Discovering Dhaka: A Guide for First-Time Tourists

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Would you like an escape from today's fast-paced lifestyle? Are you willing to visit a place that may be radically different from the world's most talked about tourist attractions, that even the word "exotic" will seem like a terrible understatement? Then gear up and pick an Asian destination! Pack your bags, get together with a group of friends or family members, and book a trip to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh at a Glance
Bangladesh is located in Bengal, which is the eastern region of South Asia. The modern-day Bangladeshi speak Bengali, an Indo-Aryan language that is also spoken by the people of West Bengal, an Indian state, and some parts of two more Indian states - Tripura and Assam.
Going on a vacation will not only allow you a much-needed break. Learning everything you can about a new place is stimulating and enriching. So to make the most of your trip, take time to explore several of the must-see tourist attractions in Bangladesh. Let's start with Dhaka, the capital city.
The city in itself is a melting pot of commercial, industrial, educational, and political activity. The sight of rickshaws in a place that is reeking of progress is proof that it has remained true to its heritage, and lends a certain mystique that the worldliest of travelers will find intriguing.
Why Go to Dhaka?
The most compelling reason? Dhaka offers a unique experience that's very diverse from the West, and there's a place and an activity to suit every type of traveler.
Wari in Old Dhaka boasts of the Baldha Garden, the brainchild of the late Narendra Narayan Roy, which was Baldha's landlord. Established in 1904, the garden's vast collection of indigenous and exotic plants will have botanists and naturalists delighted.
If you want an escape from the chaos of the city, the National Botanical Garden, spread out on 205 acres of land in Mirpur, will provide a safe haven. Hit two birds (no pun intended!) with one stone by learning about local and foreign animals at Dhaka Zoo, which is situated next to the Garden.
For the historian and lover of literature and the arts, as well as the dilettantes, start with the Bangladesh National Museum at the suburb of Shahbag. The Museum hosts an interesting exhibit of paintings and sculptures from the Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist periods. Right next door is a public library.
The pleasure seeker may avail of discounted services at a spa, while shoppers may look for the best buys at Bashundhara City, which houses South Asia's largest shopping center and closest replica to Asia's sprawling malls.
Where Should You Stay?
You must make it a priority to look for a place where you can be assured of comfort. If you're on a budget, there are hotels that charge lower-than-usual rates, but don't conform to extremely high standards of cleanliness. Also, you have to settle for amenities that offer only minimal convenience.
If you can afford to spend more, look into furnished apartments, guesthouses, or flats where a number of guests can share accommodation expenses. If you're combining business with pleasure and going with your colleagues from the workplace, there are luxury hotels like Hotel Milina, located at the sixth sector of Uttaka, with a trained staff to assist you in planning your corporate events.
Safety is Crucial
Going on a trip is almost equivalent to having an adventure, and your excitement may cause you to overlook safety measures. Secure whatever bags or personal belongings you may own. Dhaka is far from being a dangerous place, but just like any large and bustling city, it's not completely devoid of crime, and incidents of bag-snatching while riding a rickshaw have been reported by tourists.
While this has not been an exhaustive list about everything that you can explore in Dhaka, this guide will help you course through the nitty-gritty details of planning your trip.
Have fun!
Ronali Dela Cruz is a blogger, freelance writer, proofreader, and reviews diners and tourist attractions on
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