Do you love visiting sea beaches and haven’t tried beach camping before?
Well, Mousuni Island (dwip) at Namkhana, West Bengal, is your perfect choice. Stay in a seaside tent, enjoy the bonfire and delicious barbecue in the evening, and engage in activities like beach hiking, bird watching, stargazing, and nature photography- MOUSUNI ISLAND HAS EVERYTHING!
In this article, I will guide you through our hands-on experience of visiting and staying at Mousuni Island. Explore the things to do, and know the best tent camps & resorts with price and booking information. Also, be informed about how and when you can reach Mousuni and the nearby places to visit.
Highlights of Mousuni Island, West Bengal
|Location||Namkhana, West Bengal|
|Attractions||Sea beach, mangrove plantations, beach camping, bird watching|
|Suitable For||Couples, friends and families|
|Best Mobile Networks||Airtel|
|Nearest Railway Station||Namkhana (22 Km)|
|Nearest Airport||Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata (136 Km)|
|When To Visit||October to February|
Things To Do In Mousuni Island
Mousuni Island is a perfect place for travellers like friends and couples looking for adventure as well as leisure. During our visit, we explored the entire island – the sea beach by the Bay of Bengal, campsites, nearby Chinai river, the estuary, villages and embankments on the two sides of the island. If you are planning to visit Mousuni island soon, here are the key things you can do:
Enjoy Beach Camping
Camping is an exciting activity for travel freaks! If you like adventures as much as I do, plan your trip to Mousuni.
Unlike any other sea beaches in West Bengal, Mousuni island is most famous for its beach camping facility. When I visited last time, I found many campsites where you can stay in a tent just beside the sea beach. Have a delicious barbecue and bonfire while enjoying the sea breeze.
Almost all of these tent camping sites offer accommodation and food in a package system, with a price ranging from ₹800 to ₹2000, depending on the facilities and season. Some of the sites also offer cottage accommodations.
Almost every camp plays loud music and arranges parties in the evening, perfect for youngsters. However, it is not a good choice for families, especially with elders who want a calm ambience.
Beach Strolling And Hiking Adventure
After waking up in your tent, enjoy the fine morning beside the beach and visit the estuary of the Chinai river, where you will find a mangrove forest. Though the forest was partially destroyed, and most of the beach area was covered with mud during the cyclones Amphan in 2020, Yaas and Jawad in 2021, we were happy to see the remaining mangroves growing and spreading slowly.
On the left-hand side (northeast) of the estuary, you will find a levee guarding the Mousuni island against flooding of the Chinai river. This levee was created to protect the island from cyclones and the sudden rise of water level.
Upon hiking for 15-20 minutes along the levee, we found the ruins of a salt factory built during the British era. Because of this ancient factory, this part of Mousuni is also known as “Salt Gheri” to the locals. Also, there are ruins of a few lighthouses nearby, which you see during the sightseeing.
Earlier, Mousuni island was known for red crabs, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see any, as they migrated to other locations after repeated cyclones and floods.
Engage In Birdwatching
Watching birds is an exciting activity to do on Mousuni island. If you love birding as much as I do, Mousuni won’t disappoint you. During my trip, I carried my camera and binoculars to find out and photograph different bird species.
I mostly spotted Common Kingfishers, White-throated Kingfishers, Long-Billed Storks, Spotted Dove, Blue-throated Barbets, Bronze-winged Jacana, Indian Pond Heron, Egrets, and Cormorants during our trip. There were previous sightings of White-Billed Sea Eagles, Barn Shallows, Asian Green Bee Eaters, and Common Mynas, but we didn’t find them.
Technically, Mousuni island lies inside the western Sundarban area. We think about the Royal Bengal Tiger when we talk about Sundarban. But, it is not the case for Mousuni island, as it is one of Sundarban’s 54 inhabited islands.
Witness the Magnificent Sunset
Most camping sites in Mousuni are located on the western shoreline. For this reason, you can see the colourful sunset from the camp itself. When the sun goes down, the sky is illuminated with golden and red colours, creating a magnificent effect on the blue seawater.
While the sunset looks very beautiful, the sunrise is not as exciting as there is no sea on the eastern side. However, in the early morning, you can still walk on the levee near the estuary, where you will get a better view of the sun rising.
Stargazing And Astrophotography
Mousuni island is a lesser-known place for stargazing. After sunset, the area gets very dark outside the campsites, making it a perfect place to watch stars, galaxies and even the milky way. I took this opportunity on the first day of my trip and started hunting stars from the darkest corner.
Before visiting Mousuni island, I didn’t expect to watch the night sky as there were no previous reports for this. Still, I carried my camera and luckily found this amazing thing to do there.
Arrange A Village Trip
On our 2nd day of visiting Mousuni island, we did something that no other tourists usually do – VISITING THE VILLAGES. We hired a Toto, the only transport available, to visit the villages for 5 hours with a fare of ₹700.
In case you didn’t know before, Mousuni island falls under the Namkhana block of south 24 Parganas district, West Bengal. It has four villages- Baliara, Kusumtala, Bagdanga, and Mousuni (Poila Kheri), spreading from south to north.
The main travel spot of Mousuni Island lies in the Baliara village, which is closest to the sea, and is mostly dependent on tourism. Farming is not an option for its villagers as saltwater rinsed the land in the past cyclones and reduced soil fertility.
The condition of the waterbodies in Baliara is also terrible due to saltwater killing freshwater fish. Many villagers of Baliara told us that they are now selling their properties to hoteliers and relocating to other areas to secure their children’s futures.
The other villages like Kusumtala, Bagdanga and Poila Kheri thrive on farming rice and vegetables like Luffas, bitter melons, potatoes, onions, chillis, etc. Besides, many villagers from these three villages also farm freshwater fish.
While the Baliara village is struggling to thrive, we have seen Kusumtala and Bagdanga villages flourishing with their winter crops. As per the locals, the cyclones, especially Amphan, had a deep impact on the villages’ livelihood. Earlier, facilities for drinking water were scarce, but now we could see tube wells very frequently.
While visiting the villages, we explored the western coastline of Mousuni island, where we could see a concrete dyke building up, which was a requirement from the villagers for a long time. However, I think, we should focus more strongly on mangrove cultivation, which is a more sustainable solution.
Mousuni Island Map
Best Tent Camps And Resorts In Mousuni Island
As mentioned earlier, staying in a tent is the best option for accommodation at Mousuni island. In case you are visiting with your family, you may stay at the resorts and hotels that offer cottage accommodation. During our visit, I could count around 20 such camping sites with sea-facing tents. Here are the top tent camps in Mousuni island with price and booking information.
1. Izifiso Backpackers Camp
Backpackers camp is not only the best camp in Mousuni island but is also the favourite choice among travellers in Gurdum, Mangalgunj, Mandarmani, Doladanga and Bagda. In Mousuni island, Backpackers camp has six options for accommodation-
- Adventure Tent
- Family Tent
- Pergola Tent
- Family Cottage
- Friends Cottage
- Family Red Tent
The package price starts from ₹1163 per head, including accommodation, welcome drink, lunch, evening snacks, campfire, dinner and breakfast. While the tent camping facilities include a common toilet, the cottages have attached bath facilities. The check-in and check-out times are 11 AM and 10 AM, respectively. The best thing I like about Backpackers Camp is that the authorities are very professional and dedicated to serving the tourists.
2. Sand Castles Beach Camp
Among all other options, Sand Castles Beach Camp is the most popular campsite on Mousuni island. It houses adventure tents for 2 persons, XL adventure tents for 3 persons, group castles for 5 persons, mudhouses for 3 persons, mud cottages for 5 persons and solo tents for 1 person.
Sand Castle Beach Camp has got you covered whether you are travelling solo, as a couple, with friends or with families. The most remarkable things I found about this camp are the free WIFI facility and live DJ music. You can enjoy a mouth-watering barbecue and bonfire while enjoying the music in the evening.
3. Neel Nirjone Camp
Unlike the previous two campsites, Neel Nirjone camp in Mousuni island is comparatively lesser known, but we found it is uprising and getting popular rapidly. We liked the ambience and facilities for stay, food and sightseeing.
Neel Nirjone camp offers four types of accommodations like 2-bedded tent, family tent, standard cottage and bamboo cottage. While tent camping starts from ₹999 per head, staying in the bamboo cottage is the costliest option- ₹1399 per head.
You will get a common bathroom for tent accommodations and an attached bath for cottage stays. You can even get an AC facility in the cottages for ₹200 extra. In terms of food, you can order Fish Kalia and Chingri Malaikari for lunch and barbecues with a bonfire in the evening. Overall, it is a very good option to stay on Mousuni island.
4. Bonfire Natures Camp
The Bonfire Natures Camp is located just next to the Neel Nirjone Camp. Unlike most other campsites in Mousuni island, it has a beautiful patio on the beach area, where you can sit, have food and enjoy the sea breeze.
The Mousuni island tour package by Bonfire Natures Camp starts from ₹1200 for dome tents and reaches up to ₹2200 for cottages with AC. However, this price can further hike in festive seasons like Christmas, Holi, New Year and Durga Puja.
Though the price is comparatively higher than other campsites, the facilities are amazing at this camp. When you book and reach the campsite, you will be given a welcome drink, which is usually coconut water or cold drinks. You will get delicious recipes like Chingri Malaikari and Katla Kalia in the lunch, Pakoda and Barbecue in the snacks and chicken curry in the dinner.
5. Skyler Nature Camp
As the name suggests, this camp is very close to nature. Even the entrance to this campsite is very attractive, made with bamboo with a flowering Bougainvillea plant covering it. I was really impressed to see and explore this camp.
Skyler Nature Camp offers 5 options for accommodation included in its package with a price ranging from ₹1100 to ₹1700. These include-
- Family Tent
- Adventure Tent
- Family Bamboo AC Cottage
- Family Bamboo Non-AC Cottage
- Small AC Cottage
In terms of facilities, you will get Welcome Drink, Evening Snacks, WIFI, Mineral Water, Barbecue, Campfire, Lunch, Dinner, Breakfast and more! The hotel authority also arranges boat rides to Jambu Dwip, which is another scenic place to visit nearby.
Apart from these campsites, Mousuni Jhinuk Camp and Mousuni Waves are also good options to stay.
How To Reach Mousuni Island?
The distance of Mousuni island from Kolkata is around 120 Km and requires 3-4 hours. To visit the island, first, you have to reach Namkhana, either by train, car or bike. From Namkhana, you have to cross two rivers-Hatania Dotania and then Chinai.
While crossing the Hatania Dotnia river on NH12 highway is easy now, due to the constructed bridge, you have to cross the Chinai river on a boat. Earlier, there was only one jetty in Mousuni- Hujjaiter Ferry Ghat, but now you have Patibunia and Bagdanga ghats.
During our trip to Mousuni, we arrived via Patibunia Ghat, visited Bagdanga ghat on village sightseeing and returned through the Hujjaiter Ferry Ghat. Each of these locations has different importance, which I will talk about now.
Via Hujjaiter Ferry Ghat
Hujjaiter Ferry Ghat is the oldest option to reach Mousuni, which you may already have found in online resources. However, presently, this ghat is the least preferable option as the road condition towards the tourist spot is not good at all. This ghat is now mostly used to transport hotel supplies.
To reach Hujjaiter Ghat from Namkhana, drive to Rajnagar Ghat via Sat Mile (7 mile), where you have to park your car or bike. Next, cross the Chinai river on a boat, which will cost you ₹10. After reaching Hujjaiter Ferry Ghat, hire a Toto for ₹35 per head.
Via Bagdanga Ghat
The Bagdanga ghat is the closest jetty from Namkhana (13 Km). To reach here, travel to the Sasmal Bandh Ferry Ghat and use the boat service. The cost of the ferry is ₹10, same as you required to reach Hujjaiter Ghat. After you ride on the boat, it will take only 3 minutes to cross the river.
In case you are travelling by your car or bike, you can park it before embarking on the boat journey. After you reach the other side, you will find the road condition far better and more comfortable to ride on the Toto, which charges ₹30 per head.
Via Patibunia Ghat
In recent times, Patibunia ghat has been the most popular ferry ghat to reach Mousuni island. To take this route, first, you must arrive at Dos Mile (10 mile) and take the right turn to reach Patibunia. Cross the Chinai river on a boat and then hire a toto that will charge you ₹25 per head.
Is Visiting Mousuni Island Worth It?
Indeed. Visiting Mousuni island is a great option for a weekend trip from Kolkata. However, like any other location, Mousuni also has got some advantages and disadvantages. Here is my take-
- The beach camping facility with barbecues and bonfires is a unique adventure for everyone.
- The time taken to reach Mousuni island is short. Thus, it is an ideal weekend destination for tourists from Kolkata.
- While other tourist attractions in south Bengal, like Bakkhali and Digha, get heavily crowded, Mousuni is still an offbeat destination.
- The cost of travel, accommodation and food is pretty reasonable.
- If you enjoy partying and thrilling nightlife, Mousuni is a good place to visit.
- The boating experience on the Chinai river is an exciting adventure.
- Both married and unmarried couples are allowed in the campsites.
- Loud music is definitely a disadvantage as it does not suit all tourists of different ages.
- The sandy beach and mangrove forest have been partially destroyed after repeated cyclones in recent times.
- You cannot directly reach Mousuni island with a single transport.
- Apart from the hotels and campsites, no other good restaurants are available.
Ideal Time To Visit Mousuni Island
The best time to visit Mousuni island is in the winter, i.e., November to February. At this time of the year, the weather gets comfortable, and the sky remains clear with the least chance of a thunderstorm. However, I highly recommend checking the weather forecast before visiting Mousuni island.
As the winter passes, the temperature and humidity increase, making it uncomfortable. You can still visit Mousuni in the summer, but I do not recommend visiting there in the monsoon as the chances of storm and cyclone increases.
Places Near Mousuni Island
- Bakkhali: Located at a distance of 18 Km from Mousuni island, it is the most popular tourist attraction in the district of south 24 Parganas, West Bengal. You will find a beautiful sea beach surrounded by tall trees and the Bay of Bengal.
- Henry Island: Located just 7 Km from Bakkhali and 19 Km from Mousuni, Henry island is another offbeat tourist attraction in south Bengal. It is known for sighting red crabs, dense mangrove forests and fishery projects.
- Jambu Dwip: It is a scenic island located next to Mousuni island, which can be visited by hiring a boat. The position of this island is very important geographically as it protects the mainland from cyclones.
- Gangasagar: It is a place of Hindu pilgrimage and is most famous for the Gangasagar fair held annually.
Tips To Visit Mousuni Island
- The cost of tour packages peaks up during the festive seasons, reducing accommodation availability. So, you must plan early and book your camp.
- Do not waste water as the scarcity of freshwater is pretty high in Mousuni island, especially in the Baliara village.
- If you travel by train and want to book a toto from Namkhana station to reach the ferry ghat, it should cost ₹200-₹300. Anything beyond this is overpriced. In that case, walk for around 5-10 minutes to reach the Namkhana bus stand, from where you can avail of a bus or hire a toto at a reasonable price.