A beach paradise in the collection of the Andaman Islands, Neil Island (renamed to Shaheed Dweep in 2018) is located in the Bay of Bengal. The island is popular for its pristine white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a relaxed vibe. Neil Island is connected to the rest of the world via Port Blair, which is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which is just 36 kilometers away. Reaching this lovely island via sea is quite easy. Being a tropical destination, the island enjoys a maritime climate all year round. However, the best time to visit there would be from October to May. During this time, you can do a lot of things there- beach hopping across Laxmanpur, Sitapur, and Bharatpur beaches, exploring natural rock formations, indulging in water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing, and a lot more.
Every year, travellers get attracted to the pristine beauty and untouched sandy beaches of Andaman Island. It has some of the most scenic spots for travel and nature lovers. This archipelago is visited by people from all over the world to uncover and explore its jewels. The entire island is amazingly gorgeous but there is one place that nature lovers and beach bums never miss- Neil Island. It is located at a distance of 30 kilometers from the main islands of Andaman, and is known for some of the most unique sights. If Andaman Island is a crown, then Neil Island is its most precious gem!
Looking for surreal natural surprises? Your search ends at Neil Island! Let us tell you why- thriving biodiversity, unexploited coral reefs, white sandy beaches, adventurous experiences, a notable population of birds and animal life, etc. are a few reasons among numerous of them. Before you start planning your trip to this little piece of heaven, let us get you familiarised with its stunning beauty. Here’s a detailed Neil Island tourism and travel guide to help you plan an unforgettable vacation.
How to reach Neil Island?
Neil Island is popular for its superb biodiversity, uncharted coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and tropical woodlands. If you want to spend some peaceful time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, then it should be your one-stop destination. With an area of only 13.7 square kilometers and the flat landscape, you can travel across Neil Island in a bicycle with minimal effort. It is soothingly different from its neighboring Havelock Island owing to its laid-back vibes and lucid charm.
The capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Port Blair, is well-connected via flights. Uninterrupted flights are available from Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. From there, you can choose any of the below-mentioned modes to reach Neil Island:
- Ferry to Neil Island- There are government ferries plying from Port Blair to Neil Island. Every day, two ferries leave in the morning.
- Ferry from Rangat- Daily ferry service is available from Rangat.
- Private Boat- There are two private boat service providers, Makruzz and Ocean Green, that have scheduled and private departures for Neil Island.
Getting around in Neil Island
If you are willing to spend a relaxed time amid long secluded beaches, then Neil Island is best suited for you. It has a little bustle and a few enthralling activities to try. You can also explore the island’s villages. Neil Island is the Andaman Islands’ rustic masterpiece where you can spend quality time at its serene beaches as well as indulge in water sports in the crystal clear water.
A little island, it is very easy to navigate in Neil Island. The roads are flat and well-built, thus making it perfect to ride a moped or a bicycle. If ever you are unsure about the directions, then you can ask the friendly locals.
The following are the ways by which you can get around Neil Island:
- Bus- A local bus plies every hour. It starts from the main bazaar and goes till Sitapur Beach.
- Bike and bicycles- Popular and preferred among tourists, bikes and bicycles are affordable here. You can find them at the jetty. You can also ask for the same at the property where you are staying. There are several resorts that have their own vehicles for renting purposes.
- Autos- Autos are a great option if you are visiting the island for a short time. You can get them from the jetty and market area.
- Car rentals- The best and the most comfortable way to get around Neil Island is renting a car. It is suited for everyone including families and group travellers. Private chauffeured AC cars are also available for rent. They are most of the time overbooked as they are limited in number. Thus, it is advised to book a car or hire a scooter in Neil Island in advance.
Weather and best time to visit
Quaint beaches, crystal clear blue water, and rich history make Neil Island the best choice for a relaxed, fun-filled vacation. Whether you want to go for long treks, sunbathe, or enjoy deep-sea diving, this little paradise has something for everyone. There is a lot to explore!
The best time to visit Neil Island is from October to May when the weather is pleasurable. Most of the people preferring to come here plan their Andaman trip during this time. The summer season is likely to be avoided.
What to do in Neil Island?
Neil Island is majorly popular among couples and families. But solo travellers also deserve to surround themselves with its splendor of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and blue skies. The island is like a gold mine for solo backpackers as well, especially solo female travellers. Having superbly beautiful beaches, Neil Island is the one-stop destination for those solo travellers who would prefer a rather quaint spot that is bursting with flora and fauna. It is a pristine location for those craving peaceful alone time. Bharatpur Beach is one such attraction where you choose to relax or go for snorkeling, scuba diving or jet skiing. One unique thing to do here is taking a glass boat tour. The glass-bottom is made of glass that allows you to take a look at the rich aquatic life. Another must-see beach here is Laxmanpur Beach. To witness the loveliest sunset of your life, visit this beach during sunset. That’s when you can see a sky full of several shades of orange.
Some of the prettiest beaches in the Andamans are located in Neil Island. The scenic beaches boast of white sands and uninterrupted views of the clear blue skies. During monsoon, the sight changes entirely as the sky becomes way too dramatic.
The most popular beaches of Neil Island are:
- Sitapur Beach
- Bharatpur Beach
- Lakshmanpur Beach
- Sir Hugh Rose Island
You can book your stay nearby Lakshmanpur or Sitapur Beach at a fancy resort.
Riding on glass floor boat
Neil Island is famous for glass-bottom boating. The Bharatpur Beach here is known for the beautiful and colorful coral formation. That’s why, the population of fishes is more here. This beach is a must-visit on this island owing to the coral population. The place is a popular spot for fishing and angling as well.
Neil Island’s untouched beauty makes it a perfect nesting ground for the marine turtles. Head to Sir Hugh Rose Island if you want to see these fabulous creatures. They are found in abundance there. Located at the tip of Neil Island, this tiny island is often known as Small Neil in the local language. You will need permits to visit there as it is a protected region.
In India, Andaman Island is the best place that provides scuba diving experience and certification courses. Of all the places, Neil Island has the most advanced scuba diving facilities. The crystal clear water of its beaches makes the underwater sighting even easier. The experience of scuba diving at Neil Island is a memorable one. The underwater marine life surrounds you so closely that you can literally touch it (but you are not supposed to!). The resorts on this island offer scuba training and gear lending as per your requirements.
Snorkeling and sea walking
For sea walking and snorkeling, pristine clear water is required, which is in abundance in Neil Island. Its water proves to be an ideal setting for adventurous water activities. When you are in Neil Island, you can see a wide diversity of colorful fishes with your naked eyes. The corals are present in abundance here. There are certain beach resorts also that offer private sea walking and snorkeling sessions to their guests.
Appreciating fantastic sunsets and sunrise
Neil Island offers the most romantic experience to the newlyweds (and others as well!) Its beaches are known for the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Have you ever witnessed a glorious pink and red sunset? Of course, it exists! Head to Lakashmanpur Beach to enjoy such a fantastic marvel of nature. Evenings here are the best moments to view nature at its best. And if you are an early riser, then you can visit Sitapur Beach to catch the most beautiful sunrise of your life. The sky is painted in various hues here!
Trying delicious cuisines
If you are a foodie, then you should definitely visit Neil Island. Food lovers call it the vegetable bowl of the Andaman Island. Whereas its neighbor, Havelock Island, is more famed for the seafood, Neil Island provides excellent choices in fresh and vegetarian meals. You can also purchase the fresh supply of your veggies from the local market of Neil Kendra. Along with mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan dishes, you can also try a variety of cuisines ranging from Chinese, Israeli, Continental, Italian and Nepali.
Trekking to Howrah Bridge
This trek is something that invites all adrenaline junkies to Neil Island. It is among the most popular things to do here. Resembling a bridge, Howrah Bridge is an arch-like structure. Trekkers reach its tip that goes through a small artificial garden and a muddy path. Let us warn you in advance that the route to the bridge is closed during the monsoon season.
Explore the island on a 2-wheeler or bicycle
Roads in Neil Island are very easy to ride as there are no sharp curves or elevations. It is navigation friendly, and thus you can easily cycle or ride through the island. It would be a great adventure! You can rent mopeds from the jetty. Moreover, many resorts have their own cycles and motorbikes available for rent.
Where to eat in Neil Island?
Producing most of the vegetables of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Neil Island is also known as the salad bowl of Andaman. You will find here fresh food that is made from farm-fresh ingredients and has a homemade touch to it. You should know that you need to order your food at least two hours in advance in most of the restaurants. The chef steps out, buys the required ingredients, and then prepares the dish, just like at home!They have some culinary delights in fresh seafood preparations. The fish thali, which is a slightly inferior version of seafood, is priced quite reasonably.
The following are the most visited places in Neil Island. We have also mentioned their USP so that choosing any one of them becomes easier for you depending on your mood. Check out the best restaurants on the island below:
Best Restaurants & Food Outlets in Neil Island
1. Hungry Stone Restaurant- Good for groups
2. Seashell Restaurant- Have some finger-licking seafood
3. Ripon Sea Food- Mouthwatering seafood
4. YatriDhaba- Taste at affordable prices
5. Full Moon Café- Great seafood restaurant
6. Dugong Restaurant- For a relaxed atmosphere
7. Sea Zaika- Famous among both, locals and tourists
These restaurants and eateries offer everything ranging from authentic seafood to homelike Indian cuisines. Having meals here can make your island vacation more memorable. Before even stepping on the land of good food, you now know where to eat and what to eat. Make sure to keep this quick food guide handy and tick-off as many of these as possible!If you are planning to spend quality time with your family, friends orthe special one, then choose from these best restaurants while in Neil Island.
Nightlife in Neil Island
The nightlife in Neil Island is not that happening like that of a metro city but it is relaxing and calming for sure, away from the entire crowd. Its nightlife is restricted to restaurants of different resorts on the island. During the peak season, you will find a few bars playing some great music and having live entertainment from various national and international artists. Emerald Gecko is one such bar there. The market and the public transport close by 9 PM. So it is advisable to make plans accordingly.
Where to stay in Neil Island?
Neil Island has emerged as a fantastic tourist destination in the Andaman Islands. Several luxury resorts have sprung up over the last few years that offer excellent facilities for all kinds of guests. The island features affordable and basic huts along with lavish resorts that resonate with the warmth of tropical vibes, stunning views, and contemporary settings.
Budget stays are available at Sitapur Beach and Bharatpur Beach ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 800. For mid-range rooms with AC, the price tariff ranges from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 3000. One has to pay Rs. 5000 and more for luxury hotels with swimming pools and fabulous views.
Top Hotels & Resorts in Neil Island
The scenic beaches of this island boast of white sands and uninterrupted views of the clear blue skies. Some of the best properties are as follows:
- Elephant & four wise men resort
- Break Water Resort
- KP Lodge
- Jayanthi Lodge
- Vacation Village
- Sunset Garden Resort
- Moon shine garden resort
- Hotel Sarthak Residency
- Nirala Resort
- Pearl Park Beach Resort
- Tango Beach Resort
- TSG Aura
- Hotel Amullya
- Kingfisher Hotel
- Coco N Hut Resort
- Holiday Inn Neil Island
- Sea Shell Resort
- Summer Sand Beach Resort
- Silver Sand Beach Resort
How many days to spend in Neil Island?
It is tough to specify a timeline for Neil Island owing to its secluded beauty. On their way back to Port Blair from Havelock Island, tourists with little time in their hands visit this place for one day. The island has laid-back vibes and natural enthusiasts and backpackers come here for a longer duration and stay for weeks.
How much will it cost per day in Neil Island?
Neil Island is a popular backpacker destination. It has developed as a tourist destination in recent years with all the investment by entrepreneurs on the island. If you are looking for an extravagant resort experience during your beach vacation, then Neil Island is a great place. A budget-friendly location having basic restaurants and other facilities, this island would be a great addition to your travel diaries. It depends on the kind of accommodation if you want to know how much does it cost in one day. Hotel tariffs begin from as low as Rs. 500 per day.
Things to know while visiting Neil Island
This tiny and beautiful island is located 36 kilometers south of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Neil Island is also known as the vegetable bowl of the Andaman Islands as its land is ideal for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables owing to great climatic conditions.You can reach Port Blair from Neil Island in 1.5 hours and to Havelock Island is 45 minutes via private ferries. From Neil, you can reach Port Blair, Havelock Island, and Rangat by government ferries as well.
The internet is not available on the island. You can find a patchy BSNL data network on the phone if you are lucky!Neil Island has mainly three seasons- summer, winter, and monsoon. It experiences heavy winds during the monsoon and a tropical climate otherwise due to its location in the Bay of Bengal. The best weather can be seen from October to May.There are only two ATMs (Syndicate Bank and Cooperative Bank) in Neil Island, and both are in the bazaar.There is no broadband connection on the island. A patchy data network is sometimes available on phone. Only the BSNL network is available here.
The island has only one primary healthcare center. One has to travel to Port Blair for any specialty healthcare.The efficient Andaman and Nicobar Police take care of the discipline department in the union territory of Andaman. You can get in touch with themin case of an emergency.The small market of Neil Island comprises little shops selling all essential commodities ranging from stationary to common medicines and simple clothing to groceries. The best in the market are fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, most of the fruits and vegetables in Port Blair are from here. In the evening, this part is the busiest part of the town. Visit this place to get a glimpse of the local chatty culture on the island.
Hindi is the most commonly spoken language in Neil Island. Bengali is also spoken largely here. English is the least preferred language.Veer Savarkar Airport in Port Blair is the closest airport to Neil Island. The only jetty on the island is the jetty at Bharatpur Beach, and this is where all private and government ships dock.
- Carry enough cash when you are in Neil Island. There are only two ATMs in the town center. Also, the money exchange facilities are limited as well.
- Public transport is hard to find after 9 PM. So make relevant arrangements in advance.
- If you are travelling for your flight back from Neil Island, then keep a day at hand in Port Blair. Boats often get delayed or stalled due to weather conditions.
- Book tickets well in advance to avoid getting stranded.
- Carry mosquito repellents or buy some at the market as mosquitoes in Neil Island are common during the evenings.
- Enquire about petrol availability before renting a scooty. Petrol is sent to Neil Island from Port Blair and is often out of stock. Moreover, petrol stations close before sunset.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Neil Island
Question: What is the new name of Neil Island?
Answer: Shaheed Dweep is the new name of Neil Island. Prime Minister Narendra Modi renamed Neil Island to Shaheed Dweep on December 30, 2018 as a tribute to Subhas Chandra Bose and to celebrate 75 years of the independence of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Bose had hoisted the Indian flag at Port Blair and proclaimed the islands back from British rule on December 30, 1943.
Question: How many days you should be spending in Neil Island?
Answer:Neil Island is a tiny paradise that is connected to Port Blair (1.5 hours) and Havelock (45 minutes) by ferry. Tourists who are in a hurry spend just one day here but if you have enough time with you, then you should definitely spend at least two days to be able to relax and soak in the slow island life. When in Neil Island, visit the natural bridge, sunset beach, and try scuba diving and snorkeling.
Question: What can one do in Neil Island?
Answer:Spanning over an area of 13.7 square kilometers, Neil Island is not a huge island. It is popular for its unexplored coral reefs and white sandy beaches. Thus, scuba diving, snorkeling, and beach hopping are a few of the must-do activities on the island. Don’t forget to include Sitapur Beach, Laxmanpur Beach, and Bharatpur Beach in your travel itinerary.
You can also plan a destination wedding in Neil Island!!!
From the last few years, the idea of having a destination wedding has gained a lot of popularity among couples. Such a wedding is held away from the hometown of the bride and groom, and only their near and dear ones are invited to attend it. As a result, so many new venues and destinations have emerged as hot spots for conducting extraordinary wedding ceremonies. Couples dream of having an exotic destination wedding, and nothing can be better than a beach wedding that offers a perfect backdrop for all the ceremonies. The energising beachy vibes in the atmosphere and the soothing sound of crashing waves are just perfect!
A destination wedding in Neil Island promises couples the natural marvel of the place and the virgin beaches with turquoise blue waters. Its beaches are clean and are dotted with secluded and peaceful resorts, thus allowing the couple and their guests to enjoy total peace of mind in such tranquility. Neil Island has not been commercialised yet as a trending exotic wedding destination, and that is why, not everyone knows about this hidden pearl being a hot spot for destination weddings. So, you can easily plan a wedding of your dreams in an affordable budget.
Neil Island is a picture-perfect wedding destination with incredible flora and fauna all around. The facilities provided here suit every budget. You can rest assured that all your guests will have an unforgettable stay here. Speaking of choosing the perfect wedding location, Neil Island offers a wide variety of options to choose from, including beaches and resort banquets.
Neil Island offers the most romantic experience to the couples (and their guests as well!). The beaches are popular for the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in Andaman. Imagine having a wedding ceremony with a glorious pink and red sunset in the background! Such a fantastic marvel of nature can be witnessed at Lakashmanpur Beach. The evenings offer the best natural views. If you want to have your wedding ceremony early morning, then Sitapur Beach is perfect for you. You can catch the most beautiful sunrise of your life there with the sky painted in various lovely hues.
Andaman Island Travels offers a diverse variety of wedding packages in Neil Island that are carefully designed to keep in mind the requirements of its esteemed clients. These packages can be customised also to suit individual preferences. The tour operating company has a reputation for planning flawless weddings across Andaman Island. Its experienced team of professionals makes sure that the couple and all the guests have a gala time. It understands that a wedding is among the most awaited days in one’s life and that’s why, the company ensures that all your wishes are fulfilled when it comes to a destination wedding in Neil Island. It makes sure that even the tiniest thing is taken care of.
Already excited to step on this unexplored territory? Trust Andaman Island Travels for all your hotel and ferry bookings. It will also make bookings for adventure activities if you are interested in any. The expert tour planners will design the holiday of your dreams! The best thing to do would be to make all your bookings through Andaman Island Travels. It will help you with your other reservations as well including ferry, etc. It is a one-stop destination for booking holiday packages and accommodations for families and couples. You can also book slots for water sports activities (scuba diving, snorkeling, etc.) here. It offers a wide range of services to its esteemed customers on discounted prices.
Make sure you have pre-bookings in Neil Island. Otherwise, there may be on-spot issues in searching and getting a good place to stay in. Therefore, making reservations from a local tour operating company is highly recommended. Andaman Island Travels is the most reliable name on the whole island as it is committed to customise holiday packages as per its clients’ requirements. Save yourself from the hassle of booking every little thing and trust its experienced staff to design your vacation offering you more than what you can imagine!