Exploring Ratargul Swamp Forest A Unique Natural Wonder in Bangladesh

Ratargul, known as Bangladesh’s Amazon forest, is located in the Goainghat upazila of the Sylhet district. One of just 22 freshwater wetland forests in the world and the only one in Bangladesh, it is also known as Ratargul Swamp Forest in English. Each year, thousands of local and foreign tourists visit Ratargul due to its spectacular beauty and unique nature. Additionally, this magnificent location has even more beauty during the winter months when migrant birds arrive.

Ratargul Swamp Forest

Ratargul Swamp Forest: A Hidden Gem

Ratargul, which is around 26 kilometers from the busy city of Sylhet, has a total size of 30,326 km2. 508 acres of this large area are covered in lush green forests, and the remaining area is made up of various minor water bodies. The woodland is perpetually submerged in 5 to 10 feet of water. However, the water level can dramatically increase during the monsoon season, rising to 20 or even 30 feet.

Flora and Fauna

Hijal, Barun, Karus, Jalibet, and Arjun are just a few of the numerous plant species that may be found in Ratargul Swamp Forest. In this distinct environment, there are about 25 different species of trees that are thriving. These colorful and varied plant life contribute to Ratargul’s all-around beauty and ecological significance.

The Legend behind the Name

The nightingale, called “Ratagach” in the local Sylhet language, gave the forest its name, “Ratargul.” The name Ratargul for the forest was given by the inhabitants as a result of the lovely singing of this musical bird.

The Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ratargul is from July to October, which falls within the rainy season. This is the time of year when the forest displays a stunning variety of beauty, making it a popular destination for those who love the outdoors. Avoid going at other times of the year when the water levels are considerably lower because of the dry season.

How to Reach Ratargul

You must first travel to Sylhet in order to reach Ratargul. Buses and railways are just two of the many modes of transportation.

By Bus

You can go to Sylhet by bus from Dhaka by using reliable bus services like Greenline, Saudia, S Alam, Shyamoli, and Ena Paribahan. These bus stops include Fakirapool, Gabtali, Syedabad, Mohakhali, and Abdullahpur. While non-AC seats cost between 400 to 500 taka, seats with air conditioning typically cost between 800 and 1200 taka. Buses run frequently from early in the morning until late at night, and the trip from Dhaka to Sylhet typically takes 6 to 7 hours.

By Train

Train service is available from the Kamalapur or Dhaka airport stations. Trains connecting Dhaka and Sylhet include the Upaban, Jayantika, Parabat, and Kalni Express. The fare ranges from 250 to 1200 taka depending on the category. To get to Sylhet by train, it takes about 7 to 8 hours.

Getting to Ratargul from Sylhet

There are various methods to go to Ratargul once you’ve reached Sylhet. From Sylhet’s Ambarkhana point, you can choose to ride a CNG (auto-rickshaw) to Motor Ghat or Sahib Bazar. This quick journey costs between 200 and 300 taka and takes an hour to complete. From Motraghat, you can take a boat directly to Ratargul from there. The boat journey can hold 5 to 6 persons and is priced between 200 and 300 taka per hour. Alternatively, you can spend between 800 and 1500 taka to rent a boat for the entire day. When it comes to cost and time effectiveness, this form of transportation is regarded as the best.

An alternative method is boarding a bus headed towards Sarighat and getting off at Jaflong. The cost to go from Sylhet to Sarighat ranges between 40 and 50 taka. You can travel to Goenghat from Sarighat and take a boat to Ratargul to spend the night there. These boats can hold 10 to 12 people, and a full day’s rental costs between 800 and 1200 taka. However, this option takes more time and might cost more money. 

No matter which path you take, getting into Ratargul requires a tiny dinghy boat used by fishermen.

Accommodation Options

Given the close proximity of Sylhet and Ratargul, most visitors opt to remain within the city limits of Sylhet. Both Darga Road and the Lal Bazar neighborhood include high-quality lodging at reasonable prices. Some of the hotels in Sylhet are listed below:

  1. Hilltown Hotel – 0821-716077
  2. 0821-710018 Gulshan Center
  3. Fortune Garden Hotel – 0821-715590
  4. Dallas Hotel – 0821-720945
  5. 0821-814507 Hotel Garden Inn
  6. 0821-721439 Hotel Rose View
  7. 0821-727945 Hotel Star Pacific
  8. Hotel National: 0821-721143
  9. 0821-718309 Hotel Palash
  10. 0821-717066 Hotel Dargagate
  11. Phone: 0821-714563 Hotel Urmi
  12. Moon Light Hotel – 0821-714850

Ratargul Swamp Forest

Dining Options

There are many eateries nearby if you’re in the mood for a delectable supper while in Ratargul. A few of the well-liked choices include Mithali Restaurant, Chik Chicken, Sheffron, and several others.

Precautions While Traveling

It is imperative to use caution when visiting Ratargul during the rainy season. There may be tick infestations due to the possibility of there being water beneath the trees, which could serve as a haven for snakes. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution as you move through the forest. It’s a good idea to have a life jacket with you, especially if the weather is iffy. Ratargul contains some spots with deep water. In order to be prepared for the rainy season, don’t forget to carry a raincoat, an umbrella, and some plastic shoes.

Conclusion

A unique natural wonder can be seen in Bangladesh’s Sylhet district in the Ratargul Swamp Forest. It is a must-visit location for both domestic and foreign tourists because of its distinctive ecosystem, captivating beauty, and varied flora and fauna. Ratargul provides an immersive experience that makes an impression on visitors, from the hypnotic melodies of the nightingale to the enchanting images of the forest submerged in water.

Plan your vacation right away to experience Ratargul’s alluring beauty!

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