Saint Martins is the only coral island in Bangladesh, with beaches fringed with coconut palms, seashells and laid-back locals. The island is a tropical cliché. It’s a clean, calm and cool place for soak up the rays.
Location: Approximately 9 km south of the tip of the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula. It is the southernmost part of Bangladesh located in the Bay of Bengal. It is around 8 km west of the northwest coast of Myanmar at the mouth of the Naf River. The total distance from Dhaka to St Martin is around 510 km.
Area: 8 sq. km but it reduces to around 5 sq. km during high tide.
Tourist Season: November to February
Original Name: “Narikel Jinjira” (Coconut Island) – The local name of the COCONUT is NARIKEL and the original name of this Island is Narikel Jinjira is derived from that.
- Beautiful Coral Reef
- Lots of Coconut Trees
- Peaceful Environment
- Bountiful Marine Life
- Deep Blue Water
- Sandy Beach
How to Reach?
To reach Saint Martins Island is just three-step process:
- Fly or bus and get down to Cox’s Bazar (400 km from Dhaka)
- Catch a bus to Teknaf
- From Teknaf, ferries run daily and take around 3 hours
Ferries leave the island about 3 pm. Now, three shipping liners run daily trips to St. Martins. They are Sea-Truck, Kutubdia and Keary-Sindbad. For the regular Eagle ferries you need not to pre-book. However, for more reliable Keari Sindbad ferry and if you have not a round trip ticket you can book the return ticket at the Keari Marzaan restaurant. The restaurant only serve to day-trippers on tours arranged by Keari Tourism.
Keari Marzaan Restaurant
Before Saint Martin’s Resort, off the main road.
Cell: 01817-210421, 01817-210422, 01817-210423, 01817-210424, 01817-210425
Local Transport: Cycle-rickshaws are the only transport besides walking. No motorized vehicles on the island, even no motorcycles! It is highly advisable that you travel the island on foot; otherwise, miss a lot of things. St. Martine is a small island. You just cover it around 3 to 4 hours on foot.
Things to See
Sunrise & Sunset: Observing sunrise and sunset St Martins is a better place. Sunset Point is a rocky peninsula on the northwest corner of the island.
Village life: A slow paced life — most work happens in the morning and evening, whereas midday is reserved for drying rice and fish. During the day time, some villagers sells coconuts while others sitting in the shade and chewing paan (battle leaf).
Sea Turtle Hatchery: Located on the west side of the island south of Shemana Pereye Resort. The hatchery is not officially open to tourists; however, it is generally empty and the gate unlocked.
Stars: Amazingly plentiful stars get on a moonless night, due to the lack of electricity on St. Martine.
Things to Do:
Scuba Diving: Oceanic Scuba Dive Center, the only dive operation in Bangladesh. To experience the beauty underwater scuba diving is best but the cost is lit-bit high though negotiable.
Visit Chera Dwip: An extension part of St. Martins which is divided during tides. You can go to there on foot during low tide. It is about two and half an hour’s walk from St. Martins Island. You can also go the place by local boat or tourist boat during high tide. In Chera dwip you can find living and dead corals all over the Island. You will also get a small bush which is in the only green part of Chera-dwip, and enhancing the beauty of the island. No people live in this Island. That’s why; advisable for the visitors to go there early and back by afternoon.
Embrace Moonlight: Make a tour in St Martins by yourself in the moonlight. The astonishing beauty of full-moon in St. Martin’s Island never be expressed; you can only feel it. Over the night feel and listen the sound of the Bay of Bengal.
Watching Sun Rise: Wake up early and watch the sun rise.
Campfire: Make a campfire to stay up at night.
A good number of small shops are near the port and along the main road selling essential commodities, odd souvenir t-shirts, hats and sunglasses. Various sea shells and things made from the shells are sold by teens around St Martine. However, it’s illegal as leads to the depletion of sea life.
Food is relatively expensive here than on Cox’s Bazar. The food shacks line the road to the port. Bill of fare: Parothas – Tk 5, Omelettes – Tk 10 and vegetable curry – Tk 15 for breakfast. Various fish, dal (pulse) rice and vegetables are the rest of the day. Cha (tea) is Tk 5. Additionally, all the hotels have restaurants with the same typical Bangladeshi offerings. But higher prices & better quality than the food near the port. Chickens, lobsters and crabs are also available in the hotels. The islanders sell dried fish, which is little expensive but much fresher than those available up-shore in Cox’s Bazar.
Coconuts’ tasty water is available here with very low cost. But if you look for alcohol it’s very rare except some particular hotels. However, if you ask discreetly for the alcohol near the port, you may get it.
Accommodations facilities are very good here. You can easily manage a room according to your budget. Most of the evenings can be candle-lit as no electricity on St Martins, but a few of the much expensive hotels have generators services.
- Avoid eating fish at every meal on the island as over-fishing rapidly vanishing sea life.
- Keep a sound distance from sea turtles and their eggs. Don’t disturb those fascinating but fragile creatures.
- Avoid western bathing suits both man and woman.
- No Electricity
- No Land phone
- No Motorized Vehicle
- No Night Club
- No Internet Facilities
- Very Limited Alcohol