Saint Martin's is the most beautiful and only coral island in Bangladesh and one of the best Eco-Tourism Destinations among the others. It is called the marine paradise of Bangladesh, located in the northeast part of the Bay of Bengal, just about 9 km south of the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf peninsula and 8 km west of the northwest coast of Myanmar. The island forms at the southernmost part of Bangladesh and at the estuary of the Naf River that divided Bangladesh and Myanmar marking as the international borderline between the two countries. The island is locally called as “Narikel Jinjira” that means Coconut Island when a lot of coconut grows in this island. Someone called it “Daruchini Dip” due to its lovely landscape and illusive crystal blue water of the Bay of Bengal that surrounding the island. The location of Saint Martin's Island is on the getaway in Bangladesh. The surrounding coral reef of the island has an extension named “Chera Dwip”.
The first human settlement started in the island just about 250 years ago by some Arabian sailors who named the island “Zajira”. During the British period, the island was named St. Martin’s Island. The population of the island is about 7500 and the main profession of the people is fishing. Besides algae collection, tourism services etc are the common profession of the inhabitants. Water transportation is the only way to reach this island i.e. boats and ships (mostly for tourists) from Teaknaf. The major goods for daily livelihood for the inhabitants come from the mainland Bangladesh.
St. Martin's Island is a small island in the northeastern part of the Bay of Bengal, about 9 km south of the tip of the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf peninsula, and forming the southernmost part of Bangladesh. Wikipedia
Area: 3.089 mi²
Location: Bay of Bengal
Length: 16 km (9.9 mi)
Width: 0.5 km (0.31 mi)
Distance between Cox's Bazar and Teknaf St. Martin is 58 kms or 36 miles or 31.3 nautical miles
|Origin||Cox's Bazar, Chittagong Division, Bangladesh|
|Destination||St. Martin, Teknaf Upazila, Chittagong Division, Bangladesh|
|Driving Distance||58 kms or 36 miles or 31.3 nautical miles|
|Driving Time||1 hours, 9 minutes|
Getting to Saint Martins Island by bus is a two-step process. First you'll need to travel to Teknaf which is the Southern most district of Bangladesh on the very southern tip, sandwiched up against Myanmar. One can come to Teknaf by bus from Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar. There are several bus services which depart from Fakirapool, Dhaka to Teknaf. Maximum bus starts at night and the journey is near about 10-11 hours. From Teknaf, mid-level ships run daily and take around 2-2.30 hours named Kutubdia, Keary Sindabad, Eagle -1. All the ships and cruises stars journey from Teknaf to Saint Martin around 9AM-9.30AM and return journey starts from Saint Martin to around 3PM. The important thing is, during the off-season (May-August/September) these ships do not provide services because off bad weather. The peak season is September-April. The total distance from Dhaka to the island is 510 km.
By plane you have to reach firstly in Cox's Bazar from Dhaka/Chittagong (Inter-country) by Biman Bangladesh Airlines or with Private Airlines such as Regent Airlines, United Airways, Best Air etc. Cox's Bazar airport is the closest airport to Teknaf.
After reaching Cox's Bazar by Plane, from Cox's Bazar there are several ways to travel to Teknaf. There are public buses which start from Cox's Bazar to Teknaf. Another way would be a group rental of a mid-level micro bus or jeep to travel to Teknaf which may cost less and be a safer journey.
St. Martin’s Island, 12 kilometers from mainland Bangladesh, is home to the only coral habitat in the country, with 66 known species. The island is approximately eight square kilometers in area and is home to 8,000 permanent residents. During the past decade, tourism spread over the north zone of the island and in winter months, mass tourism hampers the coral growth through plastic pollutants and sedimentation in the water.
Local NGO Marine Life Alliance has taken the initiative to conserve the marine biodiversity of Bangladesh’s southeastern coast, including St. Martin’s Island, by working with the local community to help conserve its marine resources and ameliorate the damage caused by unsustainable tourism activities and other destructive practices.
The community is in need of a primary school for the island’s south zone. Because the closest primary school is in the north of the island, four kilometers away, many children do not attend school and do not receive a basic education. Seaco logy is funding the construction of a school, as well as buoys, guard sheds, signage, a center for marine activities, and other conservation-related items in exchange for the establishment of a six-square-kilometer (1,480-acre) marine protected area for 10 years.