sights / Other

Sadarghat information

Lonely Planet review

Running calmly through the centre of Old Dhaka, the Buriganga River is the muddy artery of Dhaka and the very lifeblood of both this city and the nation. To explore it from the deck of a small boat is to see Bangladesh at its most raw and gritty. The panorama of river life is fascinating. Triple-towered ferries leer over pint-sized canoes. Country boats bump against the dirty hulks of domineering cargo and fishing boats. On the foreshores, stained with grease and mud, you’ll find children fishing with homemade nets in the lee of rusting tankers. Further out, repairmen busy themselves crashing, bashing and scrubbing ship hulls while floating on planks of wood. Barges overloaded with sand and other building materials float down river with barely an inch of clearance above water.

Among all the large ships are the tiny wooden ones that you can hire. These are available almost everywhere along the waterfront, though most people hire them from around Sadarghat boat terminal If you just walk along the jetty here, English-speaking boathands will find you and offer you a one-hour tour of the river. If you can barter the price down to Tk 200 you’ll be doing well.

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy a price battle with the touts, walk slightly west to the small rowboat ghat (admission Tk 1); from here wooden rowboats ferry passengers across the river all day for a set price of Tk 2 per person. The opposite riverbank is of no particular interest – it’s packed with clothes shops and stalls, although there are some snack stalls and tea stands, too – but it’s the trip over here and back that’s the attraction. Note: Sadarghat is pronounced ‘shod-or-ghat’.