It is pretty common to find tourists visiting famous and central destinations. However, there are less popular and yet-to-be-discovered gems to be explored; one is Mousuni Island. If you haven’t heard about Mousuni Island or you’re wondering where it is, this guide will help you learn more from the comfort of wherever you may be.
Mousuni Island is one of those Virgin Islands where the human race is yet to leave its mark. It is a beautiful harmony of sea, sun, sand, river and solitude. The unexplored Island can be your weekend’s get away from stress at work or generally challenging situations. But before we get to the fascinating details about this relatively unknown travel destination, let’s get across a few details about it.
Mousuni Island: Geographical Location
Mousuni Island is in the Nāmkhāna area, which lies south of West Bengal, India. It is cut off from mainland Bengal as the land slowly crawls into the seas of the Indian Ocean. Sea and rivers surround the Island.
Formed at the mouth of the Miri Ganga River, River Chinai of the Indian Ocean separates the Island from mainland Bengal. On the map of West Bengal, Mousuni Island lies between Gangasagar Island (which borders Mousuni in the Southwest) and Bakkhali (which lies Southeast of the Island).
How to get to Mousuni Island
Arguably the most challenging part of visiting Mousuni Island is getting there. The Island is accessible by train, car, or bus, but tourists have to cross two rivers to get there. The first river, Hataniya-Doaniya, has a bridge over it so crossing the river is easy. However, the second river is a bigger fish to fry as tourists have to pay locals to cross the Chinai River using their boats. There are also jetties available to cross the Chinai River: the Hujjuter Ghat and Durgapur Ghat.
Getting to Mousuni Island by Train
To reach the Island by train, you will have to take the train from Namkhana Station. To get to Namkhana from the city centre in West Bengal, tourists have to take the local train from Sealdah Railway Station. Alternatively, there is a route from Sealdah to Lakshmikantapur and then on to Namkhana. On average, a direct trip from Sealdah to Namkhana takes 4 hours.
From Namkhana, Magic Vans are available to convey tourists to the Chinai River. The journey takes 30 minutes to 40 minutes. After successfully crossing the Chinai River, another magic van is available to bring visitors to Mousuni Island. The trip from Chinai to Mousuni takes about 40 minutes.
Getting to Mousuni Island by Car
Unfortunately, going all the way to Mousuni Island by car is not possible. The Chinai River can only be crossed by boat, so visitors have to leave their vehicles at the river bank. Getting to Mousuni Island by car is only possible by travelling from Kolkata to Bakkhali via Diamond Harbour. After crossing the Hatania Doania River at Bakkhali, locals or the Maps are on hand to guide you to the Chinai River, from where you can make your way to the Island.
Getting to Mousuni Island by Bus
There are lots of bus fares between Dharmatala and Bakkhali via Namkhana. If you take the bus from Dharmatala (in Bengal), you may get down at Namkhana from where you can take a magic van, called a Toto, to either Hujjuter Ghat or Durgapur Ghat. From there, you can cross the Chinai River and take another magic van to reach Mousuni Island.
Best Time to Visit Mousuni Island
The Island is usually serene for most months of the year, with a slight buzz of fellow visitors enjoying their weekend getaway. There is very little variety in the kinds of activities on the Island.
Mousuni Island is at the sea face of Muri Ganga River, and so it faces high tides and heavy rainstorms during the rainy seasons. As a result, it is not advisable to visit Mousuni during the rainy months (April to October). Throughout the other months (November to March), it is very convenient to visit the Island. Keep in mind, though, that your accommodation options are limited to Tents or makeshift camps.
Things to do on Mousuni Island
This Island is exceptional for exploring and appreciating nature at its finest. However, there are a few other activities you may choose to get yourself involved in, and they include:
This is the most popular activity on the Island. Whether you choose to or not, camping is something you almost cannot escape while on the Island. Camping near the beach may be a new experience, but it is going to be worth it.
One great thing about visiting this Island is that you will likely become a semi-skilled fisherman at the end of your expedition. Camp owners and locals are always on hand to guide tourists on fishing and the safety measures to take. It is an experience you do not want to miss.
Another great activity you can take part in is the games. On Mousuni Island, you can join a community of fellow tourists to participate in different games. They often include track and field games.
Exploring Mousuni Island: Where to Go
Mousuni Island is a small island of communities. Notwithstanding its size, visitors can visit some of the communities with exciting features and hotspots to sightsee.
Jambu Dweep is an estuary in the centre of the Island. With specific boats permitted by local authorities, visitors can take a round trip around Jambu Dweep. Typically, the journey from the camps to the Dweep takes two hours, from where tour guides take tourists through the sights.
Jambu Dweep is a fascinating sight for lovers of nature. It is a fine blend of different ecosystems, including arboreal habitats that harbour some of the world’s unique bird species, submerged trees, and a reserve for wildlife.
Gangasagar Island is another small island close to Mousuni. Mousuni to Gangasagar Island takes about 2 hours and includes a ferry trip along the sea. Gangasagar is more known for its cultural and religious peculiarities as there are many cultural and religious festivals and events in which ex-pats are more than welcome to participate. The Kapil Muni temple and the Sagar Mela Fair are two of the most prominent tourist attractions on Gangasagar Island.
Henry’s Island is a much smaller Island that is similar in environmental outlook and cultural inclination to Mousuni Island. The Baghdanga Market is one prominent tourist attraction here, and the heavy seasonal influx of ex-pats into the market is a fun sight to see.
What does visiting Mousuni Island Cost?
One of the biggest perks of visiting the Island is its budget-friendly nature. Transport fares and accommodations are very cheap, and a budget of Rs 2,000 ($30) will cater for a one-day trip.
Cost of Transportation
Railway tickets from Sealdah station to Namkhana cost Rs 30, and the magic van down to Chinai River costs another Rs 25-30. The story is different as the bus from Kolkata to Namkhana costs Rs 80-90. The magic van costs Rs 25-30, and the cross-over from Chinai River to the Island costs Rs 3.
Cost of Accommodation and Feeding
Camping costs on Mousuni Island vary among owners. Some owners of the high-quality camps charge between Rs 700 and Rs 2000 depending on the camp. Lower quality camps cost between Rs 500 and Rs 1500.
The cheapest camps are the dome tents which start at Rs 500, family tents cost Rs 1000 and higher, and there are refurbished mud houses for rent, starting at Rs 1200. All mud houses are only available for individual use.
Food prices are low around the Island. For Rs 200, you could have a decent local meal for an individual at the local restaurant.
Although it remains largely unnoticed by the travel and tourism industry, Mousuni Island is beginning to gain some exposure to the world, thanks to the Indian Government’s effort towards boosting the nation’s tourism sector. Mousuni Island must be on your bucket list if you wish to explore relatively unknown but great destinations.