The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands

11th Mar 2017

We, a group of five college students took a flight from Hyderabad to Port Blair. We had booked hotel rooms and ferries in advance as we were told that it was peak time and might be difficult to book ferries from one island to other after arriving there.

Photo of The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands 1/1 by Jatin Jhalani
The view from the flight
Day 1

We reached our hotel in the afternoon. We had our lunch at Ananda restaurant which is right in front of the police station. The food quality and the price is decent here. Apart from this, there are plenty of good restaurants in the Aberdeen bazaar.

After lunch, we went to Corbyns Cove beach. It was very crowded. You could do Jet-ski here, and the coconut water was also delicious. We sat on the beach for sometime and then, left for the light and sound show at Cellular Jail(also, known as Kala Pani).

Corbyns Cove Beach, Port Blair

Photo of Corbyn's Cove Beach, Carbyns Cove, Port Blair, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

Our agent arranged for our tickets in advance otherwise, we would have to stand in a long queue. It is very difficult to get the tickets on your own and there are fixed timings for the show. Hence, it is wise to book your tickets in advance. The light and sound show was about the struggle of the inmates of the Cellular Jail, mainly focusing on Veer Savarkar. It's worth to go there once, although you might find it too long to endure.

You can also visit the Cellular Jail in the afternoon. We missed the visit as the ticket counter closes at 4:00 pm.

Light and sound show at Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Photo of Cellular Jail - National Memorial, Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

After the light and sound show, we returned to our rooms for a good night sleep.

Day 2

We left for Havelock Island early in the morning at around 6 am. We took government ferry, in which you could go to the top and enjoy the magnificent view of the ocean and the islands.

There are only three ways at Havelock. One leads to the port, the second end goes to the Radhanagar beach and the last one to the Kala Pathar beach. This island was the best part of the trip - great food, water sports, trekking, clear skies, excellent beaches and what not.


We went to the Shivaay restaurant(near the market area) for the breakfast on the first day and let me tell you, it was so delicious that each day, we tried going some other place to eat and every time we ended up at Shivaay. It is a very small place with rustic seating arrangement but the food supersedes all of its flaws. The mango porridge is a must to eat here.

This beach is ranked as the best beach in Asia and it does live up to the expectations. The water is very clear here. It is about 8 km from the centre of the island. We enjoyed swimming under the sun, which later gave us sunburns. Outside the beach, you will find fruit stalls. Star fruit and the wild orange were the new fruits we tasted here.

Sunset at Radhanagar Beach

Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

We went to the beach second time early morning on bike. The dense forests surrounding the route and the sun rise on the beach is mesmerizing.

Day 3

How to reach?

There are two ways to reach this beach, you can go by a speed boat from the port or you can trek through the forest to reach the beach as we did - saves money and you can enjoy trekking as well. If you hire a guide for the trek, it will cost you around 300 rupees for the group. The starting point of the trek lies on the same road which leads to Radhanagar beach.

Things to do

You can see groups of small fish just as you step into the water. It's a good place to enjoy snorkelling. We saw live corals and many fish while snorkelling. It's good if you have a snorkelling kit of your own while going to Andaman. Other activities here are jet-ski, glass boat ride, etc.

Snorkeling at Elephant Beach

Photo of The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands by Jatin Jhalani

Scuba Diving

There are many scuba centres here and it is very difficult to find the best one. They will tell you that they will take you to 7 m depth but I didn't quite feel it. You should not have high expectations unless you have a special customized scuba experience because the regular one is very normal. It cost us Rs 2000 per person, not too much for this one time experience.

Scuba diving at Havelock Island

Photo of The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands by Jatin Jhalani

Other than mainstream places, we hired bikes on rent and went for road trips in night. On one side of the road lies the forests and the large trees and on the other side lies the sea. Its an exhilarating experience and you will definitely feel the enormous power of nature here. Also, lie on the beach at night and gaze at the sky and you will see the whole galaxy. I have never seen this multitude of stars elsewhere.

The moon, ocean and the forest, Havelock Island

Photo of The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands by Jatin Jhalani
Day 4

After visiting Radhanagar beach and Elephant beach, we didn't find this beach very amusing. One thing we observed here was different shades of water with very clear demarcation. This beach was also the most peaceful of all as the number of people as compared to other beaches were less.

Day 5

We reached Neil Island by Makruzz which is expensive than government ferry and from the inside, it is very similar to an aeroplane in terms of seats, air hostess.

Makruzz from Havelock to Neil Island

Photo of Neil Island, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

This island is not as developed and commercialized as Havelock. We stayed in cottage here. We faced difficulty in finding decent food here but somehow managed with the limited options available.

Our stay at Neil Island

Photo of The last college trip - Andaman & Nicobar Islands by Jatin Jhalani

We had already visited the beaches so we just went there just to relax. We also celebrated Holi here. I never thought that Holi celebration can be this fun in Andaman. Everyone plays Holi here with full joy and I found the best gulal to play Holi here.

Celebrating Holi at Bharatnagar Beach

Photo of Bharatpur Beach, Neil Island, Bharatpur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

This is a natural bridge and no one knows how it formed. We hired a guide here for Rs 50 per person and he showed us many live corals which survived after the Tsunami.

Day 6

I will describe the whole experience in brief. We left at around 2 am in the night from Port Blair. This island comes under the protected area for the adivasi tribe "Jarawas". There are strict rules which have to be followed while going through the forest so as not to temper their habitat. The gate to enter this area opens at fixed timings, no photography, and stopping the car in between is a punishable offence. Cars move in convoy here. We encountered a group of Jarawa children on our way back to Port Blair.

After the forest, you have to catch a ferry to reach the island. From the island, we took a speed boat to visit the limestone caves. The caves themselves are not so interesting but on the way, boat goes through the mangroves which was a new experience for us.

Photo of Baratang Island, North and Middle Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Jatin Jhalani

Some tips while planning a trip to Andaman -

1. You will be told by many to book agent in advance. As per my experience, you can manage it on your own

2. Please take snorkeling kit with you if you want to see different aquatic species on your own.

3. Scuba diving in Andaman is over-rated. Do it but make sure that you are not cheated.

4. The local people and the police are very helpful and soft spoken. So, don't be afraid of them.

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