Bakkhali is located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Most of the islands are part of the Sunderbans, barring a few at the fringes. Some of these are joined together with bridges over narrow creeks. This small island juts out into the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal.
The south facing crescent shaped beach of Bakkhali is one of the rare ones in the world that offer great views of both sunrise and sunset.
There is a 8 km long beach stretching from Bakkhali to Frasergunj with gently rolling waves. These are twin towns now forming one continuous locality. Except on an occasional holiday the beach is not crowded. A small stretch near Bakkhali has been lighted up. It is a hard beach suitable for cycling or even driving. One can take long walks with coconut water.
Bakkhali is 122 km by road from Esplanade, Kolkata. The road runs through Diamond Harbour and Kakdwip to Namkhana. On 7 March, 2019, a bridge over Hatania-Doania river at Namkhana has been made open to small vehicles (cars), making it possible to travel directly to Bakkhali without having to wait for ferry. The 130 km stretch from Kona expressway (with links to the Mumbai and Delhi sections of the golden quadrangle project linking the four metros of India) and Bakkhali has been marked as National Highway (NH) 117.
The road journey from Joka at the outskirts of Kolkata to Bakkhali takes about 3 hours. However, crowded market places can delay movement. Some sections are very crowded specially early morning because of bazaar and later at the evening time, there are no bypass for these smaller towns.
WBTC has regular bus service from Dharmatala to Bakkhali. One starts at 7AM in the morning from Dharmatala and reaches Bakkhali at around 11:30AM and leaves from Bakkhali at 1:00 PM for Kolkata(Dharmatala). Another starts at 8AM from Dharmatala and reaches Bakkhali at around 12:30 PM. This one leaves Bakkhali at 2:00 PM for Dharmatala. Please reach 15 mins ahead of time. A regular afternoon bus service has been launched by the SBSTC which is at 2 P.M from Esplanade, Kolkata through the week.The same buses returns from Bakkhali after half an hour. At morning there are two buses of WBTC leaves Bakkhali for Dharmatala, one starts at 6:30 AM and another one starts at 7:30 AM. So the bottom-line is that there are two round trips from Kolkata to Bakkhali provided by WBTC. This schedule is subject to change and one must confirm it from Dharmatala Bus Stand before venturing out from Kolkata. The route of the bus is Dharmatala- Alipore-Chiriakhana-Taratala-Diamond Harbour-Kakdwip-Namkahana-Bakkhali, the fare is Rs 91. The return fare from Bakkhali to Kolkata is Rs 93. The journey is comfortable because all the buses are new and have comfortable, large seats. Thus a break journey can be more comfortable.
The new bridge has been opened for transport in March, 2019, hence, no need to worry about waiting for Hatania-Doania creek ferry services. The travel to Bakkhali can be completed just by road. For break journies, there are plenty of local buses up to Namkhana and then again from Namkhana to Bakkhali.
The nearest rail station is at Namkhana. There are regular trains from Sealdah via Lakshmikantapur and Kakdwip to Namkhana. Check the time table in erail.in. The first train starts at around 4AM from Sealdah. Then at around 4.40AM then 7.15AM and next to this one is at a long gap at 9:08 A.M. from Sealdah. Train fare is around Rs 25 and the journey takes around 3 hrs. From Namkhana station you can book a car (Rs 400)/toto (Rs 100 /head) or take a toto to the bus stand from where one can get buses for Bakkhali which take around 45mins to 1hr and their fare is Rs 13. The Bakkhali bus stand is very close to all the hotels and just a 5 min walk from the beach.
The nearest airport is at Netaji Subhash Chandra (NSC) Bose International Airport or Dum Dum (IATA: CCU) in northern Kolkata. It is located approximately 17 km (11 mi) from Kolkata's city centre and is India's 5th busiest airport. Bakkhali is around 147 km or a 4.30 hr bus ride from Kolkata.
There are many electric rickshaws, locally known as Totos and indigenous mechanised cycle vans, available in Bakkhali which serves the purpose of sightseeing perfectly. In case, you prefer a hired car, it is suggested that you contact and inform your hotel in advance, as availability might be less in peak season. Most Bakkhali hotels have chargeable dormitories for drivers to stay.
The ride in the crude bhut-bhuti, a motorised country boat, from Frasergunj fishing harbour to Jambu Dwip, a small, uninhabited and forested island out in the sea, can be a thrilling experience. Currently people are not allowed to go to the actual island so the trip includes only a sightseeing from the boat. The two-hour ride (both ways) costs Rs 1600 per trip (for 15-20 persons). The country boats can also be hired for other rides. The weak-hearted are advised not to take the rides.
For all the spots, a Toto will charge you around Rs 350-400 per trip (max 5 persons) and it will take around 4-5 hrs to visit all the spots.
The walk over the beach from Bakkhali to Frasergunj is a pleasant experience. But the beach is broken in midway, so it is no possible to go to Frasergunj by walking through the sea beach. The rickshaw van and numerous toto are the only transport available locally. On these rickshaw van and toto you can take a trip to Henry's Island and Watch Tower. A rickshaw trip will travel through the local villages and their surrounds. From the watch tower you can view the expanses of the Mangroves on three sides where as on one side you can have a bird's eye view of the sea beach and the sea. It is a splendid view. A van rickshaw drive and toto is cheap and since one has plenty of time, the ride can be enjoyable but do not expect much. The drive roughly cost Rs 350 for two people. Henry Island is a very scenic and natural place to visit. If you ever go to Bakkhali, Henry Island should be a must in the bucket list. The place is not yet polluted with many tourists. So it is very raw, beautiful and natural. Although there is no beach, the costline alone will make you go 'wow'.
A temple called Bishhalakshmi is at the end of the Bakkhali main beach and is worth seeing. The pandit ji is quite different there as he won't allow you in the temple. He has his own rules.
On the far left end of the beach, you can spot red crabs by the thousands. The beach is shallow and waves generally not so strong. Around noon time a sand strip rises out of the sea parallel to the coast creating a 100 meter wide bay of sorts. The beach is clean and glassy with nice reflections.
Most of the time would be spent in enjoying on the beach but some people look out for opportunities to do other things also.
Get a massage at Bakhhali Beach(full body 45/-, head and shoulder 10/-).
Make it a point to visit Henry's Island. If you have a car, its around 10mins ride from Bakkhali. Entry fee is Rs 15. You can also use the rickshaw vans as well. There are 3 guest houses on Henry Island. If you wish you can stay there too. The lodges are named Mangrove, Sundari and Bani. Bani has a watchtower on the roof is very close to the sea beach. You can enjoy a good view of the surrounds from there. These lodges belong to the Fisheries Department of West Bengal. For reservations, contact: State Fisheries Development Corporation, Bikash Bhavan ☎+91 33 2337 6470. Have a look at the view from the watch tower and do walk to the beach. The walk goes through a stretch of mangrove jungle accessed by crossing a small bamboo bridge.
The credit for turning Henry Island into a holiday hotspot goes to the fisheries department of the state government which has set up a pisciculture project here. The fisheries department has dug more than 50 ponds occupying over 25 bigha on 100-hectare of land. Trees such as gora, kankru, palm, naturally growing sundari and hetal have been planted. Henry Island is named after a European who surveyed land in the area in the late 19th century. Dense mangrove forest is parted by numerous canals covering the area. Wildlife such as tiger, deer, wild pig, crocodile and snakes were common. The island was only an extension of the Sunderbans and the surveyor could not have dreamt that it would become a human habitat in little more than a hundred years.
Visit the Benfish harbour and Frasergunj Beach on the way to Henry's Island.
You can also visit the Crocodile Park and Mangrove forest just beside the Bakkhali Bus stop. The entry fee is Rs 10.
You can pay a visit to a Small island JammuDeep,amidst the sea where you have to travel via boat in high waves, the boat ride is just thrilling.on arrival you will be delighted to see the beach full with Red Crabs its really a nice view.
You can plan the trip in this way at morning wake up early and enjoy the sunrise at Bakkhali Beach. After breakfast took a TOTO or Car and visit Henry Island, there is a nice beach at this island. At around 11:30am visit the Kargil Sea Beach at Freasuregung. It is the best beach in Bakkhali to get a shower in Bay of Bengal. At evening enjoy the Crocodile park and taste the sea foods at Bakkhali Beach. Also you can enjoy the sunset at Bakkhali , it's amazing.
Credit cards are now being accepted at Bakkhali Tourist Lodge, and if you are carrying Debit Card you will get to find an Axis Bank ATM near the Bakkhali Bus Stand, or while walking down to the beach you can use one.
The stationary shops have reasonably good stocks if you want to write a letter home.
There are many hotels at both Bakkhali and Frasergunj and new ones are steadily coming up. The bus from Namkhana passes over Frasergunj before reaching Bakkhali. Henry Island is located closer to Frasergunj. None of the hotels have a direct view of the sea (the casuarina forest or jhau bon can be visible at maximum). The WBTDC Tourist Complex is nearest to the sea.
Mobile phone coverage at Bakkhali is good, covers full range up to Jammu Deep. BSNL, Vodafone, Reliance Jio and Airtel has good coverage. However, 4G connectivity can be patchy on most networks. Ideally, one should check with the hotel one intends to stay at to determine which of the mobile phone service providers have good internet connectivity in the town and whether STD/ISD calls can be made from the hotel.