The Andaman and Nicobar Islands now belong to India but are significantly closer to South East Asia as a relaxed tropical island. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been shrouded in secrecy for centuries. The islands are beautiful, and the landscape is hospitable. The beauty of this area creates a sense of poetic wonder and romance. Imagine the white sandy beaches on the edge of the blue meandering coastline. Palm trees swaying to the rhythm of the sea as fish swim in excellent water.
Sun-kissed beaches lined with turquoise waters, incredible coral and marine life, intriguing colonial history, and traces of Stone Age culture attract tourists to these mysterious islands, 1,000 kilometers off the East Coast of India in the Bay of Bengal.
The name Andaman probably comes from Handuman, which is Malay to the Hindu God of Hanuman. The name of Nicobar is Malay for the Land of the Naked (People).
Fun Fact-Distance-wise, Andaman is closer to Myanmar and Bangkok mainland but still a massive part of India and India’s least explored destinations.
Things to Plan Before Traveling to Andaman And Nicobar Islands:
1. Andaman is pricey:
Being cut off from the mainland, Andaman can be a little expensive, with flights costing almost 15k per person for a round trip from Delhi or Mumbai, even if booked a week or two in advance, given the current scenario. Food is also expensive here, as all the essentials are imported from the mainland, Chennai, or Kolkata. Furthermore, since a ferry is the only way to travel between islands, a private ferry ticket to Havelock can cost you close to INR 3000 per person. There are government ferries, too, but it is a task to get a ticket in them.
2. Mandatory RT-PCR negative report:
RT-PCR, a sample taken at most 48 hours before, is mandatory to board the flight and ferry.
3. Book ferry tickets:
Private ferries have recently been allowed to restart in Andaman. So, one of them has multiple options. Makruzz and Green Ocean are two prominent players, with Makruzz being the most luxurious. But Makruzz feels more like a plane as one cannot go on the open deck. On the other hand, the Green Ocean allows passengers to stand on the open deck and admire the blue ocean all around. So, considering your preference, one can go with any of the above, even though Makruzz has a history of being much more reliable and comfortable.
4. Days to Spend
Ideally, one should try to take at least seven nights to explore Port Blair (2 Nights), Havelock (3 Nights), and Neil Island (2 nights). Since you will be landing in Port Blair, one night on each side must be spent in Port Blair to avoid any hiccups with ferry timing in the event of any flight delays. Although we could spend years here on these islands, we feel that seven days are a must to get island vibes
Airtel is working pretty well in Havelock, but only for calls. No 3g or 4g, you’ve got to rely on WiFi for internet connectivity, which is fine considering the location. Almost every restaurant has good speed WiFi. But they don’t even have WiFi connectivity on Neil Island, so you’d be practically cut off from the world.
So pack your stuff and get out to explore the wild and blue side of India, Andaman, and one thing we’re sure of, the blue waters, the rich marine life, and the island people will surely make you feel like you’re going wow. We are confident that the sunny side of Andaman is one that we never expected, and it took our breath away at first glance.
Day – Wise Itinerary For Andaman And Nicobar Islands Trip
Day 1 – Port Blair
Tip: Try to take an early morning flight, as most of the flights are over Kolkata or Chennai, except for a few. Even a direct flight is approximately 4 hours, so taking an early morning flight would be the best way to explore the town on the first day.
Upon arrival, we proceeded to check-in hotel. We made our reservation with Hotel Seashell; we got an excellent deal as they have Havelock and Neil’s presence.
After taking a small nap, we got refreshed and we were ready to explore local touristing sites of Port Blair like Corbyn’s Cove Beach, the Anthropological Museum, and Cellular Jail.
First, we went to the Anthropological Museum to look at the way of life of the Paleolithic Islanders. The museum has a nominal admission fee of Rs 10 per person and Rs 20 per camera. The museum offers a glimpse of Andaman’s culture. Lots of things to see and to know about the people of Andaman. The weapons, utensils,tools, etc., used by the Andaman tribe are kept for display. It’s a pleasure for Anthropologists. You are not allowed to visit the local tribal villages to see the exciting history of these islands.
Next to the list was “Corbyn’s Cove Beach.” Corbyn’s Cove Beach is a very famous place to visit on Andaman Island all the time. It’s a beach where you can do water activities such as jet-skiing, banana boat rides, and speed boating all day long. It’s open to all visitors to spend some time with friends and family. It is a serene and unspoiled soft sandy beach set in spectacular lush green coconut palms and a pleasant sea.
Our following destination to explore was “Cellular Jail,” which portrayed the effort for Indian independence. Cellular Jail, also known as KALA PANI, was a colonial prison in Andaman and Nicobar used by the British to exile political prisoners. The complex building continues to function as a national memorial.
Just reading the stories and imagining the plight of the prisoners gave us goosebumps. Hats off to the freedom fighters who have survived this place in India.
The Light & Sound show at Cellular Jail is a must-watch and not to be missed at any cost – the saga of the countless Indian Independence Martyrs who laid down their lives. The show is held every night on the premises of Cellular Jail, which gives us a brief idea of the pre-Independence prison events. It is advisable to book the 6 PM slot as you can wait outside the prison in the park after your visit and have some snacks and a view of the beautiful town of Port Blair.
By the time the show got over, we were tired and so exhausted that we went straight to our hotel and enjoyed a delicious meal. We called off the day after having dinner and went to sleep.
Tip: Due to the Covid situation, tickets for the light and sound show can only be booked online through the Andaman Tourism website. Make sure you book that in advance to avoid disappointments.
Day 2:- Visit Havelock Island
Havelock Island is renowned for its pristine beaches, coral reefs, and refreshing holidays. It is one of the few populated islands of Andaman & Nicobar and is named after Mr. Henry Havelock, a British General born in India. Havelock Island was once home to the native tribes that spoke the Aka-Bale language.
The indigenous population of Havelock Island decreased significantly after the colonization of Andaman & Nicobar by the British; the inhabitants of Havelock Island are now extinct, and the island is now primarily inhabited by Bengali and Myanmar immigrants.
The next day’s goal was to explore “Havelock Island.” Havelock is reachable by ferry as well as by seaplane. Numerous government and private ferries run every day between Port Blair and Havelock and start operating at 6 AM.
Here again, the covid report and the printout of the ticket are checked, and the luggage is scanned. The cruise time is 90 minutes, which often depends on the direction of the wind and the currents in the water. Havelock’s first look can be a little deceiving with car and taxi drivers haggling, but once you’re in this mess, you’re in for a fun surprise. There are various hotels in Havelock for all budgets. Hotels originate right from the Jetty and stretch to Radhanagar and Kala Patthar Beach.
Vijaynagar Beach (Beach #5) will be the safest place to stay. This can be considered the middle point of Havelock with various choices for scuba dining and two-wheeler rentals.
The relaxed way to visit this island is to hire a two-wheeler. Generally, the costs are 400 a day with 2000 as protection for helmets. Hire a two-wheeler on the day you get to visit the island at your speed.
On the first day, one can try to soak up the life of the island and spend some time on the lovely yet unexplored beaches. If someone wants to go out, watch the sunset at Radhanagar Beach, World’s 7 Best Beach, and Asia’s Best Beach. Its white sand and blue water are likely to leave you mesmerized for a lifetime. They have proper dressing rooms and a clean bathroom to change after a bath in the water.
Day 3: Havelock
Started our day early in the morning to witness sunrise at Kala Pathar Beach, on the other side of the island. Get breakfast in several small shacks on the beach with things ranging from maggi to parantha to chaat items. Spend your day exploring the island and visiting the coast of Elephanta. You can access this beach by hiking or by boat from the Jetty. Trekking is thrilling as it takes you through thick jungles, mangrove frosts, and knee-deep water to hit the beach.
While there are guides available to walk you, though, we’re not going to prescribe any guides, as the route is clear and straightforward. This beach is mainly used for water sports, including jet-skiing, snorkeling, sea walking, etc. Let out the kid in you and opt for the rides where you want to go. Rates are negotiable based on season and production.
Enjoy an exciting night when you can choose Night Kayaking deep in the water, and if you’re lucky, see the bioluminescent effect in the bay. While there are several vendors offering night kayaks, we choose Eco Divers located at Beach 3. The charges shall be 1500 per person for 1-1.30 hours of kayaking and shall be perfectly safe and sound. This is one of the experiences that we will never be able to lose in our lives.
We went on a double kayak about 1.5-2 km deep in the sea from the coast and had one of the amazing views; we could see the bioluminescent in the water. Because there was no moon night, it was much more breathtaking. While it may be tiring, the reward is enticing enough to set the exhaustion behind and keep going.
Day 4: Havelock
Get up early in the morning for an adventurous scuba diving session. Now here’s one thing to note, almost every dive happens at Nemo Reef, but the charges vary from vendor to vendor. They all demonstrate the same thing in the same time frame. In case you feel more adventurous, go for boat diving, which is almost 3 times the price of shore diving but also thrilling. We opted for a shore dive with Andaman Dive and were paid 1500 per user. Other vendors charged 2,500 per person for the same dive.
Boat dive costs about 4500 per person, and both are not expected to swim. Going inside the sea and spotting the Nemo and the corals is a sight to see, introspection and calm to be reached only once inside the ocean.
Spend your last day exploring the end points of the island. Go to Kala Patthar Beach, but don’t stop this time; keep going until you hit the dead end, which is about 4-5 km from the beach. On the way, you’ll see what true island life looks like, gorgeous landscapes, coconut plantations, cows grazing, and unparalleled silence.
Day 5: Neil Island
Havelock to Neil: After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to this magnificent paradise and move over to another tiny but equally beautiful island, Neil. Board morning ferry to meet Neil by noon. Go to your hotel and get ready for another busy day. One tip here, Neil Island has just 40-50 2 wheelers, so it’s best to book your trip as soon as you get there to make sure you get one. Also, because the landscape is almost flat, cycling is another choice you can try if you’re happy riding in the sun.
In the evening, drive over to Laxmanpur Beach to enjoy the best sunset views of your journey. They’ve got some cool shacks that let you have your treats sitting on the beach with a table next to you. Plus, this beach is windy, and you’re going to have an excellent time relaxing here for a while.
Day 6: Neil
Get up early in the morning at around four o’clock to see the sunrise at Sitapur Beach, one of the island’s endpoints. Since Sitapur is on a small cliff, watching the sunrise from there makes one feel like sitting on the edge of the world. Even get a cup of chai while you’re lying on the golden rays. On your way back, visit the natural bridge at Laxmanpur 2 Beach. Here, the water recedes in the morning, and there are tiny pools of water where you can see fish, coral, sea creatures very plainly through your naked eyes. A bridge style of structure is also formed, which is a great opportunity for photographers.
Trust me, this vision you’re going to cherish for a lifetime.
Return to your hotel and, after a heavy breakfast, set out to explore this island a little further. Head over to Sitapur Beach, one that you visited in the morning, except this time it’s going to be flat. You can lay on the sand in the shadow of a tree or stroll down the shore without a single human insight. If you don’t want any time, go over to Bharatnagar Beach for some water sports. Water activities are the same here as Elephanta Beach in Havelock, a little cheaper and less busy.
Visit the nearby shops for some seafood products and souvenirs. Next, head over to one of Neil’s least visited beaches, Ramnagar Beach. There is no clear road to this beach, but there are small paths to the shore of Sitapur, a private property of locals. Choose one of those properties and walk within to achieve utter serenity. Since this beach is mainly sunset, heading in the afternoon will offer a relaxed and much more private setting. Have a nice meal of Dal rice with locals and enjoy their island life stories.
Then, go back to your hotel and get ready for the beachside date (exclusive private setup at dirt cheap rates). Take a trip to Bharatnagar Beach and watch out for the Hemmant Restaurant. He’s going to set up your table on the beach with candles and serve you the most delicious food ever with such passion and patience that you’re going to want the time to stop. A meal for two will only cost around 1,000 and allow you some time alone with your partner.
Day 7: Neil to Port Blair
Board your ferry to Port Blair and spend your day visiting the Samudrika Museum, the Aquarium. If you have time, take three island trips to Ross and Viper Island. We decided to visit ROSS Island and then do some shopping later in the middle of the day and chill and soak up the positive vibes of the island as it was our almost final day of the tour.
You can enter Ross Island by a short boat ride from the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. The island is taken care by the Indian Navy, which allows any tourist to sign on entry. The authorities charge the nominal entrance fee of 50 Rs for adults. Children below nine years have no fees.
There is no human inhabitance on the island. Yes, it is an island where the authorities are not allowed to settle. But, a few decades ago, Ross Island had been the headquarters of the Indian Criminal Settlement for almost 80 years. It had everything—bazaar, bakery, shops, water treatment facility, church, tennis court, printing press, secretarial, hospital, etc. Today, everything has vanished except some of the houses that held some of these landmarks.
From these few photos, you can see the ruins of all the establishments that were formerly on Ross Island. These ruins are well protected by mother nature itself in the form of extended tree branches and roots.
You can adore discovering the island by walking your way through it. We were fortunate enough to see spotted deer, goats, peacocks, and crabs.
As I said before, after our visit to Ross Island, we just relaxed at our Neil Island hotel, which was an excellent property. Pictures are going to mean more than sentences.
Day 8: From Port Blair to Mumbai
We left with the memories of a lifetime. This was a journey that all of us will never miss for the remainder of our lives. The remembrances are still fresh in our minds, particularly the experience of Scuba Diving, Jet Skiing, and visiting one of the most exotic beaches ever i.e. Radhanagar Beach, is fantastic.
Final Thoughts On Andaman And Nicobar Islands Trip
Well, in my thoughts, I personally think this is one of the must visit destination that you should be having in your bucket list. You can not miss this one in your lifetime.
There are plenty of beach destinations around the world. Be it the Maldives or Goa beaches or maybe any other beautiful beautiful beach on Indian Coastline, You must not miss this one. But still, if you have already visited this one and you are too excited for more beach travels, then here are some more beaches recommendations from us:-
- Road Trip to Virgin Beaches of Konkan (Coastal Maharashtra)
- Best Indian Beaches and Cities to Visit along Indian Coastline- Beauty at Bay 2021
- Mesmerizing Goa: Beach & Beer Calling
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But wait. Before moving forward in any direction, don’t forget to check out the travel news for that destination if it is open for tourists after covid19 or not. We have covered some news for you. There are some travel offerings as well from different organizations, don’t forget to miss out on those as well.
We will see you again with another trip to a beautiful destination to save your research time and make your travel experience more exciting.
Till then, be safe, stay healthy, don’t stop, And Keep Traveling.