Saint Martin in Off Season
It’s also called Humayun Ahmed’s famous Dwaruchini Island. After a certain period, the popularity of St. Martin increased and did not decrease. Many sea lovers come here to swim in the blue waters and taste the ocean up close. It is a small coral island in the southern part of Bangladesh with an area of
A few days ago on July 9th, we left for this Island with a group of about 40 volunteers. Our mission was to clean the Dirty Island and free blood grouping campaign in the area. Our aim was also to encourage people to donate blood. Since it was off-season, the only way to go there was by trawler or speedboat. And a journey by trawler was also a kind of adventure.
Best Time to Visit Saint Martin-
The best time to go to Saint Martin is winter. We all know that there is a lot of temperature in summer. According to the weather in Bangladesh, tourists go to this island from November to January (On-season). But you also go there in the off-season to avoid crowds and feel nature in a different way.
How to go to Saint Martin?
There is no direct bus to Saint Martin. You have to get down at Teknaf first. Then you have to take a trawler from Teknaf to reach the island. You can go from any point in Dhaka like Syedabad, Kalyanpur, Fakirapool, etc. We started from Fakirapool. Dhaka to Teknaf fare will be 1000-1200 Taka. Get down at the Teknaf bus counter. Then go to Chairman Ghat for a trawler. An auto reserve cost 40-50 taka. Trawler fare is 300-400 taka per person. If you want, you can also go by speedboat. The fare is 400-800 taka per person
We leave for Teknaf by 8:30 night bus from Fakirapool. It was raining a lot during the journey as it was the rainy season. When the weather turns bad, all kinds of trawlers and ships stop moving, so we were worried. Our bus takes a short break at Comilla. We had dinner there. The following day around 8 o’clock we went down to the Teknaf bus counter and had breakfast. Then we took the auto and went to Chairman Ghat. It is basically a jetty wharf. Trawlers leave from here. The view from the jetty is very beautiful.
N.B- Let me say something here. Trawlers or speedboats used to go to Namarbazar which is now closed. Trawlers/speedboats go through this new jetty whose name is “chairman ghat”. Here BGB members do not allow trawlers to stay at the wharf for long. So we hurriedly boarded the trawler. The trawler was swaying in rhythm with the waves. This is a different kind of feeling. Then around 11 o’clock, our trawler started its journey. The weather was a bit cloudy so we didn’t have any trouble in the sun. In the middle of the sea, the trawler was rolling heavily and seawater was coming inside the trawler. Although it was scary, I felt the sea very close. It took two and a half to three hours to reach St. Martin. We got off the trawler and went directly to the resort. Our hotel was near to the main beach.
Where to stay and eat in St. Martin in the offseason?
While there are plenty of hotels to stay in Saint Martin but most are closed during the off-season. You can book a resort before going there, or stay in a local house along the beach. Besides, if you have a reference, you can stay in the government bungalow. Last time we stayed in a government bungalow but this time we stayed in a resort because we were so many people. And there were a few food hotels open. You have to order the food in advance. You will get dinner and lunch between 80-150 taka per person. You must try the sea-fish barbecue.
What did we do in Saint Martin?
We reached St. Martin around 1:00 pm. We were very hungry, so we went to our room, freshened up, and had lunch. It was very sunny outside. So instead of going to the beach, I came to the room after eating and took a nap. I woke up in the afternoon. Then I went out to see the sea. I walked to the west beach. I saw coral rocks on the west beach which are not on the main beach. As the sun set, the roar of the sea became more clear. Seeing the waves of the sea with a cup of tea in hand feels heavenly.
On the second day of the St. Martin tour, we woke up at 6 am to clean up the island. Continue along the main beach towards the west beach. We finished work at 7 o’clock and came to the resort. We also visited Humayun Ahmed’s house. But entering the house without permission isn’t allowed for tourists. After arriving at the resort we have breakfast. After a little rest, we went to the main beach for swimming. If you go to St. Martin and don’t bathe yourself in seawater, it’s totally valueless. After splashing in the water for a long time, I came to the room. If you want, you can rent a bicycle. Fee is 50 taka per hour. After having lunch, we left for Cheradip. It is better to go to Cheradip before 9 am or after lunch. The tide starts coming in after 9 am and after 3 pm. Autos or rickshaws do not ply at that time. In the walking areas, the water comes up to the neck, and the sea and the plain become one. Many accidents also happen here. So you must know well the time about tide in Cheradip. Cheradip auto rent fee Tk 400 up-down. There are many corals in Chehardip. This is the difference among other islands. St. Martin’s other attraction is drinking coconut water. After drinking coconut water, we went to the resort to take a rest. On the second day, we hung out on the beach till 2 am. On a moonlight night, the sea in front of us, we sang our favorite songs in bare throats. It is like a long-awaited night. The waves of the sea were glittering like gold in the moonlight.
Woke up at 7 in the morning and went to a school in St. Martin for a blood campaign. After finishing work by 9 o’clock in the morning, I had my breakfast. We have to return to Dhaka today. Our trawler was at 10 o’clock. After coming to the room, we packed our bags and got into the trailer. The sea was very wavy. The trawler was swinging so much and we couldn’t get on the trawler. Many of us got motion sickness. Let’s give some important information about trawlers. Trawlers from St Martin to Teknaf leave between 10 am. So, if you want to go back to Teknaf by trawler, you must be at the jetty before 10 am. You can also contact the local people/BGB for the trawler’s information. On the trawler, we went to Shahpori Island without going to Teknaf. Since this island is unknown to people, there is less dirt. We did a blood campaign at Shahpori Island Primary School. The school authority organized lunch for us. After lunch and rest, we went to Teknaf by auto. Our bus left for Cox’s Bazar at around 6 pm. We reached Dolphin Junction, Coxs Bazar at 9:30 PM. The purpose of coming to Cox’s Bazar was shopping and a little stroll on the beach. However, due to the jam, we were reached late. After having shopping and dinner, we left for Dhaka by bus at around 11 o’clock. And this is how our St. Martin island tour ended.
My experience in St. Martin during the off-season-
I think the quieter the environment, the more nature can be enjoyed. At this time there are very few people so you can feel the sea alone. Everything has its pros and cons. In the off-season, it is very hot, and there is also difficulty in having food. But if you’re a don’t care person like me, these don’t matter. But the interesting thing is that everything is cheaper in the offseason. We ate coconut water for 30-40 taka. In the on-season, the price becomes 120 to 150 taka. I first went to St. Martin’s in the offseason of 2016. No one went to the offseason back then. There was an opportunity to eat a lot of coconuts for free. The worst thing about this trip was that there was a lot of trash around St. Martin’s main beach. St. Martin is slowly losing its beauty due to a lack of awareness among people.
Some information, tips, and cautions on traveling to St. Martin in the off-season-
1) Trawler information – People with motion sickness or weak hearts do not need to travel on the trawler. The fare per person in the trawler is Tk 300 to 400. Must wear a Life jacket. Be sure to take it. It gets a lot of sun on the trawler, you must take an umbrella with you. Besides, you can also keep a cap or towel, and sunglasses. Take water and saline with you before boarding the trawler. Be careful when getting in and out of the trawler, as there are lots of waves.
2) St. Martin is the best option to enjoy nature in the off-season but you may not get perfect places to stay and eat. Most of the hotels are closed during this time. So come mentally prepared.
3) There are fewer people in the off-season, so if you don’t know how to swim, don’t go too far to the beach.
4) Don’t hang around on and around the beach late at night. In this case, BGP permission is required.
5) There are many BGBs operating in Saint Martin. They are working to protect the safety of tourists and Saint Martin. Do not avoid their command.
6) Keep the photocopy of your national identity card with you.
7) If you go to Cheradip, know about tides and then go.
8) Take care while walking on the beach so that no accident occurs due to the coral.
9) Bargain on everything from hotels, food, and auto rentals.
10) Please do not litter.