"Dhaka - it's all true but there's so much more!" Top 5 Page for this destination Dhaka by mafi_moya

Dhaka Travel Guide: 171 reviews and 474 photos

Dhaka is a city with a seriously bad image problem. Descriptions of it portray it as violent, desperately poor and overcrowded, chaotic traffic, extreme pollution, and home to every kind of natural disaster - from floods to cyclones to cholera epidemics. Bangladesh is also rated the world's most corrupt country and Dhaka one of the worst cities.

The corrupt part was on show straight away when I eventually had to bribe my way to a visa at the airport, under threat of being deported before I'd even got in. The violent part was also soon on display as a local politician was shot dead round the corner from my hotel on the night I arrived. And the chaos of the traffic, the millions of rickshaws and battered old taxis, has to be seen to be believed! But after that the city was pleasantly surprising - I suppose it couldn't be worse than its reputation!

Strangely, one of the first things that struck me - after the crowds and traffic - was its modernity. Now before any of you who've been there think I'm going crazy, remember that Bangladesh is considered by most people to be the armpit of Asia, the most backward country in the region. So I was expecting something along the lines of Sudan, where I'd lived just before, only on a far far larger and busier scale. So I was surprised to see fast food cafes, fancy restaurants, and parts of the city with advertising billboards illuminated like Leicester Square. I would never desribe Dhaka as modern, but compared to Khartoum...!

I was only there for a week and had a particularly heavy workload so didn't have much time for the usual touristy sightseeing. But I did get a general feel for the place, met a lot of locals, and sampled Bangladeshi hospitality...

and I have to say I liked the vibrant atmosphere of the city, the complete sense of chaos, the unending cacophony of noise, and exploring the maze of side streets and colourful markets. Every bit of space is taken up by activity - whether selling, arguing, praying, eating, sleeping - and everywhere you turn there's something going on. There is no escape! Dhaka is urban South Asia in its rawest form - hectic, dirty, crowded, full of life and a fascinating experience.

  • Last visit to Dhaka: Sep 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (9)

Comments (4)

  • rupkotha's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    I cannot agree with you. Your comments are not real. Dhaka people are nice and friendly. Dhaka is not an unsafe place. You have to be be careful and this is true for any big city. I will request visitors to ignore this post and check out other reviews.

  • Rubik's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2007 at 2:47 AM

    Thank you for great tips

  • jungles's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2006 at 11:30 AM

    Nice page. I had one crazy day in Dhaka as an overnight layover on a Bangkok-Yangon flight. One day I'll explore it more fully.

  • firechick's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2003 at 4:09 AM

    Wow - not sure I'd want to go here, but great tips and what an interesting experience to travel there!


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