Sundarbans National Park Travel Itinerary

Sundarbans

Sundarbans National Park – The name reminds anyone of the dreaded Sundarban Tigers who are known as man-eating tigers. Today we are bringing a detailed itinerary of the Sundarbans tour and this will help you to get an insight into what to expect and unique and interesting things you can do during your travel to Sundarbans National Park. Sundarbans Tiger reserve is visited by tourists across the world in search of the man-eating Royal Bengal Sundarban tigers. The stories of the man-eating tigers of Sundarbans will send a chill in the spine during your Sundarban tour. The human beings and the Sundarban tigers stay in close proximity and is the perfect example of peaceful co-existence between man and nature.

Shoestring Travel has not only brought details of the Sundarbans tour but also stories of Sundarban Tigers straight from Sundarbans National Park and how people have survived the man-eating Sundarban tiger attacks. I have been to the Sunderbans tour  6 times till now and already have a plan to visit the 7th Time and these stories and the details mentioned in this blog is based on my experiences from all the Sunderban tours that I did.

Hear straight from the survivors of the Man-eating Sundarbans tiger attack in the video below and this video gives you details of Sundarban Tour if you are not in a mood to read much.








    Sundarbans National Park – The Background


    Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world and is sometimes referred to as the lungs of Asia. Sundarbans National Park is one of the largest deltas which is formed by the Ganga, Brahmaputra & river Meghna.

    Sundarbans National Park is approximately 10,000 Sq Km in area, with 40% of the area in India and remaining in Bangladesh. Sundarbans National Park is not only known for Royal Bengal Sundarban tigers but also known for Snakes, Crocodiles, Deer, Monkeys and some extremely unique flora and fauna which are only found here. You will be able to see most of the Flora and Fauna during the Sundarbans tour.


    Tigers of Sunderbans


    Sighting Sundarban tigers are rare and unless you are lucky it is difficult to see. I have been to Sundarbans 6 times till now and got the sighting only once that too for few seconds. There are approximately 96 Royal Bengal tigers in the Indian part of Sundarbans and the remaining 300+ tigers in Bangladesh.

    Sundarbans got its name from the Sundari tree which grows in abundance in the mangrove.

    One piece of advice: If you are planning to go on a Sundarbans tour just for seeing the tigers of Sundarban, you will be disappointed, you should plan a Sundarbans tour to enjoy the unique ecology and the most unique wildlife sanctuary in India.


    Sundarbans National Park


    There are three zones in the Sundarbans National Park – Buffer Zone, Sanctuary Zone and Core Zone.

    The tourists are allowed in the Buffer Zone, the Sanctuary zone is reserved for fishermen and honey collectors, and in the Core Zone, no tourists are allowed apart from only one place called Netidhopani. 

    Watch the youtube video above to know more about our Sundarban Tiger sighting at Netidhopani during my Sundarbans Tour.

    sundarbans tour


    How to plan your Sundarbans Tour? 


    You can go on a Sundarbans National Park tour on your own or you can book a Sundarbans tour package too. If you ask me the easiest way and the safest way to visit Sundarbans is to book a tour package. However, I will explain to you both positives and negatives of going on a Sundarban Tour on your own or booking a Sundarban tour package from a hotel or tour operator.


    Sundarbans Tour Packages or Plan a Trip on Your Own 


    Sundarbans Tour Packages


    The tour packages start from Rs 3500 and go up to Rs 7000-8000 depending on the kind of stay and the boat. The Sundarbans tour packages are generally all-inclusive that means the cost of the Sundarbans tour includes pick and drop from a central location in Kolkata (mostly it is Science City), your stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner along with cultural programmes in the resort.

    The cultural program ( Bon Bibi r Pala or Jhumur Dance) will depend on the number of people who are staying in the resort. I have seen in most of the resorts in Sundarbans National Park when the resort is almost fully booked then only the resort arranges for the same.


    bon bibi r pala


    Before you book the Sundarbans tour package, check the kind of hotel/ resort they are providing and whether it is according to your taste. The hotel/resorts in Sunderbans are mostly basic with basic amenities and generally, the tour operators will show a lower cost by making your stay in a basic hotel.

    Also, check whether the Sundarbans tour package consists of all meals and also pick up and drop from Kolkata along with sightseeing.

    If you want to book a Sundarbans Tour you can reach out to Tripify or call them on +918240582844. I have availed of their services multiple times and I have been super happy and satisfied.


    Positives :
    • Booking a Sundarbans Tour helps you to travel to Sundarbans at a much cheaper rate
    • Hassle-free completely as no need to find the guide, boat and look for hotels or transport
    • All meals are generally included so no added cost.
    Negatives :
    • You can’t customise if you are a wildlife enthusiast. For example, if you want to stay at a particular place on the boat a little longer you can’t do that
    • Mostly these tours are touristy so chances of seeing the Sundarbans Tigers or tracking tigers is impossible
    • You will not get the insiders stories of life in Sundarbans



    travel to sunderbans


    How do I plan a Trip to Sundarban on my own?


    You have to keep the following things in mind if you are planning to visit Sundarbans on your own.

    • Parking your car at the point of boarding the boat 
    • Booking a hotel/resort/stay
    • Booking a Boat
    • Seeking Permission to enter Sundarbans National Park
    • Getting a reliable guide

    You can park your car at various Public car parking places in Godkhali. The charge for parking the car is Rs 100 per day and in peak season can go up to a max of Rs 200 per day. The public car parking garages at Sunderbans National Park is extremely safe so no need to worry.

    parking in godkhali


    The trickiest part of planning your own trip to Sunderbans National Park is to book a Boat. If you are travelling in a small family the cost of a boat can burn your pocket. The charges of boats start from Rs 2000 per day to Rs 7500 per day. Most of the boat operators also double up as guides and tour operators. So you can contact them and bargain to include other things like food and get a deal.

    The boat operators will help you to get permission for entering Sundarbans National Park. However, if you want to do it yourself you can book your permission from https://www.eticketsundarbantigerreserve.com/

    You can find various resorts in Sunderbans National Park, the following is one of the resorts where I stayed and absolutely loved the hospitality.


    Positives :

    • You can plan the way you want and take the boat anywhere you like and the chances of seeing the elusive tigers of Sundarbans is much higher
    • You can mix and match the resorts and places to see for your trip to Sundarbans National Park

    Negatives

    • You have to take the hassle of planning everything on your own.
    • The trip cost will come out to be expensive

    Important Point: Many people will suggest you stay in a Boat, however, if you ask me it's extremely uncomfortable. I have stayed for 2 days once on one of my trips. If you want to have an experience then stay on a boat and ensure it has proper beds where you can sleep at night. The bathrooms are extremely small and you need to keep in mind that the water is saline.


    What to Expect at Sundarbans National Park


    If you are planning to visit Sundarbans just to see the man eating tigers of Sundarban then let me tell you again that the chances are just 5%. I have been to Sundarbans 6 times till now and only got a sighting for few seconds once. Sundarbans  is not like other tiger reserves where you enter inside the jungle, here the animals have to come out near the river for you to see. So chances of seeing wildlife reduce drastically. 

    You should plan your Sundarbans tour to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna.

    Apart from the man-eating tigers of Sundarbans, one interesting reptile you will get to see are the Crocodiles. If you are lucky you can see Crocodiles basking in the sun and if you are super lucky like me, you see a crocodile swimming leisurely. During my last trip to Sundarbans, a crocodile was swimming along with our boat for a long time.


    sunderbans

    sunderbans national park


    Another interesting fauna you can see in Sundarbans National Park is the Gangetic dolphins. I had seen a group of Gangetic dolphins swimming on my 3rd trip to Sunderbans. However Gangetic dolphins are a little difficult to find and click as they don’t come out of the water fully. You can only see a small portion of their body.


    sunderbans travel itinerary

    tigers in sunderbans

    sunderbans


    In Sundarbans will see lots of Spotted deers, monkeys and birds on your trip. You will be able to see lots of rare and endangered birds of prey like crested serpent eagle, brahminy kite, White-bellied sea eagle, Osprey, short-toed eagle, oriental honey buzzard. If you are lucky you can see the Herons too which include grey herons, purple herons, pond herons, night herons and goliath herons. Your mornings will be welcomed by the sounds of cuckoos.


    birds in sunderbans


    Sundarbans is heaven for Kingfishers and there are some 10 different kinds of Kingfishers and this is 90% of all the different varieties of kingfishers found in India.


    snakes in sunderbans


    sunderbans travel plan


    Sundarbans Travel Itinerary

    For travelling to Sundarbans, depending on the days ( example : 3 Days 2 Nights) the Sundarbans tour will start from a place called Godkhali from where you will take your boat and enter the Sundarban National Park. Godkhali is approximately 80 km from Kolkata and depending on the day of the week it will take you approximately 2-3 hours to reach the place.


    Once you reach Godkhali you will have to walk towards the ferry ghat for approximately 200 meters  ( from where boats start) and you will have to board the boat.

    An ideal Sundarbans tour should consist of 4 Days 3 Nights. Most of the tour operators/hotels will give you an option of 2 Days 1 Night or 3 Days 2 Nights. Never take 2 Days 1 Night tour as it will be a waste of money.

    I am giving you a detailed itinerary and what to expect for 3 Days 2 Nights in Sunderbans and depending on the additional days you may choose to go to different places or track tigers and wildlife.


    Day 1 of Sundarbans Tour

    You should leave Kolkata early in the morning at around 6 am so that you reach Godkhali by 9-10am max. From there you will take a boat to your hotel or resort. This journey is really exciting as you would have already entered the Sundarbans National Park.

    On the first day, the Boat will take either take you directly to the resort/hotel for lunch or might serve you lunch on-board and take you to few watch towers like Sajnekhali.

    There are some Sundarbans tour packages that might take you bird watching during the sunset time post your lunch at your hotel. If your Sundarbans tour package does it then nothing like it as watching birds during the sunset on a boat is really breathtaking.


    sunderbans


    Advice: Most of the tour operators will try to keep the first day free to save on cost and take you to different places in Sundarbans National Park on Day 2. Steer away from such Sundarbans tour packages which don’t offer you any visit to places on the first day. Your second day will become really hectic if you have such a Sundarbans tour where nothing is shown on the first day.


    Day 2 of Sundarbans Tour


    There can be two routes – The first one is the normal tourist route which 90-95% of the hotels/tour operators will provide and the second one is a Boat ride to Netidhopani. 

    Netidhophani is a part of the core zone and the only place in Sundarbans National Park in the core area where tourists are allowed. However, it requires prior permission. The cost also increases a bit for taking you to Netidhopani as it's a bit far.


    tigers in sunderbans


    Your second day of Sundarbans tour will start early and the earlier you start for Sundarbans National Park the better it is as the tourist boats will be less and chances of sighting any wildlife will be much higher. Once the tourist boats arrive, the animals run inside the jungle due to the sound of the boats.


    boat ride in sunderbans


    boats in sunderbans


    On the second day of your Sundarbans tour, you will visit various watchtowers like Dobanki, Sudhanyakhali and you will also get to see various creeks of the mangrove. Pirkhali is one such place where many tiger sightings happen.  The second day will be spent on water on the boat as you will travel inside Sundarbans.

    Advice: Don’t spend much time on the watchtowers as the chances to see any animal is absolutely nil, however, you will get a good top view of the jungles.

    You can do the Dobanki watch tower canopy walk where you will walk of the Sundarbans canopy on a raised platform. You might see a deer or two if you are lucky. We saw a deer with its faun grazing leisurely. 


    sunderbans


    The second day of your Sundarbans National Park tour will be memorable as you will be on the boat while you will watch the sights and hear the sounds of Sunderban.

    The breakfast, lunch and evening snacks will be served on the boat itself. The breakfast and lunch will be Bengali dishes only and if you are a non-vegetarian you will be served various local fishes.

    In the evening once you return to your hotel, the hotel might arrange a cultural program if they have not arranged it on Day 1. If there is nothing planned suggest you take a stroll in the village to see how locals live. You can ask your hotel/resort to take you to houses of honey collectors and listen to how they collect honey. Please tip the locals adequately as they are extremely poor. I personally tip Rs200 for every house where I visit. For them, these Rs 200 is almost 4-5 days of earning.


    life in sunderbans


    Day 3 of Sundarbans Tour

    The last day will be a little relaxed as you will leave for Kolkata mostly after having breakfast. Suggest you wake up early and take a walk in the village. You will be able to see how the villagers fish and earn their livelihood and mornings in Sundarban is beautiful.

    Or carry your cup of coffee or tea and sit beside the banks of Sundarbans and enjoy a fresh morning.

    The boat will bring you back to Godkhali from where you will board a car to get back to your destination in Kolkata.


    Important Tips for your Sundarbans Tour


    While going for your Sundarbans Tour, you need to keep few important things in mind which will make your trip memorable:

    • Keep cash with you, you will not find ATMs in Sundarbans National Park. So if you rely on ATMs or Cards you will be stuck.
    • Don’t carry any disposable plastic items like Mineral water bottles, plastic bag etc as Sundarbans  is a No Plastic zone and you will be heavily penalised if you are found littering the place with plastic
    • Carry all important medicines with you, only the bigger islands have medicine shops but that too mostly basic medicines
    • Mosquito repellent is a must. Carry a repellent which you can apply on our skin and body.
    • Carry some dry food items or easy to cook meals if you are planning to go on your own.
    • Never drink Tap water or unboiled water in Sundarbans
    • Carry high-intensity torches, which you will need if you plan to explore the place on foot at night.


    Best Time to Visit Sundarbans National Park


    The best time to visit the Sundarbans National Park is between October and February. The weather is extremely pleasant during this in Sundarbans National Park. During the summers it's extremely hot and the rainy season should be absolutely avoided as the waterways become a little dangerous.


    Let me know in the section below if you would like to get any more information relate to Sunderbans National Park Travel itinerary or share your experiences of travelling to Sunderbans.

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    Sunderbans Travel Itinerary

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