Keeping up with our running theme, covering up our travels to Andaman & Nicobar Islands reached its conclusion with the last article summing up our trip to Baratang and then back to the base in Bangalore. We are the travelling duo called Travelories and today we are up with yet another article on the best bucket listing platform, Woovly! This one is a roundup article from us, which sums up our entire 7-day journey to the exotic islands of Andaman. Covering all the main places we visited.
On our 7-day trip to the islands, we covered as many places as we could and clicked as many pictures as we could so that we can bring the experience to the readers here. Right from famous monumental sites in Port Blair to the Mangroove forests of Baratang, we canvassed it all! Below, we are going to mention our place-wise visit and experience.
Our Travel Itinerary for Andaman
Day 1: Arrival at Port Blair, Visiting Cellular Jail & Corbyn’s Cove Beach
Day 2: Havelock Island by Ferry (excursion to Kalapatthar Beach)
Day 3: Havelock – Scuba Diving & Elephant Beach
Day 4: Neill Island by Ferry (touring Lakshmanpur Beach)
Day 5: Neill Island (excursion to Sitapur and Bharatpur Beaches)
Day 6: Port Blair (Ross Island & Mount Harriet)
Day 7: Baratang (Mangrove Forest & Jarva Tribe)
Budget for the Trip: INR 38,000 (excluding flights) and INR 55,000 (including flights).
Places Covered: Port Blair, Havelock, Neill Island, Mount Harriet, and Baratang
Day 1 in Port Blair: Cellular Jail, Corbyn’s Cove, Chatham Sawmill
On Day 1 of our trip, we were in Port Blair. Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Being the capital, Port Blair is the most developed among other islands in the region. In Port Blair, we headed to the Cellular Jail aka Kala Pani. We can’t begin to explain our experience at the Jail. The struggles and sacrifice of our freedom fighters to snatch the independence from the Britishers can be better understood by visiting the Cellular Jail. It gives you a reality check of how our freedom fighters suffered through the pain and isolation.
Cellular Jail Museum Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM & 02 PM to 5 PM (entry closes at 4 PM)
Cellular Jail Light & Sound Show Timings: Three Slots – 5:15 PM, 6:20 PM, and 7:25 PM.
Language: Available in Hindi on all days & in English versions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
After Cellular Jail, we headed to Corbyn’s Cove Beach. It is an unspoiled and neatly kept beach, which around 8Kms away from Port Blair. It has turquoise blue seawater that will leave you mesmerized for some time once you spot it. The beach has seating too that will help you unwind in front of the majestic ocean.
The last stop for the day was Chatham Sawmill. The mill dates back to the year 1883 and is one of the oldest and largest sawmills in Asia. It has a museum inside showcasing decorative items like Padauks, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood and wooden furniture, and more. There’s a lot to see at Chatham Sawmill. We had a good time there, exploring the mill and museum.
Timings for Chatham Sawmill: 8 AM to 2 PM Daily, Closed on Sunday.
Entry Fee: INR 10 per person
Closed on industrial holiday and Sunday
Click here to know about Port Blair trip in detail.
Day 2 and Day 3 in Havelock: Beach Hopping & Scuba Diving
After a day’s travel through the historic Port Blair, our destination for Day 2 was Havelock Island. With its blonde beaches, towering coconut trees, breezy surrounding and the clear blue diving lagoons, Havelock Island is a traveller’s paradise.
We took a ferry from Port Blair to Havelock, reaching there in the early morning. Our first day at Havelock started with the Sunrise at the beach where we were welcomed with the view of the hued sunrise. We hired a bicycle to move around the place and trust us; it is the mode of transportation for Andaman!
We then headed to the Kalapathar beach. We had a unique experience at this less-crowded beach in Havelock. Vast lands filled with sand, clear waters and towering trees, it was the cleanest beach we had ever seen. As the name suggests, gigantic black rocks line the coast surrounded by dense forest on one side and silver lining beach on the other.
Radhanagar and Elephant Beach
The next stops were Radhanagar and Elephant beaches in Havelock. Starting with the Radhanagar beach, it is a doorway to the calm seas and is the home to crystal views of the coral reefs by the sea. It also makes for a good spot for tourists who want to experience Snorkeling. The beach is also known for its fantastic sunset views. We remember and cherish the memory of playing Volleyball at this beach.
Our last beach for the day was Elephant Beach. Although the beach suffered the ill-effects of Tsunami in 2004, it is still a beautiful one to visit. The Elephant Beach derives its name from the fact that Elephants used to flock it. Not seen much in the periphery anymore, the beach still offers some good views of the water and sun. One gets fantastic views of coral reefs and clear water perfect for water sports.
Scuba Diving Experience in Havelock
On this Day 3 of our trip, we decided to tick off scuba diving from our bucket list. In contrast to our wanderlust souls, we are hydrophobic. The impulsive decision to dive underwater was a step over our fears. We headed to Nemo Beach for the same. We had a wonderful experience training through for the experience and then finally making the jump into the water. Let us tell you that the experience was safe and surreal. One should tick off Scuba Diving from their bucket list in Havelock. The trainers here are good and supportive. Our day ended with Scuba Diving and then we headed back to our resort and prepare for the next day’s trip to the Neil Islands.
Travel Tips for Havelock Island
- There is no online booking available for the ferry rides, so one has to wait in the queue to buy one as it is the cheapest and primary mode of transport.
- The government ferry ride to Havelock Islands costs Rs 850, and a private one costs Rs 1350. For the locals, it costs Rs 60.
- One can rent a bike for a day at Rs 500 without petrol, and it is the easiest way to explore the place.
- The timings for scuba diving at Nemo beach is from 5:30 am to 11:00 am.
- For scuba diving, one has to sign a waiver form of safety and identity proof.
- When you go for scuba diving, you get complimentary photography with it. However, we suggest carrying your action camera for the same as it may not be of great quality.
- Lastly, never be afraid to strike a conversation with fellow travellers or tourists. You never know you may make friends for life or inspire someone or be inspired.
Click here to know about our amazing and detailed experience in Havelock.
Day 4 & Day 5 in Neill Island: Beach Hopping & Snorkelling
Continuing from our last 2-Day trip to Havelock, we were now all set to make our move towards the beautiful Neill Island. One thing about Andaman is that when you look up for places to visit while making the travel plans, Neill always comes in the top spots. Travellers always talk about the non-commercial and peace-enduring vibe of the island. And we were all excited to witness the same.
We left for Neill Island from Havelock on a Ferry that we boarded at 2:45 PM. It took us around 2.5 hours to finally reach our destination. The journey got us a little tired, which is why we directly headed to our hotel in Neill Island as soon as we got off the ferry. We reached our hotel, Neill Banjara. After checking-in, we freshened up quickly and made our way to explore heaven called Neill Island.
Catching Sunset at Lakshmanpur Beach
We rented a bike and headed to Lakshmanpur beach first. It was just 2 km away from our hotel. We had a swell time at Lakshmanpur beach, and when it started getting dark, we made our way back to the hotel on our bicycle. We planned to sleep early and wake up early to catch the sunrise the next day at Sitapur Beach
Catching Sunrise at Sitapur Beach
Sitapur beach is famous for its blissful sunrise. We woke up early in the morning to witness the glory in the sky. We reached the Sitapur beach at 5:30 am. As the sun came up, we immersed ourselves the beauty of the place. Everything was looking dreamy, and we are basking in the goodness of sun and breeze.
Snorkelling in Bharatpur Beach
Our next stop after the sunrise was having a hearty brunch and then heading to the Bharatpur beach. We rented a Glass Bottom Boat ride here and also booked for a session of snorkelling. The clear waters were calling us to take a dip and witness the marine life up and close. The Glass Bottom Boat Ride at the Bharatpur beach was terrific. There was also a guide aboard who was telling us about the history of Neill island. The next session was of Snorkelling and we had a swell time doing that!
Our recommendation, Glass Bottom Boat ride and Snorkelling are often packages together by the vendors, go for it! You will have a memorable experience.
Visiting Natural Bridge aka Howrah Bridge
After a superb experience of Snorkelling and Glass Bottom Boat ride at Bharatpur beach, we made our way to the Natural Bridge aka Howrah Bridge (fondly called by the Bengalis residing on the Island). The Natural rock bridge is yet another wonder that Neill Island holds for you. It is situated near the Laxmanpur village and is quite a marvel to look at. We had an amazing time exploring the Natural Bridge and watching the animal in the puddles formed during low tide. The entire experience was quite outstanding as we couldn’t get enough of the amazing views there. After exploring the natural bridge, it was time for us to get back to our hotel and board a ferry to Port Blair.
Click here to know about our surreal experience in Neill Island.
Day 6 & Day 7 in Port Blair: Ross Island, Baratang, and Mount Harriet
After our days in Havelock Islands and Neill Islands, we decided to head back to Port Blair. We did a roundabout of research and stumbled upon North Bay and Ross Island. We chose to head to Ross Island and decided to go trekking to at Mount Harriet and cover the tribal land of Baratang with its caves the next day. It was surely going to be a thrilling journey ahead.
We started from Port Blair to Ross Island on a morning ferry around 8 o’clock. Ross Island or Ghost Island was a destination for history buffs. During the British rule, Ross Island used to be the ideal settlement for the colonials and was known as the “Paris of the east”. We had a great time in Ross, scorching through the ruins and coming across places that faced the wrath of the time. We came across the a printing press building that was covered in the roots of Peepal trees had a vivid texture. We walked around the area and also came across several peacocks and deers, who are good to look at but advised not to go too near.
After Ross Island, our next destination was Mount Harriet in Port Blair. It was just a 20 minutes ride. We soon reached the Mount Harriett National Park, which extended into a quaint and dense evergreen rainforest. After trekking for 3km, we took a break and marvelled at the beauty of the place. With the sun rays filtered through the leaves, it was a blissful trek among towering trees; Mount Harriet is quite a place to experience nature first-hand.
On our way back from Mount Harriet, we took a small break and visited Tiranga Memorial in Port Blair. The place is a memorial of the first Indian flag that was flown here in 1943 by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The place looked beautiful with the Indian flag flying high, evoking a feeling of true nationalism. After that, we returned to our hotel and called it a day. Our next day was going to be an adventurous one as we were scheduled to visit Baratang.
Baratang & Limestone Caves
For the love of Mangroove Forests, we woke up 2:45 am to leave for Baratang. We planned to reach the place early and avoid the crowd. We had to ride to Ziratang first and then waited for some time for the gates to Baratang to open at 6 am. The place was a protected piece of land, and we could see forest ranger cars and uniformed force that was deployed there to take us through Baratang. The tours were a guided convoy with the first and last cars being the police cars to protect. The cars headed slowly towards Jarvan Reserve Forests that was the home to the native Jarvan tribe.
Sadly, we couldn’t spot any tribal on our way, entering the forest. We were informed beforehand about the penalty if anyone used camera around Baratang. We explored the beautiful mangrove forest. The entire experience in Baratang is beyond explanation. One has to be there to feel the closest to nature and the earth.
After a surreal ride of 49 km through the thick forests, we made our way to the active limestone caves. Once we reached the end of the pool, we walked a small distance of 1.5 km. Small villages dotted the pathway ahead. Luckily, they allowed us to click pictures. The beige cascades of limestone look frozen gushing water of the ceiling as the water underneath shimmered like a lit swimming pool. However, they took us through the cave on a boat in between the mangrove forest. We spent our time touring the caves. There is a theory that the caves might close soon with the limestone growth. The gates of Baratang open at 12:30 pm, and before we knew it, we were out of the island. On our way back, we got lucky as we spotted a Jarwan.
Click here to read our in-depth experience in Ross Island, Baratang, and Limestone Caves
Travel Tips for Ross Island & Baratang
- When in Ross Island, you are not allowed to feed the peacocks or deer in the National Park. In addition to that, it is advisable not to get too close to them.
- Refrain from littering the islands, the locals work hard to clean it every day.
- There are two ferry timings for Baratang. Leave either at 2:30 or 5:30 am. Moreover, the gates open at 6 am an 9 am.
- Do not honk or try to overtake while entering the gates of Baratang.
- Strictly not allowed to use camera or phone in Baratahg. Further on, there will be a penalty of 1 lakh or prison of 3 years to both the traveller and the driver.
Back to the Base
By 5:30 pm, we were back at our hotel in Port Blair. In addition to all the knowledge we gathered, we also found out that there were 572 islands as part of Andaman and Nicobar. Nevertheless, only 12 were accessible to tourists in the Andaman Islands while Nicobar remains off-limits. Packing up our luggage, we headed to catch our flight back to Bangalore. Exploring Andaman is once in a lifetime kind of travel experience. We had so many memories and so much of knowledge about one of the union territories of our great country.
From Islands to Forest, and the haunting pasts of India’s great freedom struggle, Andaman presented us with a particularly vivid experience. The people in Andaman have our highest respects for preserving the beauty of their territory and imploring the travellers to maintain it. This amazing hideout in our country is worth a lot of attention with care, there are tribes in the area that are being protected amazingly well by our government. We hope that we keep Andaman as pure as it is and do not compromise on the overall rawness and appeal of the place for travel boom.
Some Facts About Andaman
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise of 572 islands of which people inhabit just 37 islands. Nicobar island is still restricted for the public and is the home to protected tribals.
- The commonly spoken language here is Bengali, followed by Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam.
- Andaman has banned Commercial fishing as it is the only island in the world where fishes live their life and die at old age.
- The Neil and Havelock Islands in Andaman were named after officers of the East India Company. The names have now been changed, and The Neill Island is now known as Shaheed Dweep while Havelock is called Swaraj Dweep.
- Andaman inhabits varied marine cultures; the sea turtles acquire the major chunk though. In Andaman, one gets to see the biggest sea turtles in the world – Dermochelys Coriacea along with Olive Ridley turtles.
- Even though Andaman’s Port Blair area is developing and is stocked with hotel and resorts, you will not find any pubs or discs here or any place with loud music and lights. The locals are simpletons, and they prefer peace and tranquillity over loud music.
- North Sentinel Island is inhabited by the most isolated palaeolithic tribes of the world
- The sea cow named Dugong is the state animal of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- The old 20 Rupee note had the scenery of Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the home to India’s first and only joint tri-service defence command