Every new place brings changes in our perspective about life in one way or the other. We are evolving with each new destinations. We won’t be the same always, before and after a journey. We feel more refreshed, our opinions change and we turn more hopeful. This is the main reason I believe we should travel more often. My visit to the Andaman Islands was no different. It was a great experience. The seven-day journey through the Andaman Islands taught me tonnes of new things. I met people whose culture and lifestyle are entirely different from mine though we are in the same country. Nature is pretty different here, it is amazing. Moreover, this journey was an eyeopener for me to look deep into how pollution is impacting the marine life and need of protecting those amazing lives in the sea. The memories of my first scuba diving, the rain in Ross and Smith Island, the ship journey in the rough sea, the 350 km road trip across Andaman and the wonderful evenings spend on those beautiful beaches are moments I cherish forever.
The sands and waves of Andaman are very obsessive. For me, each day came with new experiences. Whether it is walking barefoot on the sand, having a dip in the water, chasing little crabs on the beaches, exploring the forest, every moment I spent in those islands was amazing.
The turquoise sea and the untouched beaches attract many tourists to this tropical archipelago every year. Other than the beaches, you have plenty to explore in these islands. Andaman has some of the best diving spots in the world. The marine life is unique and diverse. You can spend hours on the beaches simply watching the waves, trust me, you won’t get bored.
Planning a trip to Andaman is not that complicated. Though it is far away from Indian sub-continent, you can visit this island like any place in the country. But considering the importance of protecting the ethnic groups of these islands, entry to several islands are restricted. Nicobar islands are one such island where you are not allowed as a tourist. But there are some amazing places there where we can visit. Andaman islands are one of the must visit place in India.
How to reach the Andaman Islands?
The fast and easy way to reach Andaman islands in by taking a flight from the Indian mainland. There are flights to Port Blair from major cities Indian cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. The number of flights from Chennai and Kolkata is comparatively more in number and much cheaper compared to other cities. It is better to pick any flights from Chennai or Kolkata for Port Blair.
Two-way flight tickets from Chennai cost me around 13.5k INR.
Reach Andaman through the sea
If you have more days to spend and are looking for an adventure, then you can reach the islands through the sea. There are ships available from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. There will be four sailings from Chennai and Kolkata, and one from Visakhapatnam every month. The journey will be pretty long, it takes almost 3-4 days to reach Andaman islands.
Ship schedules will announce a month in advance of the journey.
It will be nice to travel at least one side of the journey in ships if you have time. Sailing is not that easy, you need to be mentally and physically prepared.
Seven days Andaman islands itinerary
I explored almost seven days in the Andaman Islands. Those days were actually not enough for me to be Andaman, but I feel like the journey has shown me how amazing these islands are, in every sense.
So here goes my journey in a short note. Hope this event-day itinerary in Andaman will be helpful for you.
Day 1, In and around Port Blair
Reached Port Blair from Chennai on a Saturday morning flight with my friends. Port Blair, a small port town, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Visited the Anthropology museum first. The museum showcases the history and life of the different ethnic people lives in this archipelago. If you want to know the story of Andaman islands, then it is a must visit place. It is always better to understand a bit about the place you going to explore, you feel a sense of connection with everything you see on your journey.
The next destination was the famous Cellular Prison, a national monument. This prison has an important role in India’s struggle for Independence.
It was evening then, decided to spend on a beach. There are no good beaches around the city. Went to Corbyn’s Cove, few kilometres from Prot Blair.
You can read the detailed post about my first day in the Andaman islands. Click to read
Day 2, One more day in Port Blair
The boat for the day was waiting at Rajiv Gandhi water sports complex. The boat takes us two places, the North Bay and Ross Island. North Bay is 30-minute travel from Port Blair. Water activities like snorkelling and scuba diving are available there. We can walk up to a lighthouse on the top of a hill.
After Northbay, it was Ross island, an abandoned island with the remains of colonial British township.
Came back to Port Blair by evening, spent some time roaming around the town.
Day 3, To Havelock islands
Our journey to Havelock Island started by 9.30 in the morning. Havelock is 70 km from Port Blair, it took around 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach.
Havelock Island is one of the most visited islands in Andaman. There are some spectacular beaches here. It is the favourite place for divers all around the world. Most of the scuba diving centres are located on Havelock Island.
After checking into our hotel, our first destination was Radhanagar beach which is considered as one of the best beaches in Asia.
The evenings are more picturesque there, especially sunsets.
Bikes and scooters are available for rent in Havelock. You can take one and explore the place as you wish.
How to reach Havelock Island from Port Blair?
The best option is through the sea. There are government and private ferry services available from Port Blair to reach Havelock.
You need to book the tickets at least a day in advance, especially in the tourist season.
There are also private ferries in case if you couldn’t book the government ferry. They are expensive but reach Havelock in lesser time. The availability depends on the weather condition and they can cancel the trip due to bad weather at any time.
The government ferry to Havelock island will cost you about 550 INR. The tickets will be open 3 days prior to the departure date. Online booking is not available for government ferry. We have to be physically present and stand in the queue to get the tickets. So it will take your time if you are doing the booking on your own. There are agents in Port Blair who can do this for you by some commision on each ticket. But considering the time, it is okay to get help from agents. But online booking is available for private ferries.
In my case, a friend of mine in Port Blair helped us to book the tickets in advance.
Day 4, Scuba diving in Havelock Island
The fourth day was for scuba diving mainly. Woke up very excited in the morning, got ready for my first dive. There are some magnificent dive spots in Havelock. It was a great experience. The life under the sea here is beautiful. Don’t leave Havelock without doing scuba diving.
Later, went to Kala Pathar, a rocky beach. This beach has a special vibe with all those rocks and uprooted trees, half drowned in the sea. The corals and shells on the shore make the beach more colourful. Spend the entire evening there. Kala Pathar beach was comparitively peaceful and less crowded compared to Radhangar beach.
At night, it was time for celebrating our first dive.
Day 5, Crocs and Treks: Exploring more in Havelock
It was raining in the morning, so our day everything started a bit late. Went to a nearby place for snorkelling. And we took a boat ride through the mangroves forest looking for the Saltwater crocodiles, but couldn’t find one.
We had to leave for Port Blair that day afternoon, still had some time left before starting our journey back. We made a quick plan, a small jungle trek to Elephant beach. It was an amazing experience I had in Havelock. Elephant beach was so serene and peaceful.
Usually, we can go to Elephant beach by boats from Havelock. There are activities like snorkelling and all there. But that day, due to rain, everything was stopped. We can also reach Elephant beach by a small trek through the jungle. Take a cab and ask the driver to drop you at the starting point of the trek.
The trek to Elephant beach is very small, it will take hardly an hour to walk through the jungle to reach the beach.
The journey back to Port Blair was even more adventurous. The sea was very rough, and we had a tough time on the ship.
Day 6, The Great Andaman Road Trip
Back in Port Blair, it is the day for a road trip. A 350 km journey from one end to the other end, Diglipur, all the way through the villages and jungles of the island.
There are two sea creeks on the way, we have to load our vehicles on barges to reach the other side. On the way, spend some time for the “limestone caves” and “mud volcano” in Baratang. Reached Diglipur in the evening.
The road trip from Port Blair to Dglipur through the Great Andaman Trunk road is definitely worth trying out. It will give a picture of the Andaman Islands. The road is going through some reserved area for the ethnic Jarawa tribes. There was a huge protest against the construction of the road, it is evident that the road is going to affecting the lives of the Jarawa tribes. During initial times, there was “human safaris”. Things were pretty bad at that time. The tribes were considered as some “show item” and they were exploited by travel agents who promise tourists visit to Jarawa tribes by paying money illegally. Later, the government banned “Human safari” in this region. So there will be always police escort when we travel through the Jarawa reserved area. The vehicles are allowed only as a convey that starts at some fixed time in a day.
How to travel from Port Blair to Diglipur?
There are two ways to travel this beautiful stretch through the islands. Once by hiring a taxi from Port Blair and second by taking a public transport. Since we were a bigger group, the taxi was convenient for us. Also, we don’t want to miss anything on the way.
If you are travelling solo or in a small group, you can reach Diglipur by bus which starts at early morning every day. There are buses to Diglipur and Ariel bay( 8 km from Diglipur). Port Blair to Diglipur bus starts by 7 AM and Port Blair – Ariel Bay bus by 4 AM. The journey will costs you INR 250, definitely a good option for a budget traveller. You have to book tickets at least one day in advance from the booking office in Port Blair.
For coming back to Port Blair, there are buses at 5 AM from Diglipur and 7 AM from Ariel Bay.
Also, there are private buses running between these two places but they are costlier.
Reaching Diglipur by sea is also possible. If you are looking for a different travel experience, then this will be a great thing to do. 3-4 services are available per week from Pheonix Bay in Port Blair to Ariel Bay 8 km from Diglipur. This journey will take about 10 hours and also overnight services are available, imagine a cruise journey and those stars at night.
Book your tickets for the journey in a ship from the Pheonix Bay in advance to avoid last minute confusions.
Day 7, Ross and Smith Islands
I had no idea Ross and Smith would be this much beautiful. It was drizzling when the boat started to Ross and Smith. The boat anchored at Smith Island after 30 minutes. Two islands, Ross and Smith, are joined by a natural sandbar. The sandbar will not be visible during high tide, but we can walk between the islands, water up to knee level with waves hitting from both sides.
You can explore Ross Island by a small hike. The island is like a hill, there is a lighthouse at the highest point in the Island. Once you reach the island, you can easily spot the trail leading to the lighthouse. The Ross Island is a marine national park, you will see an infinite number of marine lives in the island. I highly recommend to find some time and hike to the top of the island.
The water is so green and clear, had no option other than run towards the water and jump into it. The place was so magical. Visit to Ross and Smith was one of the best things on my trip.
How to reach Ross and Smith Island?
Ross and Smith is around 20km from Diglipur. Ross and Smith islands are uninhibited and are we are not allowed to stay there. But you can visit for a day by taking permits from the Forest office in Diglipur. The office will work from 6 AM – 2 PM on all days except Sundays. Charges for permits are 50 INR (for Indian adults) and 500 INR (Non-Indian adults).
To visit Ross and Smith Island, boats are available from Ariel Bay in Diglipur. There are forest officers at this bay, you need to show the permits and pay the fee to take to the islands. You have to pay around 2000 INR for a boat ride to Ross and Smith Islands. If your count is more than 6 people, extra charge of 200 INR is needed. It will take 30 mins one side. Once you reach there, you get 2 hours to spend there. That much time is not actually enough to spend some good time in the islands. But you can pay 300 INR for each extra hour and stay there. We were lucky, it rained when we were about to leave, so the boat has to stay some more time in the islands for the rain to get over.
Also, visit to Ross and Smith islands are not possible after 2 PM.
I had to come back to Port Blair for my return flight next morning. The 350 km journey again, the road was more beautiful after the previous day rain.
Hope this seven days Andaman islands itinerary will be useful for you.
There are many tribal people living in the jungles of this island who are not much aware of the cunningness of modern man. Because of this, they are facing exploitation. Do respect them and their freedom. Don’t appreciate any kind of activities which portrays these indigenous people as tourism commodities. Studies show that coasts of Andaman islands are one of the most polluted in the world, the reason is definitely tourism. We have the responsibility to keep the island beautiful.
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