April 2016 was a fabulous month for me! I travelled to one of the most beautiful places in the world – Andaman and Nicobar Islands. I had put up beautiful images of my trip on my instagram and needless to say, since I have come back to my bay, friends and readers both have been pouring in messages about my trip to Andaman – places to go in Andaman, things to do in Andaman, where to stay in Andaman, etc. So here I am, writing down a quick vacation plan.
6 nights 7 days itinerary – Andamans
Day 1: Fly to Port Blair
You can take a flight either from Chennai or Bangalore, or if you are slightly more adventurous with some extra days to spare, you can also take a cruise from Kolkata or Chennai. Spend the day in PB, roam the local market and get some rest for some of the most scenic days ahead!
Day 2: Port Blair sightseeing
Start off your day with an early morning drive to chidiya tapu. Its a bird park where you can spot exotic birds amongst clear blue-green waters. We packed our breakfast, drove to chidiya tapu and took up a bench on the quiet surroundings and had a very peaceful meal. After that, as the day starts to get hotter, head off to the marine aquarium to witness some of the biggest corals and know about the different tribes of the island. Post that, grab lunch and then head to the cellular jail. People do watch the light and sound show there but I’d suggest give it a miss. If you want to know about the history of the cellular jail, just read up.
Day 3: Ross Island and North Bay Island
Start out early in the morning for North Bay island where you can experience your first (well it was for me) round of snorkelling. It costs about INR 500 per head for 20 mins, but you could try and get a cheaper deal by going and speaking to them (trainers/guards) in private and not letting your boatman know (yes, they take a commission). Other than that there is nothing much to do in North Bay. As souvenirs, you could take home some ‘Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ tees that are sold for INR 100 each. Also, its suggested you have lunch here and then head to Ross Island, which is a huge Island the size of a township.
Once in Ross Island, its a long exploring walk. There are old ruined churches and bathpools and canteen. One of the best spots in Ross Island is at the other end of the entrance. Its a climb down the stairs to a very beautiful white sand beach.
Day 4: Off to Havelock via Neil Island
Start as early as you can as Andaman waters shut by 4pm. Take a ferry from Port Blair till Neil Island (takes about 1:30 hrs), spend the day there in the calm serene beaches and then take a ferry back to Havelock by afternoon. Small advice, try not to carry any alcohol as the ports are pretty strict about it.
Havelock island is best to sit and relax while having beachside dinner or party. Most of the resorts there have private beaches. You can also visit the Radhanagar beach as this is the only one where you can get into the water and play.
Day 5: Water adventure in Elephant Island and return to Port Blair
Leave early next morning to Elephant Island (takes about 40mins) if you want to do go scuba diving, snorkelling, jet ski, sea walk or glass boat. The earlier you go, the better it is. Its one of the most beautiful untouched islands I have seen with water so clear that even if you are chest deep in, you can still see your feet! Not to mention tiny fishes swimming and jelly fishes blobbing. It’s such a beauty!
The boatride to and fro Elephant Island is also extremely breathtaking. You can see the bottom of the sea bed from your boat, and a variety of colours on the surface! Once done, catch the last ferry to Port Blair and get to bed early cuz its going to a long day next!
Day 6: A visit to Baratang Island
Baratang Island is far and so, it’s advisable you leave by 3am in the morning. It takes about 2 hours to reach the checkpoint where you can have a quick breakfast while waiting for the first convoy to leave at 6am. To reach Baratang Island, you cross the tribal area of the Jarwa tribe of Andamans and if you are lucky, you could spot a few of them on the corners of the roads!
Baratang Island frankly is nothing exceptional (according to me atleast). There is a limestone cave for which you need to walk for 2kms. If you are a nature enthusiast and interested in trees, then this place has a variety with name tags on. However, it’s the boatride till the Island which is worth a mention due to the swampy mangroves on both sides. These waters are crocodile infested so do not put your hand in the water. Also carry a lot of water, glucose, scarves and dress up comfortable on this day because the sun is right overhead and the heat can get really harsh.
Day 7: Take the last flight out
You can spend the last day going about the city, exploring the artefacts and may be buying a few bottles of alcohol if you wish (yes, its duty free). However, please check the airline regulations on how much alcohol can one carry.
There is no right time to visit Andaman as it is scorching throughout the year. However, if you are someone who just wants a relaxing exotic vacation then monsoon would be a great time but if you are an adventurist, November to April is your best bet.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a place where you may or may not visit again so its advisable you do as much of the island as possible in one visit. We could not do Little Andaman as we were short of 1-2 days but I have heard from the drivers that it is a beautiful place, although a little too inhabited with crocodiles. However, I would love to go back to visit Little Andaman, a few more tribe inhabited islands across the ocean and some more water adventure sports!
Also, below is the complete album of my trip, including the bloopers! Have fun and take a trip to his beautiful island soon!