You may be visiting Bangladesh for business, but that is no reason to limit your experience of the country to a boardroom and hotel in Dhaka. A fast moving, vibrant and colourful metropolis, the capital city is home to numerous commercial and cultural attractions. Discover the real Dhaka with our guide to some of the city’s must-see sights.
Featured Image Copyright: Jorg Hackemann
The first port of call for many newcomers to Bangladesh, the National Museum is the best place to glean an overview of the country’s cultural, religious and geographical history. Brush up on your Dhaka facts as you explore the floors of this sprawling museum and experience the city with a fresh perspective.
Catch a glimpse of Mughal magnificence at the 17th century Lalbagh Fort. Situated on the banks of the Buriganga River, this incomplete palace was commissioned by Prince Mohammed Azam, the third son of Emperor Aurangzeb. Although construction was later abandoned, certain areas of the fort were completed, including the Quilla Mosque, the Mausoleum of Pari Bibi and the Hall of Audience. The palace’s well-maintained gardens are another impressive feature and are the perfect place for some quiet reflection amongst the bustle of Old Dhaka.
As Bangladesh’s National Temple and Dhaka’s oldest and most prominent Hindu place of worship, Dhakeshwari Temple is the place to see modern life merge with ancient traditions. Thought to have been built during the 11th century, this impressive temple is considered the centre point of Dhaka’s Hindu community and is used daily. It is important to be considerate of this, but tourists are always welcome to visit and soak in the atmosphere, architecture and decorations of the temple.
Sylhet tea plantations
Visit the city of Sylhet for a complete change of pace. Surrounded by lush green countryside and terraced tea plantations, the intriguing aromas, beautiful landscapes and exotic flora and fauna of the Sylhet region make this a very worthy day trip from Dhaka. Train and luxury coach services run throughout the day from the capital to Sylhet or, alternatively, specialist tours direct from Dhaka to the tea plantations are available. For more information and advice on day trips, ask the knowledgeable staff at the 5-star Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka Hotel.
Image by Adam Jones, licensed under [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Rose Garden Palace
A stunningly preserved example of Mughal architecture, Rose Garden Palace was constructed in the 19th century as a high-class entertainment lodge. Its original features and character remain intact, as do its Corinthian columns, classical statues, large gardens and decorative pond. The house is private property, however visitors are permitted to visit for afternoon refreshments.
Copyright: Renee Vititoe
Known as the Pink Palace, the 19th century Ahsan Manzil is the former home of one of Dhaka’s wealthiest families. Escape the crowds to soak in the ambience of this grand palace and enjoy the river-bank perspective as you peruse the opulent snooker halls, bedrooms and ballroom.
Liberation War Museum
Learn the story of the 1971 War of Independence in the humbling, yet fascinating, Liberation War Museum. Although a few of the exhibits may be harrowing for some, the museum gives visitors an important insight into a critical aspect of Bangladesh’s recent history.
Sadarghat Boat Terminal
Copyright: David Mckee
Up your pace and really get a feel for Dhaka life with an early morning visit to Sadarghat Boat Terminal. As one of the largest ports in the world, there is nowhere better to soak in the atmosphere and mesmerising chaos of this south Asian megacity. Jostling for space with fishermen, cargo boats, canoes and ferries, take a trip across the Buriganga River on one of the wooden rowboats for a truly unique travel experience. Who said business trips had to be dull?
Have you ever visited Dhaka? What recommendations would you give first-time travellers to Bangladesh?