3 – 7 November 2018
This trip almost didn’t happen because 2x, my booking was changed drastically and canceled. I thought, going for it might be unlucky. Searched for more reliable options and still decided to go anyway.
3 Nov 2018
I flew with Thai Airways. I was so chill about the 50minutes lay-over in BKK only to realize that the queue to security was so long and the airport was so big. I literally zoomed to the boarding gate. Luckily, I still managed to reach on time and the flight was uneventful.
I reached Hotel 71 at around 2am.
4 Nov 2018
I half-heartedly booked this Old Capital Day tour via NIjoom.com. I hoped to go with a group but unfortunately, there was no group on that day. I had to pay for the package all by myself at 107Usd.
The guide was there to pick me up at the hotel lobby at 8am. We drove outside Dhaka towards the old mosque called Goaldi. We walked around the village too. Children from the local primary school kept on following me and asking me for my name and where I am from while I was busy trying to eat a local street food called chotpoti. It was yummy. Deep into the village, I also had raw tea from a vendor who crashes the ginger with his mortar while coughing and washes the cups with just water.
We then drove to Folk Arts Museum, then the old Hindu merchants’ settlement, Panam Nagar. The temperature was getting higher as we approach lunchtime. We passed by a small village to check out their very cooling school made of bamboo. We then drove to the port and took a boat to Char Island via Meghna River. The village was really living simply. I was amazed by what they can do with their temporary lands. These lands are under water during the monsoon season.
The Old Capital
We headed back to the main island after about 30mins of walking around the village. We drove and got lunch and at about 3pm, I was back at the hotel. It was a good trip though seriously very pricey for one person.
Just went out one more time to buy some goodies after the tour. The city intimidates me a little. There are too many things happening at the same time and it’s too noisy. I am sure though that I’ll grow out of it. This is such a culturally rich place. I am excited to explore it further.
05 Nov 2018
I didn’t know where to go and what to do. I wanted to join a walking tour but the group didn’t reply to me immediately hence, I was forced to go around by myself. Took the rickshaw from the hotel to go to old Dhaka. Rickshaw experience was by itself very interesting and scary. I used it a couple of times within the day and it felt the same every time. Makes my heart drop.
Streets of Old Dhaka
My first stop was the Pink Palace. It was heavily renovated and is now a museum. I walked around the place and Mr. Ali, who’s working there, started to talk to me. He introduced me to some of the people who were working in the museum as well. They were very curious about where I was from. I was offered drinks and all. I was introduced to one artist, Mr. Khamal and he gave me one digitally printed copy of his art. I spent around 1.5hrs talking to all of them. (While still being alert as I wasn’t sure if I should trust or not. As a one-person traveler, I should be open yet still cautious about my surroundings). He even helped me get a rickshaw to go to the Armenian church. He said, if I wanted to watch the sunset (of course), he could help me do it later in the afternoon. Just go back to the museum at around 5pm. (Wasn’t sure if I should cos I wasn’t sure what they were up to?).
I went to the Armenian church and there, I met the caretaker’s son, Sanjay. He talked to me about his travel adventures. He then volunteered to help take me to the Star Mosque and Lalbaht Fort. One interesting thing he told me was people start work here pretty late. Like 10am or later. He said 8am work shift is usually nonexistent.
So this boy took me around and helped me bargain with rickshaw drivers. I dropped him back to the church. I asked him if I owe him anything..he said: “I’ll help you go around tomorrow”. Left me soooo curious if these people are just genuinely nice or are they scamm-ish? What if I don’t meet up with him tomorrow? He paid for some of the things for me?
Because of curiosity, I decided to go back to the to the Pink Palace to check on what’s gonna happen next. Dang, I missed the sunset. Mr. Ali received me again with free drinks and he said he would take me around after work. And he did.
Together with his colleague, He brought me around the sooooo confusing yet interesting alleys of old Dhaka. I wouldn’t have reached these places without their help. He took me to places that make rickshaws, to the (right now) very festive, Hindu streets. Made me drink street tea again. (I was still wondering whhhhyyy were they so nice?)
Anyway, he even sent me back to my hotel. I had a similar experience in Fez and their kindness turned into an unexpected twist. So, I was very cautious. In the process, I kept on bringing up in the conversations that I am attached and that my father is a retired police officer. In my hotel lobby, I stopped, and asked, “do I owe you anything, Mr. Ali?” He shyly just said, no but “you may give me any amount” I gave him 500Taka. I could have given him less and he won’t care. These people are so nice they deserve more…..unlike the tour companies that charge 100+ USD for the tour around the old town. This day was amazing not much because of the places but more about people I met along the way.
I will still have to meet up with Sanjay tomorrow, see if I owe him anything
6 Nov 2018
I started the day late. Sanjay volunteered to take me out. We started the day at about 12pm. We first walked to the Dhaka University. I’ve seen Wikitravel advice and it says there to avoid getting close to people’s gathering or rallies. Well, I did but it wasn’t possible. They were everywhere. They looked peaceful though.
Then we rickshawed to go and walk along the Bharamondi lake. It was an area more peaceful than most of Dhaka. Not so clean but quiet.
We then walked to Star Kebab for lunch and talked endlessly at ChaWala while having tea. He kept on saying there was no sunset. I kept on saying there is. But, he thought its a waste of time to go to Buringanga because winter brings no pretty sunsets…. Fine…. Sad but I decided to just submit to it.
Then we went to the handicrafts place for my magnets then walked near the Independence tower because there’s Deepavali celebration there. It was beautiful.
I told Sanjay I wanted a pedicure and he brought me to a place called Persona. The final question of mine… “Do I owe you anything?” And he said NOoooooooo… I was like…this can’t be real.. I know he wanted to travel but he didn’t have much funds. So, I gave him 3k Taka. He deserved it. People who aren’t expecting are the ones who deserve it more….. Bangladesh is ❤……