Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet: How To Reach, Best Time and Tips.
Ratargul is located in the Gowainghat of Sylhet district, Bangladesh. It is about 26 kilometers away from Sylhet city. This place is famous for the natural beauty of its freshwater swamp forest. There is about 504 acres wetland swamp forest in Ratargul. There are very few freshwater swamp forest in the world.
Ratargul Swamp forest is one of them. This forest is an evergreen one which is linked to the River Goain through a lake named Chengir Khal. In the rainy season, the forest becomes flooded as at that time heavy water from India enters into the lake through the river Goain.
The forest remains flooded from May to early October. This time the temperature remains 32 degree Celsius. It drops to 12 degree Celsius in January. Maximum trees remain 10 ft under water (somewhere even 15–20 ft).But in the winter season, the forest become dry.Department of Forestry is responsible for its conservation. In Rainy season, it goes under 20-30 feet water.
In other seasons of the year, the water level is about 10 feet deep. “Koroch tree” is the most common tree in this forest. There are two haors in the southern part of this forest. Locally is these two bils are called Shilmul bil haor and the neoa bil haor. It has been an insecure habitat of different wild animals like snakes, lizards, monkeys insects & birds. The interesting thing is that it has also been a great source of different local fish.
If you are intended to explore this swamp fresh water forest, you have to go to Sylhet. By train, bus or Plane, You can go there. It will take around 6 hours to reach Sylhet by bus.
After reaching Sylhet, you can hire a CNG from Sylhet Ambarkhana point to Goainghat bazaar. It will spend you 300-400 tk to reach Goinghat bazaar. It will not spend you more than 1.5 hours.
Then you have to reach Goainghat boat stand. Then visitor hires local engine boat “traller” to enter swamp forest.So you have to reach Ratargul Bit office by big boat Tk. 800. About 1.5 hours time need to reach Ratargul Bit office.
You have to take permission from the office to enter into the forest. After receiving permission, you can hire a small boat to explore the forest. It might cost you more or less Tk.300.
Tourists Attraction /Top Things To Do In Ratargul Swamp Forest
On the way to Goain ghat bazaar, you will enjoy sightseeing the natural beauties of Sylhet. The more you will go further from the town the more the beauties of the Sylhet will be revealing to you.
The scenic views beside the gowainghat road is always beautiful, regardless the season. During the rainy season, you will see water covers the both side of the road. You will not see anything except the water. You will see the green paddy field, or the golden field when paddies are ripened, at other seasons.
A 2-hour long drive by CNG to Goainghat bazaar will offer you exclusive lovely views of roadsides, green hilly areas, green valleys, waterfalls, zigzag hilly roads, the beautiful view of Tamabil from the top of the hills.
A 1.5 hours journey by boat from Goainghat to Ratargul Bit Office will offer you a new experience of the journey by boat through hilly river and haors. You will see the extremely beautiful views of the life of people living beside the banks of River and haors. Two different looks of this forest in two seasons – in the rainy season and winter. You will find it more beautiful in winter.
This forest has recently been a great source of tranquility, mental peace, and pleasure for the tourists. Many tourists choose this forest as their tourist destination due to its magical attraction along with its plant and animal diversities.
There you may find different types of trees and plant. There are near about 73 species of plants in this forest as reported in different journals. It seems to be an umbrella of trees. About its 80 percent area is covered with various trees and watery plants.
You can see the forest is naturally expanded and it has two layers –upper layer consisting of trees and the lower layer composed of a large watery power stations. Most plants are more or less 15 meters of height.
The Department of Forest of Bangladesh has planted some watery plants that have added new dimensions with its natural beauties. You can see Calamus tenuis, But flower Tree, Barringtonia acutangula, Calamus tenuis available.
There are many Banyan Tree in this forest. Besides that,You can find Barringtonia acutangula, Milletia Pinnata, Sacred Garlic Pear or Temple Plant, Alstonia Scholaris.
You can see Snake and Worm snake swimming in this water drown forest. In the dry season, you can see Mongoose. You can be sourced seeing at Monkey and Water Monitor. There are different species of birds like Heron, Egret, Kingfisher, Parrot, Bulbul, Swan, Dove, Waterfowl, Eagle, Kite Bird.
You might see Cotton Pygmy Goose and other Migratory birds and Vulture in winter. Batasio, the local name of a fish is available in this forest; Tourists find this forest as a good source of local fishes.
Visiting this forest through a small boat will give you the pleasure to visit the freshwater swamp at Amazon, Missippi, and Congo. You can enjoy exploring the plant and animal diversities here in this forest and can experience exploring swamp forest beside the Amazan.
You might call me scared when you see your crystal clear shadow in the green water of the woods.You can see the game of the sun rays through the leafs of the trees and the shadow of the Leafs on water. The scary thing is small green spiders which jump from the tree over the boat. These spiders are lovely to look. These are harmful or not whether It is not sure.
You can reach the forest area within more or less two hours. After exploring through small boat you can start coming back within more or less 2.5 hours. If you visit the forest in the rainy season, you may enjoy exploring your journey by boat through the river with heavy current and it will be surprising that your journey will end but the rain will not .It might be raining continuously.
Due to heavy rain and current it might take more time to return. It is wise to return before the evening. It might be risky to explore the forest in the evening and at night. In winter as water level of the forest area decrease, it may be hard to travel every places of the forest.
You will find many small bushes showing their heads over the water. It might happen that small boat cannot push through them. Even the boat can move easily. So it can take more time than your imagination.
During rainy season those bushes use to be under water and so the boat can easily move inside the forest. The green water can strike your mind to jump and you can start taking bath or swim into the water. But it can be a matter of risk for life as there are many poisonous snakes there in the water.
It will not be wise to do so. Even in the deep forest in the day time the sunray cannot reach properly, so there may be darkness inside. It will be wise to carry torch with you.
Best Hotel And Foods Near Ratargul Swamp Forest
There is no good hotel and restaurant there in the nearby area of the forest. So there should be a suitable tour plan for exploring the forest.It can be wise to book a room in a hotel in Sylhet like Porjotan motel, Hotel Supreme.
There are many beautiful resorts, motels, and hotel with the restaurant there. So you should have your perfect tour plan for exploring the forest and for coming back to Sylhet before the evening. There are some small rest house and residential hotels in the Jaflong and Goinghat bazaar.
You had better come back to Sylhet before evening for safe and secure accommodation. Before starting your journey to Ratargul Bit office from Goainghat boat stand, you can buy some boats of water, energy drinks and some packets of biscuits and fruits.
Before starting from Goinghat bazaar, you may find restaurants there and can have some of your favorite foods if available there.You can have the taste of local fish there. You might be hungry at the time of exploring the forest.
Besides, there is no pure drinking water inside the forest though you are exploring a green swamp forest. There you will see water and water everywhere, but there is not a single of pure water to drink.