World’s Biggest Floating Guava Market: Jhalakathi, Bangladesh

2019 How-To Guide & Review

Did you know there is such a thing as the world’s biggest floating guava market? Well, there is! World travel offers lots of unique discoveries. The delicious tropical guava fruit has its own market attraction in the rather uncommon travel destination of Bangladesh. The guava market in Bangladesh is actually an important part of the local economy.

Worlds biggest floating guava market, guavas in crates.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

The berry-like fruit guava is sometimes referred to as the “apple of the tropics”. It originated in the areas between Mexico and Peru. Today it has become one of the most important fruit crops in Bangladesh. Although it’s being grown all over Bangladesh the main Guava-producing areas are in its southern region.

Where is Bangladesh?

Bangladesh is a neighboring country bordering with India to the east, with a population of 168 million people.

The Bangladesh guava market

The southern region of Bangladesh is filled with canals and rivers that crisscross. This creates a nice green landscape of guava orchards. Guava is a huge industry here. Farmers and wholesalers bring their guavas for sale by gathering at several guava floating markets. These markets resemble the floating market that you also find in Thailand.

Worlds biggest floating guava market, guavas on a boat.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

The largest floating guava garden of Asia has been developed in the three southern Bangladesh districts of Jhalakathi, Barisal, and Pirojpur. This floating guava garden has been built on about 5,100 acres of land spread over 21 villages!

The biggest floating guava market in the world

You will find the ultimate of the world’s floating guava markets in the Bangladeshi town of Atghar-Kuriana. The village is passionately called “guava village”. The bazaar is in the village of Bhimaruli, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the district town of Jhalakathi.  Most people here make their living by selling guava.

Best time of year to visit the floating guava market

The floating guava garden areas are the most convenient place for foreign tourists to travel. The best time to visit this place is during the months of July, August, and September, which marks the highlight of the guava season.

The end of the guava season comes after the “hog plum” season. Hog plum Is also called yellow mombin. The hog plum is a tropical tree producing edible fruit that resembles plums.

Worlds biggest floating guava market, on the river.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

And finally comes the areca nut harvest. The areca nut is the fruit of the areca palm. The areca nut also grows in the south-western Pacific islands of Melanesia and Micronesia. It’s also prevalent in East Africa and, of course in Bangladesh.  Another name for the areca nut is betel nut

How to get to Bangladesh and the floating guava market

First, fly to Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital on any international flight serving the destination. The exciting city of Dhaka will serve as your destination place of lodging. I’d suggest you spend a couple of days exploring Dhaka before you hit the floating guava market journey.

To get from Dhaka to Jhalakathi by boat

Next, depart on a ship from Sadarghat in the city of Dhaka, which leaves at 7 p.m. every day for the Jhalakathi District of Barisal. The ship has different cabin classifications, depending on your needs.

Worlds biggest floating guava market, harvesters.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

The VIP cabin cost you $85-$120 USD. A semi-VIP cabin runs for $65-$80 USD. A family cabin price is $40-$50 USD. On a budget? A double cabin ticket is $30-$50 USD, while a single cabin only sets you back $15-$25 USD.

Where to stay in Jhalakathi before your floating guava market experience

After the boat ride, you’d want to get a hotel room. Your best hotel choices in Jhalakathi are Dhansiri Rest House (on Kalibari Road), Arafat Boarding (on Vasana Patti), Hotel Ifti (at Swarupakathi’s Miar Hat), and Halima Boarding (on Sadar Road). Rates go for $5-$10 USD per day.

In Jhalakathi, the next morning

First, enjoy breakfast. Then rent a lagoona car to get to Swarupkathi, located about 15 miles west of Barisal. A lagoona car is a popular Bangladeshi small car service, a one of a kind pick up van service.  To get to Swarupkathi the lagoona ride will cost you $8-$10 USD. The drive takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Worlds biggest floating guava market, woman and man ina  boat.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

Once you get to Jhalakathi you can rent an engine-powered boat for an entire day at $30 to $40 USD. Each boat holds 5 to 20 people.

Getting to Jhalakathi by bus

When in Dhaka buy a bus ticket at the Gaboli Bus Terminal. Many buses run on this route, such as the Hanif, Surovi, and Egol busses. The bus ticket is $10-$15 USD.

Guava boat paddler.
Photo Credit: Mamunuj Jaman.

You can also catch a bus from Dhaka’s Syedabad Bus Terminal.

The best authentic culinary experience in the Barisal/Jhalakathi-area

In the Kuriana Bazaar in Barisal, there is a shop where you can fill your stomach with fresh river-fish. It’s at a hotel, called Sokal-sondha. The local name for the hotel is the Boudir Hotel.

Why go to Dhaka and the biggest floating guava market in the world?

Bangladesh simply isn’t your typical tourist destination from the western world. If you are a traveler seeking discoveries and excitement that few others have experienced, then this could just be for you!

About the photographer: The photos you see in this article were all taken by Mamunuj Jaman, a well-known and popular professional photographer in Bangladesh.

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