Dhaka compared to... Kolkata etc.
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 26, 2012 4:58 PM Last Post By: amitava_1232003...
Oct 15, 2012 10:23 AM
If I decide for Dhaka, I would certainly want to see some more of the country (in the coming December and January). To be honest, splendid beaches with atmospheric accommodation would rank high (not important to see "the longest beach"). I have no interest though to see all must-sees from north to south. I can happily spend a month there only in the south (just for instance); upon departure, and also a month later, I would not feel as if I missed something.
Dhaka experts, what would you say? Thanks!
Oct 15, 2012 1:27 PM
1Very different from each other.
India tends to have a lot more of the up-front beggars coming to you and asking for handouts. This is very rare in Bangladesh. You would certainly be looked at but not as if you were in a zoo like a caged animal.
The air in Dhaka can vary between very good and a bit polluted - depends on the amount of traffic and the air flow.
If you want a great beach area to visit, St. Martin's Island is (imho) the one to go for. I didn't think much of Cox's Bazaar. In another message, Mahmud indicated that December is high season for C.B. and that may also be the case for S.M.I. so you may have to book early to guarantee a room somewhere.
Oct 15, 2012 8:12 PM
3Every city has different smell. But I will vote for Dhaka....
Oct 16, 2012 8:27 AM
4And... I would avoid Chittagong ... I did not like that city !
Oct 16, 2012 9:53 AM
5Hi all, thanks for your comments and opinions!
Zoltan, thanks for giving reasons like beggars and pollution.
To the others: It would be nice to hear more reasons and arguments, why you prefer a place or why not.
I posted this specifically as a "Bangladesh" question, so i'd even expect answers in favor of East-Bengal. Would be nice if you could give some reasons!
Oct 17, 2012 3:59 AM
6Hi Henrik2000. East Bengal is now Bangladesh. I think you meant West Bengal in India which is now called using its Bengali name Pashim Banga. Anyhow, most Bangladeshis (moi included) on here will be biased towards Dhaka. I for one haven't even been to Kolkata (and I really want to soon). From everything I hear, Dhaka is a LOT busier while Kolkata is more historic. Dhaka has plenty of history too but the traffic situation is maddening. It is my favourite city because of the sheer liveliness the traffic creates. But then I don't have to live there.
Oct 17, 2012 7:06 AM
7Henrik2000, my friend, I wonder if the answer to your question could be accomodated in this platform, a question which eluded many over the years and still left wondering which place is better than the other!! I guess one way of looking at it is, each one has its own charm which may not be comparable in a straight line. Having been to all these places, Delhi, Kolkata and other parts in India I would still vote for Dhaka, because that is my favorite city, even with all its perils!
If you are up for exploring culture, then you would find lots of common traits between Dhaka and Kolkata, yet miles apart from each other. Kolkata would give you a very colonial feel, remnants of British occupation, apart from the new town and recent developments, and Dhaka would lack somewhat in that aspect, but that doesnt mean we dont carry the mark of the colonial past.
The majority religion is different in two cities, which obviously creates differences. Lots of temples you can visit in Kolkata and in Dhaka you would see lot of Mosques. Obviously due to this, the cultural-religious aspect would be much different in people in these two cities, if you know what I mean!
Traffic congestion is present in both the cities, and I cant compare between the two, but if you take a poll, my hunch is that Kolkata would fare better in terms of public trasport within the city limits.
I guess one can debate abt this for long, and still not be content and I guess its fair to say that one needs to come and see what Dhaka has to offer :)
Have fun and travel safe!
Oct 23, 2012 7:12 AM
Oct 25, 2012 10:07 PM
I would say Kolkata over Dhaka. Quite different places despite being so close. I've lived in Bangladesh for 8 months now (in the north, but I've been down to Dhaka for the weekend maybe 15 times), and visited Kolkata twice on (2010 and 2012) so can make a reasonably accurate comparison (within my own subjectivity etc etc).
Dhaka is an intense city (moreso than Kolkata for sure). I guess I'm similar to you, I like walking around cities. I've taken a few wanders around and it is relentlessly interesting. If you're interested in everyday life, which is my interest when I travel, there's a lot to see. Apart from that there's nothing to see :) But it is hard work, and for me a couple of hours is enough. You're probably not going to feel that comfortable. There's a lot of being stared at. People very much want to talk to you, which is a lot of fun sometimes, but given that the english conversation doesn't really go further than 'what country' 'are you married', if you don't speak bangla it gets a bit annoying on the 20th go. For me anyway. The traffic is busy and noisy, so walking down the main roads is not a lot of fun. There are people everywhere, so it's busy in that sense too. I found it hard to navigate, and you can't jump in a taxi or something if you get lost and expect the driver to know where you want to go. And pollution seems quite high, plus you have to watch your step so you don't fall in holes (seriously, I mean even in Banani and Gulshan).
Kolkata I've found to be less hassle, less staring. It's also a nicer looking city, I would say less chaotic, probably more people trying to sell you stuff in the tourist areas. There are also a couple of things to see tourist wise if that's your thing. I liked going down to the river around Howrah station and walking up to the Sudder St. area. Metro system could be useful for exploring purposes too, though I didn't use it myself.
I'm comparing these to a lot of cities like yourself: Cuenca, Paris, Kandy, HaNoi, KL, Cali, Sofia, Marrakech, Shanghai, Vientienne, Doha is a fairly representative list. Dhaka's probably one of the more difficult of the cities I've been to for exploring. Like I said, the intensity in itself is interesting, and there's a massive amount of general 'wow, i've never seen that before'. But I'd probably go to Kolkata over Dhaka.
Only my perceptions. Hope that gives you a bit more information. There's not a lot out there on Bangladesh.
Oct 25, 2012 11:32 PM
10Ross, thanks for a very detailed and helpful comparison! It seems we have a similar taste; also i did a week in Kolkata recently and my impressions and favourites match yours quite precisely.
About walking and getting lost in Dhaka, i was hoping to get some navigation for my mobile (online or offline); i used it in other cities inc Tehran even to direct taxi drivers (successfully). I will post a separate question about that later.
Like you, i believe, i found Kolkata an interesting, if not really lovable tourist destination for 6 - 10 days. Also, yes, repeated interviews over marriage status and nationality get dull for me. In Kolkata they are certainly used to foreigners, even though they don't have many, esp not tourists, which is a good situation.
After KL, Sierra Leone and Iran, i find it difficult to go back to more touristy destinations as a refuge for winter. Certainly not Vietnam! If you have a recommendation, i would be interested to hear.
Oct 26, 2012 4:46 PM
11Kolkata is the capital of the *Indian state of West Benga*l. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly river, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, As of 2011, the city had 4.5 million residents making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. As of 2008, its economic output as measured by gross domestic product ranked third among South Asian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi. As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Kolkata confronts substantial urban pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overpopulation, and other logistic and socioeconomic problems.Kolkata served as the capital of India until 1911, when its perceived geographical disadvantages, combined with growing nationalism in Bengal, led to a shift of the capital to New Delhi. The city was a centre of the Indian independence movement; it remains a hotbed of contemporary state politics. Following Indian independence in 1947, Kolkata—which was once the centre of modern Indian education, science, culture, and politics—witnessed several decades of relative economic stagnation. Since the early 2000s, an economic rejuvenation has led to accelerated growth.Many people from Kolkata—among them several Nobel laureates—have contributed to the arts, the sciences, and other areas.Kolkata is the only city in eastern India to have an international airport. Once India's leading city, Kolkata experienced a steady economic decline in the decades following India's independence due to steep population increases specially for immigration from foreign countries like Bangladesh for better economic opportunities.Public transport is provided by the Railway, the Kolkata Metro, trams, and buses. The suburban rail network reaches the city's distant suburbs. The Kolkata Metro, in operation since 1984, is the oldest underground mass transit system in India. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, located in Dum Dum some 16 km (9.9 mi) north-east of the city centre, operates domestic and international flights.The Port of Kolkata, established in 1870, is India's oldest and the only major river port. Calcutta Medical College, founded in 1835, was the first institution in Asia to teach modern medicine. The University of Calcutta, founded in 1857, is the oldest modern university in South Asia.Established in 1814 as the nation's oldest museum, the Indian Museum houses large collections that showcase Indian natural history and Indian art.193 Marble Palace is a classic example of a European mansion that was built in the city. The Victoria Memorial, a place of interest in Kolkata, has a museum documenting the city's history. The National Library of India is the leading public library in the country. Kolkata is known for its literary, artistic, and revolutionary heritage; as the former capital of India, it was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought.
So come and experience a city which is called the "City of Furious, Creative Energy" as well as the "cultural or literary capital of India"
Oct 26, 2012 4:58 PM
12I went to Dhaka couple of times. One can easily call these two cities as twins. I didn't have any negative remarks for the capital of Bangladesh except that I missed my very own city Kolkata.
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