A Journey of firsts - Andaman 

Tripoto
3rd Nov 2018
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Day 1

We landed in Port Blair by 11 am, it was quite hot, but not as humid as Goa or Chennai. We took a pre paid taxi from the airport straight to our home stay, Ocean Terrace (costed us only 150 bucks!). This place has got a lovely view of the Haddo port. The rooms were well maintained and the staff was super friendly. They even helped us with planning our activities for the day in Port Blair.

View of the Haddo Port from Ocean Terrace

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Arun Cherian

An Ocean Telescope

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Arun Cherian

After having a quick lunch, we set out to explore Port Blair. There was a Naval Marine Museum near by. They have multiple rooms with marine life, corals, shells and other exhibits indigenous to the Andamans.

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Lion fish in the aquarium

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Sea urchin

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Blue coral on display

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Our next stop was the Cellular Jail aka Kalapani. Kalapani was used by the British to exile political prisoners. I would advise you to get a guide along (costs around 200) while inside the jail. The entry to the jail closes by 4 pm, so plan accordingly.

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Day 2

Our next destination was Havelock Islands, which is a 2 hour journey by ferry from Port Blair.

To reach Havelock from Port Blair, you can either book a ticket on a private ferry Green Ocean / Makruzz or get a ticket on the government ferry which is much cheaper (less than half of the private ones!). The catch here is that the government ferry tickets open for sale only 4 days prior to the journey and need to be purchased directly from the counters.

Since we were not too confident about the Government ferry, we had pre booked our tickets on the private ferry Green Ocean. The waters are quite calm and you need not worry about being sea sick at all!

Green Ocean 1, at Haddo Port

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

Havelock bound

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

Blue waters :)

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

We reached Havelock by 3pm. The blue-green waters that welcome you is quite an enthralling sight.

View from the Havelock Jetty

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Welcome :)

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

The best way to to commute within the island is to hire a scooter. There are quite a few shops right at the Jetty which offer scooters on hire. We got our's from Parmita Travels, right next to the Tourist information center. The rates range from 350 to 500 a day.

Our abode for the night was The Flying Elephant, which is close to Kalapathar beach. The property is located amidst lush greenery and paddy fields. You almost get an impression of a tropical jungle surrounding.

Huts amidst arica trees

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Small bridge that leads to the Individual huts

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Close up of a thatched hut

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

View of the Flying Elephant from outside

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Day 3

We got up quite early (by 4:30 am) and went to Kalapathar beach for the sunrise. We lazed around most of the day and soaked up the peace and calm of the Andamans.

Break of dawn at Kalapathar

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

A tree that was washed ashore at Kalapathar

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Day 4

Day 4 was something we all waited for, Scuba! We had booked the 8 am slot with Ocean Tribe. You are required to fill in a form stating that you are physically fit and devoid of any health conditions. Post this, you will be handed over the wet suits. Getting into these tight wet suits is not super simple, but the trick is to get both your arms out simultaneously!

There is a training of around 20 minutes where you are taught the basic signals of diving and how to breathe under water. I found the regulator a bit uncomfortable in my mouth, but once under water you will forget about everything else! You are tethered to an instructor always and knowing how to swim is not a pre requisite!

Most of the operators take you to the Nemo Reef, where you can spot the clown fish. There is a jeep wreck too at this site. The diver taking photos will force you to pose a lot and this can be annoying sometimes! The dive lasts around 45 minutes.

Not so lose wet suits!

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

Found you, Nemo!

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Day 5

One of the beaches we wanted to visit was the Elephant beach. You can get here either by boat or by trekking 2 kms through a jungle. The entry to the trek closes by 12:30pm so make sure you reach on time. The trek can be a bit taxing on the body, but the terrain, views, greenery and the beautiful beach at the end of it makes this a must do!

Trail to Elephant beach

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian
Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Arun Cherian

A beach you shouldn't miss while in Havelock, is Radhanagar. It was voted one of South Asia's best beaches by the Times Magazine and that is no exaggeration! Really clean beach with crystal clear waters! Ideal for swimming as well.

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Crab made sand bubbles at Radhanagar beach

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

We had managed to get the tickets on the government ferry for the journey back to Port Blair. The counter opens by 9 am, but it will take almost an hour of standing in the queue to get the tickets, that too if you are lucky! A better option would be to ask your hotel or travel agent to get this done for you by paying them a small commission.

Government ferry - North Passage approaching Havelock jetty

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

The government ferry is not as bad as it sounds. It is the lifeline for the locals to travel in and out of the island. The boat was on time and the seats are quite comfortable as well.

Day 6

We had planned a trip to Baratang island to visit the Limestone caves and mud volcano. But more than the destination itself, the drive through the reserve forest of the Jarawas was what I was looking forward to. The journey from Port Blair starts by 2:30 am to reach the forest gates on time. Vehicles are allowed inside only as convoys and at stipulated time slots. Photography while inside the reserve is strictly prohibited!

Getting a glimpse of the Jarawas was an experience unparalleled. Seeing them clothed in shorts and t-shirts, holding their bows and arrows was quite a mismatching sight for me. But it shows how their primitive way of life is slowly adapting to that of modern man.

Ferry - the only way to travel from South to Middle Andaman

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Arun Cherian

Mangrove forests on the way to the limestone caves

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Arun Cherian
Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Arun Cherian

To get to the limestone caves, you have to take a speed boat from the Baratang jetty. Since we had booked a day trip from experience andamans, everything was taken care of. Try to be one of the first groups entering the cave, as it can get very crowded later on!

Walk to the Limestone Caves

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

Inside the cave

Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian
Photo of A Journey of firsts - Andaman by Arun Cherian

We came back to our rooms quite exhausted, but the Baratang trip is one experience you definitely should not miss!

This trip was indeed a Journey of firsts for me. Ferry ride through the ocean, spotting the flying fish, turquoise waters, scuba diving (major tick-off in my bucket list), glimpse of the Jarawas and many more. We spent almost 7 days in the Andamans and still could not cover the whole island. I will definitely go back to explore the northern part of the island!

P.S : It get's dark by around 5pm in the Andamans. So make sure you account for this while planning your day!

Cost per person (went as a group of 5 friends):

Round trip flight from Chennai - 14,000

Stay - 11,000

Scuba - 5000

Baratang trip - 2000

Food & Misc. : 8000

1 Comment(s)
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Wow!! Reading this makes me want to go there! :D
Wed 11 14 18, 21:01 · Reply · Report