How to visit the backwaters of Sundarban | Complete guide
Sundarbans, the densest forest lands spread across India and Bangladesh are one of the most diverse lands of creatures that are rare and extremely beautiful. With a major part of around 60% lying on the land of India, every year Sundarban receives a huge number of visitors from India as well as foreign lands. The most beautiful and rare creature known as the “Bengal Tiger” is what people sight for in this land of dense forests. Along with the famous Bengal tigers, Sundarban is also known for many other versatile animals that reside here including crocodiles to be the prime ones.
Visiting Sundarbans is a complete trip in itself. If you are looking forward to visiting this land of diverse wildlife, we are here to guide you on how to plan a complete trip to Sundarbans, all the famous spots, and the budget to explore the “Backwaters of Sundarbans”. So, stay with us through the entire blog to plan a budget-friendly and memorable trip to Sundarbans.
How to reach the Backwaters of Sundarbans
Sundarbans is widely known throughout the world for its famous backwaters. Although in India, backwaters can be found in Kerala and Kashmir as well, Sundarbans give you a rare view of the famous Bengal tigers in its dense forests.
To witness the backwaters of Sundarbans, you will first have to reach Sundarbans’ main area. The Sundarbans are a part of India and Bangladesh. In India, they are situated near Kolkata. You can reach Sundarbans by taking a flight from Kolkata to Gadkhali. Mostly, people prefer taking cars to cover this distance to avoid any chaos. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach Gadkhali from Kolkata covering a distance of about 84 kilometers. When going by car, you can also stop at the famous Malancha market to enjoy some fast foods which are available at reasonable rates here.
If you want to visit Sundarbans by train or bus, then you will have to follow another route.
From Kolkata, you will have to reach Babu Ghat, Dharamtalla, or South Sealhdeh railway station. You can reach any of the three places. From here, you can take a bus from Babu Ghat or Dharamtalli or a train from South Sealdeh railway station to Canning. From canning, you can take a bus directly to Sundarbans. The route to travel via train or bus is mentioned below considering that you have reached Kolkata.
Kolkata -> Dharamtalli/Babu Ghat/South Sealdeh Railway Station
Dharamtalli/Babu Ghat/South Sealdeh Railway Station -> Canning (via train): Rs 50/person
Canning -> Sundarbans (via bus): Rs 50/person
Buses from Canning to Sundarbans run from 6:10 am to 5 pm at a gap of every 30 minutes. So, you will have to reach Canning within this duration to catch a bus to Sundarbans.
Where can you stay in Sundarbans?
After you reach Sundarbans, you will be transferred to your booked resort by boat. Since there are no roads within the land area of Sundarbans, the entire transportation is done via boats. One of the main resorts to Stay in Sundarbans can be the “Riverside Holiday Resort”. All the hotels in Sundarbans are mainly situated in the dayapur area.
You can book rooms of different ranges depending on your budget. There are both luxurious and budget-friendly rooms available here. Moreover, there is also the facility of a tennis court, play area, gardens, and lakes and you can also enjoy seasonal cultural dances which happen here at a particular time of the day.
Is there vegetarian food available in Sundarbans?
The tourism in Sundarbans might not be much convenient but the food here is of top quality. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-veg lover, you will get the best meal here. Generally, breakfast and lunch during your trip are served on the boat, which you can enjoy along with the beautiful backwaters of Sundarbans.
Places you cannot miss when visiting Sundarbans
Sundarbans is one of the most underrated places to visit in India. While people know and talk about it a lot, there is hardly the same amount of tourists here. The total area of Sundarbans is spread over a land mass of 26000 square kilometers. While most of the Sundarbans belong to the Indian region, some part of it also lies in Bangladesh.
Sundarbans are divided into two parts. The first part of it is known as the mangrove forest while the other part is the inhabited section where the locals of Sundarbans reside. The Sundarbans has a total of 102 Islands among which 54 islands are inhabited while 48 others are covered by mangrove forests. The mangrove forest is the main area of Sundarbans which is explored by tourists although some parts of Sundarbans are restricted by the government since they are densely covered with forests.
So, to explore mangrove forests certain places are popular tourist destinations and one cannot miss exploring them when visiting Sundarbans.
1. Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary & Backwaters of Sundarbans: One of the prime destinations for you in Sundarbans will be the Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary. You can reach here via boat from your resort.
Note: To explore Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, you will need a permit. The permit can be booked online through the website of Sundarbans otherwise if you have taken a package for the trip, the travel agency gets the permit approved for you.
The cost of the permit to explore Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary is Rs 450/person (approx.)
The entry ticket for Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary varies for different people. If you are an Indian, the ticket cost is Rs 170/person, while for international tourists it is Rs 500/person.
Apart from this, there are different charges for different kinds of entries like groups, etc.
At Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, you can explore the place within a boat itself. Here you can enjoy the gorgeous backwaters of Sundarbans, along with a view of the famous Bengal tigers. You can also find some crocodiles here and some other wildlife creatures as well including turtles. The entire area of Sundarbans experiences 2 high tides and 2 low tides within 24 hours. Thus, crocodiles often come out of the water during the low tides. This is the best time when you can see these beautiful yet dangerous creatures.
When talking of the great Bengal tigers, these creatures are a bit rare to be seen. So, if you are lucky enough, you might see a Bengal tiger in the wild or swimming in the backwaters of Sundarbans. Believe it, these creatures are excellent swimmers! Along with these creatures, there is also a watch tower at Sajnekhali from the top from which you can experience the beautiful and worth-watching view of the Sundarbans. Here in Sajnekhali are some artificial lakes as well which are made to provide fresh water to wild animals.
The timings of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary are from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm. So make sure you visit here within this duration only. It takes only around one hour to explore the entire place before you move on to your next destination.
2. Dobanki Canopy Walk: Another beautiful and worth-experiencing spot in Sundarbans is the Dobanki walk canopy. After setting out from Sajnekhali, you will reach Dobanki through the extremely silent backwaters of the Sundarbans. With dense forests on both sides, there are chances you might spot a tiger nearby. It is a popular saying by the locals of Sundarbans, that you might not see a Bengal tiger on your journey to Sundarbans, but the Bengal tiger is surely watching you from the deep and dense forests of Sundarbans.
After exploring through the deep and quiet backwaters of Sundarbans, you will reach Dobanki. Dobanki is a famous tourist destination where you can explore the deep and dense forests of Sundarbans from inside a cage. Here you will find an elevated platform completely covered from all sides forming a cage-like structure. You can walk upon this canopy through the forests of Sundarbans, while you witness the extreme wildlife and natural beauty of this place.
While exploring Dobanki, you can come across different wild animals, including Deer and Bengal tigers to be the most prominent ones. You can also see fresh footprints of animals who might have passed the area a while ago. All over, exploring Dobanki will take around one hour only.
3. Other Famous Places: Although the most famous and highly visited spots in Sundarbans are Sajnekhali and Dobanki there are several other places you can consider exploring here. These places include Sudhyankhali, Jharkhali, and Pakhiralaya. The en route and experience of every spot in Sundarbans are almost the same. Although visiting different spots can increase your chances of finding a Bengal tiger. Thus, it depends on you whether to consider these places for exploration or not.
What is the best time to visit Sundarbans?
Sundarbans are a beauty that is worth watching. Sundarbans experience mild winters and the best time to explore this place can be from September to March. This is due to the fact that in winter, the weather is clear and best for exploring. Whereas during the summer season, there are chances of experiencing the Kalbaisakhi (summer storm) here. Thus, traveling in a boat and exploring Sundarbans might be risky at this time. Monsoons are also not a recommended time to visit Sundarbans, since the water level here rises a lot during monsoons. Thus, finding crocodiles becomes a difficult task since they hardly come on the ground whereas other wild animals including the Bengal tiger also remain hidden during heavy rains.
What is the total cost of visiting Sundarbans?
Exploring Sundarbans is yet not that easy. The choices here are fewer and you have to sustain what is available. To make things a bit easier and to promote Sundarbans’ exploration there are travel agencies that provide a complete package for the trip. Although it is not necessary to take a package, it is recommended to take one.
Taking a package for traveling to Sundarbans is both affordable and relaxing. While you don’t have to worry about bookings, bargaining, and other aspects of the journey, a customized package does not offer you these things. Taking a complete package is also beneficial since it costs almost the same as a customized one. So why bear all those troubles when you have to pay the same amount?
The trip to Sundarbans is 1 night and 2 days. Although it can be extended if you want to spend some more days in the wildlife.
If you are taking a package to Sundarbans, the average cost of the package can be around Rs 8000 for two people. This will include all the explorations, meals, and staying at Sundarbans. There are certain other low-budget packs also available for visiting Sundarbans which can cost around Rs 6000.
Although, if you are going without a package, the total cost of the trip would approximately be the same along with a lot of chaos and confusion. Thus, it is recommended to take a package for this trip.
That’s all you need to know for your trip to Sundarbans. We hope to have given you all the relevant information needed for the trip. Hoping for your enjoyable and safe journey to the backwaters.