The Silent Island
Nijhum Dwip - a deer sanctuary
A brave settler named; Osma; established the first settlement with his buffalo and cattle at this place. Initially, this island was known as Char Osman. Later, the government changed the name to Nijhum Dwip, but it was still referred to as Osman in documents and locally. The name ``Nijhum Dwip`` was given by former Minister Amirul Islam Kalam in 1975 because of its isolation and mild nature.
Nijhum Dwip is a natural and planted mangrove forest and deer sanctuary in the Bay of Bengal’s Noakhali District, as well as a portion of Hatia Island in the Jahajmara Range. Nijhum Dwip was declared a national park in April 2001, but it is yet to be a reserved forest. This National Park encompasses 16,352 ha of land area, including Domar Char, Char Kukri-Mukri, and some other small islands. A trip to this island is ideal for tourists who love nature and serenity. This palace is a birdwatcher’s paradise during the winter season (October to March).
Only four pairs of deer were brought from the Sundarban forest to released at Nijhum Dwip forests back in 1978. In a favourable atmosphere to breeding, the number has risen to over 15,000, causing a shortage of food for survival during dry seasons. There is no tiger in the Nijhum Dwip Mangrove forest for a natural balance of deer population. The senior forest officials and wildlife experts witnessed that the deer population in the island’s forest has already reached an imbalance compared to the number of deers in the Sundarbans.
Wintering ground of internationally significant migratory waterbirds
This tiny island is essential as the wintering ground of internationally significant migratory waterbirds, including various globally threatened species. Regularly hosts Nordmann's Greenshank, critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and it is the world's prominent wintering place for over 50% of the world population of globally endangered Indian Skimmer. Nijhum Dwip National Park shields the tidal grasslands and planted mangrove forest. Resident Chital Horin or Spotted Deers are accreting the char areas and coastal waters. The vast sand bars, inter-tidal mudflats and shallow waters are of utmost importance to 81 waterbird species.
About 171 species of birds, including several threatened ones and 11 species of mammals, have found their home here. Domar char is home for half the year to quite some shorebirds. The coastal waters adjacent to or within the National Park are also essential fisheries and an important spawning ground for Hilsha, the national fish of Bangladesh.
This beautiful mangrove Park is also home to about 30000 marginal people, mainly dependent on fishing, grazing and other natural resources. Life around this island is highly vulnerable to cyclones and other natural disasters.
This small island sits at the Intersection of the Meghna River and the Bay of Bengal. Without any protection/ embankments, the wildlife is also highly vulnerable to high tides from the Bay of bengal during the monsoon season. Migrating people did not settle here until 1970, but the population has reached around 30,000 now. The increasing human population on the island has also become a threat to the wildlife here.
Nijhum Dwip National Park yet to be an attractive tourist destination due to a lack of good communication infrastructure, tourism awareness within the local community, insufficient proper accommodation and restaurant facilities. This region has a high potential for its rich floral and faunal diversity, beautiful forest, endless grassy shoreline, narrow creeks within the forests, beaches alongside the local life and culture. The natural beauty of this forest has been enriched by deer, wild boars, monkeys, wild buffaloes, fishing cats, various snakes, tortoises, turtles, Bengal monitor lizard, black lizard, yellow monitor, oriental small-clawed otters, clawless otters and a vast number of resident and migratory winter birds. A nature lover or a bird watcher would find this island a little paradise for few days.
We have very good knowledge from experience and network with the local community to design an excellent adventurous excursion, as well as to make your trip memorable to this beautiful island.
By Road from Dhaka/ Chittagong:
How to get there:
There is some local bus service between Dhaka/ Chittagong and Noakhali districts by road from Saydabad and Mirpur. Once you have reached the Noakhali Main bus terminal, you should go to the Sonapur bus stand by local transport (CNG/Auto Rickshaw). There is some public bus from here to Chairman Ghat Bus Station. It is about 10 minutes by auto rickshaw to Chairman Ghat (River Station) or Noakhali - Hatia Ferry Terminal. Here you should embark on a passenger ferry or Trawlar to cross the river to Hatia Boat Terminal and avail local transport (TukTuk/ Old Baby Taxi) through inland 3 hours bad road journey to Nijhum Dwip Boat Ghat (Terminal) to avail a passenger trawler to cross the river and reach Bondor Tilla Ghat (Ferry Terminal) in Nijhoom Dwip. You can also take a fishing trawler from Hatia Ferry Terminal to Nijhoom Dwip all the way, but this trawler must be reserved earlier, which is quite expensive for a small group.
By water transport from Dhaka:
There is also good overnight water transportation between Dhaka to Hatia, which is even more comfortable, relaxing and recommended.
MV Tafsir and MV Farhan leaves (0) days a week from sadarghat at 4:30PM for Hatia. The ship arrives at Hatia by the following morning between 6 am to 9 am, depending on the tide and weather situation of the rivers on the way.
Cabins on The Launch:
VIP cabins are the most expensive and top-class cabins on either of the ships within an isolated Zone with a private bathroom and balcony. Passengers of VIP class gets the best services on the ship. Travellers are advised to reserve a few weeks prior to the journey date because each of the ships has only 4-6 cabins, which are always in high demand. There are AC and non AC single and double cabins with sharing bathroom facilities, price ranging from 1500 taka to 2500 taka. Upon arrival at Hatia Ferry Terminal, you can use road or water transport to Nijhum Dwip, as per mentioned above.
Places to Stay:
There are no high standard or AC hotels in Nijhum Dwip yet. All hotels are quite basic accommodation and poor services and do not have any restaurant facilities. You always have to depend on the local outdoor restaurant for your all meals, which can be a bit spicy.
Here are the most known and used hotel/ motels:
Abakash Parjatan; owned by the government and managed by local vendors. This hotel offers decent accommodation for visitors and is located closer to Namapara Bazar.
Nijhum Dwip Dreamland Resort: A local ownership and management offer new rooms with low and high commod bathrooms. But very poor service.
Nijhum Dwip is not connected with the national electricity grids, so the power is always privately generated by the hotel’s own generators. Please check how often you get the electricity during you make the room reservation.
Things to do
- Early morning or late afternoon boat trip through the creeks of National Park because the wildlife is usually active very early in the morning and late in the afternoon. (before you plan a morning or afternoon boat trip to the forest, speak to the boatman a day prior to check the tidal situation. You can only make the boat trip during the high tide)
- Walking through the green grassland at the fringes of the national park.
- Afternoon walks around the western beach of the island to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Dispute the muddy beach for fresh swimming and beach activities.
- A day trip to Domar char can be made by a reserved trawler.
- Villagers are quite friendly and conservative, and you may see all women are disappearing/ hiding while any (man) tourist walks through the village. Female tourists are welcome to go inside of any house for any emergency or curiosity.
- One must respect the local culture and customs while visiting the villages.
- Rental Motorbike service always comes with a driver for inland and local Bazar excursions.
- Child marriage is a very normal and alarming issue on this island. Overreact to this particular issue by a stranger may cause some unexpected trouble.
There are several local restaurants located in the village centre (Bazar) area of the island, and any local may pointing the restaurants. Sheraton Hotel (Restaurant) is the best option on this island out of all. The owner Altaf Kaka usually prepare specially ordered meals from home for special needs. Prior order is always necessary. Otherwise, trust your luck on whatever was prepared and whenever it comes. Altaf Kaka also delivers the cooked food at the hotels, be aware that the food will never come on time.