ZAKARIA HOTEL MOHAKHALI DHAKA
In Dec 1998, I first stayed at Zakaria Hotel for about two weeks,
which was my first visit to Bangladesh - holiday of course, not
business. My room cost 600 taka per night - single bed, with
personal toilet and a free TV. Looking back, it was a bit of a
gloomy place, but it was alright and I had no problems at all.
I met a young man receptionist called ABDUL who still works
there. By then, M$1.00 = 14 taka.
On my return trip in Dec 2003, it had been refurbished,
renovated, with a new entrance, and reception. It looked brighter,
with a security guard and my friend recommended it as the
best medium priced he could find for me. The rooms were
brighter and there is a shower, and TV was supplied, plus clean
When I left to visit a friend for a night or two, I was allowed to
leave my luggage FREEof charge there.
I told Abdul I was returning for a holiday; he wrote me a letter
to come to stay at Zakaria. I find he works very hard and long
hours at very low pay. He is very helpful and connects me to
phone numbers I needed - these are charged of course.
The Hotel Staff wear white shirts with a green vest and were
helpful. Perhaps it is because I spoke Bangladeshi and
communicated with them. I chatted with them about their
work, families and homes. I am not sure if this is allowed.
Before I left, after 2 weeks as well, some came into my room
to take photos, and I sent them each a 4R copy after I returned.
They are polite; the cleaners do not wear uniforms of course.
I could even go up to their quarters just to chat with them.
There is a restaurant too, and now a bar on the left and a hair
saloon on the right. In general, I note and personally know
Bangladeshi people are warm and friendly. The prices are not
too high, reasonable, and a Bangladeshi friend invited me to
the small restaurant and the food was alright though I had not
too many dishes of course. The cashier was also friendly and
when they are free I can chat to them but try not to disturb them.
Of course, they are amused when I talk to them in their
own language, Dhaka Bangladeshi, and are definitely most
happy and surprised. I had met some Bangla labourers here
in Malaysia for the first time in 1996, and got interested
in their culture and was attracted by their warmth, and
friendliness, always offering me 'tor curry' though they can
offer so little and are badly exploited here and badly paid and
badly treated etc etc
Before I left for the airport, I gave the staff who had been helping
me some 'tips'. Tips are given in Dhaka, did you know that?
They work for such meagre wages and sure appreciate such
I did not see the Manager much, but I still recommend it at
600 taka. By now M$1.00 was worth 17 taka. He promised
me something for being a second time guest, but did not
fulfill his promise, too bad.
Now our dollar is worth about 19 or 20 taka. This means I would definitely per night a single room costs only M$30 !
I definitley would stay there now if I go again this year or the
next. It is good value for money. The rooms are clean, look new, bright and the shower is working; you are given soap and a towel each day, and can request clean water for drinking (and hot water too, I think for your own self-made coffee).
Oh, I need not pay a deposit or extra day's charge in advance,
perhaps this is becuase they already know me. If you pay by
VISA CARD your own country's VISA OFFICE will CHARGE YOU
a HIGHER rate than the official rate. So do take note. So the
best was I paid in cash the bills every week or every other
4 to 5 days. They do not demand a spefcific payment deate.
One good tip: if you have travellers' cheques, go to their
office somewhere in Gulshan and cash them from the
same bank - that way you get your full money's worth and
no extra charges are levied. After all you have paid 5%
surcharged for them at your own local bank when you bought
them. Another banker and advised me correctly and accurately
NOT to change the cheques via their banks as they would but
make you pay a surcharge but change them at the issuing
bank's branch - that was in Gulshan. I had bought
American Express T.C.s of course.
BEFORE you leave your country, get a list of addresses and
phone calls of the Banks of the travellers' cheques you buy
in various cities that you will visit. Unfortunately my own local
bank in Malaysia was really lousy and did not provide such
information. In Dhaka, the officer immediately printed me a
list of all their branches in Pakistan when I requested for them,
as I was visiting Pakistan next. Make sure you ALSO know the
closing time of the bank - they do close early in Pakistan,
l pm or 2 pm, I forgot. You definitely do not wish to be stuck in a
city without cash!
At Mohakhali, Zakaria is in a central location as well as
the Commercial districts a re just down the road. This time
there is less pollution as the baby taxis now use CNG.
Congratulations to the city officials or government. There is
less crowding than in 1998.
I WILL POST PHOTOS - I HAVE TO SCAN THEM FOR YOU
of the Zakaria Hotel room where I stayed. Please wait.
Can I send them to this page at a later date?
Happy and safe travelling!