Wherever you go in Dhaka you will be approached by beggars who have absolutely nothing but if you are seen giving to one, you will find yourself surrounded by others, so it may seem hard but my advice is to give to none of them. Once i saw a man arrive on his rickshaw, placed a plastic sheet on the ground, then arranged a black umbrella to shade his son, who he placed on the plastic with a begging bowl and cycled off. The young boy had only stumps for arms and legs. I often wonder how long it would be before the father (i assumed it was the father) would return to collect the earnings!
Avoid the monsoon
It may sound like an obvious piece of advice, but unless you have experienced the monsoon you may think that you might go to Dhaka anyway even if it might be a bit drizzly. Think again. The rain gives the word 'torrential' a whole new dimension of meaning and the atmosphere becomes very unhealthy indeed. Work forced me to visit just at the beginning of the monsoon season. I got off the plane as the rain started. It was as if a little posse of demons were continually pouring great vats of water over me. In the time it took for me to drive from the airport to my hotel I contracted a nasty chest infection. While there I had to deal with endless brown outs caused by the rain and negotiate flooded roads. Quite awful. I am sure that Dhaka can be a lovely place when outside of the monsoon season. However, when the monsoon is on it is a well of misery that is full to overflowing.
TRUCK STOP..Confirmed Darwin Award
Confirmed Darwin Award
March 2002, Bangladesh | Six highway robbers, who had apparently watched too many gangster movies, were caught in their own trap when they blocked a bypass with their car at midnight. The driver of an oncoming truck carrying a cargo of cows was unable to halt his heavy vehicle in time. The truck rolled right through the blockade, crushing the car and its scheming occupants. Five dacoits died, and the sixth was critically wounded.
A cow was also killed in the accident.
Reference: The Bangladesh Independent
If you're only going to be in Dhaka a short time, make sure you get an official receipt from the money changer when you are getting your Bangladeshi Taka. Without that receipt you cannot change the Taka back into a 'transportable' currency. Good luck finding a bank outside Bangladesh that will change Taka!
Traffic, traffic and more traffic
When on business travel (or just about any other types of travel) in Dhaka, one should be very conscious about local traffic conditions in making schedules. For meetings across the city, give some 45-60 minute allowance for travel time. Better yet, request your business associate to meet you at your hotel. One, however, misses the interesting snippets of cultural vista available to souls who dare navigate Dhaka's very unproductive traffic conditions.
- Business Travel
Are you going to travel on?
Are you going to travel on from Bangladesh?
Well if you, like us, plan to get out of the country by foot, rather than by plane, you have to obtain a "Road Permit". This is issued by the Passport and Immigration office in Dhaka, and you may want to set a couple of days aside to obtain it. No kidding. It took forever, and I am not sure how we actually got it in the end. A helpful Bangladeshi man helped us on our 1000th or so visit to the office. How he did it? Well I don't wish to speculate...
- Road Trip
Though I never once felt in danger...
Though I never once felt in danger it may be wise to stay away from large political gatherings because violence between rival political parties is rampant throughout Bangladesh. There have been numerous bombings in the past.
- Budget Travel
You can obtain a visa on...
You can obtain a visa on arrival at Dhaka Int'l Airport, but that may be expensive. The fee varies from country by country, Hungarians need to pay one of the highest fees, cca USD80(!). As commmon sense dictates, do not go around showing your valuables, Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world but has to offer a lot if you are open for a unique experience.
Always boil water before...
Always boil water before drinking. If you're thinking of camping outdoors, beware of mosquitos the size of eagles (well, almost). Don't keep giving to beggars...it's okay to give once in a while, but you'll be broke if you try to help them all. Best thing to do is work with a charity organization.