Scuba diving in Bangladesh
Not many people view Bangladesh as being a great location to go scuba diving. However more and more people are discovering the natural wonders that St Martin’s Island has to offer. This small island is located just off the coast of Bangladesh and it is already quite a national treasure.
Scuba diving in Bangladesh is still relatively under-developed. As a mostly Muslim country many tourist-related developments found in other Asian countries have yet to be found in Bangladesh. There are no discotheques, night clubs or places you can go for a drink. But true nature lovers don’t mind one bit, because when you step on to St. Martin’s Island, all that is quickly forgotten.
Known locally as Narikel Jinjira (Coconut Island), the island is located just 14 km away from the country’s southernmost town of Teknaf. Its beaches are fringed with coconut palms and visitors can walk the entire island in just one day. Bright, blue waters sparkle with untainted purity. This truly is paradise – and not just to the locals who frequent it. Foreigners who have chanced upon this natural treasure quickly return to share with friends. Filip Engsig-Karup, a Danish tour operator, said: “I enjoy bringing people here and they are pleasantly surprised when they see all the beauty. It’s a shame this is not more known to the world yet. When I take people from Denmark to Bangladesh, everybody is amazed because the impression they have got about this country is quite different from the reality.”
Government officials have already recognized the immense potential that St Martin’s Island has with regards to tourism and increasing local revenue. With this in mind, they recently introduced scuba diving and speedboat sailing as part of efforts to attract more tourists. Before long, visitors should also be able to enjoy water skiing and other sporting facilities when visiting this little piece of paradise. However these changes are also made with a sense of caution; officials know that they will also need to put strict conservation measures in place to prevent people from harming the island’s nesting turtle populations – either from disturbing the nesting process or by accidentally or purposefully destroying nests. They also need to prevent divers from breaking off pieces of the dazzling coral found beneath the surface of the water. However the island is simply too beautiful to be kept a secret and so in the meantime it seems that efforts to build tourism will continue at a spanking pace.