A weekend retreat works as a great energy booster. It helps you to stay energetic. In order to find such a retreat, you supposedly not have to go far. A local, lesser know place is the best choice. Recently in search of such retreat, I went to Bakkhali, Henry’ Island a much lesser know seaside weekend destination near Kolkata. As weekend is approaching so I thought to share my experience with you people my 1 day trip near Kolkata to Bakkhali. I also attached the hotel names, total expenses in details at the end of the post.
Bakkhali at a Glance
Bakkhali Island is in the Ganges delta is around 125 km south to Kolkata. Sir Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal (1903–1908) discovered Bakkhali. There is no direct access to this weekend destination near Kolkata, so unless you are in a car you have to break your journey. You can take a Bus from Esplanade or a local train from Shealdah to Namkhana (South most place in the mainland of Bengal). I took the train as I found it to be more comfortable as well as to get a chance to meet the local people while travelling. So, here is the account of my journey.
Journey to Bakkhali (best weekend destination near Kolkata)
How to reach Bakkhali & Henry’ Island from Kolkata?
I started early, to take the train from Shealdah (the main station in the Kolkata connecting south urban Kolkata) to Namkhana. It took me nearly 3.5 hours to reach Namkhana the gateway of this weekend destination near Kolkata. After reaching Namkhana, I took a van rickshaw to the ferry ghat to cross the river Hatania-Doania. I got onto a motorboat, which took Rs 2 to cross the river.
Once crossing the river, I walked to the bus stand for a bus to reach Bakkhali. This approximate 45 minutes bus journey was not that comfortable due to the road condition.
Where to stay in Bakkhali & Henry’ Island
However, once reaching Bakkhali, I checked-into Balaka Lodge. It was a good hotel and the price is cheap (INR900/Day for AC Room) too. In spite of getting popularity as weekend destination near Kolkata, there is a scarcity of good quality hotels. However, you can book the government Guest House. There are some other hotels to stay over here, which I mentioned below.
What to do in Bakkhali
Take a Morning and Evening Walk
In the evening, I walked to the beach, which was 10 minutes distance from my hotel. It was a long stretched beach and the lovely sun rays were taking the dip into the sea. The best thing on the beach you can try is to have fresh fried fish just by seating over there. You can select the fish according to your choice from the local fishermen and they will fry it in front of you. I must say it tastes far better than other popular seaside weekend destination near Kolkata like Digha or Mandarmani.
You can also try fishes from the local market. You will get cooks over there who will prepare the food for you. This can be a great way to taste the local flavor of this southern part of Bengal. However, for me, fresh fried fish was enough for that night.
Do you like local foods? 5 Street Foods in Jalan Alor You Must Try
It was 5 am in the clock and I wake up. I did not want to miss the sunrise. I reached the beach on time. It was a splendid experience to see the sunrise while taking the sip of coffee and munching the bread toast at a tea stall on beach at this beautiful weekend destination near Kolkata. You can even see the red crabs on the beach also if you are lucky enough.
Once came back from the beach, I took the shower and checked out from the hotel by 10 am. I took a TOTO (Like TUKTUK in Thailand) for going to visit the sightseeing spots. My first destination was Henry’ Island, which is another great weekend destination near Kolkata. It is a government fishery project developed in the mid of a mangrove forest and you have to go through it to reach the virgin beach.
Do you want to travel Abroad in weekend? Read: How to Travel Kuala Lumpur in 3 Days?
Yes, it is a virgin beach. I reached there by 10.30 am and I found only 3 or 4 people were on the beach. My TOTO driver told me that if I would come by a few hours back probably I would be the only person to be there on the beach. I must say that it is one of the finest but unexplored beaches in India.
There is a watchtower in the mid of this mangrove, from the top of which you can get a splendid 360 degree view of the place.
However, I found tents and small cottages over there in Henry’ Island, which can be booked from Kolkata to stay. There is also a restaurant offering fantastic local fishes at a very reasonable price. Next time I am planning to stay in Henry’ Island for enjoying another great weekend destination near Kolkata. However, people who are looking for serenity and pristine location, Henry’ Island can be an ideal gateway for them.
I traveled to my second destination that was Jambu Dwip, another island. To reach there, I went to Benfish Harbor. I got into the boat, which costs me Rs 150. The boat took me to Jambu Dwip Island. However, you cannot land on the Island as it is now under the authority of Indian Coast Guards.
In addition, the local inhabitants, the red crabs, are in danger due to the pollution created by the visitors visited the island before. The journey to the island was a great experience as you moved to the sea from the river and you can clearly spot the of color difference of both sea and river.
My last destination was Frazerganj. Sir Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal (1903–1908) in the early twentieth century discovered this weekend destination near Kolkata then Capital of British India. There is a bungalow of Sir Andrew Fraser, rather only the debris of the bungalow on the beach.
In absence of proper maintenance, the bungalow is completely ruined. I wonder that within the next one or two year, there will be anything left. However, you can take a ride on the beach as the beach was connecting to Bakkhali Beach. It is a 7 Kilometer long stretched twin beach of Bakkhali and Frazerganj.
Coming back to Kolkata with a promise to visit again
Once completing my sightseeing the TOTO dropped me at Bakkhali Bus stand by 1 pm. I took lunch at one of the restaurants over there and once again went to the beach. It was quiet at that time. I sat on a bench and started enjoying the people who were in the sea and taking their bath. By 3 pm, I took the bus from the stand for my return journey with a promise to visit again this weekend destination near Kolkata very soon.
List of Hotels in Bakkhali & Henry’ Island
- Balaka Lodge (90077 41550)
- Hotel Amarabati (97326 19340)
- Bay View Tourist Lodge
- Dwaipyan Lodge
- Hotel Icon Heritage
- Sundari & Mangrove Complex (Ph: 8116786665, 9734550860)
Train Fair: Rs 30
Bus Fair: Rs. 20-25
Hotel Tariff: Rs. 500-2500 (Non AC/ AC)
Food: Meal Rs. 80-200 (Veg/ Non Veg) Snacks Rs. 50-100 Fried Fish: Rs. 80-150
Total: Rs. 1000-1200 Per Pax for 2D / 1N trip
In case you need any additional information, please drop a message, I will try to help you.