48 Hours and $100 in… Dhaka

Howdy all and welcome to what will be the final ’48 Hours and $100 in…’ for the year. I really enjoy the challenge of doing these posts because it makes me think and research and it’s like I am actually planning to go to the featured location even though I am stuck in Melbourne in the day to day of life. However – this post is significant because I am actually planning to hit Dhaka next year (if my passport with visa inside ever actually returns to me!), and that is the first little hint/reveal of next year’s travel plans for you. There will be more to come. I will say that next week will be the last ‘Destination of the Month’ for the year and that will also be significant!

From mapsoftheworld dot com

Dhaka is the chaotic, mesmerising and epic capital of Bangladesh, and probably not the first destination you would turn for a quick getaway, but it is a brilliant place to visit and one that will open and blow you mind both at the same time. We have the best part of two days and one night, $100, arrive early morning on a flight on day one (flights not included in the $100) and fly out late on day two. What can we see and do? Where can we stay?

I usually like to start with accommodation. It’s the major expense wherever you go so we need to find a decent room for a decent price. Recently I have been booking the majority of my places through Agoda, I have found Agoda actually seem to beat Booking.com for price and also have the best cancellation policies which is super important these days. Sorry… not supposed to be an advertisement!

The Starlink Hotel is 2.2km from the centre of town and on Agoda it’s just under $20USD. 8.9 out of 10 rating, it seems to be a decent choice. Otel Suites is a little more, just under $30 and has an even better rating. For a cheap but decent stay, Dhaka seems to have quite a few options in the ‘budget but not bottom of the barrel’ category, so let’s put aside $30USD for a place to stay for the night, preferably with breakfast.

Looking at getting into the city and back to the airport, the taxi fare (prepaid) from the airport is around $12 – 14USD, so that’s a decent dent into the budget, we are already up to $58. Then we need food and transport around the city. To mitigate the expense we can try the regular buses that service the airport – I am going to say one direction, back to the airport because being dumped by a bus in the middle of Dhaka is not desirable after a long flight. That might be $1-2 so let’s say a total of $17 both ways from and to the airport, now we are at $47, still over half our money in our pocket.

Getting around town you are best to use auto-rickshaws (tuks-tuks) to keep the costs down. This does mean haggling and being aware that they are not the safest things on the road. Put aside $12 for them and I think we are more than good, $59 spent, $41 left.

Food now, I think if you eat at local places $20 will see you do alright. You’ll need to buy water with that or bring purification tablets as the water is not to be drunk under any circumstances. Really at a little local restaurant a couple of bucks will get you a big curry, bread and water in a bottle. Let’s say $21 to make it an even $20 for site seeing. Which doesn’t seem like much, but let’s see what that gets us!

Ahaan Manzil

Ahsan Manzil is known as the Pink Palace and is a beautiful historic waterfront mansion and the first building in Bangladesh to have electricity connected. The cost is 500 Taka, which works out to be just under $5 and this is probably the most expensive site we will go to in Dhaka.

There are a couple of main museums you might check out in Dhaka, the National Museum for one but that’s another $5. The Liberation War Museum tells the story of the fight for Bangladesh to gain its independence back in the 1970s from Pakistan, as they were technically part of Pakistan for many years following the partition of 1948. I can’t get a clear picture on how much this one costs but I am guessing it would be the same price – 500 taka, which is a little under $5USD. If you want to see a museum, this is the one to see to really learn about the history of modern Bangladesh.

The Lalbagh Fort is one place that is significant, recommended and I haven’t been yet so I will try and rectify that next time in Dhaka. At 200 Taka, less than $2, so I think that’s definitely on the list. I also think taking a boat for a short time on the Bandiagara River, which you can bargain right down to less than $1, is a worthwhile thing to do. They leave from a spot very close to the Ahsan Manzil.

We can make up the rest of the time by checking out temples, mosques and gardens, which generally are free of charge for the visitor. The Crescent Lake Gardens for example are worth a wander and are across from the National Assembly Building. You can do a tour for a price, but you can get a decent look at this interesting if grey concrete structure from the outside. You might check out the interesting buildings of Dhaka University too. Consider the Star Mosque, the Hindu Dhakeswari Temple, and there’s also an Armenia Church you could check out.

And then take the time to meet a few of the locals, Bangladeshis are friendly and curious and often happy to chat!

And I think that’s plenty we can squeeze in under 2 days and $100. And you’ll find Dhaka overwhelming but fascinating at the time I am sure! Thanks for popping by today wherever you are reading this post from. May the Journey Never End!


8 thoughts on “48 Hours and $100 in… Dhaka

  1. Decent job! Maybe it’s the trauma of the pandemic, but I’m no longer attracted to countries with so much promiscuity due to population density. It will take a period of rehabilitation and reading about your new adventures in Dhaka may help.

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