Dhaka - Post Report Question and Answers

What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The housing is split between two neighborhoods. One is better for families because it is near the embassy and the international school. The other neighborhood has restaurants and shopping and access to most of the international clubs but it's a little farther from the embassy. Some buildings are very old and in shambles and some are brand new with some in between. Some have pools and some don't. It feels very random and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised or in a pit of jealousy based on what you end up in. Some employees float in their infinity pool while others desperately attempt to tape the 3 inch gap in their window panes. - Jul 2023

Most people live in apartments, due to the instability of construction in this earthquake-prone zone. I was assigned to one of the two remaining free-standing houses in the pool. It was HUGE: three big bedrooms, four bathrooms, enormous laundry room. And a yard/mosquito breeding zone. I could walk to the Embassy in seven minutes. - Dec 2021

Most expat families in Gulshan 1 or 2 (preferably 2, north of Gulshan 2 circle) or Barhidhara where the American school is. The commute can be difficult, but if you are working at the US embassy, your housing will be nearby. - Sep 2021

My housing was very nice. An oversized luxury apartment, with marble floors, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a nice kitchen, and servants' quarters that I used for storage. - Jun 2019

Diplomatic misison housing is excellent. Very comfortable and roomy, the neighborhoods are relatively quiet and located in the Diplomatic Zone so they are quite close to work and other missions. - Jul 2018

Apartment in Baridhara, very close to the US Embassy. - Apr 2017

Almost everyone is in apartments, which typically have 3-4 bedrooms, and are located in the Baridhara and Gulshan neighborhoods around the Embassy. Commute times depend on traffic -- it can (and has) taken 30 minutes to drive the 0.5 miles home to Baridhara from the Embassy, and it could take up to 1.5 hours to get to Gulshan. - Jun 2016

Almost all housing is apartments. A few people have the first or second floor of a duplex. Commute time to the Embassy ranges from 5 minutes to 15 minutes, but that depends on traffic and it can sometimes take much longer. - May 2016

Apartments are ok but may collapse in an earthquake. - Jun 2015

Most of the housing consists of apartments. - Mar 2015

Apartment high rise. There may still be a few people in houses but that is almost over as they are not seismically safe. I find my apartment very comfortable and huge. 4 bdr, 5 bath (seriously, we use showers as storage space, who needs this many?). I have no complaints on housing. - Sep 2014

The Embassy was transitioning to apartments only. They're pretty decent. You can drive to the Embassy in 5-15 minutes from Embassy housing. - Aug 2014

All embassy housing is within 3km of the Embassy. Large apartments, weird layouts but plenty of space. Not many houses left, as they're torn down and apartments are built. Nothing is seismically safe despite being an earthquake zone. This place will put Haiti to shame some day. - Jul 2014

Embassy personnel live in one of two neighborhoods (Baridhara is close to the Embassy and the school, Gulshan is close to the American Club, stores, and restaurants). Nothing is more than a couple miles from the Embassy, but traffic can turn a 5 minute commute into a 35 minute one. Walking in professional clothes would be a hassle due to mud, dust, heat, and lack of sidewalks. Biking is dangerous because drivers leave NO space between cars and aren't used to sharing with cyclists. Housing is good! The Embassy pool has gone through a major upgrade to become seismically compliant, which has resulted in putting people in new apartment buildings. There are very few single family homes left, but the new apartment buildings are spacious and have good amenities (finished rooftops, balconies). I am single and have a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom apartment. - Aug 2013

Mostly apartments, either near the American Club (Gulshan 2) or the US Embassy (Baridhara). I'm single and I have a 3-bedroom apartment (or 2 bedrooms and an office). Many buildings have rooftop space (mine does). It is a 20-25 minute walk to work, an 8-minute rickshaw ride, or a 5 to 10 minute car ride (depending on traffic). It's either hot and dusty or hot and muddy all the time, so it's a little tricky to walk to work in the morning. Walking is okay in the cooler month(s) but then you have to beware of the swarms of mosquitoes. - Apr 2013

Nice housing here! Most families are in large houses with yards or apartments (no yards). It is getting harder to keep houses in the housing pool, so most new leases are switching to apartments. It seems the apartments have nicer, more open floor plans, fewer maintenance issues, and are safer anyway. We are a family of 4 (3 when arrived) and have a 5-bedroom, 6-bath apartment. - Aug 2011

Apartments, not much more. Landlords have figured out they can make more money on high rise apartments and are tearing down very nice homes to build apartment buildings. The apartments are spacious, but construction is everywhere and you'll be lucky to find a place that isn't sandwiched between two buildings under construction. - Jun 2011

Every Embassy employee lives within 10 minutes of the Embassy, in the diplomatic enclave (Baridhara and Gulshan). Single family homes are being quickly demolished in favor of large apartment complexes, but the apartments for Embassy employees almost all require size waivers (in favor of larger ones).Most other expats I know live in seriously large apartments, either in the enclave or in nearby Banani, which has more shops and restaurants. - Feb 2011

Most housing for expats is in the diplomatic enclave in the areas of Baridhara and Gulshan. There are large houses and apartments. The commute time varies greatly, based on traffic, but most people work and live in the same area. There are a lot of bicycle rickshaws on the road. - Jan 2011

Most of he expatriate community lives in either Baridhara or Gulshan. Most, but not all, embassies, NGOs and aid agencies are there, too. However, the Secretariat of the government where all the government ministries are is 10 KM away, which takes between 1 and 3 hours by car. You could usually walk faster, if walking 10KM were practical. - Jan 2011

Most US Embassy expat staff live in Gulshan and Baridhara. In Baridhara, you might be close enough to walk to the embassy. Gulshan is a little farther away, but unless there is heavy traffic (a high likelihood in the mornings and in the late afternoon/early evening), it's only 10-15 minutes one way. Even with traffic, driving from the embassy to Gulshan was not majorly time consuming- no more than 30 minutes even in the worst traffic. As for housing quality, the embassy housing pool has some very nice apartments and homes, but they also have many that are old, outdated, and have chronic problems. Many of these homes are also very dark, and if you are unlucky enough to be put in a first-floor apartment, you might feel like you are living in a cave! Aside from the crushing workload and long working hours, the poor quality of my housing was one of the worst aspects of my tour. I also had more than one key household appliance burn out -- the load shedding is bad, and it is easy to fry appliances in Dhaka. I advise anyone going to Dhaka (particularly with the US Embassy) to investigate your housing very carefully before coming. There are some very bad houses and apartments in the housing pool, and it may be hard for you to move once you arrive at post and are unhappy with your house or apartment. - Oct 2010

For families, the houses are usually gigantic. For singles and couples, there are some great apartments near the embassy. It takes me 5-10 minutes to walk to the embassy, but I do happen to live near it. - Apr 2010

U.S. Embassy housing is generally large and very nice (the situation for most expats seems similar).It is all located in the diplomatic enclave (which sounds more like a walled fortress than it really is); commutes are 2-15 minutes driving (though this is unpredictable given the traffic). - Oct 2009

The spacious housing offers little storage space. The floors are tile. The bathrooms can have some interesting color combinations, and kitchen layouts may be interesting. There is a mix of houses and apartments. All are within 15 minutes of the embassy. - Aug 2009

A mix of apartments and houses. All are huge, although we hear the units in the housing pool are going to get smaller in the future, there is no evidence of that yet. Almost all are within 10-15 minutes of the Embassy (walking or driving). - Mar 2009

Can't comment. I lived with the extended family, and didn't have to think about this much. My sister lived with a group of Fulbright scholars, however, in Gulshan, and though it was pricy, it seemed to go well. - Nov 2008

Good housing is hard to find. - Oct 2008

Most are big and close to embassy; getting anywhere here takes time because of the traffic. - Mar 2008

housing is excellent. Everyone associated with the embassy lives in baridhara or gulshan. Apartments are spacious and houses tend to have strange layouts and small yards. To the embassy, a typical commute is about 5 minutes. Commute times anywhere around the diplomatic enclave is about 20 minutes (with light traffic). Commute time to downtown is at least an hour. - Feb 2008

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