Dhaka, Bangladesh Report of what it's like to live there - 07/23/18
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?
Not my first expat experience, but my first in South Asia. I previously lived in Europe.
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?
United States. It takes 20+ hours each way depending on connections.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
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.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
There are larger grocery stores where you can get all necessities. Local produce is abundant and good quality. Lots of options for food delivery as well.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Nail polish and remover. Laudry and dish soap. `
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Lots of options. there are some nice but expensive restaurants, but the average middle of the road options are also good.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitos carry malaria, dengue, and chikungunya
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
No idea about local facilities, I send through DPO.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very affordable and they do great work. I have a driver and housekeeper. I tried to have my housekeeper cook when I first got here but the food she prepared was much to oily for my palate, so I stopped having her cook. She does a great job keeping my place clean, and I haven't had any issues.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
I have access through my diplomatic mission so I'm not sure what the options are on the economy. There seems to be a fairly active contingent of the expat community and people try to stay fit and active through tennis and other friendly sports competitions.
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?
Mostly a cash-based economy, but credit cards are accepted at most of the shops catering to expats.
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?
Not a lot, but it is very appreciated when you do use it.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes it would be extremely difficult to get around. Lots of the multi-storied buildings do not have elevators, though most expat apartment buildings do.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Not sure, I am not allowed to use them due to the restrictions of the diplomatic mission.
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?
One that can get banged up. Traffic is tough here.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Installation was a breeze and very quick. The quality is average, and prices are affordable.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
I use a local provider through my work. The quality is good.
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?
There are a few vets but the quality is hit or miss. There have been some serious issues with the vets but I think it is pretty easy to get animals in the country without quarantine. It is easy to hire help to walk dogs during the day as well.
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?
There are tons of NGOs here so I am sure it would be possible, but it depends on the restrictions of your main employer or sponsor in the country.
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Modest dress for women when walking around in public, there are a lot of events where western clothes are the norm. Local women usualy wear sari or shalwar khameez to work. There are tons of shops with beautiful fabric and clothing options.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes. People are still very cautious since the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery attack.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Pollution is the worst in the world and it is very noticible and detrimental in winter months. Medical care is good if you have access to the expensive private hospitals, but anything serious would require medevac.
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?
Horrible. It has a huge impact on health and is really detrimental to morale and ability to go outside especially during the winter months. Most of the time the AQI hovers around 100-150+ but it goes above 500-600 regularly in January and February.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and muggy most of hte year and really rainy.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
International schools here are excellent quality and the kids seem to really like them.
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?
Home help including nannies are readily available and affordable. I don't have any direct experience though.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Morale is pretty good. The people here are great and the social scene is fun and interesting if a bit repetitive.
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?
Fitness classes, expat parties, poker nights, game nights. There are tons of options you just have to go out and find what works best for you and make the best of your time here.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
There is a decent singles scene but it is small. I've heard that expats use tinder as well.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
There is a sizeable LGBT expat community, but there are a lot of issues in the local culture with being LGBT. I'd recommend talking directly with someone in this community before coming to post if it is a concern.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
The people are great. Bangladeshis are very friendly and open and the expat community is fun, active, and social. It is easy to travel the region from Dhaka as well.
7. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
Pearls and fabrics are amaazing and cheap here.
8. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
It is a challenging place to live but if you are able to be active and outgoing it can be fun and rewarding.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
How bad the pollution would really be on my individual health.
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
4. But don't forget your: