Dhaka, a buzzing, ancient capital
Full of Mosques, old palaces and temples dating from the days of the Moghuls and beyond, Bangladesh's capital city Dhaka has a timeless quality. However, in recent times, technology has seen some fast changes, and the city now has some striking modern architecture and sculptures too. It's still the seat of government and has a very lively, colourful pace.
Dhaka throughout the year
Dhaka is hit by the monsoon season from June to September, and stormy weather from April to June. The best time to go is therefore from mid September to March when it's dry and warm. Try February, when the Dhaka Art Summit and World music festivals take place, or January when, Chobi Mela happens (photography festival). Islamic and Hindu festivals celebrated include, Eid el Fitr and Adha, and Kali Puja (dates vary).
Before you get to Dhaka
British passport holders need a visa. These are obtainable from the Bangladesh High Commission.
Visitors should ensure that passports are valid at least till the end of their holiday. Make sure you're up to date on inoculations for Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid, and consider Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies depending on where you're going. Luckily, the risk of malaria in Dhaka is low.
Bengali is the main language here, with Urdu and Hindu also spoken, and some residents speak English too. Day to day costs are also very much lower than in the UK, and eating out costs about Tk 60. Try the Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara districts for good restaurants.
Getting about Dhaka
Note, that the airport departure tax of BDT300 is mostly included in flight ticket prices. Dhaka's airport, Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, is 20 km north of Dhaka. The public Airport Bus from the Airport Road is 5 mins walk from the terminal and will cost around BDT 10 to Gulistan Bus station. Be aware, however, that buses are overcrowded, so avoid if you have bulky or heavy luggage. A taxi will charge about BDT 400 (set price first) and this takes about 30 minutes to reach central Dhaka. Cheap hotels are about Tk 60 per night, and medium priced rooms can be found for roughly Tk 4,100. Cycle rickshaws for short hops (15 mins.) are between about Tk 30 to 50 (negotiate). Auto rickshaws are normally metered and prices set: 8 km for about TK 150-250 (Tk 25 for first 2 km then Tk 7 per km). Taxis are also metered and cost from Tk 25, but check fares with the driver. Yellow cabs have air conditioning. Buses are usually very crowded and slow due to traffic, and passengers should buy tickets at bus counters beforehand.