Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !!

Tripoto
20th Mar 2015

Radhanagar Beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

First view from the flight

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The sea and the land

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Walking back from Corbyn's Cove beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

North Bay Beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

View from Ross Island

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Got down at Neil Island

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Laxmanpur Beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Boarding the ferry from Neil Island

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Radhanagar beach - the beach with the softest sand

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The light and sound show timings

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The prisoner cells

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The light effects

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

One of those inspiring slogans

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The Cellular Jail entrance

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Sea activities spot in North Bay

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

The scuba diving group we booked

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Rock Formation/Howrah Bridge

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Laxmanpur Beach 2

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Photo of Andamans - The captivating and unforgettable !! by Monika Sharma

5-day itinerary

Day 1 - Reached Port Blair, Cellular Jail(light and sound show), Street side food

Day 2 - Corbyn's Cove Beach(Sunrise), North Bay(Scuba Diving), Ross Island, Chidiya Tapu(if time permits for sunset view)

Day 3 - Cruise to Havelock, Elephant Beach, Radhanagar Beach(Volley Ball and Sunset)

Day 4 - Cruise to Neil Island, Laxmanpur Beach, Rock Formation, Bharatpur Beach(Glass boat), End the day with volley ball/disc throw at Govind Nagar Beach

Day 5 - Radhanagar beach(water play for hours, a second visit is definitely worth it), Kalapatthar beach, Cruise back to Port Blair

Hotels we stayed at:-

  • Port Blair - Hotel Shompen

Decent hotel with adequate breakfast - The rooms sufficed for a couple, were very clean, sophisticated with down lights, cool and the bathroom was perfect. The staffs were very helpful and friendly. After an early morning beach visit, we wanted a good filling breakfast and what we got was much more than that. The complimentary breakfast was a combination of North Indian(paratha, alu chhole), South Indian(Idli, Sambhar, Masala Vada) and Western(toast, butter, juice, cake) items along with beverages. To summarize, it was a well located hotel providing a comfortable stay. Ordering for lunch/dinner might be costly. In that case, it has a veg restaurant, Annapurna, at a walkable distance of <1km.

  • Havelock - Blue Bird Resort

A well maintained, colorful resort with all you need to relax your evenings. Unfortunately we couldn't spare enough time to enjoy every bit of it but sparing a full day just to take a stroll around and inside the resort would really be worth. There is a beach right opposite to it where one can play and roam during evenings, playing, watching sun set and flood the sky with shades of red. The food is a bit expensive but there are many local restaurants within 1 km from the resort.

We had booked the above hotels much in advance(around 3 months earlier) with discount coupons, hence got almost 45% on each which saved us a lot of money we could instead splurge on other more important things during the trip. If planned well, the entire trip's budget can be made to fit your need and boundaries.

Things to remember:-

  1. Government ferries - The bookings for Government ferries start 4 days in advance. Hence unless you have an agent to book them for you, isn't worth trying. The counters are closed on Sundays and open at 9:00 am for the rest of the week which witnesses long queues of tourists and locals 7:30 am onwards. If you think you can join the queue and get the tickets, you must be on the verge of missing one of your cruises which would be starting around that time(Cruises for Neil and Havelock from Port Blair start at 9-9:15 am). Do not take the risk. Instead spend a little more and book private ferries which can be booked much easily and on a shorter notice.
  2. Private Ferries - They aren't as cheap as Government ones but are the only options most of the times. Nevertheless the ships are much cleaner and the crowd primarily comprises of tourists. We visited during the onset of off-season, hence could easily get them. Peak seasons might be tougher and costlier unless you get an agent or travel in a package.
  3. The cab charges in Port Blair are quite high(around 400/- in an SUV for 4 km). Fix the fare before you avail them. Autos are in plenty and reasonable(100/- for 6 km) unless you want a trip back too.
  4. Keep a torch and carry it always in a hand bag, even for a dinner stroll.
  5. Carry an extra pair of clothes when visiting any place.
  6. If travelling in a group, make sure each person carries their respective id cards(Pan card would do). It is mandatory for every ticket booking.
  7. Make sure to apply sun screen every single time you step out of the resort. The sun tan might result into your skin peeling off within a week of the trip.
  8. Best is to carry a decent looking water proof slipper, suffices for the entire trip without any wear outs.
  9. Elephant beach has tiny star fishes in the water and because they are covered under sand, you simply can't avoid stepping on them. They prick into the feet and it pains pulling you out of the water, but nothing serious about it. So beware while going into the water on this beach.
  10. DO NOT wear any rings or necklaces while going into the water. You might not realize even after hours of losing them in water.
  11. Not to mention, do buy a hat and carry it everywhere along with a pair of sunglasses. You need them all the time.
  12. Take multiple pairs of inner garments for the entire trip. Do not depend on washing and reusing them.
  13. In Havelock, if you are looking for hot phulkas, home made decent food in reasonable rates, Swathi restaurant(walkable from Blue Bird Resort) in Govind Nagar is the perfect pick. The average looking place might not match the surrounding elite class of eateries, but it certainly quenches the North Indian food craving in the tired bodies.
  14. The trip to Elephant Beach is a half an hour trekking. You would be persuaded to take a guide(400/- to and fro) along since there are chances of getting lost in the forest. Even we took one, reluctantly, but then there are proper signs and references along the way. To be safe and risk-free, take one. Also mid-way there is water-logged area which often goes on low tide, hence make sure to wear non-slippery footwear. Carry umbrellas since you might encounter sudden rains.

Happy Andamans !! :) I am sure you will bring along those irresistible memories and leave behind a part of your mind and soul amidst those islands.

It was during the flight journey from Chennai to Port Blair, that the aerial view of a place looked so spectacular and unbelievable. It seemed no less than a piece of heaven we were looking at. We were still in the awe of the beauty when the flight landed in no time depriving us of those extraordinary images we could have clicked. But the awesome part was that we were going to land on that same heaven shortly and would be spending the next 5 days exploring it :)
Photo of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
This was the first beach we visited and undoubtedly it was one of those serene, so much cleaner and beautiful beaches. We decided to witness the sunrise over this beach and reached by 6 AM. We were quite before time and hence could play around and click several of the horizon, sea, friends, coconut trees pictures. It was a bit cloudy hence we couldn't see the full fledged sunrise but this was a good start of out Andaman trip. This beach also proved to have a special significance for us because 2 of our friends had been to a beach for the first time in their lives and they were simply amazed at what all a simple sea beach can offer and what can it do to you.
Photo of Corbyns Cove Beach, Carbyns Cove, Port Blair, 744112, India by Monika Sharma
This is one of the 3 beaches at Neil Island. The green and super transparent water that was till date only seen in movies, was lying ahead of you, an ocean brimming with waves, energy, warmth and alluring hue - one of its kind. Even though the sand here was more coarse and gritty making it bit uneasy to move around, we spent sometime sitting quiet and indulging into the scenic view and dreaming.
Photo of Laxmanpur Beach, Village road, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Laxmanpur Beach, Village road, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Laxmanpur Beach, Village road, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Laxmanpur Beach, Village road, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
This island primarily consists of 3 beaches and mere 1-2 natural spots(Howrah bridge also known as Rock formation). Spending a day here was more significant for me because it was my birthday then and enjoying your birthday on a small island, detached from the rest of the world, no network in phone(a good thing in a way), lost amidst nature's never-ending serenity which was only getting better and richer, was no less than an unasked wish granted.
Photo of Neil Island, Neil Island by Monika Sharma
Photo of Neil Island, Neil Island by Monika Sharma
We took a private ferry from Port Blair to North Bay Island(500/- per person). This beach had enchanting view of the neighboring islands and still water hence permitting all kinds of under-sea activities like Snorkeling, Sea Walk and Scuba diving. And yes, even when all 6 of us were great non-swimmers, we happily and successfully completed Scuba diving. We used the "Discover Scuba Diving" for 2800/- per person which includes the training, the diving, a CD with your pictures and video and a certificate. They provide you with the diving suit and lockers to keep back your stuff and don't forget to carry some extra clothes. Each person is offered a dedicated trainer and they are pretty good. I doubted my performance but they instill lot of confidence in you by saying "Ma'am you will forget everything after going down there, on seeing those colorful fishes around you" and yes that was more than true. They take you upto 12 metres deep for 30 minutes. You can get a small bucket of fresh water for 10/- after the dive but believe me you don't need it. The entire experience definitely cannot be put down in words. You got to see it yourself.
Photo of North Bay Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744107, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of North Bay Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744107, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of North Bay Beach, South Andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744107, India by Monika Sharma
A small island inhabited either by numbered coconut trees or deer and other domestic creatures. You take one round on the paved path and you will reach the other end of the island. A historic church, a cemetery and few other sights with peacocks flying over you is what you get here. The shining sun on water amidst bunch of coconut trees is what I couldn't help capturing. One can also easily see groups of colorful fishes(tiger and clown fishes) while stepping out of the ferry.
Photo of Ross Island, Ross Island by Monika Sharma
This must be called the beach with the softest sand. Yes, it might look like just any other virgin beach you have seen in Goa, but it is certainly not the same. Asia's most beautiful and the world's 6th beautiful beach it is and you can know it only when you step on its finest sands, cleanest waters and witness the sun set gracefully behind that infinity which calls you with every rising wave. Every beach is special in its own way but this can be addressed as the epitome of opulence and that untouched charm.
Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Radhanagar Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
The first look at the jail's entrance gave me goosebumps. We were actually entering the infamous and well-known KaalaPaani. The valor, sacrifice, eagerness to die for the motherland and courage of our freedom fighters seemed to peep from each of those cells there. The front ground has a V shaped stretch of the real prison cells symmetrically built and boasting of the architectural beauty. There are 2 timings for the light and sound show in the evening. One at 6:15 pm and the second one at 7:15 pm(for details, see the attached photos). The entire show takes you long back in time and narration by Om Puri leaves a mark. Knowing the hardships faced by Veer Savarkar(Port Blair airport names after him) revive the patriotic hero in you. Its the time when you realize our country's painful and torturous past. It definitely is a must visit on one of the evenings and the park opposite to the Cellular Jail can be used to take a stroll later. The park has statues of few of the freedom fighters and is surrounded by small vendors for tea, sun-hats, jhaalmuri.
Photo of Andaman Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Andaman Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Andaman Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Andaman Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
Photo of Andaman Cellular Jail, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India by Monika Sharma
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This is so helpful!
Sun 02 19 17, 12:39 · Reply · Report