It was while travelling in Japan, Okinawa, a fellow back packer mentioned that one of the most beautiful islands are in my backyard the Andamans.
Indeed it is... on a recent trip to Andamans... the off season period... i explored the beauty and innocence of a serene and natural island called Neil. Flying to Port Blair from Chennai took me 1 hour and 45 minutes... and then a ferry ride to Neil for 2 hours. Not a great ride, but for a backpacker who is game for anything it was a dream ride. Rusty and shabby boat, but the scenes from the deck would make one forget where you are. Watching the flying fishes all across the ocean, passing by Havelock and its beaches i finally reached Neil to be received by my taxi and escorted to my hotel.
Tango beach resort is as simple as it can get... basic, clean and a view of the ocean. No Air conditioners but hey! if i could sleep in the lullaby of the ocean waves who needs air conditioning. At a cost of 800/night this is the best you can get. The staff is kind and always at your service. Step out of your room into the ocean and if you have your own snorkels.. the ocean is your time pass for the entire morning till the tide goes back...
Cycles can be hired at Rs. 70 and bikes at Rs. 300. The island is 12 kms by 7 kms and you can cycle all around. Trekking up a mountain top to find a Bengali couple in their 70's their vegetable farming will remain in my heart forever. At the end of a free tour of their farm, the lady of the house prepared the most delicious meal with home grown vegetables. That was love unconditionally....:)
I love my travels during the off seasons. It gives me great rates, personalized attention and no hustle and bustle. Driving though a thick dense forest for about 10 minutes ( was petrified when i was in the deep alone) it opened to one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. ... The forest was a pleasant surprise with yellow and orange thrushes for company. A swim in the ocean when the skies open up is the most blissful feeling for a nature lover like me
A paradiso for scuba divers and snorkelers. If you have your own snorkeling gears you can do it on your own... Almost every beach is a snorkeling spot. There are many pleasant surprises around the island... like a water falls that cascades into the ocean on Sitapur beach...plenty of mangroves... and fresh vegetable farming.
Some of the tips on your travel... If you are a foreigner you need to get Permit at the airport.. only after this can you get a ticket on the ferry to Neil or Havelock. The services around the place was really cheap. 150 for a taxi ride from the ferry point to the hotel.
It was charming to see gas station which is just a shop with a few cans of diesel and petrol. People are happier and relaxed. Ofcourse with such little exposure to the man made madness of material things and advertisement... here lies true content....:)