Planning my trip to Andaman – Andaman is a group of about 556 islands out of which about 13 islands are inhabited. Andamans and Nicobar Island have some specialities compared to the other parts of India which is not much known to most of us Indians including me. I planned this trip to Andamans few months back when I saw some amazing pictures online.
Nicobar Islands are not open to tourists or even other people from Andaman.
When you plan your Andaman Vacations, I would suggest you to allocate minimum 12 days, spend 2 days at Port Blair, a trip to Little Andamans and Long Island. I did not visit Little Andamans or Long Island due to time constraints. My next visit to Andaman would be more specific and would go deeper to explore the unexplored islands.
Day 1 Traveling to Andaman Islands
I traveled to Andaman from Bangalore on GoAir. Since I booked my tickets about 3 months back, I had to pay less than INR 14,000 for my return ticket. There are flights from other parts of India like Kolkatta, Chennai, etc. There are no Scheduled International flights as of now, but there are chartered flights coming occasionally as we see immigration and customs facility already there.
The airport in Port Blair called Veer Sawarkar International Airport is an International Airport even though there are no regular international flights. There are chartered flights arriving with international tourists to this airport. This airport belongs to the Indian Airforce, but a new airport work is going on and would be operational soon.
Please be sure that you do not take pictures of the restricted areas at the airport, you could be fined up to INR 5000.
Places to visit at Port Blair
Corbyn’s Cove Beach in Port Blair
This was a very crowded beach where you can enjoy some speed boat ride. Nothing much to do here.
Cellular Jail Light and Sound Show
This was a good show refreshing my history lessons and freedom fight. The show is about 1 hour. You are seated in an open auditorium where this show is held. No videos or pictures are allowed here. I feel this is something which every Indian should see especially the younger generation.
Packages – Organising everything locally at Andaman
I worked with a tour operating company called Experience Andamans which is one of the leading tour operators in Andaman Islands. I had a great experience using their service. My package was custom made as per my requirements. I gave them the list of places I wanted to visit and the dates of my travel. Everything including, buying local tickets, local formalities, cabs, almost everything.
I would give a 4.5/5 for their service.
Check out my Andaman Trip 2018 Videos
Important things to know before you travel to Andamans
Internet connection at Hotels in Andaman
Most of the hotels in Andaman have wifi setup only at the reception and usage is limited.
- Poor connectivity- will have to take a BSNL sim as soon as you land. Data package from other parts of India won’t work. BSNL 3G packages from other parts of India does not work here. I took a prepaid connection from Havelock, but the connectivity was very limited. 3G does not work at most of the islands so be prepared to be disconnected when you are in Andaman Islands.
- Drone – very strict, take prior permission from the police department before you land.
- Best time to travel would be between October and March.
- Carry cash, most of the places do not accept digital payments
- Food and transportation is very costly especially at Havelock island
- Carry good sunscreen lotion, SPF 70 is recommended. You can buy it from Amazon here.
- Sunglasses are important, protect your eyes from UV rays.
- Clothing-It’s always hot, so be prepared for hot climate.
- For videos and photos, check out the gears that I used. Link to Amazon. It would be good if you use ND Filters to control the lights. I use this adjustable ND filter from Tiffen. Check out my sunset videos
- If you know Hindi, you can communicate with most of the locals.
- The locals are very tourists friendly and we find the place safe.
Day 2 – Traveling to Havelock on Cruise
Traveling to Havelock
We traveled to Havelock island on Day 2. The trip was on a cruise and the ride was about 2 and half hours. Our tour operator made the arrangements for buying our tickets and dropping us to the ferry terminal. The check in and boarding was not that pleasant. We had to stand in queues for long time, but things went well. Once boarded the journey was very pleasant and memorable. The sea was very calm and we reached Havelock on time.
Hotel at Havelock – Haywizz
We stay at hotel Haywizz which is just about 200 meters from the ferry terminal. The hotel is decent, good staff, I enjoyed the stay, except the food and restaurant. Food cost at Havelock was comparatively costlier than other islands.
Places to visit at Havelock
The best beach in Havelock to swim and enjoy sunset. It’s about 10kms from the ferry terminal.
You should not miss this beach if you visit Havelock. They have facilities for changing cloths and bathroom, but that was not clean even though it was a paid one. Most of the facilities at the tourist locations are run by Government.
Day 3 – A day to hop around Havelock
We had kept day 3 to just hop around the island and relax as most of the days ahead for this trip was fully packed.
The best place to view the sunrise in Havelock. You have to reach here by about 4:15 am.
Something Different Restaurant
A good place to have lunch or dinner. They serve good sea food and some Italian dishes. I had the Achari rum, was great. This place was started in 2015.
Recommended Hotels to stay
Havelock is getting more popular among the tourists and many spend 2-3 days here. We spend 3 days at Havelock and we stayed at a hotel called Haywizz which is just about 200 meters from the ferry terminal. There are many good places to stay like the Yathri Nivas, Dolphins resorts, etc. Check out booking.com for good rates.
Day 4 – Water Sports at Elephant Beach Havelock
Other than beaches and water sports, there is nothing much other than eating good seafood.
This beach is about 20 minutes boat ride from the Havelock main ferry terminal. I was under the impression that the elephant beach was situated on a different island, but later while returning I found that it was just the other side of Havelock island separated by green forest. The boat ride was very calm and enjoying. We had already booked for Seabed walk through our tour agent. You can also buy the tickets once you reach there for all kinds of water sports.
I was thinking that Elephant beach was on a different island, but later while returning, I could make out that it was the same Havelock island and the beach was on other side of the island.
Snorkelling at Elephant Beach Havelock
Your boat ticket would include 5 minutes of snorkeling, but that is a trick to get you convinced for going for a paid 20 minutes snorkeling. They would say that it is for 20 minutes and give you digital copy of video and some underwater pictures. In my experience the snorkeling was just for about 5-7 minutes but that was fine. It is safe and I recommend to go for it.
Seabed Walking – Havelock Andamans
This is something which I was waiting to try since I planned my Andamans Trip. You need to pay INR 3500 per person plus INR 700 for video. I feel this cost was bit more, but again compared to other countries, it’s not much. In sea walking, you wear a helmet sort of thing which supplies oxygen. You are taken care well by trained and experienced divers.
After the water sports we came back to the Havelock main ferry terminal. After having our lunch at —-— we traveled to Port Blair. One thing I would like to mention here is the facilities for the passengers at the ferry terminal at Havelock is very poor. You need to stand in long queues in hot sun which was bit torchering
The ride was on a cruise called Greenocean 1 and was really smooth and enjoying. We could have a nice view of the sunset even though it was bit cloudy.
Day 5 – Road trip Jarawa Protected Area
Road trip- Port Blair to Diglipur
We started from our hotel in Port Blair around 3am. The roads are mostly narrow and pretty rough and the distance by road is about 290 kms. We reached Jirkatang check post at around 4:30 am. We were given some forms to fill our details to enter the Jarawa tribal area. The first convoy of vehicles escorted by police would leave the check post at 6:00 am. There are facilities for breakfast and washroom. It would be good if you reach Jirkatang check post before 4:30 am so that you get a forward position and most importantly you can use the washrooms without standing in long queues.
Lime stone cave
From Baratang 20 minutes speedboat ride between the mangrove. This boat ride was an amazing lifetime experience.
After getting down the speed boat we have to walk about 1.2 kms to reach the cave. This place is not advisable for people who are not healthy enough to walk. The path to the cave was slippery and we could see many slipping and falling. You should watch my video on the trip to lime stone cave to understand the scenic beauty that we experienced. You will also find small houses / huts of local residents.
The stones of the cave at the entrance have turned black but towards the end of the cave you can see white rocks / lime stone. The cave is about 90 meters long and is dark as you go inside. It was a good experience to see the inside of the cave especially the natural formation of the some shapes with some resemblances to day to day things.
While returning we took different route which was in between some paddy fields.
Road Trip – Baratang to Rangat
This was a very tough ride, the roads were really very pathetic, not maintained for years, narrow that only one vehicle can go. I wish the Government spend the money and make sure that these roads are repaired and make it usable.
Rangath to Diglipur is 108 kms took more than 4 hours as the roads were very bad and it was raining.
We finally reached Diglipur at around 6pm and from there it was about 45 minutes ride to reach our resort- Pristine Beach Resort.
That’s all for day 5
Day 6 – Stay at Pristine Beach Resorts Kalipur near Diglipur
Pristine Beach Resort is a good place to stay when you are planning Diglipur. Mr Alex who is one of the pioneers in developing Diglipur and promoting tourism in Andaman Islands.
Aerial bay harbour
You have to come to the Aerial bay Harbour to take a boat to Ross and Smith Island. Please carry your identity cards as you would need everywhere to buy tickets / entry. This place is not properly maintained, but I would give a big thumbs up to the locals for their efforts to keep the place clean and follow the rules and regulations.
Ross and smith – Twin Islands.
The boat ride took about 25 minutes, was very smooth and pleasant. These two islands are connected by a sand bar which disappears during high tides and reappears during low tides.
You can do swimming on one side of the beach. You should carry water and food as there are no restaurant or any option get something to eat here.
Ross Island is the only place in the world with the most green feathered birds.
There is a beach near to the Pristine Beach Resorts where Turtles lay eggs during the month of December (Turtle nesting)
Diglipur by itself is a place with about 6 places to visit which includes the Ross and Smith Islands, Alfred caves,Mud Volcano, Saddle Peak, Craggy Island, etc
Day 7 – Traveling to Rangat from Kalipur, Diglipur
Ask your driver to stop at Austin Bridge in Mayabunder
Places to visit at Rangat
Dhani Mangrove walk
This was a good experience. You have to walk about 162 meters and then you reach a beach
Just a very basic beach, nothing great. You can relax, moreover everything would depend on the time you reach there. It is very difficult to reach at every spot at the most perfect time. Some beaches or spots would be good for sunrise, some for sunset and so on. We had some coconut water and sat under a big Andamans bullet wood tree which has an historical importance of surviving the 2004 tsunami.
Staying at Ross and Smith hotel in Rangat
There are no much options to stay at Rangat. Ross and Smith Hotel is located in the Rangat bazaar . The place was clean and all basics were fine. We had to use candle light for about two hours due to power failure. They did not have any power backup option.
Day 8 – Traveling back to Port Blair from Rangat
Visiting Mud volcano at Nilambur in Baratang
On the way from Rangat to Baratang you can find this eco tourism effort by the Andamans tourism department.
It was my first experience visiting a mud volcano. You need to walk about 160 meters from the main road through a very green forest. The mud volcano is very small compared to my expectations. It was very flat on the earth and we could see some small bubbles.
Nothing much so we walked back.
Jangaar / RO ferry to cross to the starting point of the convoy till Jirkatang check post.
Megapod Resorts in Port Blair
A good place to stay in Port Blair.
Dinner at New Lighthouse Restaurant at Port Blair
This is a very popular local restaurant for seafood. We had some fish and prawns which was really fresh and tasty. You can also select live crab, squid, lobsters and tiger prawns which they will cook for you as per your taste. This restaurant is located near the cellular jail. The cost was nominal compared to what we experienced in Havelock.
We took an auto rickshaw and returned to hotel. Auto drivers are well behaved and tourists friendly.
That was the end of day
Day 9 – Hopping around in Port Blair – Returning to Bangalore
Waking up early and moving near the hotel area to view the sunrise.
Places to visit in Port Blair
Port Blair is the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are some must visit places especially cellular jail which has big importance in Indian as well as World history.
Aberdeen Market – Closed on Sunday
We could not see much of the market as it was closed on Sundays
The most popular place to visit in Andaman is the cellular Jail, you need to check out my video on Cellular Jail to get real idea.
Aquarium-Andaman Fishing Department
Has good collection of marine life as well as some preserved marine life. Check out different corals too. I have a detailed video, please check that out.
Anthropological Tribal Museum
Good place to understand all about Andamans and Nicobar. Videos and photos, not allowed , moreover you should visit this place to personally.
We then moved to the airport for our flight (GoAir)back to Bangalore.
Further to Vacations in Andaman Islands
Check out all the videos on my Travel Channel