Dhaka is the busy, urban heart of Bangladesh, surrounded by countryside of fertile farmland and river systems. With three days in the capital, you can take in its best temples and museums and day trip into rural Bangladesh, too. Here’s how to get the most out of three days in and around Dhaka.
Day 1: Take a City Tour
Dhaka is a vibrant, exciting, and potentially confusing city, so consider a city tour to make the most of your time here without getting lost or overwhelmed. Walking tours of historic Old Dhaka can be tailored to suit your needs and interests. You can check out architectural highlights such as Lalbagh Fort, learn about Bangladeshi history at the National Museum, take a photography tour for the best shots in the right light, or eat some delicious food the way the locals do on a street-food tour. Also be sure to get out on the Buriganga River on your first day to get a different perspective on the city, perhaps on a sunset cruise that includes dinner.
Day 2: Day Trip to Sonargaon
With Dhaka under your belt, devote your second day to the ruined city of Sonargaon, southeast of Dhaka, where you can see layers of Bangladeshi history on display. Sonargaon is a photographer’s dream, and you’ll tour picturesque remnants of Hindu kingdoms, ruins from the time of the Mughal rulers, and reminders of British colonialism. Many full-day tours from Dhaka include a boat ride on the enormous Meghna River, visits to mosques and temples, and a stop at a handicrafts museum and showroom, among other places. You’ll return to Dhaka in the early evening, so have a quick dinner and get some rest for the next day’s activities.
Day 3: Travel to the Sundarbans
Visitors to Bangladesh shouldn’t leave without making a trip to the Sundarbans, a vast mangrove forest in the delta formed by three enormous rivers—the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghna—that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Given the distance from the capital, it will be necessary to stay in or near the Sundarbans overnight, so it’s best to plan a trip here at the tail end of your Dhaka stay. Many multi-day tours are all-inclusive and require you to sleep on a boat. You’ll pass through Karamjol wildlife sanctuary, the gateway to the Sundarbans and the only place Bengal tigers live in the wild. During the day, you’ll sail quietly along the many watery passages, on the lookout for tigers, saltwater crocodiles, lizards, Gangetic river dolphins, and all kinds of birdlife.