@example.com,  55 Purana Paltan, +880-2-9559399. 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.
- Lake Shore Hotel Gulshan 2 in the diplomatic area of town +880 2 8859991 firstname.lastname@example.org http://lakeshorehotel.com.bd $100-220 latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labelsLuxury 80-room hotel, rooftop pool, fitness, wireless and LAN Internet. Corporate discounts of 30% available. Probably the best medium sized 5* in the city.
- Radisson Water Garden Hotel Airport Road 15 miles from downtown, immediately outside the diplomatic enclave but close to the International airport +880 2 8754505 email@example.com http://radisson.com $160-220 latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labels Huge luxurious hotel sprawling over seven acres of manicured grounds and gardens with water features. All rooms are clean and contemporary. The hotel is almost a resort as it has a large outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, spa and even a golf course. Arguably the best large hotel in the city.
- Dhaka Sheraton 1 Minto Road +880 2 865 3636 firstname.lastname@example.org http://sheraton.com/dhaka latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labelsThis 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 is 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.
- Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel 107 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue +880-8111005 email@example.com +880 2 811 3324 http://panpacific.com/Dhaka/Overview.html latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labelsThis 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 1800-2000. There are good restaurants and service is excellent throughout the hotel.
- Hotel Sarina Plot # 27, Road # 17, Banani in the diplomatic area of town +88 02 8859604 firstname.lastname@example.org +88 02 988-9989 http://sarinahotel.com $110-450 latitude,longitude comma,separated,tag_labels 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.
- Hotel Orchard Plaza 71 Nayapaltan Rd, Motijheel +880 2 933 3904 $70-150, but immediate 30% discounts are offered http://hotelorchardplaza.comBuilt 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.
- The Westin Plot-01, Road 45, Gulshan-2, Dhaka 1212 in the diplomatic area of town +880 2 989 1988 $170-240 in winter, varies seasonally http://starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1394- 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!
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.
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 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 (like most other cities in the subcontinent)is high. 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.
Internet is most widely available in Gulshan and Banani at numerous Internet cafes hidden in the various shopping complexes - ask around. Tk 20-30 per hour. You may also stumble on to a computer or two in Old Dhaka or Central Dhaka.
A new place in Gulshan - 2 Circle, Building #11, Road #46, above the Philips showroom, in the same lane as Coopers - provides free Wi-Fi and Internet kiosks for their customers. Now that's convenient. And these guys really have great coffee.
Another one 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.
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
- The Bangladesh Observer (English)
- The Daily Star (English)
- The Financial Express (English)
- Naya-Diganta (Bengali)
- Dainik Shomokal (Bengali)
- Prothom-Alo (Bengali)
- ittefaq (Bengali)
Popular TV Channels
- Channel 1
- NTV (Bangladesh)
- ATN Bangla
- Channel i
- Desh TV
- Ekushey Television
- The Ashulia Lake - North of Dhaka
- Bogra- 220 km away from Dhaka, the capital of ancient Bangla
- Gopalgonj - birthplace of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
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