- Narikel Jinjira, Bay of Bengal, Chittagong, Bangladesh
St. Martin’s Island is the country’s only coral island and an unspoilt paradise. It is 48 kilometers from Teknaf, Named Narikel Jinjira (Coconut Island) by the locals. The dumbbell shaped St.Martin’s has an area of only 8 sq. km. which reduces to about 5 sq. km. and in places from 1-4 meters during high tide.
The beauty of the setting-sun behind the waves of the sea is simply captivating. Locally made cigars and handloom products of the tribal Rakhyne families are good buys.
The Island can only be reached by ferry that start from teknaf, Cox’s bazaar. Cox’s Bazaar is located at a distance of 152 km south of Chittagong, and is connected both by air and road from Dhaka and Chittagong.
The island can be visited and there are several lodging places that one can chose from. However there are people who simply chose to stay in tents. St. Marting’s Island is currently suffering from exploitation of corals and is still neglected by the authorities as a ecological resource that needs to be protected. Unsustainable local tourism leads to destruction of coral reefs every season.
The best time to visit the Island is during the winter peak season. This is because, as tourist season comes in the Island businesses stock up of food and other essentials which are otherwise un available during the year. The islanders themselves live in thatch houses and keeps the scene very rural and down to earth.
St Martin’s Island is mostly inhabited by Keya plant species and coconut groves. For enthusiasts, it is also possible to walk the perimeter of the island. Also the island gives access to a secondary smaller island nearby which can be travelled to during low tides.