In a country that is known for its geographical diversity, Andaman has a lot to contribute to it. Due to its tropical climate, the best time to visit is from November to February. We went from 5th to 14th of February and covered most of the tourist spots.
A brief history of Andaman:-
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of 572 islands, mostly inhabited by several tribes namely, Great Andamanese, Sentilenese, Jarwas, Onges, Great Nicobarese, Shompens. During British rule, the freedom fighters (then called political prisoners) were deported to Andaman and forced to serve their sentences. These groups of people represent the major population of this Union Territory. Tourism is limited to Andaman, Nicobar is out of bounds for tourism activities.
Places to travel:-
Being the capital city of the Union Territory, it has several restaurants, markets, stadium like any other city of India. Places to visit in and around Port Blair are:
What is now a museum was once a colonial prison built by the British Empire. Earlier, it had seven wings, each having three stories. Three wings have been demolished to build a hospital. From the Central tower, the view of the sea is alluring. Do not miss the light and sound show in the evening, showcasing the history of the Jail, voiced by Om Puri and several others.
2.Corbyn’s Cove Beach
On the way from Cellular Jail to Corbyn’s Cove beach, the city view is stunning. This one is close to the city, hence is one of the busiest beaches. We did Jet Ski and watched the sunset. The crowd reduces substantially post sunset as water activities are only allowed till 5:30 PM.
3.North Bay Island
From Port Blair, we took a ferry to reach North Bay. Numerous undersea activities and fascinating aquatic lives define this beach. Underwater activities include Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, watching up corals from Dolphin boats or semi-submarines. We tried the Dolphin boat ride at Rs 1800 per head. It was not worthwhile.
P.S. In our entire trip, this is the only beach where we got the option for Scuba Diving.
From North Bay, we came to Ross Island. During colonial rule, it was the administrative headquarter for the Union Territory. The island has thick forests. Spotted deer and Peacocks could be easily sighted. One could trek to reach the top of the island or take a battery car. On the way up, take a look at all the old buildings with rich history.
5.Jolly Buoy Island
A separate permit had to be made to visit this place. We had to reach Wandoor beach by 8 AM, from where we took a ferry. We were not allowed to carry any plastic material and had to hire water bottles on rent. It is one of the most attractive beaches. Four distinct colours of seawater and silver coloured sand define this beach. The coral reef and marine animals visible from glass bottom boats are out of the world beautiful.
6.New Wandoor Beach
This beach is not much crowded. It has a market, selling souvenirs at a reasonable rate. Clean water, clean seashore, palm trees, fallen trees define this beach.
From here, one could trek to the top of the hill. It is a picture perfect place and has swings, fallen trees, seats cut out of teak wood. The route from Port Blair to this beach is magnificent.
Do not miss the sunset at Chidiya Tapu.
There are several museums like Samudrika Marine Museum, Anthropological Museum, Chatham Sawmill, Fisheries Aquarium if one is interested. Personally, I found them very informative. These places have a fixed entry and exit time, so plan your visit accordingly.
We came to Neil Island on a ferry. This particular island has white sandy beaches, tropical forests. It is a tiny island and hardly takes a day to cover all the places. The famous beaches are:
It is known for the Natural Bridge. Palm trees rise on either side of the road from the jetty to this beach. This beach is one if its kind.
It is less travelled, identified for its crystal seawater and serenity.
It is the most famous beach of Neil Island.
From Neil to Havelock, we took a ferry. We stayed at El Dorado Beach Resort. Havelock is more commercialised compared to other islands in the Union Territory and has several restaurants, beachside resorts. People could rent self-driven scooters, cars.
A renowned Magazine has recognised it as one of the most spectacular beaches in the World. Crystal clear water, white sand, palm trees, surrounding curves, sitting arrangements, everything is perfect about this place.
There is a trekking path from Radhanagar to Elephant Beach. It is a stretch through the forest, takes around two hours to complete. However, we took a speedboat. In Elephant Beach, there were various water sports. The coral ridge was at a depth of one metre. We did snorkelling. It was a great experience.
The following morning, we started for Baratang from Port Blair. The journey was thrilling as we had to drive through the forest inhabited by Jarwas. Vehicles are allowed but only as convoys. Keep looking out, since if you are lucky enough, you might get to see Jarwas.
On reaching Baratang, we went to visit the Limestone Cave. The boat ride was quite an experience as it passed through the mangroves swamp. From the point where the boat stops, one has to walk 2 kilometres to reach the cave.
Nearby tourist destinations include Mayabunder Island and Rangat.
We stayed at Hotel Sea’n’Sand in Mayabunder.
Ross and Smith Islands(or the Twin Islands):-
From Mayabunder, we had to travel to Diglipur. We took a speedboat from Diglipur Jetty. A sand path connects the two Islands. The beach is decorated with sun-beds, swings, changing rooms. It is an excellent place if one loves serenity.
Plan your next trip to Andaman. Get connected with Nature.