Andaman Islands - trip with Friends

Tripoto
9th Feb 2018
Photo of Andaman Islands - trip with Friends by Harini Sridharan

“The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence” – Jules Verne

If there is any place in this world which serves as an example for the quote by Jules Verne, its is the beautiful Andaman Islands tucked away in a peaceful eastern corner of the Indian territory. It has marked its presence as one of the most sought-after tourist locations over the decades. The turquoise seas, clean shores and the lazy sun strike the right balance to provide you with a sanguine vacation.

We chose to arrange all the travel plans ourselves as opposed to booking through a package as it provided us with more flexibility. Our travel plan was from Mysuru, Karnataka.

Certain important points to note:

• Cash is the only form of payment at the Andamans. Digital transactions of any sort are not available. Please carry a lot of cash if you plan on diving and snorkelling.

• Mobile signal is non-existent all throughout the Andamans. BSNL gives paltry signal here and there.

• There is no Wi-Fi or Mobile Data anywhere. Please carry printouts of all your bookings to avoid hassles.

• Milk & Curd are not available that easily there. Dairy lovers BEWARE.

Day 1

Day 1: February 9th – Mysuru to Chennai

We chose to book flight tickets from Chennai to Port Blair due to less cost and convenient timings. KSRTC Airavat bus took us to the CMBT bus stand in Chennai from where we boarded a metro train to the Chennai Airport in Meenambakkam. Our GoAir flight was scheduled at 08:15 hours and we reached the Airport at 07:30 hours. We had a disappointing experience with GoAir employees as they had left the Gate unmanned and we would have missed our flight if not for our athletic capabilities.

Please make sure you keep enough time in hand to reach the airport on time.

Day 2

Day 2: February 10th – Chennai to Port Blair

The flight from Chennai to Port Blair is a mere 2-hour journey. The refreshment provided on-flight were satisfactory.

Breakfast – GoAir flight - Try Eggcellent Sandwich and Assam Tea.

On looking down, we could see a crystal-clear sea and islands dotted here and there; they look like a magnificent painting constituting of all the beautiful colours of Mother Nature. The Port Blair Airport is a small and well-built structure from where you will find a lot of options of travel – Cab, Autorickshaws, rental bikes etc.

We hired a cab to take us to our hotel which was located near ICMR (almost 4 to 5 kms from the airport). Cabs in Andaman are costly so use them as less as possible.

Stay – We had booked a OYO room and the name of the hotel was Value Luxury Hotel. It is still half under construction but the interiors are very clean and the staff are incredibly helpful and cordial.

Hotel Value Luxury (OYO), Port Biair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India by Harini Sridharan

There is a slight issue of electricity in the Andamans so be prepared to bathe in cold water. We rented a two-wheeler from a nearby rental “Karishma Rentals”. The vehicles there aren’t that great and I wouldn’t suggest you go there. There is another shop “Rent-a-bike” in Port Blair who’s vehicles are in perfect condition. I will get to that later.

Lunch - “Sugar & Spice” - a rather costly affair

We rode to the Corbyn Cove beach, the beach is pretty normal with activities such as Jet Skiing and boating but it’s the ride along the coastline which is worth it. A beautiful road lined along the coast enables you to feel the breeze as you twist and turn with the waves crashing against the road.

Dinner - “Lighthouse Restaurant” near Marina Park - Touted to be one of the best restaurants for seafood in Port Blair but I found the fish average and the cost too high. They also take an hour to serve you.

Our Ferry was scheduled at 08:30 the next day but they had preponed it due to some weather issues. They promptly call and inform you well in advance.

Day 3

Day 3: February 11th - Port Blair to Havelock

A range of ferries operate from Port Blair to Havelock. Makruzz, Green ocean and government operated one’s ply at various times. Please book your tickets well in advance.

Port Blair Jetty, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Harini Sridharan

On hiring a cab to Port Blair jetty, we had the good luck to meet an excellent driver who’s contact I will be sharing at the end of this blog. Please feel free to contact him when and if you travel to Port Blair. Be there at the jetty an hour ago your departure time with your ID’s and a printout of your ticket in hand. After a cruise of 90 minutes, we arrived at Havelock. The ferries also contain a fully stocked snack bar.

Havelock is probably the most beautiful place on earth (no exaggerations). Numerous rental services are available near the jetty. After renting two Activas, we took a while searching for a fuel pump and then made our way to our resort.

Stay - “Shangri-Las” - located right next to the ocean.

Shangri-Las Resort, Havelock Island, Andaman & Ni

Photo of Shangri Las, India by Harini Sridharan

The ocean looks way too inviting to not jump in it, which we did after we had a breakfast in a nearby restaurant. Keep in mind, food is costly in Havelock. Make sure you also carry swimming goggles and a snorkelling tube (if possible) to fully appreciate the crystal-clear water of the ocean.

We then made our way to Radha Nagar beach (voted the best beach in Asia by Time in 2004). It’s a vast expanse of sand sheltered by huge trees and dotted with hawkers selling you tit-bits.

Radha Nagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Harini Sridharan

Lunch - Sagorika Restaurant which is tiny shop and serves some jaw-dropping, mind-blowing fish and rice. Also try the fruit chats and ask for star-fruit which is a delicacy.

Sagorika Restaurant, Radha Nagar Beach, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Andaman Islands - trip with Friends by Harini Sridharan

We made our way back to the resort en route booked our scuba diving slot for the next day at the Dolphin Scuba Diving association. There are no bargains and the rates are fixed. It is costlier by 500 for the morning slot (06:00 – 08:00 hours) post which it is 3500. People with glasses please inquire beforehand regarding masks with lenses attached. It is the diving school’s responsibility to arrange one for you.

Snack - “Something Different cafe”. It isn’t on the main road and you’ve to travel about 500m inside to find it. It is a beautiful café with some good music and creative setting. Try the mango pudding there. It is also costly.

Something Different Cafe, Havelock Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Something Different - A Beachside Cafe, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Dinner - The Squid – Seafood restaurant. Try fish fry and squid fry.

Day 4

Day 4: February 12th – Havelock

Get up in the morning to witness a sunrise of a lifetime on Andamans. It isn’t visible everyday though, due to cloudy weather but we were lucky to catch a glimpse of the magnificent sun that morning. Be there at the diving school about an hour before your slot begins to ensure you get enough time to get into your diving suit.

Breakfast – Shangri-Las – average – DO NOT HAVE THE TEA SERVED THERE.

Diving was a surreal experience and your swimming capabilities do not matter much as there are instructors with you at all times. They will also click your pictures and capture videos which will be shared with you after the dive. The marine life in Havelock is breath-taking with colourful clown fishes, corals and sea urchins. 25 minutes underwater will go away in a flash and it will keep you wanting for more. DO NOT MISS SCUBA DIVING IN HAVELOCK. Diving leaves you slightly exhausted so take care.

Nemo Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands by Harini Sridharan

We made our way to Elephant beach after our diving session and experienced a trek of a lifetime. PLEASE WEAR APPROPRIATE FOOTWEAR AS THE FOREST IS DENSE AND THE PATH IS REALLY WILD. As unbelievable as it sounds, we caught a glimpse of a young Komodo dragon, a crab with one-claw and numerous mudskippers. Wildlife enthusiasts do not give this place a miss. IT WILL LEAVE YOU ASTOUDED.

Mudskippers, Elephant Beach, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Elephant Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Snack - Bo-no-va café - a posh affair. Try the vegetable pizza and tower truffle cake there. This place accepts Credit Cards (Phew!).

Dinner - The Golden Spoon. DO NOT MISS BUTTER GARLIC PRAWNS.

Day 5

Day 5: February 13th – Havelock to Port Blair

Breakfast – Green ocean restaurant - average

Our ferry was scheduled at 09:30 hours by Green Ocean. This ride wasn’t that fun due to a very choppy sea and bad weather. People prone to nausea please carry a paper bag and some lemon/orange. You will thank me later!

It started raining cats and dogs at Port Blair as we arrived. These weather fluctuations are considered normal in Andaman, so brace yourself mentally for sudden showers. We rented a bike from “Rent-a bike”. Check them out online. They have vehicles in really good condition.

Rent-a-Bike, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Stay - Ripple resort. We did not have a printout of our voucher as we relied on the existence of internet but alas, there was no signal on our phones. The staff at the reception are not at all cordial so I would gladly give this place a miss if I were you.

Ripple Resort, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Ripple Resort, Chakargaon, Nayagaon, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Lunch – Roadside Chicken Biriyani

We lazed the day whole day off by driving along the coastline again and visiting the Cellular Jail.

Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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

Dinner: Ripple Resort – Cheap and delicious but takes a hell lot of time to arrive

Day 6

Day 6: February 13th – Port Blair

Breakfast: Ripple Resort – Not that great

We drove down to Wandoor beach which is a long drive from Port Blair. The route is scenic and the roads are empty so give this beach a visit.

Wandoor Beach, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Wandoor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Lunch: Tandoor (near the airport) – great food – try Fish masala with some amazing curd

Tandoor Restaurant, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Photo of Tandoor House Restaurant, Andaman Housing Coop Society, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Harini Sridharan

Our flight was scheduled at 15:15 hours and the journey to Bengaluru takes 160 minutes. Upon landing, you shall experience 3G signal again!!

Driver Contact: Amzad - +91 9933274004

Kayaking contact: Tanaz - +91 9933269653

We did not get an opportunity to visit Neil islands, Ross island, Northern Bay island and Chidiyatapu beach. Please also visit these places.

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