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to do in Dhaka
Between 20°34 and 26°38' north latitude between 88°01 and 92°41
North: India West: India South: Bay of Bengal East: India and
The country covers an area of 57,295 sq miles / 148.393 sq km
- approximately the size of England and Wales combined.
climate of Bangladesh is sub-tropical
- November to February
- March to June
- July to October
degrees C (average rainfall 1194 - 3454 mm)
the winter months (November to February), temperatures are high
throughout the year. The hottest months are May to July. Relative
humidity between 80 and 90 percent also makes these the most uncomfortable
months. Some slight relief from the heat is provided by the monsoon
rains from June to August.
Winter, the most pleasant season in Bangladesh, is dry,
sunny and comfortably warm. March sees a change, often a sudden
one in the weather with a marked rise in both temperature and
There are 5 main cities in Bangladesh: Dhaka, Chittagong,
Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet. Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh,
Chittagong is the sea port with a British Council office and Sylhet
has the largest British - Bangladeshi community.
of currency is called the 'Taka' (not sub-divided)
exchange rate is approximately
of currency: Notes: Tk.500,100, 50, 20,10, 5, 2, 1
Currency exchange subject to changes in exchange rate &
Government office hours are: Saturday to Wednesday - 0900-1600
Thursday - 0900-1430
Office hours are usually shorter during Ramadan (Ramzan)
Banking hours: Saturday to Wednesday - 0900-1500
Thursday - 0900-1300
The latest census figures show a population of 124.4 million.
GDP per capita is USD25.2.
The population growth rate remains at about 2.2% per year.
The majority of the population live in the rural areas.
Agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP and 65% of employment.
The population of the capital city Dhaka is estimated at over
Bengali (Bangla) is the official language although English is
widely understood and spoken in Dhaka and larger towns.
The literacy rate is optimistically reported as 35.3 of the population
over 15 years old, 47% male and 22% female (Source: UNESCO, Paris,
Statistical Yearbook, 1994).
The state religion is Islam. There are also Hindus, Buddhists
and Christians in Bangladesh.
Christians & Others 1%
The domestic air services of Bangladesh Biman (the national carrier)
connects Dhaka with: Chittagong, Rajshahi, Jessore, Sylhet - daily.
Cox's Bazar, Ishurdi, Saidpur - two or three times a week.
There are also two private airlines operating to the above destinations:
GMG and Air Parabat. The British Council can provide schedules
The rail network covers the whole country except the Barisal and
Tangail districts. Rail travel is inexpensive by comparison to
Britain. There are now fast train services. First class travel
is advised to avoid over-crowded conditions.
Conventional taxis, black saloons with yellow tops, are available
at the main hotels and the airport and are very expensive. Yellow
coloured cabs are now available. These run on meters. The main
hotels run an airport to city bus service which is much cheaper.
Rental cars are also available in the city and outside Dhaka.
First 2 km
Thereafter per km
One minute wait
What to do in
The capital city of Bangladesh is Dhaka. The offices of the Central
Government and the Diplomatic missions are based there. Dhaka
is a sprawling city with few landmarks and newcomers usually take
some time to find their sense of direction.
old town crowded along the River Buriganga is the
site of most of the tourist attractions, the Lalbagh Fort,
the Star Mosque, Nawab Ahsan Manzil and the Armenian Church.
spacious parkland suburb of Ramna. Most of the
Government offices, two universities and the British Council
are located in this area. The Secretariat Building which
houses most Government Ministries is in Abdul Ghani Road.
In colonial times Ramna was the administrative headquarters
for East Bengal and several splendid buildings, principally
Curzon Hall and the Supreme Court, survive from this period.
of Ramna and beyond the National Stadium lies the commercial
area of Motijheel. Most of the large business houses
and international firms and banks (Standard Chartered
and Grindlays) are found in these areas. The British Council
manages and runs a British Council Information Centre
situated in the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
of Ramna and the Mirpur Road are the residential areas
of Dhanmondi, Lalmatia and Mohammadpur. The residential
character of Dhanmondi is changing as more houses are
converted into offices. The offices of most of the United
Nations agencies are located in Dhanmondi, as are those
of many international voluntary organisations. The British
Council's Teaching Centre is located in Dhanmondi.
the lower end of Mirpur Road are the shopping areas of
New Market and Elephant Road. Horrendously busy
but often worth it.
Nagar, the site of the intended second capital in
Pakistani days is dominated by the massive new National
Assembly. The neighbouring red brick buildings are the
houses of senior Government officials. The whole complex
is the work of the American architect Louis Khan. The
Planning Commission, the Agriculture Complex (Farmgate)
and the Jute Research Institute are all in this area.
Banani and Baridhara
on the north side of the town in the direction of the
Zia International Airport, are the new residential areas.
The majority of the expatriate community live in these
areas. The British High Commission and most diplomatic
missions are in Gulshan or Baridhara. A new British High
Commission building was completed in Baridhara in 1992.
to what to do in Dhaka
Suhrawardy Uddyan (Garden) : At a stone's throw
from Dhaka Sheraton Hotel is the Suhrawardy Uddyan, formerly known
as the 'race cource', the popular park of the city. It is here
that the oath for independence of Bangladesh was taken on the
7th March 1971 and curiously enough it is again here that the
commander of the occupied forces surrendered on the 16th December
Shishu Park: The Child Education & Recreation Park is
also located in a corner of Suhrawardy Uddyan.
National Assembly Complex: Sangsad Bhaban, the National
Assembly Complex in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar designed by the famous
architect Luis I Khan has distinctive architectural features.
Baldha Garden: Baldha Garden has collection of rare plants
Ramna Green: Ramna Park is a vast stretch of green ground
surrounded by a serpentine lake.
Zoological garden: Called Mirpur Zoo, is situated at Mirpur
16 km NW of Dhaka, on 230 acres of land.
Botanical Garden: Built over an area of 205 acres of land
at Mirpur just east of the Zoo. - The gardens were designated
as a place for botanical education, research, preservation of
plants and some recreation.
Bara Katra: This building of grand scale, now almost in
ruins, is one of the most important remains of the Mughal period
in Dhaka. It is of the type of 'Katra' with a gigantic frontage
towards the river Buriganga. It was built by Abul Qasim, Dewan
of Shah Shuja in 1644 A.D. It served the purpose of a caravanseral.
Chota Katra: Situated about 200 yards east of Bara Katra,
Chota Katra was built in 1663 A.D. by Nawab Shaista Khan. This
is of similar plan and purpose as the Bara Katra but is smaller
National Museum: The Museum contains a large number of
interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of
the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods as well as inscriptions
of the Holy Quran in Arabic and Persian letters and Bengali works
in the Arabic script. The museum also has a rich collection of
old coins, metal images, books on art, ivory and silver filigree
Ahsan Manzil Museum: On the bank of the river Buriganga
in Dhaka the pink majestic Ashan Manzil has been renovated and
turned into a museum recently. It is an epitome of the nation's
rich cultural heritage. It was the home of the Nawab of Dhaka
and a silent spectator to many events. Today's renovated Ahsan
Manzil is a monument of immense historical beauty. It has 31 rooms
with a huge dome atop which can be seen from miles around. It
now has 23 galleries in 31 rooms displaying portraits, furniture
and household articles and utensils used by the Nawab.
National Art Gallery: Situated in the Shilpakala Academy
premises it has a representative collection of folk art and painting
by artists of Bangladesh.
National Park: Situated at Rajendarpur, 40 km due north
of old Dhaka, within Joydebpur Police Station in the magnificent
Bhawal region of Dhaka-Trishal-Mymensingh highway, this is a vast
(1,600 acres) national recreational forest, ideal for those who
National Memorial: Located at Savar, in the suburb of
Dhaka city is the National Memorial. It was built to commemorate
the martyrs of the war of independence. Jahangirnagar University
and its sprawling campus is also located nearby. An attractive
village bazar (hat) is held at Savar every Saturday and Tuesday
where typical Bangladeshi sweets, vegetables, fish, seasonal fruits
and handicrafts are available. Sonargaon: About 29 km from Dhaka,
Sonargaon is one of the oldest capitals of Bengal. It was
the seat of Deva Dynasty until the 13th centrury. From then onward
till the advent of the Mughals, Sonargaon was a subsidiary capital
of the Sultanate of Bengal. Among the ancient monuments still
intact are the Tomb of Sultan Ghiasuddin (1399-1409 A.D.), the
shrines of Panjpirs and Shah Abdul Alla and a beautiful mosque
in Goaldi village. A folk Art Museum has been established at Sonargaon.
BPC Head Office Complex: The Head Office Complex of Bangladesh
Parjatan Corporation at Airport Road also houses Tourist Information
Centre, Rent-a-Car, Sightseeing Tours and Parjatan Accommodation
Sightseeing Tours: Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation runs conducted
sightseeing tours from its Tourist Information Centre at Dhaka
Sheraton Hotel. The Corporation operates a number of other interesting
sightseeing tours around the Dhaka City (tel: 8119192). For the
transit passengers the Corporation also runs special city sightseeing
tours from the Tourist information Centre, Zia International Airport,
Additionally, a private company (Guide Tours) offers a
number of tours within Bangladesh. They are used by the British
Council and most expatriates and come highly recommended.
to what to do in Dhaka
There are many places of interest outside Dhaka City.
The Sundarban Forest: This area is the largest remaining
single tropical mangrove forest in the world, covering an area
of 5770 sq km of both land and water. The western part of the
forest lies in the India, while the rest - about 60% - is in Bangladesh.
Although wildlife is not as abundant as might be expected, there
are still a few Royal Bengal Tigers, as well as monkeys, crocodiles,
snakes, wild boars, innumerable spotted deer and water birds.
Cox's Bazar lies 150km south to Chittagong. The
beach is supposedly the longest beach in the world and stretches
120km down to the Myanmar border.
The tea country around Sylhet Tea is Bangladesh's
third largest export after garments and labour. Most of the country's
tea plantations are situated in the north-east region of the country
around Sylhet and Srimongol. It is well worth arranging a visit
to this area - the rolling hills covered in tropical forests,
orange groves, pineapple plantations and over 150 tea plantations
are very picturesque and a nice contrast to the flatness of most
There are a lot of good restaurants in Dhaka City. For details
see the attached "The GEC Guide to "Eating Out in Dhaka". (Currently
updating) Since the publication of "Eating Out in Dhaka"
a number of new restaurants have opened. The British Council can
provide names on request.
Bargaining is part of shopping in Bangladesh. Few places have
"fixed prices" so bargaining is expected.
Where to shop:
(Dhaka Improvement Trust): Furniture, groceries, household appliances,
stationery, clothes and tailors, fruit and vegetables. Opening
hours 9.00 am to 8.00 pm. Some shops may close at 3.00 PM for
a few hours.
DIT 2 : Fresh produce, shops and restaurants. Brass
shops and art galleries that also do framing. Sports equipment,
electrical goods etc.
Aarong: Tejgaon - Gulshan Link Road (new). This shop is modern
spacious and offers plenty of products. These range from furniture
to clothes. The other attraction of this shop is the "Grass Roots
Cafe" where excellent milkshakes are to be found. Another branch
of Aarong situated on Mirpur Road opposite of Manik Mia Avenue
near the Sangsad Bhaban.
Banga Bazar: Crowded but a good place to scour cheap, clothing
from Garment factories.