Sundarbans is one of Bangladesh’ prized possessions and every nature lover’s dream destination. Situated at the coast of Kulna at the southern section of the country, Sundarbans is a dense mangrove forest and delta swamp area that stretches to around 6000 square kilometers. It is also considered to be the single mangrove forest in the world.
The name Sundarbans literally means the forests of Sundari, which is a precious tree species. Sundarbans is one of the rare places on earth where Royal Bengal Tigers freely roam. Aside from this magnificent yet elusive creature, there is also a wide range of wildlife inhabiting Sundarbans such as spotted deer, crocodiles, bears, snakes, cheetahs, hyenas and monkeys. This mangrove forest contains more than 300 plant species, 400 types of fish and over 300 species of reptiles, birds and mammals. Because of its rich resources and high biodiversity, the area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This impressive mangrove forest is about 320 kilometers to the west of the capital city, Dhaka. To reach it, you will need to ride a boat from Mongla or Khulna. In terms of accommodation, there are simple yet charming rest houses that blend in well with the unspoiled surroundings. Most of the tourists who visit Sundarbans book a package tour due to convenience. Although it is possible to travel the area on your own, it is not an easy task. There are only few tourist infrastructures, and riding a boat is the only means of getting around the area efficiently. Even if you are hiring a boat on your own, you will still need the services of a guide, and armed guards at that, to provide protection from flesh-eating animals. In addition, before being able to take a boat trip into the jungle, you will need to obtain a pass from the Divisional Forest Office located in Khulna.
Going on a package tour certainly does not take away from the entire experience. There are a number of tour companies that offer different packages exploring the mangrove region. Some of the tours offered are geared towards learning about the conservation projects and research being done in the area. A typical boat trip will take you through the mangrove forests for several hours. Although the trip does not guarantee that you will see a Royal Bengal Tiger, the journey through the swamps and canals, and the sightings of different animals are quite memorable.
Sundarbans is a perfect spot for wildlife photography. To increase your chance of capturing these animals in their habitats, head out to one or to all three wildlife sanctuaries in the area. These three important wildlife sanctuaries include Hiron Point, Manderbaria and Kotka-Kochikhaki. Hiron Point, or Nilkamal, is known for its incredible natural beauty and abundance of animals like deer, monkey, crocodiles and tiger.
Kotka-Kochikhaki, also called Tiger Point is essentially an area covered by grassy meadows, which provide great opportunities for wildlife tracking and hiking activities. There are also a number of natural beaches and rivers within Sundarbans – a number of them remain unexplored. Other points of interests you should check out while exploring this green paradise include the Tin Kona Island and DubJar Char, a fishermen island and home to herds of spotted deer.