Discover 10 things to do in Dhaka in 2023

Capital, largest city and economic, cultural and political center of Bangladesh, Dhaka is one of the 15 largest cities in the world (13th rank), a vast agglomeration housing 17 million people. Bangladesh, one of the countries with the highest population density in the world, brings together 160 million inhabitants in a territory equivalent to a quarter of Metropolitan France (143,998 km²). And it is a country often shunned by tourists, who favor India , Myanmar and Thailand .

Founded in the 10th century and capital of Bengal from 1608 to 1704, Dhaka covers 306.38 km² (3 times the size of Paris), and has been the country’s capital since secession from East Pakistan in 1971. The city is located on the left bank of the Buriganga River, an arm of the Dhaleswari River.

Not sure what to do in Dhaka? The city is full of activities to do and must-see sites to visit Dhaka. Here is our – non-exhaustive – list of things to see in Dhaka.

1. The bazaars of the old town

Bazar, Dacca

Photo credit: Flickr – Sudipta Arka Das

Often described as chaotic and overcrowded, the city of Dhaka is a giant open-air anthill: strolling through the streets of the historic center allows you to take the measure of it: traffic jams of rikshaws and tuk-tuks, it gets jammed even on foot because there are people absolutely everywhere. If you are agoraphobic, do not visit Dhaka. In the old town, the bazaars are unmissable: you will find a “merry brothel” where small stalls of clothes, jewellery, fruit and vegetable stalls, bracelets and other colorful souvenir items mingle.

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2. Lalbagh Fort

Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka

Photo credit: Flickr – Minhas Kamal

Lalbagh Fort is a Mughal fort dating from the 17th century (1678) and located in the old city. Built at the instigation of Prince Muhammad Aza, it was never finished. Fort Lalbagh is surrounded by an area of ​​7 hectares, with a mosque, the mausoleum of Para Bibi and the remains of an ancient wall. Archaeologists have discovered 26 or 27 ruins of buildings on the site that once served to supply water to gardens and fountains. The fort also served as a prison.

3. Bangladesh National Zoo

Bangladesh National Zoo, Dhaka

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Syed Sajidul Islam

What to do in Dhaka? The city is often shunned by travelers, who lament a small amount of things to do in Dhaka. However, here is a must do to visit Dhaka: the National Zoo of Bangladesh . Located in Mirpur (a sector of Dhaka), the zoo is home to many endemic and non-native animals, with a total of 2,150 animals from 134 different species. You can see cheetahs, rhinos, black bears, various monkeys, Bengal tigers, crocodiles, snakes, countless birds, etc. Founded in 1974, this 75-hectare zoo attracts more than 10,000 visitors a day and nearly 4 million people a year.

4. The National Museum of Bangladesh

National Museum of Bangladesh, Dhaka

Crédit photo : Flickr – Shadman Samee

Make a museum to visit Dhaka? If there was only one to do, we would retain the national museum : opened to the public in 1913, it houses exhibitions dedicated to history, world civilizations, archeology, ethnology, to contemporary and classical art. Many Hindu and Buddhist sculptures in stone and wood, metal or gold can be observed through 44 rooms. The museum exhibits works and objects ranging from prehistory to modern art. Discover, among other things, the works of Zainul Abedin , who represent and commemorate the misery and famine that struck Bangladesh after gaining independence.

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5. Ahsan Manzil Palace

Discover 10 things to do in Dhaka in 2023

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Ehsanul Siddiq Aranya

Nicknamed the “Pink Palace” for the color of its walls, Ahsan Manzil was the residential palace of a wealthy Nawab family from Dhaka. Built between 1859 and 1872 on the banks of the Buriganga River, it is now a national museum. Don’t know what to do in Dhaka anymore? Go through this palace, which is one of the city’s must-sees.

6. Dhakeshwari Temple

Temple Dhakeshwari, Dacca

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Ragib Hasan

Want to visit Dhaka and its historical treasures? The Dhakeshwari Temple is a Hindu building built in the 12th century. Owned by the state, it has been the most important Hindu center in the country since the destruction, in 1971, of the Ramna Kali Mandir temple.

7. Bangladeshi cuisine

Chicken Masala, Dacca

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Rajdeep Das

How to come and visit Dhaka without tasting its culinary charms? It is often said that the cuisine in Asia is delicious: it is not just a myth. Bengali dishes are fine, tasty and inexpensive: don’t miss the unmissable “  tehari dhakai yathirai  ”, a spicy dish made up of rice and beef. Also try the curries! The dishes include multiple spices, eggs, potatoes, tomatoes and aubergines. Dal – a lentil-like legume – is the second most consumed food after rice in Bangladesh! The main dishes are  pabda  (stromateidae),  rui  (rohu),  pangash  (pangas catfish),  chitol  (ocellated knifefish),  magur (frog catfish),  bhetki  (barramundi) and tilapia.

8. Dhaka Armenian Church

Dhaka Armenian Church

Photo credit: Flickr – David Stanley

You do not know what to do after having “broken your stomach” in restaurants and bazaars? Visit the Armenian Church , listed as a national heritage of Bangladesh! Of Orthodox Christian obedience, it is located in the district of Armanitola, in the old town. Built in 1781, the building proves the strong Armenian presence in the region between the 17th and 18th centuries. The Armenian community having fled the city, the church is today less a place of worship than a museum.

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9. Hussaini Dalan

Hussaini Dalan, Dacca

Photo credit: Flickr – David Stanley

Initially built in the 17th century under the Mughal Empire, the Hussaini Dalan was the house of the imam of the Shiite community of Dhaka: it was the place where the  majlis (a kind of legislative assembly) and  muharram gatherings took place.  (first month of the Muslim calendar, one of the four sacred months of Islam). Damaged by the 1897 earthquake, the building was renovated and today has a flat roof, dominating a mixture of Mongolian and British architecture. At night, the lights of Dhaka illuminate the facades and draw its shadow in the body of water adjoining it.

10. Ramna Park

Ramna Park, Dhaka

Photo credit : Wikipedia – Salim_Khandoker

Just east of the University of Dhaka, there is a green setting with its homonymous lake where one may want to go to recharge their batteries and escape the permanent bustle of the city center: Ramna Park , with Shikha Chirantony , the monument on which the eternal flame flickers, and which symbolizes the immortality of the Bangladeshi nation. Several thousand people go there every day. So, to find a deserted place, we will pass! Nevertheless, you can stroll there early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon and stroll among various species of trees, it will always be better than smelling the hydrocarbons of the Grands Boulevards!

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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