With an estimated population of 12 million people squeezed into a relatively small area, Dhaka is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. It has a traffic system that is entirely chaotic, where much of the public transport is powered by human beings, because Dhaka is considered to be the rickshaw capital of the world.
Bangladesh is located on the Bay of Bengal and Dhaka is on the delta plains of the nearby Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers, both of which carry melt water from the Himalayas and which swell quite markedly during the monsoon season, making Bangladesh one of the most flood-prone nations in the world.
Despite the crowded living conditions, Dhaka is also a city of parks and, because of the amount of water that can inundate the city, it also has many lakes, so it actually is possible to escape the cacophony of the streets. One of these is Ramna Park, which covers 69 acres of land that is planted with any trees and flowers and which also contains a lake.
At the heart of Dhaka is Chowk Bazaar, which is the hub of the old city. This bazaar consists of a maze of winding streets and lanes where many tall, dilapidated buildings stand cheek by jowl. Finding your way around can be confusing at first, particularly as the streets are all filled with an amazing variety of traffic, including carts that are laden with goods to fill the shelves of the shops.
Usually you will find the shops at street level, with the top levels occupied by residents. You can find an amazing range of products in the Chowk Bazaar.
Dhala also boasts a number of traditional markets as well as modern shopping malls. One of the latest to be constructed is the Jamuna Future Park, which is built in one of the better areas of Dhaka and which boasts many of the big international names in retail. Its official opening has been delayed, but JFP is claimed to be the world’s third largest shopping mall.
Bangladesh is a Muslim country and Dhaka is said to have about several hundred mosques. Therefore, when visiting Dhaka it is important, especially for women, to dress modestly as a mark of respect for local beliefs.
To be fair, the city is not renowned for its tourism potential, and it is a destination for adventurers; but if you wish to observe a very ebullient and seething form of humanity then Dhaka should not disappoint.