Monday, May 4, 2020

Andaman Experience 2019

The holiday to Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a thrilling event. One of the remarkable tourist place in world. The event is full of astonishing natural beauty and surprising marine life. I am anxious to share my experience and perceptions about this wonderful place. It was a unforgettable journey for me and my wife. In addition, I must suggest it is a perfect honeymoon destination for all the couples. The experience may guide others to plan a better trip for their upcoming days.
  • KOLKATA – PORT BLAIR (15th December, 2019) :
The Journey started on 15th December. It was our first journey towards the Bay of Bengal. It was a journey of 5 nights and 6 days. The beauty of sea and beaches will always stay in our heart with our beautiful moments. We boarded the GO Air flight for Port Blair at 08:35am from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Flight duration was 2hours 20 mins. We were the evidence of the mesmerising vision of the Island from our flight, which was never to be missed.

From Veer Savarkar International Airport we boarded prepaid taxi. Although one can avail transport outside the airport also. But inside the airport the cost for the journey will be inexpensive.

Kolkata Airport

Andaman View from our Flight

  •  Kolkata to Port Blair – INR 14097 /-  ( GST Included) per person for Round Trip  (based upon the season you choose)
  • Prepaid Taxi from Port Blair Airport – INR 150 /-                                                                Day 1(15th December, 2019 ) Journey in Port Blair:
         Next We reached to our hotel “The Harriet View.

Pros: It was a homely atmosphere, the hotel was maintained properly. The hotel stuffs were very helpful and courteous. Also you have a good WiFi at the hotel. Breakfast was included (free) in the package. Rooms are quiet spacious with a good maintenance.

Foods are expensive in the hotel as compared to the outside. And the locality is not as pleasant as you would expect.

  •  Cost: INR 4065/- per day. We  previously booked the hotel for two nights.

We started our Andaman Diaries from the most popular CELLULAR JAIL. You need at least 1-2 hour to see the entire jail. Light and sound show in the evening was stunning, which will tell you the biography of the great patriots of India inside the jail. The history of the jail had been described very briefly. That’s when we got to know why people call this jail as “Kaala- Pani”. Open all days (9am – 1pm, 2pm -4pm). Guides also available.

Cellular Jail - Entrance
Cellular Jail

Cellular Jail

For Light and Sound show there are different show timings with languages (English and Hindi). One can booked the show tickets previously from

Cellular Jail at Night
  • Entry Fee: INR 20/- Per person
  • Video Camera Fee: INR 100/-
  • Cost for Light and Sound Show: INR 100/- Per person

Next, we planned to visit Corbyn’s Cove Beach, only beach in Port Blair City. It is just 7-8 km from the city center and a prominent sightseeing place in Andaman. You can visit to try Jet Ski, Parasailing and other water sports. We hired an auto for all the Day One’s visit. Although you can rent Scooty to visit all the places in Andaman.

Corbyn's Cove Beach

Corbyn's Cove Beach

We completed our Day 1 Journey in Port Blair, after having our dinner at Restaurant Milan. Other famous restaurants are Annapurna, Amaya, New Lighthouse Restaurant, Happy Belly, The Waves, Brewberrys, The Hub.

  •  Harriet View to Cellular Jail : INR 60/-
  • Cellular Jail to Corbyn’s Cove Beach (to and fro): INR 500/-
  •  Dinner at Milan Restaurant : INR 340/-
  • Milan to Harriet View: INR 30/-
Day 2 (16th December, 2019): Chidiya Tapu Beach and Anthropology Museum

After a delicious breakfast from our hotel, we went for the Anthropology Museum. You can take any auto to reach there or you can use your scooty. One of the finest, and well-maintained museums of Andaman. An informative portrait of island’s local community of tribes, blue coral, corymbose coral, staghorn coral, gorgonian red fan coral, finger coral, table coral, organ pipe coral, marble coral, mushroom coral, hawksbill turtle, australian trumpets and much more new things can be found here. The major attractions are Jarawa chest guard, shamanic sculptures and much more. Timings are (9am -1pm, 1:30pm -4:30pm, Entry INR: 20 /-). Closed on Monday.

After that, we completed our lunch at Annapurna Restaurant we spent little time in the Aberdeen Bazaar (It is the heart of the town hustling and bustling with restaurants, hotels, shops, denizens and lot of tourists. Plenty of shops fills all over the streets, offering  a wide variety of products for the shopaholics.)

Hawksbill Turtle

Blue Coral

Corals at Anthropology Museum

Blue Whale Skeleton

  • Harriet View to Anthropology Museum: INR: 30/-
  • Anthropology Museum to Aberdeen Bazaar: INR: 30/
  • Lunch at Annapurna: INR: 510/-

After our lunch, we hired a cab for Chidiya Tapu Beach, one of the most popular tourist places in Port Blair. Our hotel manager arranged a private cab for us. Although one can use their scooty to reach there but the road towards the Chidiya Tapu is dusty and it is journey of almost 30kms. Therefore, we prefer to hire a cab for our destination. One of the best sunset spots Andaman has to offer, enclosed by the thick forest and dense mangroves. The island is famous for its variety of bird species, many indigenous to the island. Do not miss the mesmerizing view of the sunset and keep your camera ready to capture the moments. (Timings: 5am -5pm, Entry free).
  • Harriet View to Chidiya Tapu (To and Fro): INR: 1500/-

Chidiya Tapu

Sunset at Chidiya Tapu

While returning from Chidiya Tapu we did some local market shopping in Port Blair. There is “Sagarika” shop where one can buy shell, jute based items and Handicraft. The shop is a government owned shop. Also you will find other local shops nearby Sagarika which are quite reasonable as compare to Sagarika. Compare to all these shops I found the Neil Island shops are quite cheaper which I will describe in the later part of the blog. We completed our Day 2 journey after having dinner at our hotel. We had to sleep early as next morning we had to sail for Havelock Island.

Apart from what I have mentioned earlier there are many places in Port Blair, which will surely create a long lasting impact in your upcoming days. Although we were not being able to cover all the parts of Port Blair due to the shortage of time and mostly due to windstorm. Here is summary of all the uncovered places in Port Blair.

North Bay Island: Seen behind the old INR: 20/- Note, this island is known for water sports like Scuba Diving, Sea walk, Snorkelling, Glass bottom ride. Coral Safari. You can also trek to the Light House from where you can enjoy the gorgeous landscape nearby.

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Island (Ross Island): Once the seat of British power, today the island has charming ruins to boast about. Abandoned during WWII, it is now home to numerous peacocks & deer. Take a day tour (8:30am-3:30pm, tickets available at jetty) or see the light and sound show (4:30pm, tickets available at IP&T office). Open all days.

Jolly Buoy Island: It is far from city and a day trip is required to cover the island. You have to go to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park to catch a ferry to reach the island followed by a glass boat ride. This island is known for its corals and one can do snorkeling over there.

Apart from the above-mentioned island one can also covered the North Andaman Side (Mangrove Creeks and Limestone Cave (Baratang), Mud Volcano, Parrot Island, Dhaninallah Mangrove Walkway, Kalipur Beach (Diglipur), Ross & Smith Island (Diglipur), Karmatang Beach)

Day 3 (17th December, 2019): Havelock Island and Radhanagar Beach

Although our hotel was near to Phoenix Bay Jetty, we checked out early morning from the hotel. To avoid the last minutes hustle at the Phoenix Bay, it is preferable to check out early from the hotel. We already booked our tickets previously for Makruzz Ferry (Private Ferry) although there are many Ferries for Havelock Island like Green Ocean, Coastal Cruise, and Govt. Tourist Ferry. 

You can go through the below mentioned link for Makruzz Booking:

Makruzz Ferry -Port Blair to Havelock

We boarded our ferry on 08:00 am. It was a 1 hour 30 mins beautiful journey on the surface of Bay of Bengal towards Havelock Island. The sea view was mind blowing.

Havelock Island provides much beautiful resorts to spend your unforgettable moments. We took one auto from the jetty and moved to the Shangrilas Beach Resort. Our private cottage was close to the famous Vijay Nagar Beach. Beach was quite good for swimming and one can relax on the wooden benches.

Vijay Nagar Beach

Vijay Nagar Beach

Next, we went for the lunch at Anju Coco Restaurant. After completion of our lunch, we started for a very romantic and beautiful Radhanagar Beach by taking an auto near Anju Coco Restaurant.

Lunch at Anju Coco Restaurant

Radhanagar Beach is one of largest beaches in India. A pristine beach backed by turquoise water and lush forest, where you can relax and have a leisurely time with your loved ones. The beach has been ranked Asia’s Second most beautiful beach. This beach is excellent for swimming. After spending a pleasant  time, we witnessed the very romantic sunset from the beach. It is one of the mind blowing tourist place in Havelock Island.

Sunset at Radhanagar Beach

We enjoyed a lot in the beach. We returned to our resort by the same auto and spent rest of the time in the wooden benches of the resort near the beach. We had our candle light dinner at our resort.

Candle Light Dinner at Shangrilas Beach Resort
  • Makruzz Ferry Fare (Deluxe Class): INR: 2056/- (Per Person-GST  + Refreshment Included)
  • Shangrilas Beach Resort Price: INR: 3652/- (One Night)
  • Lunch at Anju Coco : INR: 1000/-
  • Shangrilas Beach Resort to Radhanagar Beach (To and Fro): INR : 600/-

Although there are two more beautiful beaches which are famous for all the water sports. However, due to the lack of timing we were not being able to cover the beaches.

Elephanta Beach: This tourist place is best known for snorkeling and water sports (Jet Ski, glass bottom boat), the beach is a 20-mins ferry ride from Swaraj Dweep Jetty. You can also trek to the beach via a 2 km trail through the forest. Avoid the path after rainfall due to the leeches.

Kala Pathar Beach: It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Havelock. The name Kalapathar is derived from the adjoining street called Black Road.

Day 4 (18th December, 2019): Neil Island

We checked out from our resort on 07:45 am. We booked Green Ocean Ferry for our next most beautiful destination. We boarded our ferry on 08:30 am.  It was a 1-hour journey. We previously booked our ferry tickets. From the Shaheed Dweep (Neil) Jetty we took one auto to go to our Hotel. 

You can go through the below mentioned link to book the Green Ocean Ferry tickets.

Green Ocean - Havelock to Neil

We booked Sea Shell Hotels and Resorts. The most beautiful and romantic hotel situated near Lakshmanpur Beach -1. One of the best resorts in Shaheed Dweep. Stay here and soak in the peace and tranquility of island life, complemented by un-obstructive service and terrific food.
  • Sea Shell Hotels and Resorts Price (including GST) : INR: 7668/- (One Night – Garden View Room + Breakfast Included) 

Sea Shell Hotels and Resorts

Sea Shell Hotels and Resorts

We booked an auto to visit all the beaches in Neil Island.

Bharatpur Beach: With beautiful views, and gentle waves, this beach serves as a good family outing spot. Water sports like Jet Ski, Glass bottom ride, Banana Boats are also available. We took Glass Bottom Ride. It was a new ride to us. A combination of excitement and amusement, this glass bottom boating in Bharatpur Beach surely gives you a chance to explore the underwater marine life of the sea while enjoying a boat ride. The boat can accommodate 10 people, with glass bottoms so that as the boat sails on the water the visitors can catch a glimpse of the water species. It is a great tourist place in Neil Island.

In this beach there were many small shops, where you can buy shell, jute items at a reasonable cost.
  • Glass Bottom Ride Fare (Per Person): INR: 600/- (45 Mins Ride)

Banana Fish- Glass bottom Ride

Glass Bottom Ride - Bharatpur Beach

Natural Bridge (Lakshmanpur Beach -2): Fondly known as the local Howrah Bridge, the natural rock formation here, is a remarkable sight. It’s a mini-trek down a path filled with dead corals, Visit only during low tide and you will guaranteed to see colorful fishes, plenty of star fishes and sea urchins. Here two living natural corals formed bridge. It is a perfect tourist place for the couples for candid Photography. We took one guide to discover the place fully.

Natural Bridge

Cucumber Fish

Lakshmanpur Beach 2

Brain Coral

Star Fish

Lakshmanpur Beach 2 Candid Photography

Lakshmanpur Beach -1: Lakshmanpur Beach 1 is known for its sunset view. The beautiful landscapes in Shaheed Dweep (Havelock Island), the beach expresses stunning sunsets. Do not miss the chance to capture the moment.

Sunset at Lakshmanpur Beach -1

Sitapur Beach: Waking up a 4 am and pedaling to Sitapur (Sunrise) Beach can be deeply rewarding. You will love to see the sun come up from the water, giving you a mesmerizing  feeling. Definitely worth the effort. However, we were not being able to cover the Sitapur Beach.

 We completed our Day 4 journey in Neil Island with a delicious dinner at our hotel.

Dinner at Sea Shell Hotels and Resorts

  • Auto fare from Shaheed Dweep Jetty to Sea Shell Samssara Hotel : INR: 30/-
  • Auto fare for Bharatpur, Lakshmanpur Beach -1,2 : INR: 600/-
  • Green Ocean Ferry fare from Havelock to Neil (Per Person- Luxury Class) : INR: 1053/-

Day 5 (19th December, 2019): Returning back to the Port Blair

After our delicious breakfast from the hotel, we boarded our Green Ocean Ferry on 09:45 am from the Shaheed Dweep Jetty towards the Port Blair Island. We previously booked our ferry tickets from the Green Ocean website. We reached the Phoenix Bay jetty around 11:15am. We took an auto to go to Ross View Hotels and Resorts, which we booked to spend our last day in Port Blair. We were tired for the day. We had our lunch from the Resort and went for some local shopping at the Aberdeen Bazaar. After our shopping, we took our dinner at the Resort and were busying with packing our bags. Next morning we were supposed to leave this amazing place. We will really miss this place and we will cherish the memory of this beautiful journey forever.

Green Ocean - Neil Island to Port Blair
  • Phoenix Bay Jetty to Ross View Hotel & Resorts: INR: 40/-
  • Green Ocean Ferry Fare from Neil to Port- Blair (Per Person- Royal Class): INR: 1643/-
  • Ross View Hotels and Resorts price: INR : 3190/- (One Night – Breakfast Included)
Day 6 (20th December, 2019): Port Blair to Kolkata

After having our breakfast from the resort, we took one auto to reach the airport. We had our Go Air flight on 11:25am for Kolkata. We boarded our flight and it was the time to say good-bye to the Port Blair. After 2hours 15mins of journey we reached Kolkata Airport. We booked prepaid taxi from Kolkata Airport and reached our home sweet home.

Returning Back to Kolkata

  Some points to be Noted for Andaman Trip:

·        Carry basic medical kit (Although there are few shops in Port Blair but you have to go to the main market).

·       There are few ATMs in Port Blair. The no. of ATMs in Havelock and Neil are very few. It is advisable to carry some cash which will be handy in many places.

·        You will get only Airtel and BSNL network coverage in the Andaman Zone. Also to travel Andaman passport is not needed for the Indians and for the other countries passport is mandatory.

·       To avoid the last mins hustle it is preferable to book all your Ferry tickets, Light and sound show tickets previously.

·       We booked our last day hotel and resort, which was situated near the Airport.

·       Few Port Blair hotels name to stay: Sea View Residency, Driftwood Hotel, Sentinel, Silver Spring, Wild Grass Resort, Shompen, Sinclairs Bay view etc.

·       Few Havelock hotels name to stay: Havelock Island Beach Resort, Kingdom Hotel, SeaShell Resort, Green Imperial, El Dorado Beach Resort, Silver Sand Beach Resort, Dolphin Resort etc.

·       Few Neil hotels name to stay: Summer Sands, Silver Sand Beach Resort, Sarthak Residency, Pearl Park Residency, Amulya Residency, Holiday Inn Beach Resort, Tango Beach Resort etc.

There are few must visit places, I have mentioned earlier, which we were not being able to cover due to the lack of timing, we are going to cover all those places in our next visit. I hope you like my travel blog and this blog will help you to plan your trip to Andaman. I will include all other relevant details of Andaman in my next posts. You can mention any of yours queries right below the comment section .

I will upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for your timing to read this Travel Blog.

Simson Naskar