Andaman – A complete, comprehensive trip report
When I thought about Andaman, the first things came in my mind – tiny islands in the map of India, the land of blue water and a fairyland far away from the main land of India.
Yes I was looking for a scope to visit Andaman. After my registry marriage when the date of the social marriage was fixed, I don’t even waste a single day to convince my wife to visit Andaman as our honeymoon trip. Hence my first aim was to book flight tickets. ‘Skyscanner’ came out very hand on that. It was 6 months before the date of journey. I booked two tickets for round trip (Kolkata to Port Blair and back) of 8 days. I was well aware that this time I would complete south Andaman and left north Andaman for future as to complete entire North Andaman another 8 days was required. But I had only 8 days in my hand, so I planned well for South Andaman.
Before I start with my itinerary..lets scroll down through some Photographs.
Let me start now 🙂 My initial plan was to cover complete Port Blair with some offbeat places, island trips from P.B, complete Havelock and Neil islands. As per my plan I started to chock out internet to finalize my itinerary. After lots of research I finalized an itinerary and that was:
Day 1: Reach P.B, complete entire city tour.
Day 2: Take morning ship to Havelock. Reach Havelock, rent a scooty and spend two beautiful days there.
Day 4: Havelock to Neil by ship at afternoon. Roam around at Neil.
Day 5: Half day Neil trip then reach P.B by ship at afternoon visit Mundapahar, Chidiya Tapu.
Day 6: Visit Pungi Balu, Mt. Harriet and in evening visit to Ross Island. Watch light and sound show there.
Day 7: Visit Jolly Buoy.
Day 8: Fly back to Kolkata.
Few general facts about Andaman:
- There are total 527 islands in Andaman and Niccobar, out of which only few islands are open to tourists- P.B, Chatham, Ross Island, North Bay, Viper, Jolly Buoy, Red Skin, Havelock and Neil. (Here I am skipping islands of North Andaman.)
- Niccobar is restricted to tourist.
- Most of people are Bengali in Andaman and Bengali is highest spoken language.
- You will find ATM in P.B, Havelock,Neil islands.
- All types of foods are available.
- There are four jetties in P.B
- Chatham-Ferry towards Bamboo float (Mt. Harriet.)
- Aberdeen-Ferry towards Ross Island, Viper, North Bay.
- Phonix Bay-Ship towards Havelock, Neil.
- Wandoor-Boat towards Jolly Buoy.
- Bamboo Float-Ferry towards Chatham.
- Tickets of Govt. Ferry open two days advance from the date of journey.
- Mobile connection:
- Island wise sunrise and sunset view points:
|Sunrise||Joggers Park||Kalapatthar||Sitapur beach|
Few tips and suggestions related to Andaman trip:
- Always try to book pvt. Ship in advance. In case of govt. Ship try to take help of local drivers and hotels.
- Rent a bike or scooty in Havelock and Neil (it’s cheaper, easier and most convenient.)
- Do scuba with reputed company. Try to reserve morning slot. As in morning the water remains calm so the chance of seeing marine life will increase in morning.
- Light and sound show at Cellular Jail and Ross Island is must.
- Try to do scuba in Havelock, snorkelling in Jolly Buoy, Elephanta(Havelcok), Laxmanpur (Neil). Do glass bottom boats ride at all the places you can for better experience of marine life.
Yesterday we slept early than other days. My alarm was set on 2a.m. as our flight was on 5:40a.m. and it was an hour journey from my wife’s place to airport. Our car was precooked, it arrived at 2:30a.m and we reached airport on 3:15a.m. This was our honeymoon trip and first trio after marriage so we were super excited. We checked in airport and waiting for the Air India counter to open. In between we started to take selfies and photos. On sharp 3:30a.m. the counter of Air India opened. After some formalities we finally collected our boarding pass and entered the main lounge of domestic terminal from where planes were visible.
The flight departed CCU on time. Around 7:30a.m we had first view of the Islands and we landed on 7:40a.m. From airport we straight moved towards the Central Agriculture research’s guest house at Bhatu Basti.
Our car was pre booked. After some refreshment we started to explore P.B. The day was reserved for city tour. We started with Kalapani Museum. Kalapani means Black Water. This is a four storied building and each of the floors has real vibes of history of Andaman and Indian National Movement. We started to go through the collections of old pictures, news papers, diaries, registers, stories, dioramas. There is many models describing the various battle related to Andaman. From here we came to know that there was a reference of Andaman in the tale of Marco Polo as ‘Ángaman’.
After Kalapani we visited fisheries museum. This is really good museum with a huge collection of Dead corals and live colourful fishes. We enjoyed here a lot. This is a must visit place before heading towards scuba diving or snorkelling.
Then we moved towards Chatham Saw mill. Once Chatham was Asia’s largest saw mill. There was a souvenir shop and a museum. Chatham is basically a small island which is connected to Port Blair via a bridge.
Then we headed towards Anthropological museum, before entering there we took our lunch from a road side Bengali restaurant. Anthropological museum is also too good. From here we came to know about different aborigines and their cultures in Andaman.
After that we headed towards Samudrika. This is also a good museum with a collection of lots of marine lives.
Then we visited Cellular Jail. The jail was fully crowded. We quickly started to roam around from one wings to another, finally we reached t the top. Ross Island is clearly visible from the top.
We then visited Corbyn’s cove beach, which is the only beach in Port Blair. This beach is highly commercialized with lots of water activities like Jet Skies, Speed Boat rides and Motor boat rides. Many newly married couples were there.
We spent a good one hour there then headed again to Cellular Jail for light and sound show. When we reached there all the tickets of the first show were sold out & there was a big queue for 2nd show. Our driver (Sharbana Bhaiya) suggested us to buy standing tickets for the show. Initially we were little bit confused but letter we found it as a fruitful advice. We collected our tickets and entered there. The show had just begun. We went to the field just before the main sitting area and sat on the grass. We saw many people were sitting there. This was basically narrating the history of Andaman, anyways we enjoyed it. After the show we reached our guest house, took our dinner and retired the day.
This day was reserved for Havlock. We booked a govt. ship in advance and that was scheduled on 6 am. We woke up early and headed towards the jetty. We boarded the ship and started to locate our ship. Unfortunately our seats were in lower tier and that was full of mosquitoes. There was no window, so nothing was visible from here. It felt us like we were inside a box. Uff !! When the ship started to move we found that our co-passengers were heading towards the deck. The view from the deck was amazing. The blue water, white waves kept us calm and cheerful. We saw many flying fishes.
Finally at 8 am we reached Havelock. The first view of Havelock was very much soothing with various shades of blue in the sea. When we arrived near jetty, it was even more scenic. We got down the jetty and headed towards bus stand which was situated beside the jetty.
Our resort was located near Radhanagar beach thus we boarded a bus for Radhanagar. Within half an hour we reached Radhanagar. We reached our resort checked in the room. Post breakfast we headed towards the famous Radhanagar beach. The beach is hardly 200meters from the resort. My wife was super excited after watching the beach from a distance. We started to walk fast and reached the shore. Ahh what a soothing turquoise colour!! We had no idea that how we spent a quick 3 hours there. It was cheering and joyful.
Finally we reached our hotel, took bath. I then enquired about the bike rental service. There was a rental service named as ‘BS Travels’ just beside the resort. I rented a scooty from there.
Post lunch we headed towards Kaala Pathar Beach. The last few K.M. road towards the beach is full of trees. Kaala Pathar was less crowded; hardly 20 peoples were there at that time. This beach was truly serene and secluded. We were there for a while and then headed back to Radhanagar beach to enjoy the sunset.
We reached Radhanagar beach, walked towards extreme right corner of the beach and crossed the rocky area (This place is called Neil’s Cove). The sun started to get down and the sky started to change it colour. We experienced a colourful sunset. I was so busy to take photos that it started getting dark. We had torch with us. We lightened the torch and came back to the main beach area. At that time no one was there. The entire beach was covered by pitch dark.
We headed towards the resort, ordered some snacks. Then I called Sealink Adventure’s office and reserved morning scuba slot for next day. After that I suddenly asked my wife if she would like to go for a night ride. She nodded her head saying yes. J We started for jetty which was around 13KM from Radhanagar. I heard good review regarding safety in Andaman but I was still thinking should I go or not. Anyway we went almost 1/3rd of the way and headed back. By that time I was very much sure that it is a safe place. We returned our hotel took our dinner and retired for the day.
This day was reserved for Scuba Diving, trekking towards Elephanta Beach and exploring Kaala Pathar Beach. We woke up early. Around 5am we started for Govindnagar Beach (Beach no. 03) which is famous for scuba diving. We reached Sealink’s office by 5:30 am. At that time no one was there in reception. We were welcomed by two divers. They told us to seat beside the sea also they ensured us that they would call us on time. We sat beside the shore. The beach itself was surreal with white sand and emerald blue water.
After half an hour a guy from sealink called us and we moved towards their reception. We completed all formalities then they provide us a locker and diving suit. We put on the suit then kept our belongings inside the locker and followed our guide towards the sea. This scuba session was for 45 minutes including a 15minute long training session. Dive master Ramesh and Lukas both were our guide cum instructor. They instructed us properly with all the equipments in the neck deep water. We were told to remember four signs. Here we had a session on all the scuba skill. Then after they took us middle of the sea, which is nearly 300 meter away from the shore line. We put on our mask and went under the water for real adventure. Earlier we were little bit nervous but when we were under we forgot everything. This is completely a different world. We saw lots of colourful fishes and corals. It was a lifetime experience to witness this rich marine life. After scuba session Sealink provided us videos and lots of photos which they took during our scuba session they also provided us a certificate of achievement.
Then we headed back to our resort and took our breakfast. We had to visit Elephanta Beach on that day. So we moved towards the starting point of trek route to Elephanta beach which falls on the main road. We perked our scooty there, took a guide with us and started to follow the jungle trail. The trail is around 1.8 KM through the jungle. On our way we saw a rough green snake (Opheodrys aestivus) and many butterflies.
After the jungle trail there is an open field, in which nearly 100 dead trees are standing. Our guide informed us that these trees died during Tsunami. Here we saw different kinds of snails and crabs.
Within one hour we reached Elephanta Beach. This beach is really beautiful but highly commercialised. All kind of water activities were there. We enquired for snorkelling but at that time snorkelling was restricted throughout the Andaman except Jolly Buoy. Like every beaches in Andaman here we found changing rooms, toilets and locker facilities. We took extra dresses with us. We took bath in the sea here then went for glass bottom boat ride.
As the beach closed by 3pm. Around 2pm we started to walk back. We finally reach the starting point, took our scooty and rushed to our resort. We had a late lunch on that day. Around 5pm we again visited Radhanagar beach for watching sunset. We sat on the white sand and the sun started to show off its colour. After sunset we came back to resort, took our dinner and called it a day.
That day was reserved for half day Havelock trip and half of the day for Neil island. We woke up at 4:00 am and headed towards Kaala Patthar Beach for watching sunrise. We reached there by 5:30am. The sun was about to rise on that time. We spent 2hours there.
On our return journey we visited garden beach for a while. We returned back to resort, took breakfast and then checked out. We kept our luggage in cloak room and went towards Radhanagar Beach. We had nothing to do, so we spent a long 3hours there just by sat beside the shade and were watching tourist’s activities.
Around 11am I returned rented scooty to its owner. Our ship to Neil was scheduled at 2pm. Post lunch we boarded a bus to jetty. Near jetty we saw a fisherman who caught a big lobster. What a size man! The ship arrived jetty around 1:40pm. We boarded on ship, alas! Again this time our seats were at lower tier but this time there was no mosquito. We were dead tired so we took a nap. Around 3:40 we went to the deck and by that time the ship was about to reach Neil.We reached Neil at 4pm. When we reached Neil it was low tide, so all the corals were visible from the jetty. We took an auto and headed towards the hotel which was at main market. There was only 2-3 hours for that day. We left our luggage inside, rented a bike and rushed to Laxmanpur beach for watching sunset. That time the sky was cloudy, so we didn’t waste much time there and headed towards Natural Bridge. Within 10minutes we reached there. I perked the bike and followed a short trail. Suddenly the trail ended at a open rocky shore of the sea. There were not only rocks but also heaps of dead corals. We walked through this rocky shore and finally reached near Natural Bridge.We saw many crabs on our way. We wait there until sunset.
We then headed back to hotel. Around 9pm we we took our dinner and headed towards Bharatpur beach but that time it was pitched dark, so we returned back to hotel and retired the day.
This day was reserved for half day in Neil and rest of the day in Port Blair. We woke up early and headed towards Sitapur beach, which was famous for watching sunrise. We spent almost 2 hours there.
Then we came back to hotel. Post breakfast we visited Bharatpu beach. The torques colour of Bharatpur beach ignited our excitement. Here also snorkelling was restricted that time. We again rode glass bottom boat here and saw lots of colourful fishes.
Then we walk along the shore towards the right corner of the beach, there was a small lagoon. As we had our ship to P.B on 11am we rushed back to hotel, packed our luggage and headed towards jetty. This time we booked Makruzz. Our cruise was on time. We checked in Mak and it started to float.
We reached P.B by 12:30pm. Then we first headed towards CARI Marine Hill Guest House. Post lunch we went to Mundapahar Beach. This is basically fall under a reserved forest. Crocodiles often sighted here. So the beach was fenced by net. Here swimming is strictly prohibited. We spent half an hour there. Then we headed towards Chidiya Tapu for watching sunset. Here sun goes down behind the hill in the middle of sea.
After sunset it started to get dark quickly and we headed back to guest house. We took dinner early that day and retired for the day.
The day was reserved for Pungi Balu, Mt. Harriet and Ross Island evening trip. Our driver went to book advance ticket of Jolly Buoy for next day. So we started late on that day. Around 9 am we started for Pungi Balu. On the way we had crossed many wet lands and there we saw flock of many migratory birds. Pungi Balu is a reserve forest and falls under Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. We collect our tickets from the entrance and our car followed a path through the jungle and the path ended at a jetty. There are two small beaches. The forest is kind of mixed vegetation of Mangrove forest and Rain forest. From here Jolly Buoy is clearly visible. We went up to jetty, that time it was low tide, so all the corals and fishes were clearly visible.
After Pungi Balu we headed towards Mt. Harriet. On our way we took lunch. Mt. Harriet is a beautiful hill top with a great view of island in the middle of blue sea. There is a well decorated forest bungalow. There are 3 watch towers, from where many popular islands of Andaman are visible. North Bay Island is visible from here. The view of North Bay Island from here is shown on the reverse side of Rupee 20 note in India. A 2.8km trekking route will lead one to a place called Kalapatthar, where prisoners used to be pushed down the ravine to their death. A full day trek route will lead one to Madhuban Beach.
We then headed towards Bambooflot Jetty and boarded a ferry to Chatham. Our ferry to Ross Island was scheduled on 4pm. Our driver dropped us at Phonixbay Jetty. There we did not find any ferry. I enquired and they informed us that the ferry would depart from another jetty called Aberdeen Jetty. It was already 4o’clock. We ran out from Phonix Bay jetty took an auto and rushed to Aberdeen Jetty. I thought that the ferry has already departed and could not visit Ross Island. After reaching Aberdeen Jetty my wife and I started to run to find out the ferry. Suddenly a man told us ‘Sir, wait wait, don’t run!’ and then enquired if we were looking for ferry to Ross Island. Then he told us ‘sir you have another 15 minutes’. I was shocked. What!! Then he informed us that the actual scheduled time of the ferry was 4:30 but the passengers were informed to be present with in 4pm as they never came on time. He then checked our tickets and ticked beside our name on the check list. We boarded the ship and within 20min.
We reached Ross Island. This island is full of trees and one can find beautiful deer and peafowls all around. This place is well maintained by Indian Navy and neat and clean. This island was destroyed by Tsunami, Indian Navy renovated this place. Once upon a time this was British Head Quarter. We started to roam around the island. We completed it within an hour. Then we watched a beautiful sunset from here.
After hearing a sound of music, we came to the main dais. It was the beginning of light and sound show. The show was on the history of Ross Island as well as the history of Andaman. This show is highly recommended. After the show all were headed back to the Port Blair including us. We took early dinner today and retired the day.
We had to visit Jolly Buoy this day. So started early and reached Jolly buoy around 7am. I heard lots about Jolly Buoy. We were informed by the locals that this is the best place for snorkelling. Jolly Buoy falls under Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Permission is needed to enter this place. This is a no plastic zone; we took two water bottles from the counter by depositing a token money. The ferry took one hour to reach Jolly Buoy; the journey itself was surreal and soothing. The ferry stopped at a distance from the island. There were small glass bottom boats which took us to shore.
There was also changing rooms and paid toilet facilities. There were some huts to sit under the shade. Jolly buoy is famous for its vibrant coral and marine life. There was a complementary glass bottom boat ride with the ferry trip. We opted for a paid glass bottom boat ride and believe me that was worthy. The 30 min. Glass bottom boat ride took us three different reefs to show us varieties of corals.
At the time of snorkelling we saw many fishes like Nemo fish, Rabbit fish, Zebra fish, Butterfly fish, Stone fish and many more also we saw magic flower, sea cucumber. We touched three star fishes- Pink Starfish, Violet Starfish and ball starfish. We were super excited and enjoyed there a lot. At the time of snorkelling we experienced power of Ocean current. We went forward by the help of a rope. Swimming and diving is strictly prohibited here. In case of snorkelling one must have to take a guide. We spent almost 4 hours then headed back.
After reaching jetty we returned water bottles and collect our money from the counter. Then we went to Joggers Park-the sky line of Andaman. This is basically a park with an excellent view of Airport. We spent 10-15 min there then returned to hotel.(N.B. The airport is clearly visible from Joggers park, I am not posting any photo of the park and the airport concerning National security.) In evening we went for some shopping. That day we took early dinner and called it a day.
This was our last day in Andaman. We had our flight on 8am. We reached airport on 7am, collect our boarding pass. Our flight was on time. We finally bid good bye to Andaman and flew back to Kolkata.
- Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) guest house at Bathu Basti.
Rent: 500/day for couple.
Amenities: A.C, LED TV, Fridge, Geyser, Attached Balcony with a great view.
Distance: 15 min from Airport, 30 min from Aberdeen Market.
There is a park beside the guest house.
- CARI Marine Hill Guest House beside Marine Drive.
Rent: 500/day for couple.
Amenities: A.C, LED TV, Geyser, Attached Balcony with a great view of sea.
Distance: 5 min from Main Market, 10 min from Aberdeen Jetty and 15 min from airport.
No food is available here. One has to take food from outside.
Dream Land Resort. 09933223243
Rent: A.C 2500/ day for Double bed.
Non A.C 1500/ day for Double bed.
Pos: Within 200meter from Radhanagar Beach, Attached restaurant.
Con: Less number of rooms and mostly occupied by foreigners.
Check out time: 8am.
Rent: A.C. 2500/ day for Double bed.
Non A.C. 1500/ day for Double bed.
Pos: On main market, all places are easily accessible. Attached restaurant.
Con: There is no bike rent service near this hotel.
Check out time: 8am.
Transportation and Ticketing:
- Shravana- owner cum driver of a Scorpio (A.C/Non A.C.), He himself is a good guide. He knows many offbeat places in Andaman. Contact 09476087669
- For ticketing in Port Blair:
Ship to Havelock+Neil: Contact Sharvana.
Ferry to Ross Island and jolly Buoy: Contact Sharvana 09476087669.
- For ticketing in Neil Island and bike rental service: Contact- Prakash 09933293668.
- For bike rental service in Havelock: B.S. Travels: 09474229491 and 09933248460.