This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Dhaka. To help you make friends with Dhaka before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Both the capital and largest city of Bangladesh, Dhaka is situated on the eastern shores of Buriganga River. It is the world’s third most densely populated city, housing over seventeen million residents within its total 120-square mile (300-square kilometer) area. Consequently, life in the city is a wild ride amidst rickshaws, scooters, buses and taxis moving in every direction.
As the financial and administrative center of its country, Dhaka is well connected to nearby cities, countries and the rest of the world. The Shahjalal International Airport, close to the city’s center, sees a myriad of visitors and locals alike arriving and departing every day. Additionally, several highways, a railway and a port enable travel outside of the city. Within its borders, the city boasts many roads filled with many types of vehicles commuting about town.
Tourists arriving at the airport can take a taxi or rickshaw to reach their accommodations. The budget-minded traveler has only a few hostels to choose from in this bustling metropolis. Dhaka hostels are generally priced on the cheaper side of the spectrum and given average ratings by former guests. Since there are not many hostels to choose from, visitors traveling in pairs or groups might wish to stay in a hotel instead. When sharing a hotel room, each guest can easily end up spending less than or the equivalent of the cost of a hostel bed. Just be sure to bring along some insect repellent due to a large amount of mosquitoes in the tropical savanna climate.
Once you have found your ideal accommodation and safely stored all your belongings, you will be ready to start on your journey through Dhaka. Since you are visiting the “city of mosques,” there is no better way to begin your itinerary than to stop by one of the many places of worship. Tara Masjid, or Star Mosque, is a novel architectural delight. As you approach, a large star within an empty pool points the way to the mosque, which welcomes visitors with its nine large arches. On the rooftop are five majestic domes while four minarets line the sides of the building. Before entering into this active house of worship, guests respectfully remove shoes and cover heads in order to admire the intricate tile mosaics of countless stars and flowers.
There are endless stops to add to your Dhaka itinerary. Tourists can enjoy the sight of beautiful gardens such as Baldha Garden within the Old Dhaka district. Alternately, there are tombs, palaces, and forts to set your sights upon. Depending on the time of your visit, you might get a chance to experience the celebrations during a national holiday or partake in one of the city’s many fun-filled festivals.
Written by local enthusiast for Dhaka hostelsJakob Lombardi