Located in the midst of the Bay of Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the 8 Union Territories of India. Its idyllic beaches, picturesque beauty and crystal-clear water make it a heavenly bliss for those looking to spend some time with themselves or their loved ones.
Apart from the mesmerizing nature-trails, this archipelago is known for its dark history. In this blog, I have shared my experience in Andaman, and things you should keep in mind when visiting Andaman.
First of all, a lot of people believe they can visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a part of their tour. So, here is the clarity that you can only visit the Andaman Islands. WHY YOU CAN’T VISIT NICOBAR ISLANDS? Nicobar is a motherland to two tribal communities, which are Nicobarese and Shompen, which live in their world, and do not want any outside interference in their lifestyle, culture and even land. Therefore, common people and tourists can’t visit Nicobar without special permission.
The Andaman Islands are divided into three parts, North Andaman, Middle Andaman and South Andaman. I visited South Andaman which is the most popular destination among the three.
MY EXPERIENCE IN ANDAMAN
I have always been curious to visit a beach destination, and in 2019, I couldn’t find any place better than Andaman to satisfy my wanderlust. So, it was March 2019 when I had my mid-semester break and finally packed my bags to visit the Islands along with my family.
Also Read: Mental Health: Should We Just Talk About It?
We left our home in the morning and reached IGI Airport, Delhi and from there we boarded a flight which landed at Port Blair—the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Although I have travelled through air earlier too, every time I start my journey, the noise and vibrations in my ears just annoys me a lot. However, the journey was anyway amazing — that scenic beauty of clouds, water-bodies and nature from a height was unmatchable. You can also travel Andaman through water, but it would require 3-4 days. This is why we decided to go by air and spend that extra time exploring the islands.
So, as we landed at Port Blair after a 4-hour long journey, I realized that my mobile data stopped working. I had read on the internet that Andaman doesn’t have good network connectivity and it turned out true! It was scorching hot outside and for a moment I felt like why I came here. From the airport, our driver took us to a nearby hotel. After resting for a while, we started with our tour:
DAY 1 IN ANDAMAN: PORT BLAIR
It was already afternoon when we left the hotel to visit nearby places. The very first place where we were taken by our guide was Cellular Jail. Also known as ‘Kala Paani’, Cellular jail has a dark history. It is the place where political prisoners were sent on exile by the Britishers. We went on to explore the huge architecture, visiting every corner of the jail and read a bit about it.
After a quick visit, we went to Corbyn’s beach to spend some time until we could go back to cellular jail for light and sound show. The beach is ideal for swimming but since we were short of time, we just had coconut water and some time out with nature. As we drove back to cellular jail for light and sound show, we found long queues outside, waiting for it to begin.
On entering the jail again, the set-up was completely different from what it looked during the day. We were made to sit on chairs in open and the show began. It was a 60-minute long show and trust me, I couldn’t take my eyes off it for even a minute. It showed the gloomy history of the jail through lights and sounds and it was way beyond my expectation. I had goosebumps watching how brutally our fighters were tortured. The ticket just cost Rs. 200 per person, which was way lesser than the value it offered. Just go for it without a second thought whenever you visit Andaman.
After the show, we went back to the hotel and had dinner in a nearby hotel.
DAY 2 IN ANDAMAN: EXPLORE! EXPLORE! EXPLORE!
We started our second day travelling to North Bay Island by a motor-boat. And yes, it is the same Island that you see on the back of a 20-rupee note. As we reached there, we went ahead with Scooba diving and experiencing semi-submarine. Andaman is the best place in India where you can explore marine life through water-sports activities.
After North Bay, we were taken to Ross Island. Also known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Dweep, the Ross Island was earlier used as the administrative headquarters for British settlements. Today it only has the ruins of those buildings and an old church. However, the kind of vibe you get there is unmatchable. We found a lot of deers and peacocks, rabbits and birds, who were so close to us. It was a great day wandering on the island, being too close to nature. After Ross, we went back to the hotel and had dinner in a restaurant where we finally found North Indian cuisine. (In Andaman, you’ll find sea-food at every corner and it is a bit difficult to find a good vegetarian restaurant.)
DAY 3 IN ANDAMAN: HAVELOCK ISLAND
Visiting Andamans Islands and returning without visiting Havelock Island? Your tour can’t be complete! Trust me, it is that amazing! So, we had to reach Havelock Island from Port Blair, which is around 70 km. We covered the distance by a ferry in about 2 hours. The experience of travelling on a cruise was new to me. We were in the general coach, sitting in AC and watching M.S. DHONI: THE UNTOLD STORY. In between, we went on to the deck to experience the crystal-clear sea. Adding to the fun, there was a dance party going on the deck, with loud music, we too made some dance moves and enjoyed some vegetable fritters. As we reached havelock, we made a stay at a resort. It was my first stay in a resort and much better than I imagined.
On Havelock Island, Radha Nagar Beach is a major attraction.
As we reached the Radha Nagar Beach, it appeared to be a giant beach, and truly it was. It is hailed as Asia’s best and World’s seventh-best beach. And the kind of experience we had there, made us believe it without any second thought. The crystal-clear water and thrilling waves, just made us subsume into it. It has been our most adventurous experience by now. We sat and let our clothes, had some snacks and returned to the resort to fill our tummies and relax after a thrilling day.
DAY 4 IN ANDAMAN: NEIL ISLAND
After Havelock, the next scheduled place was Neil Island, which was again to be travelled by a cruise. But this time, the ride wasn’t as amazing as the one to Havelock. This is because it delayed by around 4-5 hours as the cruise had some technical glitch and we had to wait on the port before we could board it. Anyway, somehow managed to reach Neil. We were left with just half a day to explore the Island.
We went on to Laxmanpur Beach no. 2 to see the natural bridge formation. The pathway to reach the same was a bit tricky and hard as it had rocks and stones. But it was filled with water and beautiful micro-sized fishes and other aquatic species that were swiped through the waves and settled on the rocky surface, waiting for the waves to take them along. As the name suggests, the bridge, which is its major attraction is made up of two natural, living-corals. It is an incredible beach and bridge!
Afterwards, we went to Sun Set Beach, is the best place to witness miraculous sunrise and sunset. And truly it was! The white sand, coconut trees and charming sunset made our evening!
Ahh! And how do I forget how much we craved for networks. It wasn’t just the ‘no internet’, but also ‘call drops’ that made us miss Delhi life!
DAY 5 IN ANDAMAN: NEIL TO PORT BLAIR
In the early morning, we visited Bharatpur Beach which is located on Neil Island. The beach is ideal for water-sports activities and if you haven’t done it elsewhere, you must not miss visiting! On Bharatpur beach, we went ahead with snorkelling and jet skiing. That 2-minute jet-skiing gave me a thrilling experience which I will continue to cherish forever.
After that, we went to ‘Sagarika’ a government recognised shop to buy some crafts made out of shells. You must be wondering why we didn’t bring shells directly from the beaches, so it is because it wasn’t legal to.
From Neil, we took a ferry and reached Port Blair again as we had to our flight for Delhi, scheduled for the next day. We had some rest in the same hotel, where we stayed on the first two days. In the evening, we climbed a hill and experienced an evening walk at Jogger’s Park, which is located on a height from where we could see the beauty of the airport and the entire city!
The next morning, we reached the airport and came back to Delhi! And once again that annoying noise and vibration in my ear disrupted my pleasant aeroplane journey.
Andaman Island is a bliss for all kinds of travellers and this archipelago has a lot to offer everyone! You may feel a bit upset about the lack of internet or connectivity (Although 4G is all set to reach Andaman). But remember, if you truly wish to connect to yourself, and spend some quality time with your loved ones, Andaman should be your next travel destination!
Please comment down your experience in Andaman Island you’ve been there or if you feel like going? Also, let me know if you have any questions related to the place.