Bakkhali is located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Most of the islands are part of the Sunderbans, barring a few at the fringes. Some of these are joined together with bridges over narrow creeks. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
There is a 7 km long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj with gently rolling waves. These are twin towns now forming one continuous locality. Except on an occasional holiday the beach is not crowded. A small stretch near Bakkhali has been lighted up. It is a hard beach suitable for cycling or even driving. One can take long walks.
Bakkhali is also the name of a river in the Chittagong division of Bangladesh.
It is 125 km by road from Joka tram terminus at the south-western edge of Kolkata. The road runs through Diamond Harbour and Kakdwip to Namkhana, where the car or bus has to be transported across the Hatania-Doania creek in a special ferry.The ferry service is available from 7am to 11pm except from 12 noon till 1:45pm (lunch hour). The fare for crossing a Car/Jeep is approx Rs 190 (including loading/unloading). The creek is not very wide, just about a hundred metres or so, but is considerably deep allowing the movement of ships from Kolkata to ports in Bangladesh. The creek reduces the journey-time for the ships. Because of this, it is difficult to construct a bridge across the creek. An ordinary bridge will hamper movement of ships and a high bridge is a costly proposition. There is an excellent road from Namkhana to Bakkhali. The 130 km stretch from Kona expressway (with links to the Mumbai and Delhi sections of the golden quadrangle project linking the four metros of India) and Bakkhali has been marked as National Highway (NH) 117.
The road journey from the fringe of Kolkata to Bakkhali takes about three & half hours. However, crowded market places and occasional stretches of bad road can delay movement.
WBSTC has regular bus service from Dharmatala to Bakkhali. One starts at 7.00 am in the morning from Dharmatala and reaches Bakkhali at around 11:30 am and leaves from Bakkhali after half an hour for Kolkata(Dharmatala). Another starts at 8.00 am from Dharmatala to reach bakkhali at 12:30 pm and starts from Bakkhali after half an hour forty five minutes. So the bottom-line is that there are two round trips from Kolkata to Bakkhali provided by WBSTC. This schedule is subject to change and one must confirm it from Dharmatala Bus Stand before venturing out from Kolkata. The route of the bus is Dharmatala- Alipore-Chiriakhana-Taratala-Diamond Harbour-Kakdwip-Namkahana-Bakkhali.
There are plenty of local buses up to Namkhana and then again from Namkhana to Bakkhali.
The nearest rail station is at Namkhana. There are regular trains from Sealdah via Lakshmikantapur and Kakdwip to NAMKHANA. The first train starts at around 4am from Sealdah. Then at around 4.40am then 7.30am and next to this one is at a long gap at around 10.30 am . Train fare is around 22 rupees and the journey takes around 3hrs. From Namkhana station you will get a van rickshaw to reach the place from where you need to cross a narrow creek in a small boat. Van fare is Rs 3 per head or Rs. 18 if you reserve a van and for crossing the creek you need to pay 75 paise. Then from the bus stand one can get buses for Bakkhali which take around 45mins to 1hr and their fare is Rs 13 . The Bakkhali bus stand is very close to all the hotels and just a 5 minute walk from the beach.
The nearest airport is at Dum Dum in northern Kolkata.
Most of the time would be spent in enjoying on the beach but some people look out for opportunities to do other things also.
The ride in the crude bhut-bhuti, a motorised country boat, from Frasergunj fishing harbour to Jambu Dwip, a small, uninhabited and forested island out in the sea, can be a thrilling experience. The two-hour ride (both ways) costs only Rs. 35 per head. The country boats can also be hired for other rides. The weak-hearted are advised not to take the rides.
Make it a point to visit Henry's island. If you got a car, its around 10mins ride from Bakkhali.Entry Fee Rs 5 . Else you can avail the rickshaw vans as well.There are two rest houses in Henry Island. If you wish you can stay there too, especially during winter. (Not advisable during summer as there is no power connection and the generator is not used during the day time and switched off at 11:30pm leaving you at the mercy of the mosquitoes). One is named Mangrove,one Sundari & another Rani which is very close to the sea beach. Rani has a watchtower in it's roof. You can enjoy a picturesque scenario from there. These lodges belong to the Fisheries Department of West Bengal.For reservation, contact: State Fisheries Development Corporation, Bikash Bhavan. Ph: 23376470
The credit for turning Henry Island into a holiday hotspot goes to the fisheries department of the state government, which has set up a pisciculture project here. A government official said that the department has dug more than 50 ponds occupying over 25 bigha on 100-hectare land carved off the 500-hectare island. The department has planted trees like gora, kankru and palm apart from naturally growing sundari and hetal.Henry Island is named after a European who surveyed land in the area in the late 19th Century. Dense mangrove forest parted by numerous canals covered the area then. Wildlife such as tiger, deer, wild pig, crocodile and snake were common. The island was only an extension of the Sunderbans and the surveyor could not have dreamt that it would become a human habitat in little more than a hundred years.
Visit the Benfish harbour and Frasergunj Beach on the way to Henry's Island .
You can also visit the Crocodile Park and Mangrove forest just beside the Bakkhali Bus stop.Entry fee Rs 2.
For all the spots a Ricksaw van will charge you at max Rs 60 per head and it will take around 5 hrs to visit all the spots and stay for about 1 to 2hrs in Jambu Dwip .
The walk over the beach from Bakkhali to Frasergunj is a out-of-the-world experience. The rickshaw van is the only transport available locally. On these rickshaw van you can take a trip for Henry's Island, Watch Tower, etc. In this rickshaw van trip, you will be moving through the beautiful village sides. Once you reach the watch tower you will run short of words to talk since from there you can view the entire Sunderban area. It is a splendid view. On one side you can see the Bakkhali Beach at a far distance and on all the other sides the green of Sundarban. It is cheap and since one has plenty of time, the ride can be enjoyable but do not expect much.
A temple called Bishhalakshmi is at the end of the Bakkhali main beach is worth seeing. The pandit ji is quite different there as he won't allow you in the temple. He has his own rules. God only knows what rules has his men set.
The stationery shops have reasonably good stocks.
Some mobile phone linkage is there. Ideally, one should check with the hotel one intends to check in as to which of the mobile phone service providers have facilities in the town and whether STD calls can be made from the hotel. ISD calls cannot be made from the hotels but there are public call offices at Bakkhali and en route providing that facility.
Taxis or hired transport are not generally available at Bakkhali or Namkhana. Those who desire to travel in hired transport should preferably arrange for it from Kolkata or try their luck at Diamond Harbour. Most Bakkhali hotels have chargeable dormitories for drivers to stay.
Credit cards are not accepted anywhere, nor are there any ATMs around the place, so carry cash.
Do get your body massage done at Bakhhali Beach. ( Full body 45/-, Head and Shoulder 10/- ).
- Hotel New Parijat in between the local bus-stand and WBTDC Lodge provides the best food here at moderate prices. You will find all sorts of fishes like pomfret, hilsa, prawn and the standard rui and katla too. A normal rui thali with other recepies only costs Rs. 35/-. Make sure its the "Hotel New Parijat" and not the adjoining Hotel Parijat
- Frazargunj Indian Hotel beside of Hotel Deepak. You will get many varieties with wonderful taste and reasonable price. If you buy sea fish and crab from outside and ask them to prepare it for you, they will do that happily. These young men are very cooperative.
- You can also try the various road side shacks for lunch and dinner. They come a little cheaper but the food can be sumptuous and tasty. However, because Bakkhali doesnt have a steady flow of tourists,most restaurants dont have a steady menu of lunch or dinner. You have to place an order for lunch/dinner few hours in advance.
- Most hotels will also have their own restaurants
- Please Make it a point not to eat at Sundari Guest House. All though it is a part of Fishery department but the fishes are horrible ( Personal Experience ).
There are large number of hotels at both Bakkhali and Frasergunj. Generally, tourists get a place to stay on arrival even without advance reservation.
- Ananya Hotel Bakkhali-Frasergunj In between Bakkhali and Frazergunj 9831507528 noon 11:30AM The rent is 300-500 (AC)for double bed room, 10 bed top floor dormatory present for Rs 120 Three floors, plenty of water, hotel roof access, very good ambience and airy. Enclosed car parking available. Only problem with this hotel is the availability of food, the hotel do not have any proper arrangement of food or even snacks.
- Bakkhali Tourist Lodge. The only lodge near the beach that is run by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) at Bakkhali. Tel:+91 3210 225-260. Rates Rs. 80 per bed (dormitory) to Rs. 400 NAC double-bedded room.AC room Rs.850/- plus 15% taxes. Credit cards accepted. Reservation, 120 days in advance is available from Tourism Centre at 3/2, B.B.D. Bag (East) (ground floor), Kolkata.
- Henry Island Henry Island WBFD 10 minutes from Bakkhali 23376470 300-600 A beautiful place to stay. To book contact the State Fisheries Development Corporation (Bikash Bhavan)
- Hotel Amarabati Bakkhali +91 9836381994 Standard cottages Rs 350-450 this hotel may not be very good , bt its quite fit for stayng for night stay.
- Hotel Babylon South 24 Parganas beside Punjab National Bank +9732781970 11.00AM Newly built, clean hotel. Double rooms Rs 200-400.
- Hotel Bayview Facilities are strictly okay for budget conscious travellers. Food is Bengali only and seems to be clean and hygienic compared to other road-side eateries.
- Hotel Deepak (033) 2464 0081 / 2463 3203 / 3292 9840 http://www.sensonmedia.net/hoteldeepak.htm dorm bed Rs.100/day, rooms Rs.450-850 email@example.com at Frasergunj; air-con & non-air-con rooms, lift, swimming pool, bar, Bengali/Chinese/Continental
- Joyguru Abasan main road to beach. 2 minutes from Bakkhali bus stand. 9734370212 10A.M 11A.M 200-450 very good residential type hotel, you will definitely feel at home with generator facilities running water for 24 hrs,all double bed rooms with good ventilation,some rooms are facing the sea
- Sagar Belaya Guest House at Frezergunj +91 9231549732 firstname.lastname@example.org +91 9051826220. Double/triple beded rooms from Rs.400/ to Rs. 750/. Off-season discount available upto 50%. Bengali foods & snacks are available.
- Sahana Tourist Lodge +91 9830268698 11.00AM Rs 350-600 Four Bed rooms available on the 1st Floor for Rs. 600. Off-season discount available from time to time.
- Bhagabatpur – crocodile project
- Sagar Island - Gangasagar
- Sundarbans National Park – gateway for the West Bengal part of Sundarbans is through Canning and Basanti, but Sunderbans accessible from Bakkhali. But best accessed though Basanti. If you reach netadhopani you can see tiger too. We had the chance to see that
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