US Bangla Airlines has three weekly flights (Tk 3200) connecting Barisal to Dhaka, on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The Rocket runs from Barisal’s Rocket Ghat to either Dhaka, in one direction, or Morrelganj in the other. It used to run all the way to Khulna, but silting of the riverbed has made the river too shallow for the vessel to travel beyond Morrelganj. If you want to go as far as Khulna, you can catch the Rocket up to Hularhat, then take a bus to Khulna from there.
Note, the Rocket to Dhaka stops for half an hour in the small fishing town of Chandpur (Tk 650, seven hours), from where you can get to Chittagong by bus (Tk 380, four hours) or train (1st seat/shuvon Tk 280/120, five hours, 5am and 1.50pm).
For daytime Rocket trips, just buy your ticket on board, half an hour before departure. For overnight trips to Dhaka, you must reserve your ticket at the BIWTC office, on the 2nd floor of an unmarked building across the main road from the ferry ghat.
Numerous other passenger ferries (cabin/2nd class Tk 1700/900), generally known as ‘launches’, drift slowly upriver from Barisal to Dhaka. Most leave a few hours after the Rocket, at around 8pm or 9pm, and use the main Launch Ghat, not the Rocket Ghat, which is a short walk away. From the Launch Ghat, there are also boats to Moju Chowdhury Hat (2nd/deck class Tk 455/290, five hours).
Green Line operates a fast air-con catamaran service (1st/2nd class Tk 1000/700) between Barisal and Dhaka, departing the Launch Ghat at 2.30pm. The pricier seats come with a business-class-on-the-river feel, and allow you to savour the fleeting river scenery through the daylight hours, which is a definite bonus.
On the Rocket service, destinations include the following places. Fares were being reviewed at the time of research, and may rise marginally by the time you visit.
Chandpur 1st/2nd/deck class Tk 650/340/110, seven hours, 6.30pm, no service Sunday
Dhaka 1st/2nd/deck class Tk 1050/630/170, 12 hours, 6.30pm, no service Sunday
Hularhat 1st/2nd/deck class Tk 210/140/80, four hours, 6am, no service Saturday