Dhaka, the bustling capital city of Bangladesh, is a vibrant metropolis known for its rich history, diverse culture, and chaotic charm. For those pondering things to do in Dhaka, exploring the Lalbagh Fort, a 17th-century Mughal fortress, and visiting the Jatiyo Sangsad Bhaban, the National Parliament House designed by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, are top activities.
The city’s bustling Sadarghat River Port offers a glimpse into the daily life of the locals, with boats of all sizes ferrying people and goods along the Buriganga River. Nearby, the Ahsan Manzil, also known as the Pink Palace, provides a peek into the life of the Dhaka Nawab family.
Beyond its historical and cultural attractions, Dhaka is also known for its culinary scene, with numerous restaurants and street food stalls offering a taste of traditional Bangladeshi cuisine. For those seeking the best places to visit in Bangladesh, Dhaka’s blend of historical significance, cultural richness, and gastronomic delights makes it a captivating destination.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Dhaka, Bangladesh
1. Lalbagh Fort
Lalbagh Fort is an incomplete 17th-century Mughal fortress complex that stands before the Buriganga River in the southwestern part of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The architecture is a blend of Mughal and local traditions, and the fort is one of the most prominent historical attractions in the city.
Travel Tip: Visit near the end of the day to enjoy the softer light for photography and cooler temperatures.
2. Ahsan Manzil
Once the official residential palace and seat of the Nawab of Dhaka, Ahsan Manzil, with its distinctive pink hue and majestic domes, now serves as a national museum. It showcases the history of the area and offers insight into the life of the upper class during the period of British rule.
Travel Tip: Check for any cultural events that might be happening during your visit for an extra special experience.
3. Dhakeshwari Temple
Dhakeshwari Temple is the most important Hindu temple in Bangladesh, dedicated to the goddess Dhakeshwari. It has been an integral part of the community for centuries and reflects the religious diversity of Dhaka.
Travel Tip: Dress modestly out of respect for the religious site and try to visit during off-peak hours to avoid the crowds.
4. Sadarghat River Port
One of the largest river ports in the world, Sadarghat is bustling with activity. Visitors can witness the vibrancy of life along the Buriganga River, with hundreds of boats of all sizes ferrying passengers to various destinations.
Travel Tip: For a unique perspective, consider taking a short boat ride on the river but be prepared for a chaotic, albeit authentic, experience.
5. National Parliament House
Designed by the renowned architect Louis Kahn, the National Parliament House (Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban) is one of the 20th century’s architectural masterpieces. The complex is a marvel of modern architecture and is surrounded by water and spacious gardens.
Travel Tip: You may need special permission to enter, so check in advance. Even if you can’t get inside, the exterior and gardens are worth a visit.
6. Bangladesh National Museum
The Bangladesh National Museum in Dhaka holds extensive collections from the region’s history, from ancient times to the modern-day, including art, classical and contemporary works, and a rich compilation of flora and fauna.
Travel Tip: Allocate several hours to fully appreciate the extensive exhibits.
7. Dhaka Zoo
Home to a wide variety of local and exotic animals, Dhaka Zoo is a place where families come to see wildlife and enjoy picnics in the green spaces.
Travel Tip: Visit early in the morning when the animals are most active and the venue is less crowded.
8. Star Mosque
Star Mosque, also known as Tara Masjid, is famous for its distinct architecture embellished with blue stars made of mosaic tiles. It’s a functioning mosque that also attracts visitors with its aesthetic appeal.
Travel Tip: Non-Muslim visitors should plan to visit outside of prayer times, and everyone should dress modestly.
FAQ About Things to Do in Dhaka, Bangladesh
What are the must-see landmarks in Dhaka?
Key landmarks in Dhaka worth visiting include the Lalbagh Fort, the 17th-century Mughal fortification, Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace), the National Parliament House designed by Louis Kahn, and the Star Mosque adorned with blue stars.
Can visitors explore the National Museum of Bangladesh?
Yes, the National Museum of Bangladesh is open to visitors and offers a rich collection of Bangladeshi art, history, and artifacts. It’s an ideal place for history buffs and anyone interested in learning about the country’s heritage.
Is there a place for nature lovers in Dhaka?
Nature enthusiasts can visit the Ramna Park, a vast green area perfect for picnics and leisurely walks, or the Dhaka Botanical Garden, which features local plant species and a serene environment.
What activities are available at Hatirjheel?
Hatirjheel is a modern development in Dhaka offering a picturesque lake with bridges, walkways, and areas for boating. It’s especially beautiful at night when the area is lit up with colorful lights.
Are there any traditional markets to visit in Dhaka?
Certainly! Dhaka is home to numerous bazaars such as New Market and Shankharia Bazaar, where you can experience the hustle and bustle of local life, find traditional goods, textiles, and souvenirs.
Can I visit the Sadarghat River Port?
Yes, Sadarghat is one of the largest river ports in the world and a bustling area that showcases the lively riverine culture of Bangladesh. A boat ride from here is a good way to see Dhaka from a different perspective.
What historical mosques can I visit in Dhaka?
Dhaka has several historical mosques, including the Seven Domed Mosque, the Baitul Mukarram – National Mosque of Bangladesh, and the Star Mosque, each reflecting unique architectural styles and historical significance.
Are there any entertainment and shopping venues in Dhaka?
Yes, for shopping and entertainment, you can visit the Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, the largest mall in Bangladesh, or Dhaka’s numerous other shopping centers and markets offering a wide variety of goods and local crafts.