Dhaka, Bangladesh Report of what it's like to live there - 06/20/15
Personal Experiences from Dhaka, Bangladesh
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No, many other cities in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Washington, DC. Best to do the trip in two days with a lay-over. If not, connect through Dubai.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Apartments are ok but may collapse in an earthquake.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Expensive, but readily available.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Yes, but be careful about contaminated food.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitoes with dengue, malaria, etc.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Good and cheap.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Limited and very expensive unless you can join the AEEA.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Seems ok at reputable banks.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes. No sidewalks, bad roads, elevators that break down frequently.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Bring a 4x4 and expect to beat it up.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Link3 seems fine. About US$60/month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Cheap and easy.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Small bombs called "cocktails" and petrol bombs which target cars and buses during political protests.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Yes. Almost every unhealthy aspect of life is here (diseases, all forms of pollution, traffic danger, allergies, political unrest, etc). Some private health care is available, but most people go to Singapore for anything even remotely complicated.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Very unhealthy and downright toxic during the winter months (November - March).
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
Don't come here
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and wet in the summer, dry and dirty in the winter.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There are several international schools. All seem to be good with AISD likely the best.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
Mainly at the schools.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Large expat community due to development organizations. Morale is pretty low, people try to escape every few months.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Dinner with friends
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
It's a hard city for everyone. Hours of day in a traffic, significant pollution, constant construction noise.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I don't know, but I doubt it. It's fairly conservative and may still need to open up about this.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
No, Bangladeshis are very kind people.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Good friends and welcoming culture.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
The Bangladeshi people are a delight. The city is a bummer.
10. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
That you can't escape from Dhaka very easily. This makes the city feel ever present and claustrophobic. There are very few parks and a number of them are dangerous. They will likely soon be turned into concrete along with the rest of the city.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Privacy and clean lungs
4. But don't forget your:
Patience and ability to work in a car
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?