Hey there, wanderlust enthusiasts! If you’re on the lookout for your next adventure, consider the vibrant and culturally rich city of Dhaka. This bustling metropolis has a tapestry woven with historical landmarks, lively markets, and mouthwatering cuisine. Let’s dive into the heart of Dhaka tour attractions, promising an unforgettable journey.
The city, bursting with nearly 20 million people, is one of the most densely populated cities in a world full of activities, making it a paradise for photographers. In fact, when you find yourself in Dhaka, you’ll notice that photographic opportunities are all around, including the urban scenery, individual faces, the populace, and bustling marketplaces. You will get unlimited subjects to click on for several days. Besides photography, Dhaka has many interesting and historical sites to visit from the Mughal and colonial periods.
You will get some of the most attractive places in Dhaka for tourists, which you must visit during your Holiday in Dhaka.
If you are interested in visiting them in a day, you may check out our Things to Do in Dhaka and Daylong Tour, which are included with the Best of Dhaka Tour and are the most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka. Enjoy!
Check out the most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka.
1. Lalbagh Fort:Engaging attractions and activities for visitors on a tour of Dhaka.
The most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka are at Lalbagh Fort. Before, it was known as Aurangabad Fort in the Mughal period of the 17th century.
Prince Muhammad Azam, the third son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, started building the fort at Aurangabad in 1678, and after one year, he handed it over to the next governor of Dhaka, Shaista Khan, to continue the construction of the fort. But he did not carry out the whole construction of the fort.
In 1684, the daughter of Shaista Khan, named Iran Dukht Pari Bibi, died there, whose tomb was inside it. He constructed magnificent obelisks inside the fort, especially near the tomb of Pari Bibi. The tomb of Pari Bibi is made of marble stones, black basalt, and glazed tiles. The Mausoleum of Pari Bibi, the two-story audience hall, and the single-story hammam are now the housing of the museum.
Outstanding among the monuments of Lalbagh Fort is a small, three-domed, elegant mosque. There are also two tombs: one of Shamshad Banu, who is the youngest daughter of Shaista Khan, and another of his grandson Khodad Khan. In the south of the Mazar complex, there are three attached graves. The middle one is Mirza Bengali. He is one of the captains of soldiers for Shaista Khan. And both side graves are an unknown child.
Numerous hidden tunnels within the fortress, now closed off, are said to exist. According to local lore, two of these subterranean routes once connected to the now-derelict Zinzzira fort located across the Buriganga River. Additionally, there was another tunnel designed like a labyrinth, intended to disorient and trap trespassers, causing them to eventually perish from hunger and lack of air.
Legend has it that during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny against the imperial rulers, various defeated soldiers tried to flee through underground passageways but ultimately died inside. Similarly, British soldiers who pursued them to capture them also disappeared without a trace. Subsequently, British experts released dogs and even an elephant into the tunnels, but none returned, leading to the decision to seal the tunnels for good. Yet, the enigma surrounding these hidden corridors persists, with their original function still a mystery. The fort spans approximately 2000 feet in length from east to west and measures around 800 feet in width from north to south.
Visiting Hours of Lalbagh Fort:
Summer Season (April – September)
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 1 :30 PM – 06:00 PM
Friday — 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM – 06 :00 PM.
Sunday — Weekly holiday
Monday — 02:30 PM – 06: 00 PM
Winter Season (October – March)
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, 1 :30 PM – 05:00 PM
Friday — 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM – 05 :00 PM.
Sunday — Weekly holiday
Monday — 01:30 PM – 05: 00 PM
Lalbagh fort will remain close during any govt. holiday.
2. Dhakeswari Temple:Attractive tourist activities and things to do in Dhaka tour
Hindu temple Dhakeshwari Mandir: this temple is considered the national temple for Hindu communities. This temple was built over 12 centuries by Ballal Sen, a king of the Sena Dynasty.
Legends say that Ballal Sen dreamt several times that the deity was covered under the jungle. Ballal Sen came to the jungle to search for that place and discovered the deity was covered in the jungle. He uncovered the deity from there and built a temple. The idol of Durga is called Dhakeshwari.
In the 16th century, Mansingh, who was the subedar of the Mughals, built this temple by laying four Shib Lingas. Dhakeswari Mandir is a complex of several temples. There are five shiv Mandirs, Kali Mandirs, and Durga, the ten-armed female deity known as Dhakeswari.
There are four shiv mandirs on the same side of the complex, standing one after another from east to west. And on the west side of the complex is another Shiv mandir. This temple has a difference from the other four mandirs; the difference is that instead of a black basal, the symbol is made of white mud. Kali Mandir is situated on the eastern side of the complex; the south side of the complex is for the puja offering and the sacrifice offering boli. This place is most attractive to pious Hindus.
3. National Parliament House:Most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka tour
Architecture Louis Khan designed the entire parliament building complex; this complex is one of the largest legislative complexes in the world. Comprising on 800,000 sq. m. of land Robert McCarter, author of Louis I. Kahn, described the National Parliament of Bangladesh as one of the most significant buildings.
Work on the building began in 1961 while Bangladesh was still part of East Pakistan. The project was interrupted by the country’s war for independence and was eventually finished in 1982. The legislative building was recognized with the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
The exterior of the parliament building is striking in its simplicity, with huge walls and a large opening of regular geometric shape. This assembly is a light-giving component to the interior of the plan, if you look at the series of columns designed to frame the space of light. And the columns are hollow and much bigger, and their walls can themselves give light; then the voids are rooms, and the columns are the makers of light and can take on complex shapes and be the supporters of spaces and give light to spaces. Complex buildings include lakes, lawns, and residences for the members of Parliament (MPs).
The main building consists of nine individuals; the eight blocks rise to a height of 110’ when the central octagonal blocks rise to a height of 155’. The Parliament building is composed of nine sections, each assigned to various functional areas that vary in height. These sections are connected in all directions by a network of walkways, staircases, atriums, elevators, and round spaces. The design of the building integrates these sections seamlessly into a single, indistinguishable whole.
This is one of the most attractive buildings in Dhaka for tourists. Tours n Trips Bangladesh will arrange all the necessary papers of permission for you to visit the Parliament building.
4. Armenian Church:Most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka tour
In the 17th century, Armenians settled in the older region of Dhaka, an area that eventually became known as Armanitola in homage to the Armenian community that resided there. By 1781, the Armenian Church was constructed along Armenian Street. An individual of Armenian descent, Agaminus Catachik, donated the property for the church’s construction. Collaborative efforts by Michel Cerkess, Aga Aminus, Merker Pogos, and Okotavata Setoor Sevorg also played a significant role in the building process of the church, which spanned over five decades before reaching completion.
On the western flank of the church, a tower housing a clock was built with the intention that its hourly tolls could be heard as far as 4 miles away, enabling people to set their timepieces in accordance with the sound of the bell from the tower. Johans Paru Piyete Sartis was the individual responsible for managing the erection of this clock tower. In 1880, the clock ceased to function, and in 1897, an earthquake razed the bell tower. The church is 750 feet long and has four doors and 27 windows.
The last Armenian, Stephen, was in the church as a caretaker. It was founded in 1984, and he is worried that after his wife died, he left the church. The Armenians were Orthodox. The first private school in Dhaka is the Pogos School, established in 1848 by Armenians. Although the Armenians were very small communities,
At that time, they were rich, and they involved themselves in different businesses such as Betel Leaf Jute and clothing trades. Some of them were zamindar. Influential Armenian families are Pogos, Arutun, Sarkis, Kozsa, Michel, and Henry. In 1888, Sarkis, an Armenian, introduced the horse carriage business (horse running on four wheels) in Dhaka for the first time, which was known as a ticca car (hiring car). This place is one of the most attractive tourist attractions in Dhaka.
5. Sadarghat River Font:The Most Attractive Tourist Activities to Do in Dhaka tour
Six rivers encircle Dhaka, similar to a necklace. Sadarghat Riverport is situated on the bank of the river Buriganga, in the south-western part of Dhaka. It is the busiest and most-crowded port area in Dhaka.
This is the major riverine port for waterway transportation in most of the districts. The BIWTA Launch Terminal caters to approximately 200 medium and large passenger launches (motorized boats) that arrive at and depart from the Sadarghat terminal every day. According to the officials there, an estimated 30,000 people pass through the launch terminal every day. For a visitor, these await an amazing scene with different types of boats: covered and uncovered boats, cargo boats, speed boats, tugs, and motor launches going in every direction.
When a launch arrives at the port, the passengers—exhausted, excited, curious, worried, old, young, male, female, rural relatives, and traders—disembark from their boat and hurriedly enter the magical city.
You can climb on the roof of the large building to catch an aerial view of the terminal as well as the river and its bank. Paddle steamer service introduced during the colonial period is also operated from this river port. Paddle steamer service for passenger service is obsolete now a days in other countries. A trip by paddle steamer will enable a guest to enjoy the riverine beauty, including the countryside of Bangladesh.
Two primary thoroughfares exist, one stretching from the east to the west and another from the north to the south, which intersect at right angles close to Sadarghat, alongside a road that runs parallel to the Buriganga River. The place has been turned into a large daily market for fruits and vegetables, and there are a lot of retail and wholesale shops on both sides of the road. This place is a must-visit and one of the most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka.
6. Ahsan Manjil:Most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka tour
Ahsan Manjil was the residential palace of the Nawab family and the official seat of the Dhaka Nawab. This palace has now been turned into a beautiful museum. This magnificent building is situated at Kurmitola along the bank of the Buriganga River.
The building has a broad front facing the Buriganga River. On the riverside, open, spacious stairs lead right up to the second portal and their grand, triple-arched portals. There was a fountain in the garden before, in front of the stairs, which doesn’t exist now.
The palace consists of an eastern and a western section. Known as Rang Mahal, the eastern section houses, while the western section, named Andar Mahal, contains the residential quarters. The palace’s construction began in 1859 and finished in 1872, featuring the architectural style of Indo-Saracenic revival. During the Mughal period, the site included a garden estate belonging to Sheikh Enayet Ullah, who was the landowner of the Jamalpur Porgona area.He acquired a big area in Kumartoli and included it with his garden house. He collected beautiful girls from the country and abroad and kept them in his garden house for his enjoyment.
The faujdar of Dhaka (a representative of the Mughal emperor) at that time was attracted to one of the beautiful girls of that garden house. Faujdar invited Sheikh Enayet Ullah to a party one night and killed him in a plot after that girl also committed suicide in anger and sorrow. There was a grave for Sheikh Enayet Ullah in the northeast corner of the palace yard.
In the period of Nawab Alibardi Khan in the 1740s, Sheikh Moti Ullah, the son of Sheikh Enayet Ullah, sold the property to French traders. French traders could do business here without paying taxes by a decree from the emperor Aurangzeb. When the British-French war broke out in 1757, the French left the house. According to the Paris Agreement of 1814, the French claimed all their Dhaka properties in 1927.
In 1930, French traders sold the properties to the established landlord of Dhaka Khaza Alim Ullah. After his death, his son Khaza Gani made a great flourish on the property and named it Ahsan Manjil after his son Ahsan Ullah. In 1952, the government acquired the property and left it under the supervision of the Dhaka Nawab Court in 1985. Dhaka National Museum acquired the property. On December 5, 1901, electricity was first introduced in Dhaka from this palace. One of the key attractive tourist places in Dhaka
Visiting Hours of Ahsan Manjil:
Summer Season (April – September)
Tuesday – Saturday: 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Friday — 3:30 PM – 07 :30 PM.
Sunday — Weekly holiday
Winter Season (October – March)
Tuesday – Saturday: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday — 3:00 PM – 06 :00 PM.
Sunday — Weekly holiday
Ahsan manzil will remain closed during any govt. Holiday.
7. Shakhari Bazar:The Most Attractive Tourist Activities Things to Do in Dhaka tour
Once upon a time, Dhaka was famous for Shakha, and the artisans were known as shakhari. Even today, the residential area of the shakhari represents the old tradition and culture of their predecessors.
Shakha means bangles from the conch shell, and the Hindu community considers it a symbol of good fortune and purity. In the 17th century, the ancestors of present-day dwellers started coming to this locality at the command of the Mughal emperor and started to settle in this area, later known as Shakhari Bazar. Both side brick buildings of some antiquity are in the narrow street of Shakhari Bazar.
In 1666, a tourist named Tavernier came to this locality and found them there as inhabitants. Shell used to come from India and Sri Lanka, but they are not always available, and more Hindu women are unable to afford these bangles, opting to buy the much cheaper plastic look alike. For this reason, the craft faces an uncertain future, as per Hindu religion, married women wear conch shell bangles on both wrists and break them when their husbands die.
They are mostly followers of two deities: Vishnu and Krishna. Up until 1783, they did not have to pay tax for their land. In the time of the liberation war of 1971, the Pakistani army tried their best to exterminate this area, but after independence, they again started to reside in this place. This place is a must-visit tourist attraction.
8. Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque:Attractive tourist activities and things to do in Dhaka tour
Khan Mohammad Mridha mosque is located in the Lalbagh area of old Dhaka. According to an inscription found, it was built by Khan Mohammad Mridha during the rule of Deputy Governor of Dhaka Farrukh Siyar.
The mosque was constructed on the order of Quzi Abdullah, who was the chief Qazi of that period (1704–1705 AD) in Dhaka. This monument is now under the archeology department of Bangladesh.
The mosque is located in the complex’s west section, which encompasses a garden and a cemetery. At the time of its establishment, the mosque served as the focal point of a vigorous local community.
The mosque’s design draws inspiration from the Bengali Mughal architectural style, featuring a larger central dome in comparison to its two smaller counterparts. This three-dome mosque sits on a rectangular platform. The platform height is 16′-6″ from ground level. Underneath the platform, there were vaulted rooms on all sides except the eastern portion.
One can reach the mosque’s elevated area by ascending a staircase with 25 steps to the east, which brings you to a gateway featuring two arches. This entrance is directly in line with the mosque’s central section. The prayer hall has three gates for entrance and a rectangular structure measuring 48’x24’.
The north portion of the mosque serves as a madrasa, or religious school.The front exterior of the mosque is adorned with decorative panels and patterned battlements along the upper edge. In the garden’s northern section, there used to be a well that provided water for Ozu, which is a ritual for cleanliness and spiritual cleansing prior to praying; however, the well is no longer in use. This place is one of the most attractive tourist attractions to do in Dhaka.
9. Star Mosque:The Most Attractive Tourist Activities Things to Do in Dhaka tour
Star Mosque is locally called Tara Masjid. It is located in Old Dhaka, in the Armanitola area. The white marble structure, superbly decorated with carved florals and star patterns, will stick to your eyes and capture attention.
Locals often stop to appreciate its enduring beauty. The mosque was built by Mirza Ghulam Pir, who is also known as Mirza Ahmed Jan, in 1711 at a time when the Mughals were in power in Dhaka. Originally, it was a three-domed mosque made from Rajmahal marble sourced from India. Part of the mosque’s original wall, which is now just covered with plaster, can still be seen behind the current structure. In 1926, a merchant from Armanitola named Ali Jan Bepari initiated the first efforts to refurbish and enhance the mosque and its surroundings.
Ali Jan brought in valuable Chinese clay tiles from Japan and England to embellish the mosque and its surroundings. Skilled craftspeople adorned the entire mosque, domes included, with exquisite designs featuring flowers and stars, all crafted from China clay tiles. The shimmering stars and floral motifs carved into the white marble produce an enchanting atmosphere of light and shadow within the mosque, while also casting sunlight in various directions.
Inscriptions from the Holy Quran are also present on the inside walls. Moreover, a star-shaped water feature has been constructed to the east of the mosque within its grounds. This feature uses the same high-grade marble and substances used in the construction of the mosque.
Ali Jan Bepari and his artisans only decorated and renovated the existing structures and preserved the original structure of the mosque. In 1987, the government’s archeology department extended the prayer hall and included two more domes. The mosque got its name from innumerable star patterns. This is one of the most touristically attractive places in Dhaka.
10. Kawran Bazar:The Most Attractive Tourist Activities Things to Do in Dhaka tour
Kawran Bazaar is one of the largest wholesale marketplaces in Dhaka. It is also one of South Asia’s largest marketplaces. This market is named after Kawran Singh, a Marwari trader in the late 19th century.
This place is full of attractive activities and is a gem for photographers. Every day, hundreds of small temporary shops gather and are surrounded in this place for many different items for daily needs. Inside the markets, there are separate blocks for wholesale trade in fish, vegetables, spices, rice, etc.
There are also permanent shaded rows of shops that sell grocery items and toiletries. Vegetables, fish, fruits, and many other products were brought to this market primarily from the northern part of the country.
Every night, hundreds of trucks bring goods to this market. Indigenous means of transport, like the three-wheel paddle vans or push carts, carry vegetables, fish, fruit, etc. to various markets and different parts of the city. From this market, traders also export vegetables, fruits, and other agricultural goods to different countries. This market usually starts at midnight and ends at 9:00 am, but the temporary shops surround the whole day in the marketplace.
11. Bait ur Rouf Mosque:Most attractive tourist activities to do in Dhaka tour
Bait ur Rouf Mosque is a refuge of spirituality that utilizes simple, unadorned materials, ventilation techniques, and the play of light and shadow. The architect’s design makes this mosque a winner for the Aga Khan Awards 2014–2016.
The Bait ur Rouf mosque, situated in the bustling region of Faidabad in Uttar Pradesh, is a modern marvel of architecture created by designer Maria Tabassum. It serves as a testament to the innovative use of local materials and careful design that blends seamlessly with its surroundings.
The mosque was built on a raised platform, skewed by 13 degrees from the usual direction of worship, which introduced an innovative idea in its architecture. It merged a round shape with a square plan, which enabled the prayer area to be turned, resulting in the formation of four large, brightly lit open spaces surrounding it.
The atrium stands supported by eight columns around its perimeter. The various activities take place within the areas formed between the outer square and the circular structure. The base of the structure is always bustling, with kids engaged in play and senior gentlemen conversing and pausing for the prayer time. These are some of the most appealing activities for visitors in Dhaka.
12. Liberation War Museum:A captivating destination offering a variety of exhibits and experiences for those exploring Dhaka.
The Liberation War Museum took up a chance to experience firsthand Bangladesh’s war of liberation fought in 1971. Bangladesh came into being after a nine-month bloodbath. The museum educates the new generation on a nation’s rich history and instills in them the spirit and pride that they well deserve. The gallery unfolds the stories of our freedom fighters.
The four magnificent galleries of this museum contain the pages of history; you can experience the pain, suffering, uncertainty, and sacrifices of the Great Liberation War and taste the birth of a new country, Bangladesh.
Gallery One is where visitors will start learning about the history from the pages of the ancient history of Bengal.
Then, in Gallery 2, the Liberation War Museum welcomes its visitors with the historic March 7 speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And then comes the part: “Operation Search Light,” the start of the worst genocide of the 20th century inflicted upon unarmed Bengalis by the Pakistani army and the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu.
In Gallery Three, visitors can experience the combat of freedom fighters and their nine-month fight and feel the emotion of their guerrilla warfare through watching their everyday utensils, clothes, arms, hideouts, and other testimonies.
Gallery Four starts with the Bakhunda Bridge operation and the contribution of women in the war. It experiences one of the most breathtaking parts of the war: the inhumane torture of women.
The representation of the torture cell and photographs portray the cruelty of the Pakistani army to the captivated women in their camps.
After guests have finished observing the area that honors the memory of the country’s slain scholars, they are led down a hallway to an exhibit that portrays the moment when Lieutenant General Niazi, the commander of Pakistan’s Eastern Command, officially surrendered in Dhaka on December 16th, 1971, with Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora of India present to observe the occurrence.And the gallery ends with a giant display of newly-born Bangladesh.
Museum Opening Hours
The museum is open on Monday and Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Sunday is closed.
In winter, it is open Monday–Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
13. Hatirjheel waterfront:attractive tourist activities and things to do in Dhaka tour
Hatirjheel waterfront is one of the recreation sites in Dhaka City. One can walk along, sit beside the lakefront, grab some fresh air, and enjoy the city, bridges, and sky.
The Hatirjheel Integrated Development Project constructed the area for easy traffic diversion through the connectivity of the city roads. City dwellers use this spot to get away from the crowded city and enjoy cycling, boating, staking, and driving around the waterfront as recreational activities. Also, there are water taxi services. Dhakaites use this service for both transportation and pleasure.
In the evening, this area looks so colorful that tourists and pedestrians visit the site to enjoy the reflection of light and fresh air. There is a 120-meter-long colorful musical fountain with a time-controlled sound wave and musical tracks. In the evening, city dwellers watch a spectacular display of water in the vicinity of the project. Hatirjheel is the most attractive place in Dhaka, which some should not miss.
14. Curzon Hall:Attractive tourist activities and things to do in Dhaka tour
Curzon Hall was named after Lord Curzon. He was a British Viceroy, and he had a vision—he wanted to build a spectacular town hall for the city.
In 1904, construction began on an awe-inspiring structure designed with a fusion of European and Mughal architectural styles. One can view the magnificent domes; the red coloring of the building is extremely unique and has beautiful pavilions and breathtaking eaves.
Between 1948 and 1956, Curzon Hall served as the setting for numerous important political gatherings in Bangladesh. After the partition of India in 1947, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan as East Pakistan, and the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan chose the Urdu language as a state language for East Pakistan in 1948.
University of Dhaka students rapidly protested at the Constituent Assembly grounds, expressing their discontent with the fact that although Bangla was the predominant language, the official language policy gave preference to Urdu.This protest took place in Curzon Hall, where they openly expressed their dissent against the official language policy.This is one of the must-visit tourist attractions to do in Dhaka.