Bakkhali Tour Review
Very often we look forward to visit a place which is less crowded and unlike any popular tourist destinations to spend a few days in relaxation and peace with our best buddies to move away from our busy life. Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal is one of such places of interest – 4 to 5 hour drive from Kolkata. Bakkhali is located in one of such islands which are deltaic in nature with gentle rolling waves touching the bay or sea shore. Bakkhali is never crowded except some occasional holidays when people gather there for a vacation. Bakkhali has got a very natural beauty of its own like few other beautiful beach destinations that would surely draw you there very often once you visit the place for once.
I have been there twice and I feel Bakkhali can be your destination if you have got 2 to 3 days in hand. Spending 2 nights in Bakkhali can give you a warm feeling because the place is not over crowded and you can share some best moments with your family, friends and partner. In Bakkhali the sea water is much away from the beach. You need to walk a few minutes to get water above knee level but it has its own beauty. You can find a chair on the sea shore provided by the local vendors who are very less in number and spend some quality time looking towards the sun set over the Bay of Bengal. You would not realize when the time has passed by. The sea does not have that giant size waves but these are gentle rolling down to the shore. You don’t find any noise on the beach except a few vendors looking for a customer. The vendors who provide the chairs would be ready to serve you hot fish fries, beers and all which you would find perfect to the environment there. The main attraction in Bakkhali is Jammu Deep – it is a barren island away from Bakkhali. It takes around 2 hours to reach the island by fishing boats available in Fraserganj. The journey is a memorable one in my life. It was an awesome journey through the blue waters of Bay of Bengal with nothing in sight all around. It was quite adventurous too though a regular journey of a fisherman into the sea.
Bakkahli – How to Go
Kolkata to Bakkhali By Car
Bakkhali is 125kms away from the Joka Tram terminous in the southern edge of Kolkata. One need to go through Diamond Harbour, Kakdwip and Namkhana. If you take a car, you are supposed to transport your vehicle in a ferry across Hatania-Doania creek. There is no bridge and it would be a nice experience when you and your vehicle both get transported across the creek in a special ferry. The ferry service remains closed from 12 noon to 1.45 pm as this is the lunch hour for the stuffs. The ferry service is available from 7am in the morning to 11pm at night. The cost of transporting a vehicle is around Rs. 200. Once you cross the creep, you can find direct road to Bakkhali.
Kolkata to Bakkhali By Bus
There is regular bus service operated by WBSTC from Esplanade to Bakkhali. There are two round trips from Kolkata to Bakkhali. The first bus starts at 7am and reaches Bakkhali by 11.30am and it leaves Bakkhali after half an hour stop. The next bus set off at 8am and reaches Bakkhali around 12.30pm and returns after half an hour stop. I would suggest you to confirm that the buses are running because the timings of the buses are subjected to a change due to unavoidable circumstances. The fare of the bus is Rs. 70 per head. The general route for the WBSTC buses is from Espanade via Alipore, Taratala, Diamond Harbour, Kakdwip, Namkhana to Bakkhali. There are many local buses that operates between Esplanade and Namkhana and from Namkhana to Bakkhali.
Kolkata to Bakkhali By Train
There are regular trains from Sealdah to Namkhana at regular intervals. The first train departs at 4am, the next is at 7.30am. I would suggest you to take any of these two trains because the next one is at a long gap at around 10.30am. It takes around 3 hours to reach Namkhana from Sealdah. The fare is around Rs. 25. After you get down at Namkahan, you need to take a rickshaw or van to reach the boat place. It would cost you around Rs. 5 per head or Rs. 30 if you reserve a van. From there you need to cross the creek by boat and that would cost you Rs. 1 only. After crossing the creek you can find a bus stand from where there are regular and frequent bus services to Bakkhali. You can also take a private taxi which would take you to the hotel. It takes around 45mins to reach Bakkhali from this bus stand. The fare for the bus journey is around Rs. 15 per head. The Bakkhali bus stand is in 5mins walking distance from the beach. There are many hotels around the bus stand and away from the bus stand.
Places of Interest in Bakkhali
It is a must visit destination in Bakkhali. This place is maintained by Fisheries department of West Bengal Government and has been developed to a great extend to attract visitors all throughout the year. White sand beach and the sea on one end and mangroves representing the Sunderban on the other end make Henry’s Island a perfect spot to spend a few hours. The narrow wooden bridge from the Island to the sea beach with mangroves on both side looks like perfect spot to look around and have some quality snaps.
This tower is located in the Henry’s Island which gives you a bird’s eye view of the Mangrove plants all around along with the sea beach on one end. The Watch Tower in Henry’s Island gives you a splendid view of the nature’s products.
Bishhalakshmi Temple: This temple in Bakkhali is worth visiting for the tourists. The Pandit Ji who looks after the temple is a different man with his own norms and rules who won’t allow you inside the temple.
You can visit this park just near to the Bakkhali bus stoppage. The entry fee in the park is Rs. 2 per head.
This place is a fishing harbor for the locals. Fishermen take their country boat and goes into the sea for fishing which is their livelihood. When you visit this place you can see fishermen busy with their nets and fishes they have got. You can find some fishermen getting ready to set for a sail deep into the sea. You can talk to those fishermen about their life and hard works and they are always ready to share their part of life with you. It is always a different experience to know the unknown. In Fraserganj you can see the fleet of country boats on the shore of the creek that meets the mighty Bay of Bengal.
Jammu Island ( Jammu Deep ):
Being a must visit spot this is a barren island away from the sea shore with no human habitats. One needs to take a country boat on hire from Fraserganj which would take you to the Jammu Deep in 2 hours sailing. The journey to Jammu Deep is just fantastic and I am sure it would be lifetime experience to the adventure and nature lovers. Sailing in a country boat in the vast Bay of Bengal with nothing visible all around is just thrilling. It takes around 2 long hours to reach Jammu Deep from Fraserganj. On the way the fisherman who controls the steering of the boat will act like a guide and describe everything about the island, Fraserganj and their life. On the way you can see the Mangrove plants of Sunderban, variety of birds while moving through the creek that meets the Bay of Bengal and when you reach the meeting point, you will see that the sights of any plants, shore is getting hidden gradually. It is a nice experience to feel the life of a fisherman who takes his country boat and goes deep into the sea to catch fish. As the boat moves ahead you can feel the boat is sailing against the gentle waves of the sea but when the air blows a bit fast you can feel that the boat is going up and down. It is really adventurous and you will surely love it. There are around two more barren islands on the way to Jammu Deep but the Jammu Deep is the best to visit. I would say the weak-hearted people not to opt for this journey.
I would suggest you take snacks and drinks with you in the boat because it is a 4 hour round trip journey with at least a hour in the island. Once you are there you won’t feel like leaving the island. We spent around two and half hours in the island clicking photos and bathing in the sea. You can carry your bathing needs and extra clothing if you want to have a bath there. I would like to say one more thing is that please don’t be smart enough to ignore your boatman. It is always better to listen to your boatman as he is a local and he knows much more than us and it would minimize any unwanted issues or events.
Boat Fare/Charges: On an average the boatmen takes around Rs. 500-700 to take you to the Jammu Deep. If you are more in number, it is beneficial to you. One medium size boat can carry around 15 people. A large size boat would charge few more but that can accommodate more people. If you are less in number for example 2, 3 or 4 in number then you can wait for any other group of visitors who are also looking for boats. Then you can go on share system. If you don’t get any other visitor, be smart enough to bargain with the boatmen because they charge more if they see that you are less in number and there are no more visitors. You can also fix your rickshaw van driver to negotiate or bargain your deal with the boatmen. Your van driver can make it cheaper than you.
How to get around in Bakkhali:
In Bakkhali taxis or vehicles on hire are generally not available. If you find a visitor travelling in a car, I am sure he has driven the car here from Kolkata. The best mode of transport for the tourists or visitors is rickshaw van which gives you a different experience and journey. A rickshaw van is a cheap mode of transport and you have got enough time in hand, so the journey would be enjoyable. If you are travelling in a sunny day, it is better to take an umbrella with you. The rickshaw van will take you through the local villages and surrounds and you can experience the life of local villagers. You can find the home makers busy in cooking in open yards, children playing in the fields, farmers busy in their fields etc. If you take a rickshaw van you can visit all the tourist spots in Bakkhali. The rickshaw van will also wait for you at Fraserganj when you go for Jammu Deep. They don’t charge any extra for this. Generally a rickshaw van charges Rs. 60-70 per head to take you to all the spots including the waiting at Fraserganj when you go in the boat for the sail to the Jammu Deep. I would suggest you to bargain on the rates of the rickshaw van. If you see that the rickshaw van drivers are charging more or something not acceptable, you can approach your hotel manager or any boy who can do that very easily because they are locals too. The total tour of all the places of interest in Bakkhali including the sailing in the ocean takes around 7-8 hours. The Jammu Deep visit takes the major part of the time.
If you are looking for Bakkhali hotels there are many hotels in Bakkhali around the bus stop of different categories. There are many hotels on the both sides of the road to the bus stop.
Points to be noted:
- ATMs are not available, carry cash
- Taxis or vehicles on hire are not available
- Aircel and Uninor mobile network service is not available
I wish you enjoy your Bakkhali tour and have some memorable experiences. Don’t forget to comment here and share your experiences after you return from your trip to Bakkhali.
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Keep travelling, keep smiling.