South Bengal : Shankarpur
Shankarpur is about 185 km from Kolkata
Buses go to Shankarpur from Dharamtala/ Esplanade bus stand, Kolkata.
Shankarpur is near Digha and can be reached by taking any bus going to Digha. You need to get off the bus at Choddomile or Chaulkhola (14 miles in Bengali) between Contai (Kanthi) and Digha and just before Ramnagar. The sea beach is a 15 min ride by a car from Choddomile. You need to book a car to pick you up from Choddomile. Ask the hotel to do the car booking.
Otherwise, you can go straight to the Digha Bus stand (a further 25-30 min ride) and then hire a cab from there.
There is also a direct bus to Shankarpur.
The best bus to take is the airconditioned 7:30AM bus run by the "West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation". It starts from Dharmatala bus stand near the Maidan market. You need to book in advance - the earlier you do so the better. Another good bus is the Ex Armyman's Service. This has reclining seats and a video screen. This service starts from Golpark at 6.30AM and is convenient for those travelling from South Calcutta. Again, an advance booking advisable.
Travel Time by Bus: 4.5-5 hrs (including a 30-40 min snack break).
You can also reach Digha by train from Howrah (Train list mentioned below). From there you have to hire a taxi or use the bus to go to Ramnagar. From there you have to hire a trekker to go to the beach (approximately a 40-50 min journey).
If you want to drive down to Shankarpur from Kolkata (Calcutta) - the directions are as follows. Take the Second Hooghly Bridge then follow Kona expressway (a 4-lane road). At the Bombay Road crossing take a left turn. Follow Bombay Road (4-Lane road). You can break at the A1 Plaza inside the Reliance petrol station. It would be to your left around 30-40 min drive time from the Kona Expressway-Bombay Road junction. Keep straight till you cross the Rupnarayan river (the bridge is 1-way and the river is wide). After you cross the river you will see the Kolaghat Thermal Power Station to your left. Immediately after the Power Station is a junction, turn left towards Haldia. You have now entered the Haldia Highway (NH41). Some of this road is 4 laned, but most of it is still a 2 lane road. Keep straight till you arrive at the Nandakumar crossing, you can identify it easily as the crossing has a wide round circle. Turn right at this crossing, you have now entered the Digha Road. Digha Road is a 2 lane road, the road is smooth but narrow and the buses drive at very high speed, so be extremely careful when overtaking. Follow Digha road, you will cross Narghat Bridge and pass through Chandipur, Bajkul, Heria and Kanthi (Contai). At Choddomile before Ramnagar take a left towards Shankarpur, This road is bad. You will have a river for company, it will be to your right. The first hotel to come up is Hotel Nest. After Nest you come to a junction where the road bifurcates, the right road leads to the Joar and Matsyagandha tourist lodges. The left road takes you to the Shankarpur beach. Just before the beach a narrow unpaved road leads to the other hotels.
After you get on the beach, you will see an endless stretch of sea meeting beach. On the left side about about a 45 min walk, you will reach Mandar Mani- a small beach. But do not take your car on the beach because you may get trapped in the quicksand. At night the normally deserted beach is quite tranquil.
The Sea Beach near Hotel Sandy Bay is not crowded - unfortunately it is not a great beach with stumps of trees scattered all over the place. At places the beach is muddy. The beach near the Benfish Tourist lodges is better.
Conch shell trinkets as souvenir.
On the beach there are some shacks selling green coconut and tea. Bottled beverages like Coke and Pepsi are also available.
You should drink bottled water. Kinley can be had from the hotel or the small shops near the beach.
No one should leave Shankarpur without relaxing on the beach on a full moon night with a glass of vodka topped up with coconut water. The ambience is mesmerizing. The bar at Hotel Nest is good. But from Sandy Bay U can face the sea directly.
A liquor shop has opened just 50 m outside the gates of the Fisheries premises on the right fork from Hotel Nest. A variety of medium grade whiskies, rum and other spirits are available.