A recent national census showed that the number of people living in Bangladesh's cities is increasing by 6% every year as people move to built-up areas looking for work. All of this expansion and urbanization has put an enormous strain on resources in Dhaka. Rivers are being filled in to build houses and apartments, and there is a large and growing slum problem in the city. Sanitation and healthcare are not at the top of the government’s agenda, and there are not enough resources to provide basic sanitation for many people.
Most of the healthcare provision is based in hospitals in Dhaka, although they are often oversubscribed and struggling to maintain staffing levels. It’s vital for any expat moving to Dhaka to ensure comprehensive health insurance has been purchased. Repatriation should be included in the health insurance, so that it’s possible to be flown back to their home country should any serious situation occur.
Dhaka experiences huge volumes of traffic every day, leading to congestion problems. There has been an enormous government-funded traffic coordination project going on since 2008, headed up by the Dhaka Transport Coordination Board. The Board is responsible for health and safety, pedestrian areas, public transport, mass transit systems and much more.
Frequent traffic jams in Dhaka can make traveling around the city unpleasant and time consuming, and the public transportation in place at the moment is inefficient. There is a knock-on economic and financial implication of these travel problems. Many people choose to simply walk when they can, and bicycles are very popular. However, it’s not very safe, as the streets are dangerous.
The railway is popular and most of the districts in Bangladesh are connected by train lines. As Dhaka is a city of many rivers, ferries are also used to get around, although they can be overloaded and continue to operate even when the weather is bad.
Dhaka is an amalgamation of old and modern architecture and the streets show its colonial past, as well as its emergence as a megacity of the future. It is the cultural and economic hub of Bangladesh and can’t be underestimated in terms of its cultural legacy. All of this makes it a fascinating place to live for expats.
There are plenty of sights to visit, important historical buildings to explore, and museums to visit. The Bangladesh National Museum contains art, paintings and sculptures of the Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu periods in Bangladesh, including inscriptions of the Qur’an.
From history to the future, the Science Museum in Agargaon highlights the latest discoveries within the scientific community and shows the cultural diversity of Dhaka. There are, of course, many other places of interest for tourists and expats alike, including the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum, Ramana Park Botanical Gardens, the National Zoo, many churches and temples, and the Mukti Juddha museum.