Friday, March 11, 2016

Dhaka to Ratargul Swamp Forest I Best Travel Guide

Ratargul Swamp Forest is a little Pantanal in Bangladesh. It is also called as Amazon of Bangladesh or Deshi Amazon or you can say Banglar Amazon. It is an evergreen and mystic forest as well as one of the best freshwater swamp forests in this world. It is located at the Goain Ghat area of Sylhet Division in Bangladesh. The beauty of this forest is bloomed mainly in the rainy season. The traveling taste of Ratargul is like to visit the Sundarbans but the water is not salty like Sundarban. It a fresh and clean water forest in the bank of Goain River and linked with the canal Chengir Khal. But the flow of the river is extreme during the rainy season.
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation Bangladesh
Real view of  Ratargul Swamp Forest

It was one of my best traveling days from Dhaka to Sylhet. Our destination is to Ratargul Swamp Forest and Bichanakandi.

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Ratargul Swamp Forest -on boat
I am here explaining and sharing some photos and the real taste of visiting the Ratargul Swamp Forest from my true experience.


Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Charming View  of  Ratargul Forest
Explore to Ratargul:
It was raining lightly and the weather was extremely suitable for traveling. We are about 15 and everyone was very excited to visit the Banglar Amazon. We started a very comfortable journey from Dhaka by micro bus to save our valuable time and took many short breaks on the way to Sylhet. It is not necessary to take a private car or bus for this tour. You can use bus, train, and airways to reach Sylhet. 

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Bhairab Bridge
On the way to Sylhet we also observed the historical Bhairab Bridge also known as Anderson Bridge, which is a 1 km long railway bridge over the Meghna River, connecting Bhairab Bazar Junction in Kishoreganj District with Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria District. The night view of Bhairab Bridge was awesome. 

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Bhairab Rail Bridge
It was midnight when we were at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria for taking a cup of tea on the roadside and enjoying the incredible boom show of burning gas from the baggiest gas field Titas. 
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Natural Beauty of Ratargul Swamp Forest
Related Post: Dhaka to Keokradong: Best Travel Guide

About Ratargul Swamp Forest:
Ratargul, locally this forest is called the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. There are only twenty-one more freshwater forests in the whole world! Ratargul is one of them. Various wild animals and birds live here and wander from branch to branch of trees. Rainy season and just after the rainy season (from July to October) is the suitable time to visit Ratargul.


Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh
The forest is about 26 kilometers from Sylhet city. It is situated at Guainghat upozila in Sylhet district under the Sylhet forest department in range-2. The total area of this wetland is about 30 thousand 3 hundred and 25 acres. In that wetland, Ratargul forest is in 5 hundred and 4 acres. During the rainy season, the forest goes under water of 20-30 feet and the water level is about 10 feet for rest of the year, but in winter it almost dries up. 
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Clean water with green shadow of  Ratargul Swamp Forest
Most of the trees are Koroch tree whose scientific name is Pongamia Pinnata. The significant plants of this forest are Borun, Kadam, Arjun, Hijal, Koroch, Jalibet, Mutta etc. Nol-khagra and Cane-bushes are available inside the forest. There are about 25 water friendly species surviving in this wetland. Various types of reptile and snakes are also available here. In 1973, Forest department of Bangladesh declared this forest area as Sanctuary for wildlife.

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Boatman inside Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet
Expedition the Ratargul Swamp Forest:

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Dhaka to Ratargul Swamp Forest Map
Finally, we have arrived at the Amborkhana Road just after the 6:30 at morning. Immediately after that, we have entered into a local restaurant for breakfast. We took sometimes to refresh ourselves to reduce the fatigue of this long journey. There are two ways to reach Ratargul. One is Sylhet City to Goain Ghat then Ratargul and another way is to use Motorghat then Ratargul Forest.  


Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Expedition the  Ratargul Swamp Forest
We decided to use the second one which is the easiest one as well as cost effective and time savings. Our bus has started the journey to the way of Motorghat. On this way, locals were not seen anywhere in that gloomy rainy morning. Well, we talked with boatman there with their light dinghy type boat (Kosha is the local name) and started what we have dreamt of for so long, Expedition Ratargul!


Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
The Green Ratargul Swamp Forest
We started our adventurous tour with a tiny wooden boat and trying to slither across the deep green water, snakes hissing from the adjacent trees and unknown birds and species are flying over your head. No sound but water drops. Everyone was speechless and trying to adjust to the surface of this precious green forest. 


Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Boat Ghat to Ratargul Swamp Forest
After a few moment, we found a dark green point and can’t see the sky due to the density of trees and bunches. In many places, sunlight doesn’t enter. If the rain stops for one or two days, the water becomes crystal clear. At that time you can observe the reflection of another green forest under that clean water.  
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Green Shadow of  Ratargul Swamp Forest
Inside the forest, we extremely felt the natural attraction of this jungle. This is an extraordinary and mind-blowing natural forest. The more time you spend the more will you amazed. The glimpse of this unnatural beauty never to forget.

How to go to Ratargul:
At first, you have to go to Sylhet city. Then, there are two options you can enjoy the beauty of Ratargul.
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
View of Goain River
It is better to take permission going to the forest station for visiting Ratargul. They will help you to arrange a boat which is safe for 6-8 people though you can also hire boat personally.
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Chengir Canal - Goain River
Firstly, is to Sylhet- Motorghat- Ratargul:

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Motor Ghat- Ratargul
Ride on to a CNG Auto rickshaw from Ambarkhana point of Sylhet city to Motorghat. From there, hire a boat or more (according to your team, a boat can carry 5 or 6 persons), each of them will cost 400-600 for the trip and take total 1-2 hours to visit the whole forest. After finishing the visit, you can return to Sylhet in the same way. This is the easiest way and takes less time and cost effective as well.

Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
On a tiny boat at Ratargul Swamp Forest
The second option is to Sylhet- Goainghat- Ratargul:
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Beauty of Ratargul Swamp Forest
Hire a CNG auto-rickshaw from Ambarkhana point of Sylhet city for Goainghat Bazar. It will cost BDT 300-500 and take 2-3 hours. Then hire a motor boat from the Engine Nouka Ghat near the bazar. It will cost BDT 800-1400 and take 1-2 hours to reach Ratargul. The way is the little bit costly and time-consuming, but if you plan to visit Jaflong in the same route, you should go this way.
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Safety Concerns:
As it is a submerged forest, knowing how to swim is required for safety, as the boats sometimes tilt there. Otherwise, you can use life jackets. During the monsoon, poisonous snakes and species tend to seek refuge in those trees. So it’s not a good idea to touch the trees, leaves or even the water casually. You can also take first aid for a better precaution.
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Beauty of Ratargul Swamp Forest
Do not follow in Ratargul:
Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet, Bangladesh, Trip Navigation
Mind -blowing beauty of  Ratargul Swamp Forest
Must avoid anything which can because of the destruction of this swamp forest and please do not litter the forest. It is suggested visit Ratargul silently and come back silently. Bring back everything you have taken with you such as water bottle, plastic packet or other things. Keep Ratargul neat and clean so that our next generation does not think it was a story. Give a chance for them to explore it, therefore, we have the responsibility to look after of it. 

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