Satisfied we were happy with a trawler, the eco-resort advised that they'd send a guide to meet us at Teknaf. He'd help us find a trawler, escort us to the island and to the eco-resort. In hindsight we wished we'd done this independently because when we got to the island the guide insisted on sticking with us for our whole stay. He even slept in the room next to us and was there everytime we turned round. Whilst he was a lovely chap, we prefer not to have unnecessary guides, especially when we could have easily managed by ourselves if we'd been had the logistical information.
Just for the record, I'm not saying having a guide is the wrong thing to do, just that it's not for everyone. It does of course have it's benefits such as less hassle from locals, it's easier to arrange meals and transport, and it's cheaper to buy things from the stores and markets.
If you prefer to travel independently and would rather visit Saint Martin's Island without a guide in low season it's likely that like us you'll struggle with the lack of readily available resources out there. Therefore I've pulled together some useful information on how to get there.
Most journeys to Saint Martin's Island will start in Dhaka and all go via Cox's Bazar to Teknaf. From there you have to get some mode of ocean faring vessel to the island. The route looks something like this:
Dhaka > Cox's Bazar > Teknaf > Saint Martin's Island
You can get a direct taxi from Dhaka to Teknaf for about 11,000 Taka (£110 GBP), taking about 6.5 hours. You could also take a direct bus for up to 1,700 Taka (£17 GBP), depending on the class, taking up to 12 hours. I suspect however that the majority of people would choose to break the journey up with a stop off in Cox's Bazar so the options below are based on that.
Bus - From Mohakhali Bus Station (you can get a taxi there from the airport), catch a bus to Cox's Bazar. Numerous buses from many different companies leave Dhaka towards Cox's Bazar daily and some drive throughout the night. Prices range from about 700 Taka (£7 GBP) for a non-airconditioned chair coach (not very comfortable) to 3,000 Taka (£30 GBP) for an airconditioned sleeper coach (the comfiest option). Beware the buses can take anywhere from 10 to 15 hours depending on the route, traffic and road conditions.
Flight - A short one hour domestic flight to Cox's Bazar like we took costs from about 5,000 Taka (£50GBP) one way or 10,000 Taka (£100 GBP) return. It's difficult to buy flight tickets online in Bangladesh with a foreign credit or debit card, so we bought our tickets on the day from a ticket office located outside the front of the domestic airport, next door to the Shahjalal International Airport.
Cox's Bazar to Teknaf