What is Dhaka really like? A travel guide to Bangladesh

Welcome to Dhaka, the city of mosque. The capital city of Bangladesh the home of nearly 15 million people. The name of Dhaka is said to refer to the Dhakeshwari The Secret Goddess, whose sanctuary is established in the city's western part. Who knew that the red sandstone that was used to build this temple will one day be accredited with the name after capital of the country? The river Buriganga flows beside it. The river that never sleeps. Dhaka was built around Buriganga.

Zorhan Mokoele | TDO local expert from South Africa


By Alvina Prithu Chowdhury

22 years adventurous soul that wanders, in search of a thrilling new journey. She believed she could, so she did. I always prefer traveling Solo, meeting locals, eating local food and taking photos. Risk-taker, Explorer, Mountaineer, Live my fantasies just Seas the day.

a Bangladesh based traveler

The national capital and center of Bangladesh includes the vibrant, bustling Old and Modern Dhaka and the surrounding urban city, as well as the nearby rural areas. This incredible neighborhood, is going to strike you sideways with the force of its sights, its rhythms and its smells, and its unrelenting chaos.

It offers spectacular pieces of architecture, a mouthwatering variety of food, and a living, breathing piece of history. It's a very different town predominantly a maze of tiny lanes full of rickshaws, lined with a 17th -century Mughal and British architecture speak of its history. While walking the tiny street of Old Dhaka you realize every wall has a story to tell. New Dhaka is overflowing with modern life, colorful, crowded vibrant but pulsates with the relentless rhythms of humanity like few other cities on Earth.

While it may feel a little overwhelming at first, soon you will realize that you have just arrived in one of the most remarkable places in the world.

My grandmother used to tell me that the city is known for the three things: Food, Architecture, and River.

Travelers will probably enter the country through Hazrat Shahjalal international airport is about 10 km from the city center. You can easily take Uber to the area of your hotel. A taxi or rickshaw is the best way to explore the city. Dhaka is also known as city of Rickshaw is often mentioned as the only one that still has a large fleet of hand-pulled rickshaws.

Rickshaw is a carts driven by a human, mostly a two-wheeled vehicle in the rear. Passenger chairs or flatbeds on the wheels for travel. Hooked around his finger, there was a single bell that he rattled continuously, creating what is undoubtedly the most benign sound to emanate from any Bangladeshi car. Do try Rickshaw for once.

There are so many rivers surrounding Dhaka. Go to Sadarghat River Front, located in the southern part of Dhaka, on the river Buriganga, is one of the most dynamic places in Dhaka to see Bangladesh at its grittiest. The panorama of river life is fascinating. Don’t forget to take a boat and roaming around.

Old Dhaka is populated by a largely Muslim community whose lives revolve around work. In this city, food is a religion. Old Dhaka's small lanes have an overwhelming variety of cuisines to share. The glorious fragrance of food literally blowing your mind the food will never fail to tempt you.

The cuisine is generally dominated by meat, and also offers delicious Biriyani a rice dish which is stuffed with meat chunks and served with Yogurt and cucumber salad, Fuchka, Kebabs, Stake, Roast (sweet chicken curry), Polaw, Luchi alur dom, Jhalmuri, Chingri macher malaikari (prawn curry), Mutton curry, Duck curry, Hilsha fry, Dhakai morog polaw and a lot of Sweets like Doi, Chomchom, Golap jam, Lengcha, Rosh malai, Sponge, Khirsha.

Don’t forget to try some unique street food items which Old Dhaka has preserved in her heart. Besides street food, there are also a variety of restaurants in this area where you can eat some of the finest delicacies. You get the cuisines from all over the country, and even from all over the world. There are also pubs and coffee shops where you have the chance to refresh. Make sure that you drink only bottled water for sure. This is a place that can also be said to be the meeting points of people belonging to different cultures.

New Dhaka is a metropolitan city you will get to see a mix of different cultures in this city are dominated mainly by the Muslims. You will find some high rising buildings, the metro facilities is coming soon, impressive examples of British architecture also will be able to discover folk art in Streets.

If you're a shopaholic, then Dhaka is undoubtedly the place to be. There are a variety of local stores present here and there are also several markets across them which have become extremely fascinating for people for quite reasonable price. It’s a shopping hub with plenty of budget hotels and inexpensive places to eat locals extend a warm welcome to overseas visitors. New Dhaka is similar to Old Dhaka but less crowded and chaotic.

Some of the most famous sights of Dhaka include the National Assembly of Bangladesh (Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban), Bangladesh National Museum, Botanical Gardens, Liberation War Museum, Armenian Church, Suhrawardi Park, Dhaka university campus,Red fort, Ahsan manjil, Dhakeshwari Temple, Tara mosque, Husaini building, Khan Mohammead Mridha Mosque had evolved into astonishing marvels of architecture, engineering, and art, National zoo, Sahid minar (It was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952 only and one language movement in the world's history)

New market, Baitul mukarram mosque is by far the most extravagant, encrusted finely detailed architecture including within the well cylinder itself, Rabindra soroboro, Curzon hall, Bangabondhu national stadium, Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery along this busy commercial street with a bunch of mosques, church, and a number of temples are very famous tourist attractions that you simply cannot afford to miss.

Dhaka where the future and the past collide every day, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Do visit Science Museum that will encourage a person who will be able to learn about science in an enjoyable way. If you're crazy about cricket like me, go to the National Stadium. There is cricket match played almost every day, a good place to relax for a while. We will briefly talk about historical tourism places and food in our next blog “Things to do in Dhaka Ultimate tour guide” and “Must Have Bengali Dishes You Need to Try in This Lifetime”.

The best time to visit Dhaka is from September till April. The skies are clear and the weather is pleasant, especially around autumn and spring season. Although you can visit anytime because it’s never too hot or never too cold moderately pleasant weather.

Dhaka's enormous culture never loses its charm, offering us a chance to look at history. This is not a tour, it’s an experience of a lifetime!