For backpackers who are planning a trip to South Asia, Saint Martin Island Bangladesh is one of the most recommended travel destinations. The reason why I am recommending this island is not only for the Blue Ocean or coral reefs but also for its eternal calmness. The island has no motor vehicles and every day after 11pm the whole island goes under an electrical blackout. That’s why nomads can feel themselves fell into the nature by taking deep breath from deep dark sky, deep Blue Ocean and the silence of the choral beach.
- Best Time to Visit Saint Martin Island
- Saint Martin Island Location & Map
- Hotels & Resorts
- Top Activities & Attractions for Backpackers
- Local Lifestyle
Best Time to Visit Saint Martin Island
Since the island is surrounded by ocean, that’s why winter is the best time to visit Saint Martin Island as sea remains calm in winter which makes the sea safer for tourist ships. From the beginning of the November to the end of February usually passenger ships sail and after March they shut down their operations for next seven months. But local fishing boats always sail through the sea and many adventure lover backpackers go to the island in rainy season by these boats to see the sea storms and crazy waves of Bay of Bengal.
Saint Martin Island Location & Map
A Saint Martin Island Bangladesh map is attached above this paragraph for your kind information. Saint Martin is an 8 square km choral island remote from the mainland of Bangladesh. The distance is approximately 9 km south from the tip of the Teknaf Peninsula. The island is located nearer to Myanmar hill tracks than Bangladesh. You can go only by marine vessel from Teknaf ship terminal. During tourist season tourist ships, launch and boats are available. But during the off season only local fishing boat can take you to Saint Martin Island.
As I already said the island is located in the Bay of Bengal totally remote from the mainland of Bangladesh. So to reach there you’ve to take Teknaf to Saint Martin ship service. There are several ship companies like Green Line, Bay Cruise, Keari Sindbad, Kutubdia etc. You can go to Teknaf from Dhaka, Chittagong or Cox’s Bazar by bus. It takes around 10 hours from Dhaka, 5 hours from Chittagong & 2 hours from Cox’s Bazar to Teknaf ship terminal. Ships normally sail on 9.30am & reach to Saint Martin at 12.00pm. The Green line is faster than other ships & it reaches within 11am.
Samudra Billash Cottage, Saint Martin Island
Hotels & Resorts
There are lots of hotels and resorts in Saint Martin Island. I stayed at Samudra Bilash Resort which was built by the most popular author of Bangladesh Late Humayan Ahmed. The rent is around 2500 taka per night where 3 person can sleep easily. Besides, there are also some other resorts like Blue Lagoon, Prasad Paradise, Labiba Bilash etc. Normally prices vary between 2000-3000 taka per night. Food is excluded almost everywhere. Besides, since there is no power station there, solar electricity is the only life saver and that’s why most of the resorts give 5-6 hours electricity support. The rest of the day you’ll not get electricity. But some hotels have 24 hours electricity solution. But they are costly.
Top Activities & Attractions for Backpackers
So, you are now in Saint Martin Island. Now it’s time to make your bucket list for visiting attractive places and doing other activities here. Since this is not a crazy island like Phuket, Pattaya or Lankawii, hook up types activities are not available here. But still you’ve a lot to see, feel & do here. Now let’s proceed to the bucket list.
Feeling the Mesmerizing Bay of Bengal
The most attractive experience you’ll find every time here is its long sandy beach with full of silence. No motor vehicles, no external crowds, disturbances and you’ll find nothing between you and nature. There are many benches to seat & lie under umbrella. Hourly rate is around 20-25 BDT for taking this benches. I’ll recommend 3 times to lie there. After sunrise, before sunset and at midnight because in these 3 times the beach remains very peaceful.
Spending only 30-35 taka per hour you can ride a cycle on beach. Even if you want to roam the whole island by cycle you can do this. It takes around 2 hour for roaming the total island. Besides, if you love photography, take a cycle for 4-5 hours and take snaps on different spots of the places. St Martin Island is very safe for tourists. So, you don’t need to be worried for your costly equipment.
Fish Barbecue Party at Night
If you are not a vegetarian and don’t have allergy on fishes then don’t touch chicken or beef on Saint Martin because sea fishes are really cheap and delicious here. And fish barbecues are really heavenly. So, after blackout when the whole island becomes dark, launch a fish barbecue party with your team. Normally local people arranges the whole setup if you pay them. And only 1000 BDT is enough for 4-5 persons for a fish barbecue with sauce, paratha and a bottle of soft drink. You can continue your party whole night and nobody will bother you.
Visit Chhera Dwip
The best part of this island is chhera dwip, a coral riff near the main land of Saint Martin Island. During ebb you can go to this island by foot or cycle through coral. But during tide you’ve no other option without boat. If you want to go by foot you’ve to start immediately after sunrise. It takes around 2 hours by foot and if you take a cycle you can save 30-40 minutes approximately. If you want to go by boat then you’ve to go to ship terminal where boats and speed boats are available.
In speed boat it takes maximum 15 minutes and in boat around 30-45 minutes depends on boat engine. An 8 person speed boat will take approximately 1800-2000 BDT for up down and a 30 person boat will take the same charge. If you’ve a team try to reserve a speed boat or normal boat. But if you are a solo traveler or you are in a honeymoon trip then you can also ride into a public boat.
The best time to visit chhera dwip is during sun rise or sun set. But you can also go any time there. But try to avoid 12pm – 3pm because you’ve to walk a lot there. And under the heat of the direct sun it’ll be very tough. That’s why we’ll recommend not to visit chhera dwip in this amid.
In beach there are lots of beach shops where you can purchase Burmese product within a very cheap prize. The island is surrounded by Myanmar and local folks bring these products mainly by fishing boats and sell it very cheap. The featured products I can mention are: pickles, soaps, cosmetics, handmade ornaments. Besides, fresh dry fishes are very cheap there. Pomfret is the most popular of all fishes and Kalachanda, Shurma, Lakkha etc are also available for everyone. Price normally fluctuates a lot. That’s why I am not mentioning any price. But don’t purchase dry fishes without bargain.
Local people are very naive, religious and friendly. They are poor, but very honest in nature. This is the best culture of this island. People are mainly fishermen and the rate of education is still not very high. But gradually more folks are going abroad to pursue higher degrees and expertise.
The native language is Bengali & they also understand a little bit Arakanese. But local people don’t have English efficiency. May be there are 2-3 guides who understand English. But this wouldn’t be a problem for tourists because everyone is helpful, friendly and very honest.
Fish is the main food here because the key income source of local people is fishing. That’s why they get it easily. Besides, dry fishes are also very popular. In Saint Martin a large number of green coconut grows and almost in every house more than one coconut trees are available. Agriculture is also a regular profession, but to fulfill the demand of total locality tons of vegetables and other foods are imported from Teknaf mainland. In off peak season foods become cheaper as there are no tourists. Even green coconuts are found only by 5-10 Taka in this season. But in peak season green coconuts are sold for 50 taka, normal sea fishes are sold around 170 – 200 taka and Rupchada fishes are sold for 220-250 taka. Rice, vegetables, pulse etc. are inclusive to this price in maximum restaurant. But the restaurants near ship terminal are comparatively high in price and you’ve to pay for every item. But taste of foods and behavior of restaurant owner is really impressive.
To watch & experience all items of Saint Martin Island Bangladesh keep at least 2 nights in your hand. I already said ships normally reach at 12pm & they sail for returning to mainland at 3.30pm. So, first day take rest, stroll on the beach, eat delicious fishes & at night do the barbecue party. Then 2nd day morning go to Chhera Dip & return before noon. Then spend the rest of the time peacefully & roam on the beach at night. Then after 2nd night the next morning prepare to leave & after lunch get on the return ship. The returning path is also mesmerizing & you can see the sunset of bay of Bengal from Naf river keeping Bangladesh in one side & Myanmar is another side. Finally after reaching to Teknaf ship terminal you can either go to Cox’s bazar or you can take your bus for Dhaka. That’s all for today. 🙂