Sundarbans National Park : How To Plan Your Trip

Sunderbans National Park is one of the top ecotourism destinations in India, and it is absolutely thrilling to visit it. Just like any other place, there are certain travel tips which will make your trip a smooth and pleasant one. Here are some of them.

  • • Do not drink tap water, as you may end up being severely ill or contracting various water-borne diseases. Always go for filtered water over coconut water.
  • • You should not carry any mineral water bottle while visiting the national park as Sunderbans is a “no plastic zone”.
  • • Always carry some light snacks along with fruits and dry fruits with you. They will come in handy when you want a small snack.
  • • It can be very hot in Sunderbans during the summers. Take adequate precautions if plan on visiting it during this time. Carry hats, sunglasses and sun tan lotion to protect yourself from the heat.
  • • You will hardly come across any ATM’s in this area, so it’s better to carry enough cash to get you around. The only ATM which you will find here is in the village of Gosaba in Sundarbans.
  • • Don’t let an illness take away all the fun out of your trip. Keep yourself equipped to deal with illness at any time by carrying medicines for cold, cough and upset stomachs.
  • • A torch can always carry in handy. Carry one, along with spare batteries.
  • • Carry spare batteries for your cameras too, in case you don’t find the means to recharge them during the course of your trip.

Best Travel Tips for Visiting Sunderbans

Sundarbans National Travel Guide

Best Time to Visit: The optimal time to explore Sundarbans National Park is from October to March, particularly during the cooler winter months of December to January. Summers, from April to June, tend to be uncomfortably hot and humid, while the monsoon months bring heavy rains, making travel unsafe.

Best Time of Day for Animal Sighting: For the best chances of animal sightings, aim for late afternoon to early evening when the tide is low. During low tide, mudflats are exposed, making it easier to spot animals along the riverbanks. High tides typically occur at night and continue into the late morning.

How to Reach: To reach Sundarbans, you can take a train to Canning, the nearest railway station. Local trains run regularly between Kolkata and Canning. Alternatively, buses operate from Esplanade in Kolkata to Canning and Sonakhali. If you prefer driving, Canning is approximately 65 kilometers and Sonakhali around 80 kilometers from Kolkata. Tour packages often include transportation from designated pick-up points in Kolkata.

Where to Stay: Tour packages usually include accommodation at resorts located on nearby islands. Alternatively, you can opt to spend the night on a boat. If planning independently, consider booking a resort in Gosaba, particularly in Pakhiralay village.

Where to Eat: Tour operators typically provide meals on-board or at the resorts. If traveling independently, you’ll find small restaurants and hotels in Canning, Gadkhali, and Gosaba offering local cuisine, although options may be limited.

How to Move Around: For island transportation, options include auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws, and flat-seated motor-rickshaws. To explore the mangrove forests, boats are the only viable option. Shared boats are cost-effective for general exploration, while hiring smaller boats offers more freedom to explore smaller channels, albeit at a slightly higher cost.

Things to Carry: Essential items to carry include mosquito repellent, a torch for erratic electricity supply, light sports shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and light cotton clothing for protection against the sun and humidity. Bringing snacks and cash is advisable due to limited amenities and ATMs in the area.

Concluding Note: Sundarbans National Park offers a unique experience of mangroves, river cruises, and wildlife, including the elusive tiger. While tour packages are available, planning your own trip allows for a more personalized and enriching experience. Exploring local villages and engaging with residents adds depth to the visit, offering insights into their way of life, relationship with the forest, and perspectives on tourism. As infrastructure and tour offerings continue to evolve, self-planned trips remain an excellent option for experiencing the best of Sundarbans National Park.