Andaman Diaries

Posted: April 14, 2018 in Travel

The holiday to Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a once in a lifetime experience. Andaman & Nicobar is full of amazing natural beauty and stunning marine life. I am eager to share my experience and thoughts about this lovely place. My experience may help others to plan a better trip and help them to change their view to look at Andaman island as “Kaala-Pani”.

The Andaman Islands are a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal and a Union Territory of India. There are total 572 islands but inhabited islands are 38. The name of the island has always been ‘Andaman’ and might represent Handuman, the Malay form of Hanuman. The capital of Andaman Island is Port Blair.

 Day-1: Delhi – Port Blair

Our journey begins on 24th February 2018 with a lot of enthusiasm. We started from Delhi to Port Blair by Spice Jet Airways at 10:30 AM. It was the first flight journey for my wife, and she was very thrilled. After 4 hour journey via Kolkata we landed in port Blair at 2:30 PM. Port Blair is the entry point to the Andaman and Nicobar Island. During our flight, we witnessed some beautiful scattered islands. This view is never to be missed. Simply amazing.

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We were welcomed by our Hotel’s Owner, Mr. Nasir from Andaman. After taking rest for a while, we decided to visit the Cellular Jail. It’s best way to see the past chapters of our Indian history. We must know the value of our freedom. You need at least 2-3 hours to view the entire jail. Light and sound show held in evening was stunning.  I was choked after hearing the history of Jail. That’s when I got to know why people call this jail as “Kaala-Pani”.

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After visiting cellular jail, we went for our dinner at Annapurna restaurant (Near Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex) which is one of the best vegetarian restaurant in Port Blair. Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex is the most popular place to hang out in Port Blair.

Day-2: Ross Island

We woke up early and were surprised by the weather condition. Average sunrise timing in Andaman is 5 AM and sunset by 5 PM.

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After the breakfast, we went to Ross Island.  It’s a 10 min boat ride from the jetty to the Island. This Island is the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime, presently it is only a place of old ruined houses. It is very well maintained by the navy and local people. There were lots of ruin buildings on the island that were made by trees + roots + ruin building, in a very interesting form. It’s Heaven for photographer. To see complete island you need to walk a lot, so better to carry water and some snacks. There is small beach which is completely destroyed by 2004 Tsunami and you can see that. We spent nearly 3 hours on the island and took the same boat to return to the jetty.

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After returning from the Ross Island we were ready to go for Neil Island, It is 40 km away from port Blair.

We checked out the hotel at 1:30 PM. The Hotel was very near to Phoenix Bay Jetty (port). Our ship named “Makruzz” was waiting for us. It was our first ship journey. Once the ship got sailing in the sea, we went on the deck. Open sea view was amazing. After 2 hours of a royal  journey, we reached Neil Island.

Our Tourist guide “Vishwajeet” was waiting for us on the jetty. He is such a fantastic human being. Our hotel was not booked in Neil Island and he helped us a lot to search the hotel and he also arranged the scooty for us.

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Neil Island is one of the smaller inhabited islands in Ritchie’s archipelago. The west side of the island has a glorious view of the open seas and setting of the sun. Here, the sandy beach drops into the coastline gradually, allowing picturesque vistas. Neil has three beaches Bharatpur beach, Sitapur beach (Sunrise Point), and the next point is Lakshmanpur beach

In The evening we went to Laxmanpur Beach, it’s also known as sunset point. It is a great spot for shutterbugs. In the evening it was filled with tourists to come to see the sunset.

 Day-3: Neil Island

The next day we woke up early, got ready by 4 am and reached Sitapur beach to see sunrise. This is not as beautiful as other beaches of Andaman. It’s mainly popular for sunrise view and also it’s good for a walk otherwise, there’s nothing that you would miss in case you don’t visit this beach.

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After that we moved to see Natural Bridge where we did lots of photography. Nature has blessed Neil Island with amazing rock formation which has given the island a reason for tourists to visit and remember.

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Our next destination is Bharatpur. The beach is very beautiful. The water has very beautiful shades. There are beautiful fishes & corals inside the water. This beach is very near to Neil Island jetty. You can enjoy shopping in local stalls. Also food, coconut water, etc. This beach offers most of the water activities like jet ski, Glass bottom boat ride etc. We were only chilling at the sea shore here and didn’t take to do water sports activities.

 Day- 4 : Havelock Island

Havelock Island is very small in size with a very less population. Havelock Island provides idyllic resort in the lap of virgin beach and an unpolluted environment. We decided to roam around and explore the whole island so we rented an Activa scooty to roam on the island. We moved to the “Eldorado Resort” which is approx 3 km away from the jetty. Eldorado is a sea facing resort that is completely surrounded by tall coconut trees and green garden. Night bar is in the middle of the premise. Our private cottage was close to the beach. Beach is not at all good for swimming but you can relax on the wooden benches. We took rest in resort till 3.30 PM and then we started for a very romantic and famous Radhanagar Beach.

We at Radhanagar Beach – Perfect place

Radhanagar

Now let me introduce the main attraction here. Radhanagar Beach is one of the largest beaches in India. It is lonely, very clean, silver sand and breathtakingly beautiful. Obviously, this beach gets crowded but don’t worry, it’s huge you will definitely find big empty spaces if you keep going ahead. Radhanagar Beach or Beach number 7 is on the west side of the island and you will need to reach this by a 30-minute scooty ride.

It has been ranked Asia’s 7th most beautiful beach. It was very difficult to stop ourselves from entering in the blue water. We did photography here. After spending a long time, we witnessed the very romantic sunset from the beach. A perfect place for Honeymoon!!! We enjoyed till sunset and then we preferred to go back in resort.

Scuba Diving – Amazing Experience

Scuba Diving was something that I wanted to do and did not want to miss on the experience of diving in Havelock Island. It is by far the best experience I have had.

Diving in Havelock Island is a must do thing and “Eco Divers” is an extremely good dive centre. I booked my Scuba diving from Single window counter for morning slot, the cost of dive varies between INR 4000 – 6000 rupees/person. By 8 O’clock we reported as good students and they give us another quick detail about the program. We changed clothes in the dressing area and got ready for the diving experience. We earlier heard that this is not a great diving site, but it was actually a great location to experience diving in Havelock Island. The weather was clear and water was silent, all set up for the perfect diving experience. Initially, they explained basics i.e and how to breathe underwater and use the apparel. Some signs were also taught, at first we felt some trouble with breathing apparatus as it was really quite difficult to inhale & exhale through mouth but underwater I remembered only one thing that diver will take care of me and my wife.

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Once we got comfortable, we went underwater. It was like WOW experience, The visual was like Wonderland. Eagerly waiting for my return and my inputs about how was the diving experience. We really tried hard not to panic as we and our instructor went deeper and deeper underwater. I was slowly taken into much deeper areas and I saw lots of coral, varied kinds of fishes, don’t know the names but it was nice to be honest and I was ecstatic seeing the fishes swimming around me. The guide who accompanied me underwater pointed out to some of the fishes, trying to explain to me what that is, but you know I was just looking at it without understanding much what was he trying to convey.

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My diving took place for around 50-60 minutes and I was totally satisfied with the experience. Those minutes have been the most beautiful, most peaceful time of my life.

After the dive, we got our Video and Photographs. It’s surely a memory to take back after returning from Andamans. When we came back to resort I got the real meaning of the poetry from the movie “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”.

पिघले नीलम सा बहता ये समां, नीली नीली सी खामोशियाँ ,

न कहीं है ज़मीन न कहीं आसमान, सरसराती हुई टहनियां पट्टियां,

कह रहीं है बस एक तुम हो यहाँ, बस मैं हूँ ,

मेरी सांसें हैं और मेरी धडकनें,ऐसी गहराइयाँ, ऐसी तन्हैयाँ,

और मैं … सिर्फ मैं.

अपने होने पर मुझको यकीन आ गया !

After scuba diving our plan was head to the Elephanta beach for water sport activity.

Elephanta Beach

Boats ply from left of Havelock Island jetty to the elephanta beach. They offered a package costing INR 950 per person that includes motor boat ride and a 10 minute complimentary session of snorkelling. The boats take about 20 minutes to reach Elephanta beach where we have about 3:30-4 hours of time to roam around and have to return back in the same ferry.

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It is better not to expect seeing any elephant here. This beach is usually visited by Indian families. There are a lot of water activities such as snorkel trips, banana boat rides, glass boat rides, etc., because of this beach is usually crowded. The beach has locker facility, some fruit shops, changing rooms and toilets. The beach is picturesque with lot of fallen trees in the background and you can get some excellent photographs.

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We enjoyed wave runner motor sport activities but we did not do snorkeling as we have already done scuba diving it’s like “A drop in the ocean”. We clicked a lot of picture here.

Kalapatthar Beach

The Kalapathar beach is situated on one corner of Havelock Island. The beach gets its name from the surrounding village, which is Kalapathar Village.

I came across this serene place when I was exploring the entire Havelock Island on my rented scooty. It was a long drive and road quality is not good at all. The road was very lonely and hardly we see a single bike or person on the way.  It was about 5 PM, when I had come to the Kalapathar side of the island. The sea opening out on one side and the tall trees by a hill on the other side. The kalapathar (black rocks) that decorate the coastline, silken smooth silver sands and the sheer solitude make this beach a great place to relax. I was very happy that no tourist infrastructure was available here and nature was left as is.

Today we tried few things first time in our life like scuba diving and other sport activities. It was a perfect day for our Honeymoon.

Day 5: Port Blair

The very next day morning, woke up by around 7. It was a humid morning. We walked around the resort and had a quick breakfast by 8 O’clock. Then time comes to leave the resort and ready to travel from Havelock to Port Blair via Green Ocean.

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We reached pot Blair at 2 O’clock in the afternoon and take rest in our hotel. In the evening we roamed Port Blair and found that city is very clean and all the people here follow proper rules. We enjoyed our dinner at “New Lighthouse Restaurant”. A great place for seafood enthusiast, food is great and ambience is OK.

Day-6: Port Blair City Tour

Its last day of our trip. We woke up in late afternoon and start our journey in the evening. We were planned to cover all the major places within port Blair.

Samudrika (Marine Museum)

The museum is filled with specimens and history of Andaman. The museum shows a good collection of shells and corals with good explanations. It’s give us awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment and houses a vast collection of cells, corals and a few species of colorful fishes of the sea around the islands. Very well maintained too.

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Anthropological Museum

The museum is in the city center. The Anthropological Museum is completely focusing on the tribes who lived Andaman. It’s well documented information Museum on Andaman culture and heritage. Maintenance needs to be looked into. Take your time in the museum. It is really worth it.

 Corbyn’s Cove beach

It is very crowded as Corbyn’s Cove beach is just 7 kilometers from the main town. This is a prominent sightseeing place in Port Blair with pleasant and lush green coconut palms. This island has so many beautiful places & beaches so this is okay… not so special. It’s Calm and clean place to spend some quality time with your partner. We had a great lovely time in the evening after spending 5 days in Andaman.

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This was our last evening in Port Blair. Tonight we were planned our Dinner in a resto Bar near Airport. When we returned to our hotel, we were sad. Next morning we were supposed to leave such a beautiful place. We will really miss this place.

 Day-6: Port Blair–Delhi

It was such beautiful trip and such fond memories but every journey must come to an end. We checked out hotel room at 8.30 AM to catch our Indigo flight at 9.50 AM. We were not happy to check-in to the flight even though today is HOLI and we are missing the HOLI celebration but it’s not possible to extend our stay in Andaman.

We said Goodbye to Andaman !!!

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