Ratargul Swamp Forest Tour, What’s New in 2023?

Sylhet is truly a paradise of natural beauty. It is blessed by the endless mercy of God and the wonders of nature that follow its own rules.

It’s a kingdom of majestic mountains, meandering rivers, refreshing springs, and captivating stones.

However, one particular spot stands out among them all—the enchanting swamp forest known as Ratargul.

You might be wondering, what makes Ratargul so beautiful? Is it worth visiting? Absolutely! Before embarking on your journey, let’s delve into the fascinating details of Ratargul.

Where is Ratargul located?

This captivating swamp forest is nestled in the Sylhet district, specifically in the Fatehpur Union of Goainghat Upazila.

To the south of this forest lie Shimuliar Bill and Newar Bill is the landmark. It’s about 26 kilometers away from Sylhet City, making it easily accessible.

About Ratargul

Ratargul is the second-largest swamp forest in Asia. During the winter and monsoon seasons, this forest adorns itself with vibrant vines, shrubs, and trees along the border of Goainghat Upazila and the Goain River.

Spanning approximately 3,325.61 acres, Ratargul boasts a designated area of 504 acres as a ‘Wildlife Sanctuary’ since 1973.

Additionally, 204.25 hectares have been reserved as a special biodiversity conservation area within Ratargul. This forest stands out as one of the few remaining swamp forests in the world.

During the monsoon, Ratargul is submerged under 20-30 feet of water, showcasing its stunning transformation. Various water-tolerant plant species create a dreamlike atmosphere during this season.

One of the most prominent trees found in Ratargul is the karach tree (scientifically known as Millettia pinnata), which has adapted to thrive in aquatic environments.

Throughout the year, Ratargul maintains a water depth of at least 10 feet, rising to 30 feet during the monsoon for about four months.

During the dry season, the canals dry up and transform into footpaths, while the surrounding beel serves as a sanctuary for aquatic animals.

Weather in Ratargul

As with any natural habitat, the climate varies depending on the time and season. Ratargul falls within the tropical climate zone due to its location in the northeastern region of the country.

Consequently, heavy rainfall graces this area every year, with an average of 4162 mm according to the Sylhet Meteorological Center.

July marks the peak of humidity in Ratargul, accompanied by the highest recorded rainfall of 1250 mm. On the other hand, December experiences the driest conditions, with minimal rainfall.

Temperature-wise, the maximum recorded temperature ranges from 32 degrees Celsius from May to October. This temperature is gradually dropping to 12 degrees Celsius in January.

December sees an air humidity level of approximately 74 percent, while July and August its exceeding 90 percent.

Biodiversity of Ratargul

Ratargul is a completely natural forest. The government forest department also planted a lot of trees here for the tourism potential of Ratargul, wildlife sanctuary, and protection of natural biodiversity. There are about 73 species of plants here.

Among the trees in Ratargul are cane, kadam, hijal, murta, karach, barun, pithali arjuna, chatim, gutijam and banyan. Also, the number of snakes in this forest is very high. There are also leeches.

Weasels, monkeys, and snakes are seen at Ratargul during the dry season. Here are large egrets, blind egrets, herons, parakeet, bulbul, dove, chil, pankauri, dhupi, and falcon.

Migratory birds fly from different countries in winter. Sand geese can also be seen during this time. A giant vulture is seen.

There are many plant and animal life in the sparkling water of Ratargul. Different species of fish are found here during monsoon, but the habitat of these fish is in the neighboring bill.

Notable fish include Tengra, Khalisa, Rita, Pabda, Maya, Talla Ieer, Kalboush, and Ruhi fish.

How To Go To Ratargul Swamp Forest?

If you’re planning a trip to Ratargul, your journey begins in Sylhet City. From there, you have various transportation options to reach Goainghat Upazila.

One convenient route is to travel to Sarighat along the Jaflong-Tamabil road. Once in Jaflong, you’ll find several direct types of transport to Ratargul.

To reach the Ratargul Bit Office of the Forest Department, you’ll need to board an engine-driven boat. The boat fare for the round trip is between BDT 900 to 1500. The boat ride takes approximately 2 hours.

Upon arriving at the Bit Office, you’ll need to hire a small dinghy to venture into the main forest. The dinghy boat rental costs around 200-300 taka per hour.

Alternatively, you can reach Goainghat by taking a CNG (auto-rickshaw) from the Ambarkhana point in Sylhet City. The CNG fare is approximately 500 taka.

This route offers a scenic view of the Osmani Airport-Shalutikar road, which becomes even more captivating during the monsoon season, attracting tourists like a magnet.

From Goainghat, you can proceed to Ratargul by following the usual route.

Another option is to travel from Ambarkhana to Motor Ghat via Saheb Bazar with CNG. The CNG fare for this route is 200-300 taka, and the journey takes about an hour.

From Motor Ghat, you’ll need to hire a dinghy boat to enter the forest, with a fare of BDT 850. Each dinghy can accommodate a maximum of 6 people.

It’s important to note that you must obtain the tickets issued by the forest department to enter the forest. The ticket prices are BDT 57.50 for adults and BDT 28.75 for minors per person.

Ratargul Resort & Hotels

Accommodation in the immediate vicinity is not ideal, as there are only a few local-level hotels and rest houses that lack good quality standards.

For a more comfortable stay overnight, it is advisable to head to Sylhet City. There you can find a range of reputable rest houses and hotels.

In the area near Hazrat Shahjalal’s Mazar Sharif, you can find various rooms available at prices ranging from BDT 400 to BDT 2,000.

Here are the names, addresses, and contact information of some high-quality hotels in Sylhet for the convenience of travelers:

Hotel Roseview International (5 Star)
Suburban, Sylhet
☎ 0821-721835
Mobile: 01195115964
Email: sales@roseviewhotel.com

Hotel Fortune Garden
Jail Road, Sylhet
☎ 0821-715590
Mobile: 01711-115153
Email: info@hotelfortunegarden.com
Web: www.hotelfortunegarden.com

Hotel Dallas
Tamabil Road, Mirabazar, Sylhet
☎ 0821-720945
Email: hoteldallassylhet@yahoo.com
Web: www.hoteldallassylhet.com

Hotel Supreme
Tamabil Road, Mirabazar, Sylhet
☎ 0821-813169
Mobile: 01711-197012
Email: hotelsupreme_1@yahoo.com

Hotel Hilltown
VIP Road, Teli Howr, Sylhet
☎ 0821-718263
Mobile: 01711332371
Web: www.hiltownhotel.com

Additionally, you may consider Nazimgarh Resort, which can be reached at ☎ 0821-2870338-9 or visited at www.nazimgarh.com.

Restaurant in Ratargul

Regarding foods & drinks at Ratargul, options are limited. However, there are a few light food shops available in Motorghat & Ratargul.

Since Ratargul is situated very close to Sylhet City, most tourists prefer to stay and dine there. Therefore, Ratargul itself does not offer a well-developed food system during the night.

However, within Sylhet Town, you’ll find a variety of quality eateries to cater to your dining needs.

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