The Andaman Islands are situated in the Bay of Bengal, these are approximately 1600 Kms from mainland India. These islands are clean and still not very touristy places as visiting these is not very cheap. These islands has many places to see but in 7-8 days not possible to see everything, I have compiled a list of Andaman island’s must see places.
The connectivity between islands is an issue but there are some must see places in Andaman and one should definitely visit these.There is no direct flight from Delhi to Andaman (Port Blair). I traveled from Delhi to Chennai, stayed overnight there and next morning took my Chennai to Port Blair flight. There is only one airport in Port Blair on the Andaman Islands and it is managed by Indian Navy. It is used for commercial airlines as well as by Indian Navy. Port Blair is the capital of Andaman Islands and is the biggest city of this Island cluster.
I reached Port Blair’s Vir Savarkar Airport on time and transferred to my hotel. It was at the seafront and the sea was visible from big windows. My room was on the first floor and I can see the vast expanse of the blue sea from my bed 🙂
I booked this packaged tour on single sharing as traveling alone.
There was nothing to do on that day so, I decided to explore the city instead of sitting in my room relaxing. I got an auto outside my hotel and started exploring Andaman island’s must see places. Port Blaire is small and people are friendly, there was not much traffic on the road.
Here is my list of Andaman island’s must see places list and things to do when visiting these places –
It was my first stop, this is one of the iconic structure of Islands and has great importance in India’s freedom struggle. Many stalwarts freedom fighters were imprisoned here and It was known as “Kala Pani” in those days. If someone imprisoned there then he can’t break the jail and run from the Islands. It was considered as a most dreaded prison, where inmates were kept in most inhuman conditions. They were lodged in cells after sunset till sunrise and there was no toilet access for them. If in case they urinate in the cell then they were punished with lashes. In those days people considered if a prison is sent here then coming back of his coming alive were less than 1%.
It’s a three-story prison constructed by Britishers in 1906 The building had seven wings, at the center of these is a tower used by guards to keep watch on the inmates. Its shape was like the spokes of a bicycle wheel based on Jeremy Bentham’s idea of the Panopticon. A large bell in watch tower was kept to raise an alarm if any inmate tried to escape. The cells in this prison have no marking or noting about who was lodged there except for Vir Savarkar’s cell, which has double metal doors and it’s at the end of the corridor. It was somewhat depressing to hear these stories but it is a national memorial. Nowadays only one wing is opened for tourists.
After visiting the cells, corridors and watch tower, I climbed on the roof of the prison. From the roof, I can see the vast expanse of sea was, which looked black during the night and that’s how the name “Kala Pani” came. At distance the Ross Island was visible.
Every evening there is a Sound and Light Show in Jail’s compound after sunset. In this show, they give a vivid experience of jail’s history, it’s strong association with the freedom fighters and their struggle for independence. It is closed on Monday and Public Holidays.
I had taken a full day tour of 3 island, which includes Viper Island, North Bay, and Ross Island.
Ross Island is closest from Port Blair and it is maintained by the Navy. There are some ruins on this island because it was the first Island inhabited by Britishers. There are Bunkers from second world war, Bakery, ruins of water treatment plant, food grains shop, ruins of Church, Ballroom and some other government buildings from the British era. There were deer and peacocks also on the island. In terms of historical importance, its Andaman island’s must see places.
Third Island was North Bay, it is a more touristy place with food shacks and stalls selling souvenirs etc. There were corals around the island so, the ship could not go beyond a point. It was anchored away from shore due to corals and from here they took us on boats to island. As there were corals so I took a Glass boats to see the colorful fishes and corals. Snorkeling and scuba diving facilities are also available here.
It is situated on a small island. The island is connected with Port Blair by a bridge over a stretch of sea-water. It is also the major mainland – Island harbor in Andaman Island. Before independence of India, this Saw Mill at Chatham was one of the biggest in Asia. It is the oldest mill in the region. First, we went to the museum, which is in the beginning of mill compound.
The mill is strategically located at jetty and in working condition.
It is situated opposite to Andaman Teal House, the museum is meant to create awareness on various aspects of the oceanic environment. Anthropological Museum in it depicts the life of the Paleolithic Islanders. It also houses the models of the aborigines and their tools. In this museum, they have kept corals, sea shells and most of the things available in and around the Andaman Islands.
This is the biggest museum in Port Blair and under control of Anthropological Survey of India. The main focus of the museum is on ethnic tribes of Great Andaman and the Andaman Islands. They have shown the lifestyle of tribes of the Onges, Great Andamanese, Sentinelese and Jarawas. In another section, they have displayed the lifestyle of Nicobarese, Mongoloid tribes, and Shompens.
Out of all these tribes of Andaman Islands and Nicobar, Jarawas are considered the most primitive tribal communities in the world today.
There is aquarium and fish museum but there was not much to see.Water Sports Complex
The Andaman water sports complex is a good option for water sports lovers. Water is clear and temperature of the water was perfect. The water temperature around Andaman Island remains around 26-28 degrees.Barathang Island Day Tour
I had taken a full day excursion to Barathang island because of travel time. I started around 4.00 am as the route is Barathang is through restricted forest area. Our vehicle stopped at the check post, there was a long queue as they open the gate for a short span of time. Entry of vehicles to the forest is allowed at a fixed time and all cars/buses enter at that time. It is the restricted forest area protected for Jarawas. Vehicles move in convoy and there a police jeep at beginning & end of the convoy.
Photography is strictly prohibited in the forest area and cars/vehicles can not stop, doing so is a punishable offense. The security is strong and tourists were instructed beforehand not to take pictures.
After crossing forest, I moved to a boat jetty and taken a boat to Barathang. The boat took us from the tidal swamp forests and littoral forests by the coast. I got down at makeshift jetty and from here I walked towards the limestone caves with the guide. This trip is meant for those who enjoy experiencing the wild in its raw form.
While we were on our way back from Barathang through the forest, a young Jarawa couple came in front of our car and tried to stop us. They were asking in sign language to give something to eat but as authorities are very strict, so our driver moved the car very smartly and drove past. The access to Island is closed on Monday.
Chidiya Tapu Picnic
During my stay in Port Blair, I met a big family and we went together to Chidiya Tapu for a picnic and enjoyed a lot. The authorities have put warning boards and message to be aware of crocodiles. The sea water was so clear and calm that we could not stop ourselves and enjoyed swimming and floating in the water. Chidiya Tapu is approx 20 Km from Port Blair.
This is Andaman island’s must see places. I went to Havelock Island for two nights. It is about 54 kilometers northeast of Port Blair. My tickets were booked in advance and I took a catamaran from Port Blair to Havelock. It was a smooth ride with no trouble. There was a small snack tall in it.
The moment I came out from the catamaran and looked around, I got mesmerized by the beautiful view. Havelock is a hidden jewel. Its clear waters are rated among the best in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving. The beaches have approx 40 meters visibility underwater. This is the best for exploring colorful coral reefs and multi-color fishes.
I took a boat and we went to Elephant Beach, where I had done SCUBA diving followed by snorkeling in the guidance of PADI experts. It was an excellent experience.
The beaches on Havelock has been given numbers, I stayed on beach number 5. The best beach is number 7 and it is popularly known as Radhanagar beach. It is a clean beach with white sand, and good sea waves make it a hot spot of Havelock. It is awarded as the ‘Asia’s best beach’ by TIME Magazine.
I traveled by a catamaran but nowadays sea planes are also operational if the weather is ok.
If you are planning a backpacking trip then read this ultimate guide for Havelock Island.
Also read Travel tips for India.
Food -The food in Port Blair and Havelock has Bengali influence, though South and North Indian food is also available. There are plenty of options for Seafood and nonvegetarian. There are some good vegetarian restaurants also like Anand Bhawan.
Weather – All the Andaman Islands are small and the sea is always within few hundred meters or a maximum couple of km so the weather was very humid during the end of winter months. Winter is the best time to visit. Do not go during monsoon season, it’s in the east so monsoon arrives here sometime around the end of April or beginning of May and it last till September.
Taxi is recommended if distance is more than 20 Km.Boats and buses are available for travel between Islands but these run on fixed time and sometimes crowded. Otherwise, taxis are available but these are expensive.
Jolly Bouy Island (It is open for tourists for 6 months and remain closed on Monday) Choose between this or North Bay Island.
Neil Island is a good place to spend a couple of days relaxing on the beach.
Sea walk and Coral safaris in semi-submarine (For children it is the best option) are also available.
If one can add 4 days then it is worth visiting Ross and Smith Island, Saddle Peak Via Diglipur. From December to March turtle nest in these areas.
Must do activities –
Snorkling, Scuba diving, Swimming with Elephant, Glass bottom boat ride, Undersea walking In Havlock Island as this island is surrounded by lot of corals and colorful fishes.