South along the coast from Cox’s Bazar, St Martin’s Island is Bangladesh’s only coral island, and for once the beaches actually match the hype. The island is fairly small – about 8km in length and rarely more than 1km wide – so it’s easy to navigate. Rickshaws are available, but you can also just walk around it from beach to beach. The population lives primarily off fishing, but increasingly from the domestic tourism industry. As unregulated tourism booms, St Martin’s is becoming an increasingly stressed environment.
The area around the jetty, on the northeast tip of the island, is called Narikeldia, where you’ll find a few hotels and restaurants. From here you’ll pass through the small village of Uttarpara en route to West Beach, which is the nicest place to stay. The southern part of the island is called Dakshinpara. Even further south is Cherradhip, a thin strip of untouched land which is cut off from the rest of the island at high tide.