Sundarban tiger reserve and biosphere reserve is located in southern region of West Bengal state in India. It is located at 2 hours distance from Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. Canning is the gateway to Sundarban and it is well connected with train service from Sealdah station in Kolkata. There are trains to Canning from Sealdah after every half an hour to forty minutes. Canning is the starting point of Sundarban tour. Canning is also connected with road from Kolkata. There are bus services from Kolkata to Canning but this journey is not suggested to tourists and visitors because it takes much time and the journey is not comfortable. Generally local people take the bus trip from Kolkata to Godkhali or Canning in Sundarban. There is no luxury or high end bus service from Kolkata. So, I feel the most convenient way from Kolkata to Sundarban is to take a train from Sealdah to Canning station and then take a local transport to reach Godkhali from where a tourist must hire or reserve a boat for the number of days he wants to spend in waters in Sundarban.
Sundarban is a group of islands surrounded with water all around. A tourists or a visitor must hire a boat for a safari in the mangroves forest and to explore the wonders of Sundarban. There is no way one can explore Sundarban in any other mode of transport. No one is allowed to get down the boat as this is the land of The Royal Bengal Tigers and crocs.
Kolkata To Sundarban Tour
The most convenient way is to take a train from Sealdah station to Canning station. Once you reach Canning station, you can visit Godkhali directly with Tata Magic vehicle or a trekker. You will have to reserve the vehicle because there is no direct transport service from Canning to Godkhali. Local people travel via Sonakhali. In case you don’t get a vehicle, you can also opt the route used by locals. Take an Auto rickshaw from Canning to Soankhali and then take another one from Sonakhali to Godkhali. Godkhali is the point where from you must have a boat to travel because there is no road further, it is water all around.
Hiring A Boat – Sundarban Boat Tour
One can hire a boat from Godkhali or Canning. I would always suggest hiring the boat from Godkhali because it kills a lot of time sailing from Canning to Godkhali. All boats go in to jungle via Godkhali and Goshaba. I suggest transferring to Godkhali by road from Canning and then hiring a boat from Godkhali.
Boats are hired on the basis of number of days. You will have to take food along with you in the boat. There should be a cook to get your food ready because you will not have access to the land while you are in the water of the mangroves. So boats are hired on a package. The more number of heads in the boat, lower would be the cost per head.
I have been to Sundarban 4 times and each time I hired the same boat because I liked their service and attitude. I am planning to visit soon and I am sure to reserve the same boat. The fellows on the boat have to be friendly and good guides too because you would be spending a couple of days with them. They are local and they have knowledge of the place. They can take you to the place where deer are seen the most. They can also take to the channel of the rivers where a tiger can be spotted. So if the boat men are good, your trip is going to be good.