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Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Considering its massive size and high levels of poverty, Dhaka is a remarkably safe city and few travellers experience any problems. The biggest annoyance in Dhaka is air pollution, which though vastly improved since the banning of petrol and diesel vehicles a couple of years ago is still able to conjure up sore throats and headaches.

Bag-snatchings and muggings are rare but not unheard of. One trick is for a baby-taxi driver to snatch the belongings of an unsuspecting rickshaw passenger, often through prior arrangement with the rickshaw-wallah. As in the rest of the world, pickpockets operate in crowds, of which there are plenty in Dhaka. Be a little cautious, especially in markets.

Take particular care when withdrawing money from an ATM; it’s a good idea to use ATMs with private booths so you can hide your money before you hit the streets.

Train and bus stations can be dodgy after dark, so try to avoid leaving or arriving at night.

Hartals (strikes) and accompanying violent demonstrations are common. During hartals it is safe enough to drive around the Gulshan area, and it is usually possible to move around the central city area by rickshaw; rickshaw-wallahs usually know which areas to avoid. Don’t let your photojournalistic fantasies get the better of you – be curious from a safe distance.

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While you're there

Medical services

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh Hospital (ICDDRB; 881 1751; 68 Shahid Tajuddein Ahmed Sharani, Mohakhali) Has a traveller’s clinic.

Japanese-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital (818 7575; House 27, Rd 114, Gulshan)

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