A bustling street scene in a South Asian city with numerous rickshaws and pedestrians, storefronts featuring colorful billboards and signs in a local script, and densely packed multi-story buildings.


When you think of Dhaka, imagine a tapestry woven with threads of history and modernity. From its ancient roots to the vibrant cityscape it is today, Dhaka’s journey is a fascinating blend of tradition and progress. As you explore further, you’ll discover how this city’s past has paved the way for its current standing on the global stage. But what lies beneath the surface of Dhaka’s bustling facade may surprise you…

Historical Background

Dhaka’s historical background traces back to its origins under Muslim Mughal rule in the 17th century, marking a period of significant growth and cultural richness. During this time, the city thrived under Mughal governance, becoming a hub for trade, particularly in the muslin industry. The exquisite muslin produced in Dhaka was highly sought after both locally and internationally, attracting merchants from far and wide.

Under Mughal rule, Dhaka saw the construction of several historic buildings that still stand today as a testament to its rich past. Notable among these structures are the Lal Bagh fort and Chhota Katra, which showcase the architectural marvels of that era. These buildings not only served practical purposes but also reflected the grandeur and sophistication of Mughal architecture.

The flourishing sea trade during this period also played a crucial role in Dhaka’s prosperity. European traders were drawn to the city’s thriving markets, further boosting its economic significance. However, the decline of Dhaka began after the provincial capital was shifted in 1704, leading to a gradual weakening of the muslin industry, which had been a cornerstone of the city’s economy. Despite this decline, the remnants of Dhaka’s glorious past under Mughal rule can still be seen in its historic buildings and cultural heritage.

Unique Charm

With its vibrant street art scene and a mix of historic and modern architectural wonders, Dhaka exudes a unique charm that captivates visitors from around the world. The city’s streets are adorned with colorful and expressive artwork, showcasing a dynamic and ever-evolving urban canvas. From intricate murals depicting local culture to graffiti that reflects contemporary issues, Dhaka’s street art scene offers a glimpse into the city’s creative spirit.

Dhaka’s architectural diversity further enhances its unique charm. The city boasts a blend of historic monuments like the impressive Lalbagh Fort, a 17th-century Mughal fort complex, and modern structures such as the iconic National Parliament House. This juxtaposition of old and new creates a visually captivating landscape that speaks to Dhaka’s rich history and progressive outlook.

Embedded within Dhaka’s streets and buildings is its rich cultural heritage, influenced by Mughal and European architectural styles. The fusion of these influences is evident in the city’s mosques, temples, and palaces, each telling a story of Dhaka’s past. This cultural tapestry not only adds to the aesthetic appeal of the city but also offers visitors a deeper understanding of its historical significance.

In addition to its architecture and street art, Dhaka’s bustling street markets and vibrant local festivals contribute to its unique charm, providing visitors with an immersive experience of the city’s lively atmosphere and warm hospitality. The culinary scene, featuring a variety of local delicacies like Fuchka and Lassi, adds another layer to Dhaka’s charm, enticing visitors with flavorful delights that reflect the city’s diverse cultural influences.

Best Time To Visit

During the winter months from November to February, Dhaka offers visitors the best weather conditions for an enjoyable and comfortable experience. The winter season in Dhaka is characterized by clear skies, mild temperatures, and lower humidity levels, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The pleasant weather during these months allows tourists to explore the city’s historical landmarks, markets, and cultural attractions without the discomfort of extreme heat or heavy rainfall.

Winter in Dhaka also coincides with the festive season in Bangladesh, providing a vibrant cultural experience for visitors. Events like Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year), celebrated in April, bring a festive atmosphere to the city with various festivals, food fairs, and cultural performances. This cultural richness enhances the overall experience of exploring Dhaka during the winter months.

Must-See Attractions

To fully experience the cultural and historical richness of Dhaka, make sure to visit the must-see attractions that showcase the city’s architectural marvels and heritage. Start your journey by exploring Lalbagh Fort, an incomplete Mughal palace fortress that boasts stunning architectural features. This historical site provides a glimpse into Bangladesh’s past and offers a serene escape from the bustling city.

Next, head to Ahsan Manzil, a significant architectural monument in Dhaka that reflects the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. This iconic pink palace stands as a testament to the opulence of Dhaka’s Nawabs and allows visitors to step back in time and immerse themselves in the grandeur of the past.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the National Parliament House, a masterpiece of modern architecture and a symbol of Bangladesh’s political significance. Designed by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, this iconic structure is a must-see for its unique design and historical importance.

These attractions, along with others like the Dhakeshwari Temple, Old Dhaka, and Sadarghat, offer a comprehensive look into Dhaka’s diverse cultural tapestry and rich heritage. Make sure to add these sites to your itinerary to truly appreciate all that Dhaka has to offer.

Safe Neighborhoods

Nestled within Dhaka are several neighborhoods renowned for their safety and upscale amenities, making them ideal choices for residents seeking a secure living environment.

  • Gulshan: Known as one of the safest and most upscale neighborhoods in Dhaka, Gulshan boasts a diplomatic zone and luxurious residences, attracting diplomats and affluent residents seeking a secure environment.
  • Baridhara: Another secure neighborhood in Dhaka, Baridhara features embassies, international schools, and exclusive residential areas, making it a popular choice for expatriates and individuals looking for a secure community.
  • Dhanmondi: Recognized for its safety and serene atmosphere, Dhanmondi is a safe residential area with ample green spaces, lakes, and a diverse community, offering a peaceful living environment for its residents.
  • Uttara: A well-planned and secure neighborhood in Dhaka, Uttara is popular among expatriates and middle to upper-class residents due to its modern amenities and secure surroundings, making it a sought-after location for those prioritizing safety and comfort.

These neighborhoods not only provide safety but also offer a range of amenities that cater to the needs of residents, making them desirable choices for individuals seeking a secure and upscale living experience in Dhaka.


In Dhaka, a diverse array of accommodation options awaits visitors, ranging from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses and serviced apartments. Popular hotel chains like Westin, Radisson, and Marriott have a presence in Dhaka, providing international standards of comfort and service. These hotels cater to both business travelers and tourists, offering amenities such as free Wi-Fi, airport transfers, and on-site dining.

The accommodation sector in Dhaka has experienced significant growth in recent years to accommodate the city’s expanding tourism and business sectors. Visitors can choose from a variety of options, from boutique hotels in upscale neighborhoods like Gulshan to budget-friendly choices in Old Dhaka. Whether you prefer the opulence of a luxury hotel or the coziness of a guesthouse, Dhaka has something to suit every preference and budget.

Serviced apartments are also becoming increasingly popular in Dhaka, offering a more homely environment for longer stays. These apartments provide the convenience of hotel services with the comfort of a fully furnished living space. Many serviced apartments in Dhaka are equipped with kitchens, making them ideal for guests who prefer to cook their meals or have an extended stay in the city.


Public transportation in Dhaka offers a variety of options for getting around the city efficiently and affordably. When navigating the bustling streets of Dhaka, you’ll encounter a range of transportation modes tailored to different needs:

  • Auto Rickshaws: These colorful, human-powered vehicles are ideal for short distances and navigating narrow alleys. Auto rickshaws provide a unique and authentic way to experience the city up close.
  • CNGs: Similar to auto-rickshaws, CNGs are enclosed vehicles with powerful motors, perfect for longer journeys on major roads. Their distinctive loud engines make them easy to spot amidst the city’s traffic.
  • Lagunas: If you’re looking for a more communal experience, lagunas are the way to go. These pick-up trucks fitted with benches and roofs serve as public buses in Dhaka, offering fixed prices for most distances.
  • Locally Estimated Prices: Given the city’s vast size and intricate network of routes, locals are accustomed to estimating fares for CNGs, rickshaws, and lagunas. This practice helps ensure fair pricing and smooth transactions during your travels.


Discover a multitude of guided tours in Dhaka showcasing its historical sites, cultural landmarks, and vibrant markets. Dhaka offers a diverse range of guided tours that allow you to delve into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. Explore iconic historical sites such as Lalbagh Fort, a 17th-century Mughal fort complex known for its architectural grandeur and historical significance. Visit Ahsan Manzil, also known as the Pink Palace, a stunning example of Bangladeshi architecture that offers insights into the country’s colonial past.

National Parliament House, designed by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, is another must-visit site on these guided tours. This architectural masterpiece is a symbol of Bangladesh’s independence and political history. Additionally, explore the spiritual significance of Dhakeshwari Temple, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the city, known for its intricate architecture and religious importance.

Specialized tours in Dhaka take you through the vibrant streets of Old Dhaka, where you can witness the city’s traditional way of life and bustling markets. Experience the local river life at Sadarghat, a major river port on the Buriganga River, offering a unique glimpse into the daily activities along the waterfront. These guided tours provide a deeper understanding of Dhaka’s history, architecture, and cultural heritage, making your visit to the city truly enriching.

Outdoor Activities

Explore the diverse array of outdoor activities awaiting enthusiasts in Dhaka, from boating on the Buriganga River to hiking in nearby hills and enjoying leisurely cycling routes. Dhaka offers various opportunities for outdoor adventures that cater to different interests and activity levels. Here are some options to consider:

  • Boating on the Buriganga River: Experience the bustling waterway of the Buriganga River by taking a boat tour, offering a unique perspective of Dhaka’s urban landscape.
  • Visiting Parks: Spend a relaxing day at one of Dhaka’s parks like Ramna Park and Suhrawardy Udyan, ideal for picnics, leisurely walks, or simply enjoying the green spaces within the city.
  • Exploring Biodiversity: Immerse yourself in nature by visiting Baldha Garden and Botanical Garden, where you can discover a wide range of plant species and learn about the biodiversity of the region.
  • Engaging in Adventure Activities: For the more adventurous souls, Dhaka’s proximity to nearby hills provides opportunities for hiking, while the city’s scenic routes are perfect for cycling enthusiasts looking for a picturesque ride.

These activities allow you to connect with nature, explore the city’s green spaces, and appreciate the biodiversity that Dhaka has to offer. Whether you seek a peaceful retreat or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Dhaka’s outdoor scene has something for everyone.

Food, Wine & Nightlife

Indulge in Dhaka’s vibrant food scene, where a fusion of traditional Indian flavors and local favorites awaits culinary enthusiasts. The culinary experience in Dhaka is a delightful mix of unique twists on traditional Indian cuisine and beloved local dishes. When exploring the city’s food scene, be sure to try the popular street snacks like Fuchka, which are crispy breaded shells filled with spicy paste, offering a burst of flavors in every bite.

Meat lovers will find satisfaction in Dhaka with dishes like Kebab and Chap, which are commonly enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Kebabs are savory grilled meat skewers infused with aromatic spices, while Chap refers to juicy meat patties bursting with flavors. These meat dishes showcase the rich culinary heritage of Dhaka and are must-tries for those seeking an authentic taste of the city.

To complement your culinary adventures, don’t miss out on trying local favorite beverages like Lassi, a sweet and salty milkshake-like drink that provides a refreshing contrast to the bold flavors of Dhaka’s cuisine. Exploring the street food scene in Dhaka not only offers a gastronomic adventure but also a glimpse into the city’s vibrant culture and traditions.

Street Markets

Amidst the bustling streets of Dhaka, New Market stands out as a renowned hub for budget-friendly shopping, particularly known for its offering of rejected clothing items at affordable prices. The market in New Market, Dhaka, often showcases rejected clothing items, making it a popular destination for budget-friendly shopping. Visitors can experience the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of New Market in Dhaka, filled with a variety of clothing options. Shopping in New Market, Dhaka, offers a chance to explore a diverse range of clothing options at affordable prices. New Market in Dhaka provides a unique shopping experience with its densely occupied and lively surroundings.

At New Market in Dhaka, you’ll find:

  • Affordable Prices: Enjoy shopping without breaking the bank, as the rejected clothing items are priced attractively due to minor flaws.
  • Unique Selection: Explore a wide variety of clothing options that cater to different tastes and preferences.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: Immerse yourself in the lively ambiance of New Market, Dhaka, as you browse through the bustling stalls.
  • Budget-Friendly Shopping: Embrace the opportunity to snag great deals on rejected clothing items while experiencing a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in Dhaka.

Local Festivals

Celebrating a vibrant array of cultural traditions, Dhaka hosts a variety of local festivals throughout the year, showcasing the city’s rich heritage and diversity. Pohela Boishakh, the Bengali New Year, is a significant celebration in Dhaka. The city comes alive with colorful processions, traditional music, and an abundance of festive foods during this time. Durga Puja, another prominent festival, sees Dhaka adorned with elaborate puja ceremonies, vibrant decorations, and captivating cultural performances, highlighting the city’s Hindu heritage.

Eid ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, and Eid ul-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, are joyously celebrated in Dhaka. These Eid festivals bring communities together for prayers, feasting, and communal gatherings, creating an atmosphere of unity and festivity across the city. These celebrations are deeply rooted in religious traditions and are an integral part of Dhaka’s cultural tapestry.

In addition to these religious festivals, Dhaka also hosts the Dhaka International Film Festival, attracting film enthusiasts and industry professionals to enjoy a diverse selection of international and local films. Furthermore, the Boishakhi Mela, a traditional fair, offers visitors a chance to experience cultural displays, traditional foods, handicrafts, and music performances that celebrate the rich heritage of the Bengali culture. Dhaka’s local festivals truly embody the city’s spirit of diversity and inclusivity.


Exploring Dhaka’s vibrant nightlife reveals a diverse array of clubs, bars, and lounges catering to various tastes and preferences, with popular areas such as Gulshan, Banani, and Uttara known for their upscale venues and lively atmosphere.

  • Live Music and DJ Sets: Many nightlife establishments in Dhaka offer live music performances and DJ sets, creating a lively and engaging atmosphere for patrons to enjoy.
  • Themed Events: Nightlife in Dhaka often features themed events that add an element of excitement and variety to the club and bar scenes, attracting a diverse crowd.
  • Safety Precautions: It is essential to take safety precautions and be aware of local customs when indulging in Dhaka’s nightlife to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  • Dynamic Entertainment Options: The nightlife in Dhaka mirrors the city’s dynamic and modernizing trends, offering a mix of traditional and contemporary entertainment options that appeal to both locals and expatriates.

Dhaka’s nightlife scene not only provides entertainment but also serves as a reflection of the city’s evolving cultural landscape, making it an integral part of the social fabric. Whether you seek a relaxed lounge environment, a vibrant club setting, or a cozy bar to unwind, Dhaka has a diverse range of options to cater to your preferences and ensure a memorable night out.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Dhaka presents a relatively affordable option compared to many Western cities, offering budget-friendly expenses for residents and visitors alike. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can range from $150 to $300 per month, making housing costs quite reasonable. Monthly utilities for an 85m2 apartment, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, average around $50 to $70, providing an economical living situation. When it comes to dining out, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Dhaka can cost around $2 to $4, allowing you to enjoy local cuisine without breaking the bank.

Public transportation costs in Dhaka are also low, with a one-way ticket on local transport averaging about $0.20. This makes getting around the city affordable and convenient for both residents and tourists. Whether you choose to use buses, rickshaws, or other modes of transportation, you can explore Dhaka without worrying about high travel expenses. Overall, the cost of living in Dhaka offers a cost-effective lifestyle with reasonable rent prices, affordable utilities, and budget-friendly transportation options.


In summarizing the overall aspects of Dhaka, the city’s unique blend of history, economy, and cultural heritage paints a multifaceted picture of a dynamic metropolis. Dhaka, as the capital city of Bangladesh, stands out for its vibrant population exceeding 21 million, making it one of the most densely populated cities globally. The city’s economy thrives on sectors such as finance, banking, real estate, and tourism, with the ready-made garment industry significantly boosting exports and driving economic growth.

When exploring Dhaka’s economic landscape, one can witness a bustling city serving as a central hub for trade, commerce, and industry. The presence of both local and multinational companies in prominent business districts like Motijheel underscores the city’s importance in the regional economy.

Moreover, Dhaka’s rich history and cultural significance are evident in landmarks such as the historic Lalbagh Fort, Ahsan Manzil, National Parliament House, and Dhakeshwari Temple. The fusion of modern economic activities with traditional heritage sites creates a unique tapestry that defines Dhaka’s identity as a city that embraces both its past and future aspirations.

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