An Ultimate Travel Guide To Your Dream Vacation In Andaman Islands
Do you know the Andaman Islands, the union territory of India located in the Bay of Bengal, comprise nearly 600 islands, islets and rocks? Among these, only around 40 are inhabited till date. Speaking of major tourist attractions across the islands, Port Blair- the capital city, is among the top choices. Along with that, there are so many other pristine islands that are capable of mesmerising travellers from around the world. These islands promise 360-degree entertainment to you whether you are a history buff, a beach bum, or an adrenaline junkie. Here, you have the most fabulous photo opportunities, enthralling water sports activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and so many others, along with secluded destinations that are waiting to get explored by adventurers like you.
If you are also seeking that thrill and natural splendor, then choose Andaman Island Travels to design the best tour package for you. Whether you want to see the most popular points of interest or explore the unexplored, just brief its experienced team and they will give you nothing but the best!
Are you ready to embark on the most incredible journey of your life? Just hop on!
Places to visit in Andaman Islands
The capital city is known for its rich historical significance. The attractions are located in the city as well as nearby it (in this case, Port Blair can be your base). The most visited monument in the islands is Cellular Jail where Indian freedom fighters were kept during the struggle for independence. Hundreds of tourists visit this place every day. Then there is Chatham Saw Mill, which is counted among the oldest and largest in the whole of Asia. Other places to visit when you are in Port Blair are Forest Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries (Marine) Museum, Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika), etc. And if you are that kind of traveller who loves shopping while vacationing, then head to the Cottage Industries Emporium (Sagarika). You can also buy lovely souvenirs from here.
Taking day trips from Port Blair is highly recommended as you have to explore the nearby islands such as Mount Harriet, which was the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj and the highest peak in South Andamans. Other beautiful islands include Viper Island (from where you can see the gallows and ruins of the jail) and Ross Island (the capital of Port Blair during the British regime). Red Skin and Jolly Buoy are among the best places to see serene beaches and try snorkeling. Travellers often include day trips to the awesome beaches of Wandoor and trip to the Mahatma Gandhi National Park in their itinerary.
Havelock Island – Swaraj Dweep
This is the most visited island on the Andaman Islands. It is the hub of beauty as well as adventure. Whether you want to get the perfect tan by relaxing on an awesome beach under the sun or dive deep into the ocean and say hi to the rich marine life, you have to come and visit Havelock Island. Some of the most exciting adventure activities that can be done here include scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, jet-skiing, camping, trekking, and a lot more.
The island is known for the most stunning white-sand beaches, azure waters, colorful coral reefs, and rainforest canopies. Its clear waters let you have the most memorable experience of exploring the underwater life.
The Radhanagar Beach is counted among Asia’s most beautiful and the world’s top ten beaches. Other gorgeous beaches on this island are Vijaynagar Beach, Elephant Beach, and Kalapathar Beach to mention a few. Havelock Island offers the perfect blend of relaxation and adrenaline rush to the travellers.
How to reach Havelock Island?
There are ferries plying from Port Blair that take nearly two and a half hours to reach to Havelock Island. The whole experience is memorable. Booking in advance is not necessary. You can ask your hotel receptionist to book it for you.
Where to stay in Havelock Island?
The island is popular for exemplary hotels and resorts. If you are planning a vacation in Andaman Island, then book your stay at Havelock Island Beach Resort. Along with excellent services, the resort offers great water sports experiences as well including scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. And that too at affordable prices! It is a great place for underwater fun and adventure. Whether you are travelling solo, with your partner or with your family, staying at this beachfront property is in itself an unforgettable experience.
Neil Island – Shaheed Dweep
The easternmost inhabited island in the entire Andaman & Nicobar group of islands, Neil Island is the easternmost inhabited island in Ritchie’s Archipelago. Until the arrival of settlers in the late 1960s, the island was not habited. Most of the settlers were refugees from erstwhile Bangladesh, following the migration of Hindu Bangladeshis preceding that country’s war of independence.
A small and flat island, Neil Island – Shaheed Dweep was deemed suitable for paddy cultivation. But consequently due to this very reason, almost all of the forest cover is concentrated in the reserve forest on Neil’s north-western side.The jetty and main village are at the center of the west coast.
Neil Island remains warm owing to the lack of forest cover. This lovely place has its own pastoral sort of charm for which travellers don’t miss visiting this treasure of the Andaman Islands. It offers stunning seashores and a slow pace of life. You have to spend at least one day here exploring its untouched splendor. Popular water activities here include snorkeling, scuba diving, glass-bottom boating, etc.
How to reach Neil Island?
The best way to reach here is to take a boat or ferry from Port Blair. It is 36 kilometers from the capital city.
The erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime, Ross Island, is a tiny little gem in the Andaman Islands. It stands as a guard to Port Blair harbor. Currently, it houses reminiscent of the old British regime but all in dilapidated condition. Here, you can visit the ruins of antique structures such as Ballroom, Chief Commissioner’s House, Garden, Government House, Church, Cemetery, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks. You can also see a cemetery and a small museum that are managed by the Indian Navy. A collection of old records is on display at the museum.
You can have a glimpse of the remnants of an affluent past on this island. It is an ideal place for strolling amid sylvan surroundings with a diversity of flora and fauna.If you are lucky, then you can spot here deers, peacocks, exotic birds, etc.
Ross Island was the seat of power during the British days. Later, it was developed into a self-equipped township comprising all the facilities required for a civilized colony. The notorious and horrible penal settlement was established with a total of 200 convicts by Dr. Walker. The natives were persuaded by the British to start living on this island. Andaman House was setup for them in 1863. Later, aborigines had to provide their services to catch the escaping convicts from there.
A museum known as Smritika has been also established on Ross Island by the Indian Navy. It is highly popular among tourists. It is a must-visit among those who are keen on photography. They can get wonderful pictures of old buildings that are nearly collapsed and only their bare skeletal structures are left. The growing sturdy tree roots are holding them together. Such a sight cannot be missed!
It is a long walk to see the whole island and thus, you are advised to carry plenty of drinking water and snacks.
How to reach Ross Island?
Just take a ferry from Rajiv Gandhi Water sports Jetty, Port Blair. It will take nearly fifteen minutes.
If you want to see something extraordinary, then don’t forget to include Barren Island in your travel itinerary. Located in the Andaman Sea, the Barren Volcano is the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia. Also, along a chain of volcanoes from Sumatra to Myanmar, this is the only active volcano. It is located nearly 138 kilometers from Port Blair. If it’s a lucky day and if you are also fortunate enough, then you can see the volcano erupting lava and ash. Its first eruption was recorded in 1787.
Usually, November to February is considered the best time to visit this island. The weather is clear during these months giving a good possibility to see the island and the volcano. The journey to this island is a breathtaking adventurous experience.
The island is inhabited by humans. Only a small population of goats, birds, bats and rats are living under harsh conditions.
How to reach Barren Island?
If you are willing to have a sightseeing tour around the Island, then you can do so by renting boats/ferries/vessels. However, visitors are restricted to land ashore. A seaplane tour from Port Blair can also be opted to look around the island. Getting approval of the forest department and necessary permits is mandatory as this island comes under the restricted zone.
Located due west from Havelock Island, Baratang Island lies in a creek between South Andaman and Middle Andaman. It forms a bridge between the two large islands. Here, the landmass is mostly under cultivation, but you can also see patches of bare forest and primary forest.
Having geographical significance, the island is home to natural marvels including mud volcanoes and limestone caves. You can also trek through Ranchi village off the South Creek, taking detours into several limestone caves.
How to reach Baratang Island?
You can hire a private car or catch a private AC bus to reach Baratang Island from Port Blair. It is the best and the most convenient way. If you are on a tight budget, then taking a government bus from Port Blair is your best bet. You will have to drive via the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) and move in a group with one short vehicle-ferry connection. It will take a total of four hours but the lush greens and blue waters will make the whole experience unforgettable.Please note that two-wheelers are not allowed to go all the way to the island.
Near this island, there is Cuthbert Bay Beach where you will find a turtle nesting ground. You can make it a stopover on longer itineraries comprising Baratang and destinations further north.
How to reach Rangat Island?
The island is 90 kilometers by sea and 170 kilometers by road from Port Blair. You can reach Rangat from Port Blair via ferries. Also, there are buses available from Port Blair. The travel time is about six to seven hours.
This enchanting island is home to a stunning beach at Lalaji Bay six kilometers north from Long Island jetty. It is popular for its beautiful forest cover and coconut plantations.
Until the arrival of settlers in the 1970s, the island was inhabited. A plywood factory was set up near the jetty that is closed now. There is a small village nearby the jetty which is populated by settlers and factory workers from various parts of the country.
There is a serene trek that goes through the main village, plantations, fields, regenerated forest and primary rainforest. If you love hiking, then you should definitely include this in your travel plans. This six-kilometer trail begins at the jetty and ends at Lalaji Bay. There is one more trail that runs north from Lalaji bay, leads to a secret cove with calm water, corals and a white sandy beach. So if you want to snorkel or sunbathe in complete privacy, you know where to go!
There are diving centres of Havelock Island offering safari trips to explore the dive sites of Long Island. Snorkeling is quite popular here owing to good underwater visibility.
How to reach Long Island?
Over 80 kilometers from Port Blair and 35 kilometers north of Havelock Island, Long Island is connected by ferry from Port Blair, Neil Island and Havelock Island. It is connected by road from Diglipur and Port Blair.
Diglipur and Ross and Smith Islands
A bewitching sandbar joins Ross and Smith Islands. Dilglipur Island displays the serene and natural beauty of village life. This can be your base for trips to Kalipur Beach and Ramnagar Beach. If you love hiking, then you can trek to the Saddle Peak, which is a popular nature trail through the lush evergreen rain forest. It is a national park covering an area of 33 square miles. You can spot here animals like Andaman Wild pig, Water Monitor and the Imperial Pigeon.
How to reach Diglipur?
It is off the tourist trail probably because of its remoteness from the rest of the Andaman Islands. But you can reach Diglipur via road (Andaman Trunk Road)from Port Blair or by a ten-hour voyage through ferries or seaplanes.
This little tranquil island derived its name from the vessel ‘Viper’ in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to the islands in 1789. He arrived here for establishing a penal settlement. It is believed that the vessel met with an accident and its remains were found near this island.
Viper Island is the proof of countless sufferings the freedom fighters had to go through. Convicts were put in fetters and forced to work on the island. Known freedom fighters including Nanigopal, Nandlal PulindasSher Ali, and many more were imprisoned on this island. You can still see the ruins of the jail and gallows on Viper Island.
How to reach Viper Island?
Situated inside the Port Blair harbor, you can reach here via boat in twenty minutes.
This island is known for its untouched coral reefs and turquoise waters. This is among the loveliest islands in the Andamans.
How to reach Cinque Island?
It takes two hours from Chidiyatapu and nearly four hours from Wandoor via boat to reach this charming island. However, the boat service is not regular. Also, special permission from the Forest Department has to be taken to visit Cinque Island.
Jolly Buoy Island
Located in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Jolly Buoy Island is home to colorful corals and rich underwater life. Whether you want to go for snorkeling or get a sun-kissed tan, its beaches are perfect for both. Please note that night stays or camping is not allowed on this island.
How to reach Jolly Buoy Island?
To reach here, you need to take a boat from Wandoor Beach, which is located 30 kilometers southwest of Port Blair. You have to take a taxi from Port Blair to reach Wandoor Beach.
Red Skin Island
It is also located in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Its beautiful beach offers an impressive view of corals and marine life. Thus, it is popular among snorkelers. Red Skin Island is a great day trip from Port Blair if you are looking for a fun day at a secluded beach. Kindly note that you cannot stay here at night.
How to reach Red Skin Island?
You can reach this island via boat from Wandoor. It is a journey of nearly 45 minutes.
South Button Island
Straight out of a fairytale, this island is located southwest of Havelock Island – Swaraj Dweep. The stunning islet is a part of the Rani Jhansi Marine National Park, and is popular for snorkeling as well as scuba diving owing to rich marine life, healthy coral population, and shallow depths. If you are lucky, then you can spot here Snappers, Barracuda, Trevally, Sweetlips, Groupers, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Turtles, Devil Rays and Manta Rays.Tourists are not allowed to climb the rocky outcrops on this island. You can spot white-bellied Sea Eagles flying high. You can visit this awe-inspiring island as a day trip from Havelock Island.
How to reach South Button Island?
It’s a two-hour journey via a motorboat from Havelock Islands to this island. Boats can also be hired from Port Blair.
Little Andaman Island
This island has a gorgeous beach at Butler Bay, a waterfall and plantation of oil palms. The coastline of the island is dotted with various sandy beaches. Tourists can soak themselves in the excellent beauty of the breakwater at Hut Bay. Little Andaman Island is the vegetable bowl for the Nicobar group of islands.
How to reach Little Andaman Island?
Little Andaman Island is 120 kilometers by sea from Port Blair. There are daily ferries to reach there and it takes six to eight hours depending on the ferry type and weather conditions. Another quick option to reach there is traveling via helicopter.
North Passage Island
This island is situated between Strait Island immediately to its south (home to the last remnants of the Great Andamanese tribe), Guitar Island and Long Island immediately to the north. John Lawrence Island in Ritchie’s archipelago lies to its east across the channel and the expanse of Middle Andaman lies to the west. It has a very little history of habitation apart from random visits from different sects of the Great Andamanese Tribe.The Agriculture Department of Andaman Islands was given nearly 100 acres of land for the establishment of a coconut plantation. As much as 95 per cent of the landmass of North Passage Island is designated Reserve Forest.
There is a lovely beach called Merk Bay that fronts the coconut plantation and looks out towards Ritchie’s Archipelago. There are calm and sheltered waters between the North Passage and Middle Andaman.
How to reach North Passage Island?
North Passage Island is 30 kilometers northeast of Havelock Island. You have to hire a private chartered boat from the Long Island jetty to reach the Merk Bay Beach. On a clear day, it takes an hour to reach there.
If you crave sunny skies, white silky sand beaches, azure waters and swaying trees, then Andaman Islands is the best travel destination for you in India. This full-fledges guide will help you in enjoying your tropical vacation to the country’s best-kept secret in the best way.