Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends the old and the new. Situated near the Buriganga River, Dhaka showcases a rich cultural and historical heritage, with well-designed Mughal architecture and remnants of British colonial influence. The city is home to beautiful mosques, such as Tara Masjid, and temples like Dhakeshwari Temple and ISKCON Swamibag Temple. Visitors can explore historic sites like Lalbag Fort, Central Shaheed Minar, and Sonargaon, or experience the colorful culture through festivals like Bohela Falgun and Bohela Baishakh. With modern amenities, unique restaurants, and a variety of accommodations including hotels and vacation rentals, Dhaka offers a memorable experience for travelers.

Tips for travelers: Things to know before visiting Dhaka, Bangladesh

Trip101 has partnered with over 200 accredited and experienced tour guides from more than 50 countries to ensure you receive the most accurate and authentic travel information. These guides bring a wealth of local expertise, offering insights that go beyond the typical tourist experience. Trust the travel tips from experts who live and breathe their destinations to provide you with unparalleled local knowledge.

These insightful tips are shared by our experienced Dhaka tour guide(s), kawsar ahmed

Getting Around In Dhaka
Getting Around In Dhaka

How far away is city center from the airport, and what's the easiest way to get there?

The airport is just outside the main city, and the city center is almost 15 kilometers (9.32 miles) from the airport. The best way to get to the city center is by using Uber, which is affordable. Travelers should install the Uber app to call a private car, premium or standard, or even a tuk-tuk, locally known as CNG. Bike services are also available. Upon arriving at the airport, travelers can use the app to call an Uber, and the driver will pick them up and take them to the city center. Tourists should be aware that Dhaka is infamous for its traffic jams and plan accordingly.

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Local Food
Local Food

What are some of the best local food to try in Dhaka?

In Dhaka, one of the most famous and delicious local dishes is kachchi biryani (rice, meat and spices, cooked in unison over a fatigued fire) with mutton. It is very popular among tourists, although it is a bit spicy. Most tourists enjoy this dish despite the spice. A renowned restaurant to try this dish is Sultan’s Dine, known for its special and tasty kachchi biryani, perfect for lunch or dinner.

Other popular local snacks include singara (popular tea time snack in Bengal; stuffing made from potatoes or cauliflower and green peas), samosa ( fried South Asian pastry with a savoury filling, mostly vegetables, spiced potatoes, onions, peas, also non-vegetarian meat, or fish), fuchka (deep-fried spherical shell filled with a combination of potatoes, onions, and chickpea), and bhel puri (fried hollow shell filled with red onion, cucumber, green chili, fresh coriander, and tomato, along with spices), which are common street foods enjoyed by both locals and visitors.

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Healthcare
Healthcare

What healthcare facilities are available for tourists/foreigners in Dhaka?

In case of emergencies, travelers can find various medical facilities throughout Dhaka. Many tourists may experience food-related issues due to the spicy nature of local cuisine, often resulting in food poisoning. It’s advisable to carry a prescription from your doctor and bring necessary medications. Pharmacies are widespread and can provide over-the-counter medicines. Pharmacists can offer advice, although they are not licensed doctors.

For serious medical needs, Dhaka has several 24-hour hospitals and clinics. Notable hospitals include Dhaka Medical College Hospital, United Hospital, and Apollo Hospital Dhaka, which provide round-the-clock services. It is also recommended to use medical-related apps to get treatment suggestions.

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Staying Connected
Staying Connected

Should travelers consider getting a local SIM card? If so, would it be cheaper to grab one at the airport upon arrival or wait and buy one at a local shop in the city?

Yes, it’s recommended for travelers to get a local SIM card. It is usually easier and more convenient to purchase a SIM card at the airport. At the airport, the process is streamlined, and there are authorized sellers who can provide SIM cards without needing a local ID. In the city, it may be challenging to buy a SIM card with just a passport, as local ID or NID cards are often required.

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Money Matters
Money Matters

Where can you usually find the best exchange rate in the city?

The best place to exchange currency for good rates is at the airport’s money exchange office. These offices offer better rates compared to hotels or unauthorized dealers, which may be illegal. The money exchange offices at the airport are authorized by the government, ensuring a fair exchange rate for travelers.

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Important Travel Info
Important Travel Info

Are there any medications or items travelers should avoid bringing into the country?

There are some restrictions for travelers, but they are mostly due to personal and cultural issues rather than strict government regulations. For instance, if you want to take photos, it is advisable to ask for permission first, especially in sensitive areas such as slums or certain neighborhoods. Recently, there have been concerns about bloggers coming to Bangladesh and filming in these areas, which has led to locals being more cautious.

In terms of items, bringing drones into the country is not legally permitted, especially in Dhaka city due to security concerns. However, flying drones may be allowed outside of Dhaka city. Alcohol is also restricted; you can carry it in your luggage, but consuming it in public places is not allowed. It is best to drink alcohol in your hotel room or hotel bar.

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Attractions
Attractions

Are there any dress codes to follow when visiting religious sites or monuments in Dhaka?

Yes, there are some dress codes for specific places, for example, in the oldest Hindu temple in Bangladesh, known as Dhakeshwari Temple, and in Star Mosque and the Armenian Church. Visitors are generally allowed to enter without any problem. However, women should wear full dresses that cover their bodies when entering mosques. Men should dress modestly as well.

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What To Buy
What To Buy

Where are the best places to find souvenirs in Dhaka?

For purchasing souvenirs at a reasonable price, visit Dhaka New Market. It’s popular among locals for its variety of products at affordable prices. For high-quality and branded items, head to Bashundhara City Complex or Jamuna Future Park, which are well-known for their premium offerings.

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Climate Tips
Climate Tips

What's the best time to travel to Dhaka weather-wise?

The best time to visit Dhaka is from August to March. During this period, the weather is more comfortable. Before August, it’s the rainy season, and from March onwards, it gets very hot, which can be uncomfortable for travelers.

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Area Guide
Area Guide

Which neighborhoods in Dhaka have the best nightlife scene and events?

For nightlife and entertainment, specific hotels in Dhaka provide excellent services. Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka and Golden Tulip are among the most famous for nightlife, offering bars, nightlife parties, and entertainment.

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Local Events
Local Events

Are there any annual festivals or special events in Dhaka or nearby cities that tourists shouldn't miss?

Yes, there are several annual festivals and events in Dhaka. Poila Boishakh, the Bengali New Year, is celebrated with much enthusiasm. The 31st December night, marking New Year’s Eve, is also widely celebrated. Both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha are significant festivals with extensive celebrations. Durga Puja (5-day celebration of Goddess Durga) is an important festival for the Hindu community. Additionally, Independence Day on March 26th is celebrated with various activities and cultural events.

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Cultural Etiquettes
Cultural Etiquettes

Is tipping a common norm? If so, what's the usual tipping amount?

Tipping is not mandatory but is appreciated. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of 100 to 200 BDT (0.85 to 1.70 USD) for good service. Tipping is also common for services such as luggage handling, door opening, or any extra assistance provided by staff. While it’s not expected everywhere, it is considered a nice gesture.

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Featured Dhaka, Bangladesh Articles

Dhaka, Bangladesh
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