Dhaka is the diverse capital and largest city of Bangladesh, situated on the east bank of the Buriganga River in the heart of the Bengal delta. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the wealthiest and most prosperous cities in the world, and many of the impressive tombs, mosques and palaces built in that time period remain standing in the city today.
As the economic, cultural and political center of Bangladesh, the city is crowded with not only people but with historic landmarks, culinary venues and cultural experiences.
One of the must-see landmarks in the city is Lalbagh Fort, a massive, incomplete, 17th-century Mughal fort complex next to the river, featuring a mosque, paintings and weapons. Experience the rich history and art for less than $6. You can also see the breathtaking Ahsan Manzil — the 1800s palace of the Nawabs of Dhaka, featuring a striking pink façade, towering dome and preserved period furnishings — for less than $4. Dhaka’s New Market is one of the oldest markets in the country, home to a seemingly endless number of antique shops, food stalls, clothing outlets, home décor stores and more. It’s a great place to get a feel for the city’s culture and a great place to buy some cheap, delicious food.
For some authentic, affordable Bangladesh gastronomy, head to Star, located in the Kawran Bazar. Popular dishes include Morog Polau and Mutton Nalli, both served in heaping amounts for only a couple dollars. Nirob Hotel Restaurant and Boomers Café are also great options for delicious food on a budget, with the average dish costing anywhere from $1–3. On a hot day, head to local hot spot Beauty Lacchi for a traditional Bangladeshi drink or to Apon Coffee House for its famous cold coffee.
Getting around Dhaka can be complicated because of traffic, but it’s usually cheap. CNGs are auto-rickshaws that resemble small taxis. They have meters, but most drivers prefer to bargain. Tempos are shared taxis that cost less than $1 on average, and buses are also available for less than $2.
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