Before you start exploring Neil Island, you must discover places where you can hangout to soak up in the local vibe and also eat the best food that represents local culture. Despite tourists’ influx in most islands in Andaman and Nicobar group of islands, Neil Island remains true to its village-like culture and the rustic environment, as not many cafes and restaurants could make their way to this destination. Compared to its neighbouring islands, the number of footfalls is also fewer in numbers.
Once you reach here, your first question would be how to plan your day. Neil Island has three major beaches, each not more than five kilometres away from one another. So, where should you go?
At Neil Island, the best way to start your day is by witnessing one of the most beautiful sunrises of Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands at Sitapur beach. Watching the sun rise from the sea and fill the sky with light, is nothing less than a magic.
If you are an adventure junkie, then head straight to Bharatpur Beach to indulge in water sports activities under the guidance of trained instructors. Bharatpur Beach, a hub for water sports in Neil Island, hosts underwater activities scuba diving and snorkelling along with boat rides like glass-bottom boat ride, speed boat ride, Jet Ski and banana boat ride. If you do not wish to indulge in any of them, then sit by the sea and bask in the sun as the view at Bharatpur Beach worth the tan.
Later in the evening, head to the natural rock formation in Laxmanpur Beach 2. The bridge formed of dead coral reefs is also known as Howrah Bridge by islanders. Amongst photographers, this place has gained popularity for its picturesque view. Post that, head to Laxmanpur Beach 1 to catch the beautiful sunset and walk along the beach stretch.
In Neil Island, the day ends little early and the beaches which are favourite hangout spots of tourists also are closed for the public before the dark.
But before you head out to all these scenic destinations, it’s wise to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted. Apart from people, you understand the real essence of the place only through the food it offers. So, where should you eat?
The food places on this island are aplenty. With eateries, food stalls and luxurious in-house restaurants run by resorts, Neil Island caters to demands of all kinds of travellers, from street food and dine-in lovers to healthy eaters. Indian and continental cuisines are mainly served here.
Known as the vegetable Bowl, Neil Island boasts rich vegetables and fresh fruits. So, if you are health conscious, then the island has got you covered. From breakfast to dinner, wherever you go, fresh fruits aren’t scarce. All the beaches and other destinations have a decent amount of food joints with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food options.
Breakfast post sunrise
If you plan to catch the sunrise at Sitapur Beach, you can grab a bite at nearby joints else head to Garden View Restaurant for some scrumptious food. With a welcoming vibe, the restaurant surrounded by tall coconut trees offers Indian, seafood and Asian options. It also has vegan options on its menu. Eating at this place will surely give a close local experience as it is run by a couple from the island.
Breakfast before water sports
Before or after indulging in water sports, you can grab your breakfast at Bharatpur Beach in A-N-D Beach Restaurant. This place mainly offers seafood and, if you wish to eat something vegetarian, other restaurants offer local food.
If you have got love for South Indian cuisine then, head to Neil Jetty canteen to enjoy eating idli, dosa and other South Indian dishes accompanied by authentic hot piping sambhar and chatni. If you are headed to Neil Kendra, the main market of Neil Island that falls between Bharatpur and Laxmanpur Beach you can enjoy hot samosas, jalebi, dal pakoda and lassi. In Neil Island, this is the paradise for street food lovers. Apart from stalls, you will also find Chand restaurant which serves great food at Neil Kendra. Chand is the first restaurant that was opened in Neil to offer quality food to the travellers coming from across the world.
The candlelight dinner
Neil Island has plenty of resorts with a beach view. With access to resorts with such a view, the dinner place cannot be anywhere else but by the beach. With wind blowing, waves playing the music and stars shining in the sky, the candlelight dinner at a resort is a must when in Neil Island. Whether you are on a solo trip or with your partner, you have all the rights to have such a rare experience. Almost all the resorts arrange candlelight dinner for its guests on request and if you are planning or already staying one, do not hesitate to ask. The management will be happy to arrange. Even if you are not staying in one, you can walk-in or reserve a table in advance for the special dinner. Resorts like Pearl Park, Tango Beach Resort, Summer Sands, TSG Aura and Sea Shell Neil are known best for candlelight dinner in Neil Island.
Evening time indulgence
If you have headed to Laxmanpur Beach to catch the sunset, then make sure you check-in Moonshine Café. The café does not only offer delicious food but also known for its Karaoke nights. This place has a cool vibe and a lot of travellers and locals are found hanging out in Moonshine Café during the evening.
Most tourists come to Andaman Island imagining umpteen seafood options but, what most of the tourists do not know that the residents here are Bengali, Bangladeshi and Tamilians. Be it seafood or South Indian, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, all are found in equal amounts at Neil Island.