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Henry Island Bakkhali: Deserted Beaches, Spectacular Sunsets and Red Crabs

Henry Island Bakkhali or popularly known as Henry’s Island is the place for travelers who love serenity. Quiet white sand beaches, deep blue sea, panoramic views and mangrove forests defines the vibe of this place.

Henry Island Bakkhali is situated in the state of West Bengal in eastern India. This island is a part of the great delta dotting the southern borders of West Bengal and, thus, portrays an outstanding scenic beauty. Offering a walk down the sandy beach amidst the red crabs and a view of the coastline bordering the Casuarina forest, Henry Island near the sea beach of Bakkhali is a must visit for all.

The place forms one of the best weekend getaways from the city of Kolkata. Henry Island Bakkhali is an offbeat destination and quite underrated.

Visit Henry’s Island to explore the place yourself and indulge in its serenity.

henry island bakkahali

Enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets at Henry’s Island. Photography by Soumyadip

Henry Island Bakkahali: An Overview

Location Eastern India
State West Bengal
Accessibility Throughout the Year
Best Time to Visit November to February
Mode of Transport By Road, Rail and Air
Temperature 35 degree Celsius to 40 degree Celsius during the day in summer.

15 degree Celsius to 20 degree Celsius during the day and 8 degree Celsius to 10 degree Celsius at night during winters.

Safety Level for Backpackers Moderate to High
Places of Stay Sundari and Mangrove are the two closest resorts maintained by the state government on the island.

The private hotels are at least 6 to 10 km away.

Food Options The resorts cater to the tourists well.

Bengali, north Indian and Chinese cuisines are available here.

Travel Tips Bookings should be done well in advance (at least 3 months).

 How to Reach Henry Island Bakkhali ?

Henry Island Bakkhali is situated only around 130 km away from Kolkata. Therefore, it is very accessible and amongst the best places to visit near Kolkata for 2 days.  You can easily reach here using any of the following ways-

By Air The nearest airport is in Kolkata. You have to rent a car/cab/public transport from Kolkata to reach Henry Island Bakkhali.
By Rail The nearest railway station is Namkhana. You need to board the Lakshmikanta local train from the Sealdah Station and get off at Namkhana.

From Namkhana, Bakkhali is about 25 kms. You need to book a van to Hatania-Dokania Creek and cross the waters on a ferry.

Henceforth, you need to hire a van/cab/e rickshaw or Toto to reach the two resorts or a bus to reach Bakkhali to stay at a private hotel.

You will reach your destination in around 4 hours.

By Road If you are going by road, you can reach Namkhana and cross the Hatania-Dokania Creek on a ferry.

Once you do so, you will be free to drive. Get behind the wheels and reach the resort.

It will take you around 4 hours 30 minutes to reach the resort from Kolkata.



Henry Island Bakkhali: Which mode of transport is Best for you?

Even though there are three modes of travel, you can opt to visit Henry Island Bakkhali based on your choice of travel. This would depend on what you prioritize more.

Priority Mode of Travel Cost
Comfort + Convenience Private vehicle/ Cabs If comfort is your priority a car is your best option.

It will cost around INR 5000 to INR 10000 for a private vehicle depending on which vehicle you’re hiring.

 

Local Interaction + Budget Travel Railways If you enjoy interacting with the locals and trying out the local cuisines, you should visit the island by rail.

The expenses would come around INR 25 to INR 30. The experience will be wonderful.

Budget Travel Bus Direct Buses are available from Dharmatala, Kolkata to Bakkhali.

Three West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) buses at 7 am, 8 am and 2 pm are available and the fare is Rs 90 per person.

Where Should You Stay on Reaching Henry Island Bakkhali ?

Once you reach Henry Island Bakkhali, you will have to pay a nominal fee to enter. If you are already staying at the resort there, you will be exempted from paying an additional entry fee.

If you really want to experience the beauty of this small island, you should spend at least 48 hours here.

The Fisheries Department of the government of West Bengal has set up two resorts or Tourist Complexes – Mangrove and Sundari.

I would personally recommend staying at the Sundari resort as the scenic beauty is magnificent here.  You will be required to spend around INR 1000 for a 24-hour stay there.  From here the beach is only a few minutes walk through the mangrove forest.

Although, you should prefer to stay in the government complexes due to proximity to Henry Island Bakkhali.  You can also book other private hotels here. 

henry island bakkahali

Red Crabs at Henry Island Bakkhali, Photography by Sounak Dutta

Henry Island Bakkhali: What Can You Discover Here?

Henry Island Bakkhali offers various attractions. The beautiful white sand beaches here have only a few to no tourists, and it almost feels like a private beach.

For this reason, it is also among the highly recommended weekend getaways from Kolkata for couples and for those wanting to get away from the hustle bustle of the city life.

Other than the serene beaches, reasons to visit Henry Island Bakkhali are as follows –

Beach & Red Crabs Henry Island Bakkhali has a silvery coastline that is the natural home of red crabs. As this is an offbeat tourist spot, the beauty of the beach is still intact.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss out the stunning sunrises and sunsets here. Since the beach is almost deserted you have the place all to yourself.

Casuarina The coastline is protected by a wall of casuarinas that protects the island since ages.

There is an archway through which you can walk into the beach. You will feel like a royal person when you get a glimpse of the splashing wave peeping from the other side of the foliage.

Red Crabs Red Crabs can be found in plenty on the beach. However, you will probably not be able to match up to their speed if you try to catch them.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry, they aren’t dangerous! But be careful of the high tides as the sea can get unpredictable

Migratory Birds Henry Island Bakkhalli is known for the migratory birds that visit the place every winter. If you love bird-watching, you need to grab your DSLR and spend your day at the watch tower in Sundari Complex.

The dense Mangrove forests in the island are ideal breeding grounds for a variety of birds including Kingfishers, Woodpeckers, Gadwalls, Eurasian Wigeon, Red Knot, Common Snipe, Black-Rumped Flameback, Whistling Ducks etc. You will surely manage to click splendid photographs.

Pro Tip: Carry a hat and binoculars for this purpose.

Fisheries Henry Island Bakkhalli has a number of ponds where riverine fishes are cultivated. Of them, prawns are the best.

If you want to taste the Bengali style prawn malaikari, this is the place you should always keep in mind.

Forest The interior of the island is covered by a dense forest. Tourists are not permitted to enter the forest.

In case you want to explore the island, you need to ask a guide to escort you especially after nightfall.

Bheris/ Large Shallow Ponds An interesting thing to witness at Henry Island Bakkhalli are the “Bheris”. When the water level ebbs naturally, the mudflats are exposed, and several shallow ponds are formed.

The Fisheries Department has devoted nearly 29 such ponds to pisciculture in the region. You can witness the fishermen catching fresh fish every morning at these lakes.

henry island bakkahali

The secluded white sand beaches at Henry Island Bakkhali feel like beautiful private beaches. Photography by Shubhadeep Roy

Recommended Offbeat Places in Eastern India

Henry Island Bakkhali: Tips for the First-Time Visitors

Henry Island Bakkhali is a place that you will want to visit again and again. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind on your first visit here.

Insects in the Room You will be surrounded by insects in your room as soon as the sun sets. The resort will provide you with insect repellent and a mosquito net.

Forget about a lavish stay and use both of them if you don’t want insects all over the bed.

No Chips and Chocolates This is a place which has not been commercialized yet. Hence, there are no shops.

If you are the person who cannot live without gorging on chips and chocolates for a light snack, do buy them in plenty from Bakkhali or Namkhana.

Carry a Torchlight It is quite dark after nightfall. Do carry a torchlight just to be on the safe side.
Do not Step on the Quick Sand When you visit the beach at Henry Island Bakkhalli, the casuarinas forest will tempt you to go closer to the green wall.

However, no matter how much the pneumatophores attract you, do not go close to them. They are surrounded by quicksand or ‘chorabali’ in Bengali, and it will be late before you realise you are being pulled into the earth.

Carry enough Cash Please ensure that you have enough cash with you because there are ATMs only in the main Bakkhalli.
henry island bakkahali

Henry Island Bakkhalli is a paradise for Bird lovers. Hoopoe spotted on the Island Photography by Samik Dutta

Henry Island Bakkhali: Nearby Attractions

Bakkhali Beach The Bakkhali Beach is a serene beach close to Henry Island Bakkhali.

This is an ideal beach where you can build the castle of your dreams using the glittering sand while basking in the sunshine.

There are not many people here, which is a blessing for people seeking solace by the sea.

Jambu Dweep This is another island that you can visit from Fraserganj on a boat.

You can book a boat for around INR 70 to INR. 90 per head to visit the island where river Ganga meets the Bay of Bengal.

It is a 2-hour journey back and forth. This place also gives you a chance to touch the waters at the Mohona.

This uninhabited island is a famous fishing spot and is also known for the pure drinking water found on it.

Fraserganj Wind Park Fraserganj Wind Park will make you aware of how important it is to protect the earth.

This part has rows of windmills that cater to the electricity requirements in that area.

Fraserganj Fisheries The fishery at Fraserganj is one of the largest in India.

You will be mesmerized when you see the ships docking to leave behind thousands of fresh fish!

Bishhalakshmi Temple While walking down the Bakkhali Beach, you will come across the Bishhalakshmi Temple where you can offer your prayers.



Henry Island Bakkhali: What and Where to Eat in and around here?

Henry Island Bakkhali and the places around are a paradise for non- vegetarians.

If you are a vegetarian, you have limited options to choose from.

The government resort has food arrangements and the food is decent.  Do try the fresh fish and prawn preparations at Bakkhali. There are a number of shacks and small restaurants along the roadside which serve all kinds of fish including pomfret, hilsa, rui, etc. Enjoy these sumptuous meals at reasonable price. In the evenings do try some fresh fish fries along the beaches at modest prices.

Pro Tip: You can buy fresh fish from the fishermen at the beaches and ponds or at the fish market and request your hotel/guest house/shacks to prepare it for you at a nominal charge.

Henry Island Bakkhali: Frequently Asked Questions

How to get around in Henry Island Bakkhali?

Book an electric rickshaw to move around in Henry Island Bakkhali.  Their charges are nominal. Bargaining might help if they quote a very high price.

Where to Book the Government Lodges in Henry Island Bakkhali?

You can book rooms at the Sundari Complex or  Mangrove Complex on the WBSFDC website well in advance. Alternately you can also book the lodge from Bikash Bhavan (North Block), Salt Lake, 1st floor.

Is it safe to swim at the beach in Henry Island Bakkhali?

Avoid swimming in these waters because of quicksand, also the water level can get unpredictable during high tides.

What is the quickest way to reach Henry Island Bakkhali?

Trains. It takes only 2.45 to 3 hours to reach Namkhana. From Namkhana railway station to Bakkhali add another hour.

Are there any luxury buses/ AC trains to Henry Island Bakkhali?

No, only general, Non-AC trains ply on this route. All the trains are of the unreserved category.
Also, there are no luxury buses on this route.

Are there any food Options for Vegetarians in Bakkhalli?

Yes, but very limited.

Feeling excited to visit the place already? What are you waiting for?

It is time to embrace the cool breeze blowing on the beach. It is time to get acquainted to the melodious call of the birds. It is time to witness the magical parade of the red crabs. It is time to witness the beauty of nature at Henry Island Bakkhali.

Happy wayfaring.

About the Author

Shreya Dutta

Shreya Dutta

Shreya Dutta is the Founder and Creative Head of Star Words India and the author of Dance in the Rain. Years ago, when little girls were jotting down their bucket list, Shreya was lost in her dreamland in which she was immortal. Shreya Dutta had started off writing at an early age because she believed that writing not only helped her to voice her opinion but also led her closer to immortality.

With every write-up that gets published, Shreya believes that she gets embedded in the pages of history to inspire the youngsters who dream likewise. Writing is not just her passion; it is her way of taking the road less traveled. Apart from being a passionate writer, Shreya is an all-time traveler as she believes in seeing the world through the eyes of nature.

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