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The nearest train station is at Contai and the nearest airport is at Kolkata. Previously,there was no proper road for the last 6 km into Mandarmani, which forced you to drive along the beach. However, recently a narrow but all-weather road has been constructed, which takes you directly to the hotels and resorts, provided you travel in a car or jeep. You can still drive along the beach; remember,however, beach driving has a seriously adverse affect on the local ecology, not to mention the atmosphere of the beaches. While driving on the beaches, stick to the side far from the sea or keep to the established track or you may risk getting caught in mud or sand.
From Kolkata, after crossing the VidyaSagar Setu, take the Kona Expressway. There are two toll plazas on the route at Dhulagori and Sonapetya. After driving a while turn left to Mumbai Road. As the total drive takes about 3.5-4 hours from Kolkata, breakfast/lunch/toilet breaks are necessary on the route. Decent toilet facilities and food is available enroute at Ruk Zaraa (Kolaghat), Sher-e-Punjab (Kolaghat), Express Food Plaza (Kolaghat), Sher Bengal (Mecheda) etc. Drive till you reach Kolaghat, and turn left toward Nandakumar. From Nandakumar turn right towards Contai. 2 km before reaching Contai Town you will reach Contai Bypass Road, a shortcut that will again drop you on the Kolkata-Digha road. Drive another 10 km to reach Chawalkhola. Take a left turn from Chawalkhola and follow the village road till it ends at a sea-side village called Dadanpatrabar, around 8km. From Dadanpatrabar take a right turn along a narrow road that runs for another 2-3 km. At the end of this road, you can either drive straight along the sand or take a right turn again through a narrow village road to reach Mandarmani. The road straight ahead has a steep 40 degree downhill slope which leads to the beach and the car should be maneuvered very slowly on this slope. Normally during high tide cars are advised not to take this road as the chances of the cars getting stuck in the sand are high. However, while going on this beach road, the trick is to drive quickly over the sand and not stop as it may result in the car tyres getting stuck. The sand road is typically 4-5 kms and it would hardly take 5-7 mins to traverse it. It is advised to go in groups of cars so that there is help at hand if any car gets stuck. The Village road is recently made good to go along with abundant street lights. It is advisable to take the village road, also cruising along the beach is banned in Mandarmoni by the Goverment due to the ecological issues. A There are a few patches of broken road as well and it is advisable to take cars with high ground clearance (SUV's etc) rather than hatchbacks because you would end up scraping the car's underbelly couple of times at least unless it has a high GC. It can take upto 45 minutes to traverse this bad stretch of road which ends up onto the beach near Rose Valley Resort. From there to reach Sana Beach Resort or Victoria Resort, take a right on the beach and drive for another kilometer. Traveling through the beach road is always more time saving and hassle free than the village road but there's the risk of cars getting stuck in sand. It's best to cover the whole stretch from Chawalkhola to Mandarmani before dark.
The total trip from Kolkata is around 3.5 hours. Remember, the resorts and hotels on the beach are all illegal. A PIL in 2007 had seen the Calcutta High Court rule against these constructions since they violate the CRZ norms.
Distances are as follows: Esplanade - 63 km - Kolaghat - 3km - Mecheda - 80 km - Contai - 12.3 km - Chawalkhola - 4 km - Kalindi - 4 km - Dadanpatrabar - 6 km -Mandarmani - total 172 km.
If coming from Kharagpur drive down the Chennai Highway. This is a good road but drivers need to be careful of the buses and trucks travelling at high speed. Drive for about 40 km till Belda where you have to leave the Chennai Highway and turn left to enter Belda village and proceed towards Egra. This road is comparatively narrow and filled with potholes. Clusters of small villages and towns will come up regularly. From Egra a sharp right hand turn will lead you to Contai from where the road extends towards Chwalkhola. You may also continue straight from Egra to reach Kanthi (Contai) and then take a right turn from there to reach Chawalkhola. From Chawalkhola there is a sharp left turn leading towards Mandarmoni. The road side area is densely populated on both sides and the road has speed breakers placed maybe every few hundred meters. Be extremely careful while driving on this road as the speed breakers may be a bit too high for cars with low ground clearance. There is no electricity in this area and it is strictly advisable to travel before dark. This road will lead towards Dadanpatrabar village where one can go directly towards the beach or take a right turn and travel parallel to the beach for approximately a 100 m, from there one can enter the beach. The distance from Chawalkhola to Mandarmoni is 13 km but it takes approx. 25 to 30 mins by car due to the narrow road.
From Kolkata, catch a bus at Esplanade or at Howrah headed for Chawalkhola, or any bus headed towards Digha. From Chawlkhola there are cycle-rickshaws and auto-rickshaw which you can take to Dadanpatrabar and/or Mandarmoni. You can also hire a car from Chawalkhola for Mandarmoni.
From Dadanpatrabar, you can again get use rickshaws, but it is best to take the transport from Chawalkhola till Mandarmani since transport availability from Dadanpatrabar is very uncertain.
State Transport Buses are available cost Rs 130. A number of deluxe coaches run daily, Rs 100-150. Whiteliners is the better option, departing Esplanade at 7:30AM, cost is Rs 250.
Volvo Bus is available from Gariahat via Esplaned in the morning. Check if the route is operating when booking as some times bus may be canceled for mechanical failure or other reason.
You'll most likely be walking between your resort and the beach, however if you need to travel longer distances, avoid the temptation to drive on the beach more than necessary.
Be careful while driving on the beach and try to stick to the central part of the beach while driving. Towards the end of the beach, the sands are soft in places and your car may get stuck in it. Avoid driving on the beach after dark as if you get stuck in the sand dunes, you may not be able to get any local help to pull your vehicle out.
On the beach, there is no electricity and after dark the only sources of light are the lights of the small beach-side shops which get their electricity from generators or batteries. As the evening progresses, the high tide causes the sea to rise. By 7-8 PM the sea takes up almost a quarter of the total width of the beach. So, if you had visited the beach during daytime, be careful as the sea will definitely be nearer in the evening. Better to have a torch with you at all times after dark.
Relax, swim and enjoy the beach. You can roam everywhere bare bodied and even naked. It is unlikely that anybody will disturb your privacy and the beauty of this beach is that you are not likely to have many other visitors around. Activities include fishing, table tennis, carrom, beach cricket, beach volleyball, and boat cruises. Sunbathing is best from October to February. However, this beach is not frequented by foreign tourists and so if you plan to sunbath here, be sure to keep in mind the local culture.
Most of the resorts serve typical Bengali food and Kolkata-style Chinese cuisine. However, food is a bit costly since most of the items have to be brought from far away Kalindi/Contai market. The local raw materials available in the nearby village will not usually serve the requirements of the hotels or resorts.
Also, do not expect very high quality food as the hotels usually employ local people without much expertise as cooks. However, the food is hygienic and generally clean. Crab and prawn preperations are worth savouring. But negotiate the price beforehand.
The beach also has a number of small eateries which sell tea and snacks. If you want to have meals from here, you have to place an order with the owners beforehand. These eateries make the food only 'on-demand' as per prior bookings from customers. With these stalls, you may have to compromise on the hygiene. Costs are again on the higher side.
From the eateries you can borrow chairs to sit on the beach.
Note : Food is very expensive. Approx Rs. 500/- per day per head.
Green coconut water is sold by the local farmers. You can get a limited variety of alcohol from the shops near the beach, but be sure to dispose of the containers properly rather than littering the beach. Also be informed that the alcohol is exorbitantly costly, and in some cases almost double the normal market price. Beer is approximately Rs 800 for a 650 ml bottle or can.
Several resorts are spread along a 6 km stretch of beach:
Reportedly some resorts dump solid waste into the ocean, which you may want to consider before heading out for a swim. The report may be wrong because any solid material dumped in the sea ultimately returned by the sea and make a line of debris at high tide line which is not visible. But every tourist should take care of their health. Don't go in the sea beyond hip level water for your own safety.
Please remember to carry any essential medicines if visiting the area as there are very limited sources of potential supply in an emergency.