Dhaka, Bangladesh Report of what it's like to live there - 10/27/08
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?
2. How long have you lived here?
3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Good housing is hard to find.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Sports equipment, electronics (multi system TV).
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Pizza hut and KFC.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Thank goodness for APO. I would hate to be here without it. I mail order everything.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very cheap but finding staff that speak good English can be a challenge.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
I don't use ATMs here but there is one at the Embassy.
4. What English-language religious services are available locally?
5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Cable TV is available but many people also have AFN (only three channels though).
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?
I think it would be difficult.
1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?
The left side of the road.
2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
NO! Not safe at all.
3. 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?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Cheap, about US$30.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Very cheap. Most people buy cellphones and then just do the "pay as you go" option.
3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?
Most people use Vonage and/or Skype.
1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
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?
No, we hear many of the spouses complain about the lack of jobs/work.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Caution - if you have a child with special needs. Caution - if you have a child in high school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
Caution - very little. Communication has been terrible.
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?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Very busy. There isn't much else to do.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Great for families with young children.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
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. Can you save money?
No, you will spend it all traveling.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
No but mainly because of the school. I have been very disappointed with AISD.The elementary and middle school have been okay but the high school has been extremely disappointing. There isn"t much to do here for the older kids. Drinking and drugs is a problem in the high school.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
Sense of humor and patience.