Top 5 Sundarbans Hotels and Resorts

There are various different types of Sundarbans hotels and resorts to choose from, depending on your budget and what kind of experience you want to have. However, given that it's an eco-sensitive area, accommodations are more simple than luxurious, with an eco-friendly focus and village feel. Power is limited (it's either solar or produced by a generator) and water is not always hot.

Most hotels provide package tours from Kolkata, which is useful if you don't want to have to have to travel independently (the journey is quite a laborious one). Some Sundaban tour operators also have their own private accommodations as well. It's worth taking a look at what they have to offer if you're interested in going on an organized tour.

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    Sundarbans Jungle Camp is owned by Help Tourism, which specializes in purposeful, eco-friendly travel to natural areas in east and northeast India. It's located on Bali island, and was built in partnership with locals to provide them with a livelihood and reduce tiger-human conflict. There are eight comfortable, ethnic mud thatched cottages with modern attached bathrooms. Locals are all employed in the running of the resort, and as guides.

    Help Tourism offers tour packages of two to four night durations, staying at the camp. Expect to pay around 40,000 rupees for a two night/three day package for two people. Earth Villa is a new addition, which accommodates up to six guests in two interconnected rooms. It costs around 20,000 rupees upwards for two nights, including food.

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    Another similar but smaller community-based eco-tourism initiative on Bali island, the newer and lesser known Tora Eco Resort & Life Experience Center has been named after a Mangrove species found there. Tora also means "tiger" in Japanese. The resort has six smart and attractive ethnic mud cottages, with modern attached bathrooms, made from local materials in traditional rural style.

    Packages ranging from one to three nights are available. Activities include village walks, visits to various watchtowers, country boat rides, and entertainment from local villagers.  Expect to pay around 40,000 rupees for a two night/three day package from Kolkata for two people.

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    Perhaps the most popular place to stay in the Sundarbans, Sundarban Tiger Camp is located on Dayapur island upriver from the Sajnekhali watchtower complex. It's well-managed and offers a range of accommodations that won't drain your wallet too much: Swiss tents, bamboo huts, deluxe mud cottages, executive rooms and executive cottages. A local artist has decoratively hand-painted the interiors of the cottages.

    The camp runs sought after fixed departure package tours from Kolkata. Rates start from 11,500 rupees for one night for two people in a cottage, including transport, meals, and boat trips. For two nights, it's 19,500 rupees. Other activities are additional.

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    A new eco-friendly property, Solitary Nook is also located in serene surroundings on Dayapur island, near the jetty. There are seven cottages, each with a king and queen sized bed, scattered around a lotus pond. There's also a special honeymoon cottage for couples, and two dormitories. All have attached western bathrooms and running water.

    Cottages cost around 6,400 rupees per night, for up to four people, including meals. Various types of packages are offered for both couples and groups. Rates start from 3,200 rupees per person for a one night package, for a group of five people. A two night honeymoon package costs 33,600 rupees for a couple. Jungle cruise packages start from 22,800 rupees for two to three people, for one night. Tour itineraries include visits to watchtowers and villages, and evening folk performances. Bicycles are also available for hire.

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    Sajnekhali Tourist Lodge is a government property that's operated by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation. Its main appeal is its handy location right next to Sajnekhali watchtower complex (it's the only place to stay within the national park boundaries), inexpensive accommodations, and the ability to easily arrange your own private boat trips from there (no costly tour packages with hordes of other people). Don't expect anything fancy though. The lodge is an old wooden structure, with basic facilities, and could be better maintained. And, you will need to make your own way there from Kolkata. Expect to pay 1,600 rupees plus tax per night for a double, including breakfast, or 500 rupees for a bed in a dorm.  Bookings can be made online here.