Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, might be expensive for the settlers, but it is incredibly cheap for foreign tourists. Today I’ll give you an insight into How Expensive is Dhaka for travellers. And I’ll also tell you why and how it is expensive for expatriates and the people living here.
You can find accommodation in a decent hotel at a low price in Bangladesh. The cost of accommodation in Dhaka will be a bit more compared to other cities, but it still lies within the budget of a backpacker.
If you want to have a luxurious stay during your trip to Bangladesh, you can book a 5-star hotel room for as low as Tk. 5000($ 58.04) and as high as Tk. 15000($ 174.12) per night in Dhaka.
If you are okay with living in a low-budget to a mid-range hotel, you can stay in any 3/4 star hotel in Dhaka for Tk. 1000-Tk, 4000($ 11.61-$ 46.430 per night.
You will get a medium-sized room and complimentary breakfast at such a price. Other random facilities that you expect from any hotel will also be available in these 3/4 star hotels. But as the tourism industry of Bangladesh is still not at a high level, you have to be careful while booking a hotel room. So, check out the reviews first.
There are no such things as Airbnb in Bangladesh, but there is Couchsurfing. Through Couchsurfing, you might be invited to stay in people’s homes, and it is entirely free. If you accept their invitation, you’ll be able to save a lot of your money on accommodation and food.
Moreover, you’ll get to learn more about the hospitality of the local people, culture, and cuisine of Bangladesh. But if you’re scared or not a fan of Couchsurfing, you can stay in any hotel as the prices aren’t much high.
When you’re in Bangladesh, you’d be shocked at the prices of food. Food in Bangladesh is cheaper than that in India. You can have a fulfilling breakfast in any local restaurant for only Tk. 20-Tk. 50($ 0.23-$ 0.58). The breakfast includes roti/paratha, vegetable curry, and daal. Most hotels, be it 3,4, or 5-star, offer complimentary breakfast.
For lunch or dinner, you can either choose a busy local restaurant or a fine dining restaurant. If you go to a local restaurant, you will get fresh and yummy food for around Tk. 100-Tk. 200($ 1.16-$ 2.32). But local restaurants are always busy and crowded with people so you might not feel very comfortable there.
In Bangladesh, fine dining restaurants tend to have a large dining area, and they don’t always remain crowded. Food prices in such restaurants won’t still be more than Tk. 700($ 8.13).
Local restaurants would serve you local cuisines. On the other hand, most fine dining restaurants serve different continental and intercontinental dishes. You can also have a buffet lunch or dinner in a buffet restaurant or a 4/5-star hotel in Dhaka.
The price of the buffet is really surprising. For example, some restaurants have a buffet of 50-60 items for only Tk. 600-Tk. 900($ 6.96-$ 10.45). Again, some hotels have a buffet price of Tk. 5000-Tk. 10000($ 58.04-$ 116.08). If you are Couchsurfing, the hosts might offer you lunch or dinner.
Dhaka is a really crowded city. But there are many sorts of comfortable transportation throughout the city. The most common method of transportation in Dhaka for covering short to medium distances is the local bus.
Sometimes these buses remain crowded; other times, they are mostly empty. And it is also the cheapest method of transportation in Dhaka. For covering a medium distance, you’ll only have to pay Tk. 15-Tk. 20($ 0.17-$ 0.23). However, many bus drivers do rash driving which makes it dangerous to travel by bus.
Cycle rickshaw is another common transportation method in Dhaka and in entire Bangladesh. For a 10-15 minutes ride, you have to pay Tk. 30-Tk. 40($ 0.35-$ 0.46). If one driver doesn’t agree to your rate, another driver will. But I’d suggest paying a bit more to the drivers as this income is what they’re living off.
The green coloured three-wheelers that you might have seen on Bangladeshi roads are called CNG. If you have already visited India, I’d say that the CNGs of Bangladesh are quite the same as the auto-rickshaws of India. I guess the only difference between them is the colour of the vehicle. To cover medium distances, a CNG driver may charge around Tk. 100($ 1.16).
If you aren’t worrying much about the budget on your journey in Bangladesh, you can take a Uber. Uber is available only in Dhaka and Chittagong. But there’s another famous transportation service in Bangladesh which is Pathao. Pathao is available in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet city of Bangladesh.
If you choose Uber or Pathao as your method of transportation, the cost for covering medium distances will be anything between Tk. 500-Tk. 700($ 5.80-$ 8.13). However, the drivers don’t follow the map and other etiquette of Uber and will ask you about where you’re heading to. But they are really friendly and hospitable.
Also, don’t forget to buy a Bangladeshi SIM card cause you’ll need it throughout your journey in Bangladesh. Especially if you hire an Uber or a Pathao, having a Bangladeshi SIM card is a must.
When you are in Bangladesh, you’re most likely to travel to other cities. For that, the best option would be to take a Green Line bus. The Green Line bus is, in fact, the most comfortable option for travelling longer distances inside Bangladesh. The price of a ticket to travel from Dhaka to Sylhet by Green Line bus is Tk. 1000($ 11.6). I don’t know much about the ticket prices of other cities, but you’ll definitely find them on the Internet.
Entry fees of tourist attractions in Bangladesh are really cheap. You can enter the Lalbagh fort for only Tk. 100($ 1.16). Many tourist attractions don’t require any entry fee or ticket. But those who do have similar prices.
Why is Dhaka expensive for expatriates/people living here?
According to the Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2021, Dhaka is the most expensive city in SouthEast Asia. The land and real estate price is really high in Dhaka, making it difficult for people to live in rented houses. The excellent business infrastructure, improper transportation system, etc., make this city an expensive place to live in.
Now you might be thinking, how is this city cheap for travellers and expensive for other people? Travellers often come to Dhaka for a few days or months. They are often offered Couchsurfing, which reduces their accommodation and food costs. Moreover, they often avoid travelling long distances, or they stay near most of the tourist attractions. As a result, their transportation cost minimizes too.
This was everything that I knew about the cost in Bangladesh, especially Dhaka, for a traveller. All of the prices that I mentioned here are based in Dhaka. Prices of accommodation, food and transportation in other cities of Bangladesh are lower than this. Lastly, don’t forget to buy some souvenirs on your way back to your home country. You can buy clothes, handicrafts or anything else and contribute to the economy of Bangladesh.
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