The cultural heritage of Dhaka
Dhaka has a huge heritage stretching back from the Mughal Empire through British colonial rule to its modern day reincarnation as a bustling and thriving city that combines historical sites with spectacular amusement parks and colossal shopping centres.
When is it best to travel to Dhaka?
The humid monsoon season runs from May to September, with tropical storms common in April, May and June. To avoid these periods travel to Dhaka between September and March, this period is also when its main festivals can be enjoyed. The photography festival of Chobi Mela is held in January, followed in February by the Dhaka Art Summit and the World Music Festival. The Islamic celebrations of Eid-el-Fitr and Adha along with the Hindu Kali Puja festival vary from year to year depending on the lunar calendar.
What do I need to know before visiting?
Indian citizens need a valid passport with at least three months left and may be able to apply for a tourist visa on arrival which lasts for 30 days. Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid vaccinations should be up to date and it's also advisable to have vaccinations for Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. Dhaka is a low-risk area for Malaria.
Bengali is the main language with Urdu, Hindi and English also being spoken to varying levels. The cost of living in Dhaka is very low with restaurant meals starting at around Tk 60. More upmarket restaurants can be enjoyed in the Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara districts of the city.
What useful local information is there?
Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is 20 km north of the city with pre-booked shuttle services being the most reliable way of getting between the two. Local buses, found five minutes walk from the terminal, run from the airport to Gulistan Bus Station at a cost of approximately 10 BDT. Buses are overcrowded and tricky to navigate with lots of luggage. Cycle rickshaws are an economic method of getting around for short distances with prices running from about TK 30 to 50 for 15 minutes of travel. It is always best to negotiate prices before starting a journey. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are more expensive although yellow taxi-cabs are air-conditioned. Taxi and bus journeys are slow on Dhaka's congested roads.
Accommodation prices start at around Tk 60 for cheap hotels, with mid-price options at about Tk 4,100.