The Sundarban Tiger Reserve management views ecotourism as a tool in order to sensitize and make the common mass realize the importance and significance of the landscape and the need to conserve its biodiversity. In that regard a very good infrastructure exists in Sundarban Tiger Reserve in order to promote ecotourism.
Major Tourist Spots:
a. Sajnekhali: It is famous for its rich biodiversity. This is also the Wildlife Sanctuary of Sundarbans and encompasses an area of about 362 km2. With a record of over 200 species of birds, Sajnekhali is also a paradise for ornithologists. Woodpeckers, the majestic White-bellied Sea Eagle, Plovers, Lapwings, Curlews, Whimbrels, Sandpipers and several migratory birds are commonly sighted around this area. There is also a Mangrove Interpretation Centre, an estuarine crocodile pond, ex-situ breeding enclosures for the critically endangered Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska), and a watch tower from where different wildlife could be sighted from a distance.
b. Sudhanyakhali: Watch Tower and Mangrove Park: Near Sajnekhali, lies Sudhanyakhali watch tower facing a sweet water pond that provides opportunity of sighting different wildlife including tigers to a few lucky few. A beautifully planted and well maintained Mangrove Park containing the major mangrove species have also been established here.
c. Dobanki Canopy Walk: Dobanki lies on the southern part of Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary (takes about two hours to reach on a boat, from Sajnekhali). The canopy walk of about 400 meters gives enthralling experience of walking while exploring through the mystery of a natural mangrove habitat. The cruise to reach this place is in itself an opportunity to explore the beauty of Sundarban mangroves and its biodiversity.
d. Netidhopani: It is located at the extreme south-west tip of the tourism zone of Sundarban Tiger Reserve. The ruin of a 400 years old temple and the folklore pertaining to the land adds up to the mystery of the area. This place is also historically important due to its association with the epic named Manasamangal. The name of the camp Netidhopani is named Neti, the washer-woman who used to wash clothes for the Gods at the Ghat located nearby.
e. Burirdabri Cage trail and Mud Walk:The ecotourism complex, inaugurated in 2003 at the eastern most part of the Indian Sundarbans, bordering Bangladesh, is famous for its watch tower, mud walk and mangrove cage trail. It is another place in the ecotourism zone where one can have the real experience of exploring the mangroves.
Permits: Visitors require permission to visit Sundarban Tiger Reserve, which can be obatined from the office of the Field Director, Sundarban Tiger Reserve, Canning 24 Parganas (S), Sonakhali, Bagna, Sajnekhali, Jhingakhali, on payment of entry fee for boat and for visitors (for details click the link below). Foreigners compulsorily require special permit for entering Sundarbans, which may be obtained from Tourism Centre, Kolkata (Tel: 033 22103199) or from Joint Secretary, West Bengal Forest Department, Aranya Bhawan, Salt Lake, Kolkata.
Visitors compulsorily require to hire eco-guides, who would escort them during the entire cruise inside the Tiger Reserve.
Travel and Stay Tips: Kolkata is the nearest major city, which can be reached via train either to Sealdah or Howrah. The nearest railhead to Sundarban Tiger Reserve is Canning Railway Station. Trains (EMU) to reach Canning, are available from Sealdah at an interval of every one hour
The nearest airport is, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Dumdum.
Buses to reach Sonakhali and Godkhali are available from Esplanade, Kolkata. Thereafter, one can avail ferry to reach Sajnekhali or the nearby destinations. West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation organizes guided tours from Kolkata.
Within Sundarban, the only way to get around is by boat or launch.