A list of the best places to visit in Dhaka City (New & Old Dhaka) you must not miss on your first trip to Bangladesh, for a memorable experience.
Dhaka is the capital city of Bangladesh, a residence of 16 million population and growing every day. It is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, full of activities – a paradise for street photography. If you like street or portrait photography, Dhaka is your city. You’ll find unlimited subjects here to shoot for several days.
Other than photography, Dhaka has many interesting sites to visit from the Mughal and colonial periods. In this article, you’ll find some of the best places to visit in Dhaka City (New & Old Dhaka) that you must not miss on your first trip to Bangladesh. A summary of the list is as follows:
- Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace)
- Lalbagh Fort
- Kawran Bazar
- Dhaka Shipyard
- Armenian Church
- Dhakeshwari Temple
- Star Mosque
- Parliament Building of Bangladesh
- Shakhari Bazar
- Mridha Mosque
- Bait-ur-Rouf Mosque
- Liberation War Museum
Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace) in Old Dhaka. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
Best places to visit in Dhaka City (New & Old Dhaka)
1. Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace): One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City
Ahsan Manzil, also known as the Pink Palace, was the residence of the wealthiest family of Dhaka during British rule. Dating from 1872, Ahsan Manzil was built on the site of an old French factory by Nawab Abdul Gani, the city’s wealthiest feudal landlord. Some 16 years after its construction, it was damaged by a tornado, and reconstructed again altering massively and became even grander than before. Ahsan Manzil is one of the best tourist attractions in Dhaka City someone should not miss on the first visit.
Lalbagh Fort in Old Dhaka. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
2. Lalbag Fort: One of the top places to visit in Dhaka City
Lalbagh Fort is a 17th-century Mughal fort and one of the key tourist attractions in Dhaka. Started by Prince Mohammed Azam and handed to the then governor of Dhaka Shaista Khan for completion, who didn’t finish it because of the death of her daughter Pari Bibi whose tomb is inside the fort. There is a small museum inside displaying Mughal paintings and calligraphy, along with swords and firearms.
Sadarghat Waterfront: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
3. Sadarghat: One of the must places to visit in Dhaka City for photography
Sadarghat is Dhaka City’s busy waterfront, harboring the Sadarghat River Port and many other small ports. Sadarghat River Port is one of the largest river ports in Asia, passing about 30,000 passengers daily. The riverfront is full of big passenger ferries, cargo vessels, and tiny wooden rowing boats crossing the passengers across the river. You’ll get a truly authentic taste of Dhaka by visiting this live and vibrant place. Sadarghat is a must-visiting tourist attraction in Dhaka you can’t miss.
Kawran Bazar: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Daniel Whitfield.
4. Kawran Bazar: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka for photography
Kawran Bazar is the largest wholesale market in Dhaka city. It is full of activities and a gem for photographers. Trading starts here at midnight and ends around 8.30 in the morning. The permanent shops on the market will remain open the whole day though. Kawran Bazar is a must-visiting tourist attraction in Dhaka for people who love photography.
Watch video of Kawran Bazar, a much visiting tourist attraction of Dhaka city
Happy kids of Dhaka Shipyard. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
5. Dhaka Shipyard: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City for photography
Located on the bank of river Buriganga, Dhaka Shipyard is a busy place for repairing and sometimes making new passenger ferries and cargo boats for the rivers. Passenger ferries of Sadarghat come here for occasional overhauling and repairs. Workers work here from dawn to dusk, beating their hammers on the boats and rubbing new paints. Endless workshops make huge propellers for the boats, melting still. Full of activities, Dhaka Shipyard is one of the best places to visit in Dhaka City which you should not miss.
P.S. Don’t confuse this with the infamous ship graveyard of Bangladesh, which is located about 250 km away from Dhaka. You can check out our Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard Tour to visit that site on a convenient day tour from Dhaka using an internal flight and express train.
Armenian Church in Old Dhaka. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
6. Armenian Church: One of the most beautiful places to visit in Dhaka
Armenian church of the holy resurrection is located at Armanitola in Old Dhaka, a place named after the Armenian colony that settled here in the late 17th century. The church is the soul of this now almost extinct community. Dates from 1781, it is an oasis of tranquility in the heart of the crowded city and a must-visiting tourist attraction in Dhaka.
Dhakeshwari Temple: One of the beautiful places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
7. Dhakeshwari Temple
Dhakeshwari Temple is a state-owned 500 years old Hindu temple built by one Mangat Ray, who was also known as Ballalasena, younger brother of Arakanese king Shri Sudharma, son of famous Arakanese king Raja Malhana alias Husen Shah. This is the center of the Hindu religion and culture in Dhaka City. You’ll find devotees coming here in colorful sarees, ringing the bell on the door while entering the temple, and doing many ceremonies. Every major Hindu festival in Dhaka starts from here, so you’ll always find a festive atmosphere here. Dhakeshwari Temple is one of the best places to visit in Dhaka city.
Start Mosque: One of the must places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Raw Hasan.
8. Star Mosque: One of the top places to visit in Dhaka City
Star Mosque is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions in Dhaka, dating from the early 18th century. The whole walls of the mosque are decorated with mosaic stars, from where the name derived. It was originally built in the typical Mughal style, with four corner towers, but radically altered later.
Parliament Building of Bangladesh: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Kawe Safavi-Bayet.
9. Parliament Building: Must visiting tourist attraction in Dhaka for architecture
The parliament building of Bangladesh is the finest architecture of world-renowned American architect and Yale University Professor Louis I. Kahn. Originally commissioned by the Pakistani’s when Bangladesh was known as East Pakistan after the Partition of the Indian Sub-Continent, was meant to serve as the second seat of the national parliament. Construction started in 1964 but halted due to the Bangladeshi War of Independence, and finally completed in 1982. If you like architecture, this is one of the two must-visiting tourist attractions in Dhaka for you.
An artisan making deities in Shakhari Bazar. © Photo Credit: Eric Lynn.
10. Shakhari Bazar (Hindu Street)
Shakhari Bazar, also known as the Hindu Street, is a unique street in Dhaka City and the center of Hindu culture and community in Old Dhaka. Old buildings are raised on both sides of the street, full of jewelry shops, local musical instrument shops, Hindu bridal shops, kite shops, cookery shops, temples, rickshaws, and people. A live and vibrant street of Old Dhaka, Shakhari Bazar is one of the best places to visit in Dhaka City.
Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque in Old Dhaka. © Photo Credit: Eric Lynn.
11. Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque
Erected in 1704-5, this Mughal structure is stylistically similar to Lalbag Fort, built on a raised platform, up to a flight of 25 steps. Three squat domes, with pointed minarets at each corner, dominate the rectangular roof. There are a series of vaulted rooms in the ground floor, which was used for living purpose. Located about half a mile from Lalbagh Fort, Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque is beautiful architecture and one of the must-places to visit in Dhaka City.
Bait-ur-Rouf mosque: One of the best places to visit in Dhaka City. © Photo Credit: Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
12. Bait Ur Rouf Mosque: A must-visiting tourist attraction in Dhaka for architecture
Bait Ur Rouf Mosque is the winner of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2014-2016. Designed by architect Maria Tabassum, this is a modern architecture hidden in a very dense neighborhood in Dhaka city. The design of the mosque is exceptional. Unlike any other mosques in Dhaka city, the symbolic elements of any mosque are absent on it, e.g mineral, dome. Inspired by the Sultanate mosque architecture, it breathes through porous brick walls, keeping the prayer hall ventilated and cool. Natural light brought in through a skylight is ample for the daytime. If you like architecture, this is one of the two must-visiting tourist attractions in Dhaka City for you.
Liberation War Museum in Dhaka. © Photo Credit: Wikipedia.
13. Liberation War Museum
One of the top places to visit in Dhaka to know Bangladesh’s history
Liberation War Museum in Dhaka is an exceptional museum. It commemorates the Bangladesh Liberation War that led to the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. It showcases the genocide the Pakistani military committed in Bangladesh during the war, and how Bangladesh was born. A must visit tourist-attraction in Dhaka to know the history of Bangladesh.
Have you ever visited Dhaka? How interesting have you found the tourist attractions in Dhaka? Have I missed something here? Share your experience and opinion with us in the comments.
- 13 Places to visit in Dhaka not to miss on first trip
- 7 Best things to do in Dhaka for the ultimate experience
- Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace): The residence of the feudal landlords of Dhaka
- Lalbagh Fort: An unfinished Mughal fort at Old Dhaka in Bangladesh
- Sadarghat: The live and vibrant river port and waterfront of Old Dhaka
- The Armenian Church in Old Dhaka: A quiet colonial era church
- Dhakeshwari Temple: The center of Hindu religion and festival in Old Dhaka
- Star Mosque (Tara Masjid): A mosque decorated with star motifs made with China clay mosaic
- Bangladesh Parliament Building: A stunning architecture of Louis Kahn in Dhaka
- Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque: A unique Mughal mosque in Old Dhaka
- 17 Best places to visit in Bangladesh not to miss
- Bangladesh visa on arrival: who can get, rules, and fees
- 101 Things to know about traveling to Bangladesh
- 16 Top Bangladeshi food you must try on your visit
- 10 Most curious questions people ask while visiting Bangladesh
Check out our Old Dhaka Tour to visit the key attractions of New and Old Dhaka. The full-day tour starts from $70* US with an air-conditioned car, English-speaking guide, all entrance tickets, lunch at a local restaurant with authentic local food, a rickshaw, and a boat ride.