Sadarghat Port In Dhaka

July 10, 2014 Bangladesh 2 Comments 5,982 Views

The Daily Chaos At Sadarghat Port In Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Today we took a cycle Rickshaw to Sadarghat port. There we hired one of the boats for a “cruise” along the Buriganga river…

The minute we arrived, we were surrounded by ferrymen who were all eager to row us up and down the river in one of the the many Sampan ferries – the small wooden boats, powered and steered by one person. They wait in a cue to pick up passengers. Watching & documenting the daily life at this very busy port has already fascinated us during our visit in 2012 and we were eager to experience it all over again.

Once we settled the price (roughly 150 Taka per hour – excluding tips), the journey took its course. Rush hour in the Dhaka mean that thousands of people have to cross the busy waters of the Buriganga river. It’s said that this is one of the most dangerous waterways on Earth … and most dangerous for the ferrymen.

These men are really talented and fast with their boats; they navigate them like the cycle Rickshaw drivers maneuver their through the chaotic traffic in the city. It’s hard physical work too with temperatures of up to 40° Celsius (and very often the ferrymen are over 70 years old). Very impressive! It’s not a comfortable ride tough, because you have to sit cross-legged on the wooden boat deck, so cramps are a certain factor if you’re not used to sit in such a position (and of course this was the case for us).

Traffic along the Buriganga river is most common and happening at almost any given hour of the day: big boats and small boats filled with all sorts of different goods make their way up or down the river stream, launches (this is what ferries are called in Bangladesh) come and go, cargo-ships that need a repair job are parked along the waterway…all is normal here at Sadarghat port. As you can imagine with all these boats, several movements of these ferrymen are clearly not for the faint-hearted, but somehow it works out most of the times. Still, every day one or two boats capsize. And sometimes people die.

Sadarghat port is an experience itself and a must for every Bangladesh visitor – the daily chaos with all these boats on the river will stay with you for a long time.

The Sampans - the small wooden boats, powered and steered by one oar - are a lifeline in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The Sampans – the small wooden boats, powered and steered by one oar – are a lifeline in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Over 25.000 people cross the Buriganga river in Dhaka every day...
Over 25.000 people cross the Buriganga river in Dhaka every day…
This ship is stationed in Sadarghat port to get a new paint-job done...
This ship is stationed in Sadarghat port to get a new paint-job done…
Transporting bricks along the Buriganga river and through Sadarghat port in Dhaka.
Transporting bricks along the Buriganga river and through Sadarghat port in Dhaka.
The daily chaos at Sadarghat port in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ferrymen have to push for position in the queue to pick up passengers.
The daily chaos at Sadarghat port in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ferrymen have to push for position in the queue to pick up passengers.
A ferryman taking people across the Buriganga River in his wooden boat. The Buriganga river is one of the most dangerous waterways on Earth, especially for the ferrymen.
A ferryman taking people across the Buriganga River in his wooden boat.
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“The Daily Chaos At Sadarghat Port In Dhaka, Bangladesh.”

  1. Woah this is a beautiful, albeit terrifying place. I love the photos. I may have to make my way to Bangladesh at some point.

  2. Nisa

    Hey Alexis!
    I wouldn’t call it terrifying, but definitely a place to remember. There is so much life down at the port, it’s hard to keep up.
    If you ever get the change to travel to Bangladesh, please do. We’ve seen many places on our planet but the hospitality of the Bangladeshi people is one of a kind!
    Take care!
    Best, Nisa

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