Yes, you heard it right. You can cover all the major attractions of the Andaman islands (including Scuba diving) having just 4 days in hand and can easily visit during any upcoming long weekend! Please make sure to go through their current COVID guidelines here before making any plan.
We travelled during the month of March which is quite off-season and hence we got the stays for less rates. Please note that this is a budget backpacking guide. I’ll be splitting up the blog into below parts so you can just hop onto the sections you are interested in:
- How to reach there?
- Day 1 – Port Blair and reaching Havelock islands
- Day 2 – Scuba diving and Neil island
- Day 3 – Exploring Neil and back to Port Blair
- Day 4 – Exploring Port Blair
- Further exploration options
- Approximate cost of entire trip
The airport is located at Port Blair which is the capital of the UT of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Veer Savarkar is the airport name and I suggest you to book your tickets at least 2 months prior to get the best deals. You can get cabs inside the airport but for the bus stop the nearest one is Aberdeen Bazaar stop which is around 3kms.
We had our Jetty to Havelock islands booked on the same day afternoon (12.15pm) and we had arrived at Port Blair 8am in the morning so we decided to explore the local attraction – Cellular Jail.
We walked a lot, had our breakfast on the way, caught a local bus and reached the spot. The Cellular Jail is a colonial prison which was used by the British previously and is maintained in a considerable condition. There is also a gallery of articles and photos of the persons associated with the history of the island so one can easily spend 1-2 hours here depending on your interest. There is a pathway to the terrace of the jail where you can get very nice views of the surrounding ocean.
Then we headed to Havelock jetty as we took the Green Ocean2 ferry to reach the Havelock islands. The journey is of approximately 2 hours. You can book the ferry using this website – https://www.go2andaman.com/online-ferry-booking/
We reached Havelock also called as Swarajdeep islands around 3pm. We were very hungry as it was way past lunchtime and headed to the small hotel just outside the jetty. They helped us in renting a scooter which is the best way to explore Andaman. The cost will be around Rs.400-500 per day excluding fuel.
We stayed at this place – Coco Beach Retreat. Pretty reasonable for a place having attached hotel with free Wi-Fi and a beach at the back of it!
Places to explore:
Sunset point- Radhanagar Beach
Words cannot describe how beautiful this beach is and hence rightly named the best beach in Asia. The waters are so peaceful and sunsets are best seen from here. If you want to spend time away from the crowd then it is recommended to walk to the far right of the beach where there are few stays and lesser people. You can also enjoy a bit of stargazing over here.
We had booked our scuba diving with the same place we were staying – for Rs.3500 each. By 5.30am we woke up and were taken to our diving spot. They made us practice in the shallow water explaining all the basic instructions and then were taken to the middle of the ocean on a boat. We had to wear all the gear first (oxygen tank, fins, scuba mask) and then were made to sit facing our back on the edge of the boat. Holding our mouth-piece of the tank and on the count of 3 we were pushed to dive into the middle of the ocean. I can’t even explain the adrenaline that moment it gave me, when I somersaulted and fell into the water :P. At first I was scared but once it happened, I was ready to do it again :P. Nothing to worry as our dive instructor will guide us as soon as we hit the water and take us deep down for scuba diving.
The dive was a wonderful experience and we got to see most of the underwater life – even saw the famous Nemo fish. It is a surreal experience to actually be swimming alongside cute fishes and I really urge everyone to try it once in their lifetime – no swimming skills required but we should understand and listen to each and every one of their instructions carefully.
The dive lasted for 45mins and we headed back to our stay for lunch.
Next stop – Elephant beach
This is a unique beach where there are 2 options to reach – either by trek or by a ferry. We obviously decided to trek to the point. You can follow the google maps till this parking spot and start trekking. Here you will also find local guides to take you but it’s completely your wish. We went without a guide and slightly went in the wrong path for a short while but then we asked the local people whose huts were located on the trail and we reached the correct trail.
Finally after 40mins of hiking in the forest trails we reached our destination. This beach was a bit crowded as it has water activities to engage in. We ate some fresh fruits which were sold there, relaxed for a bit before heading back again via the same path. Put lots of sunscreen if you decide to trek till here.
For further exploration: If you are staying one more day at Havelock you can visit:
- Kalapatthar beach – A place with less tourists and great place to chill with white sand beach.
- Vijaynagar beach – Or also called as Lone Mangrove beach is another peaceful white sand beach also not flocked by tourists as it is skipped by many tour packages.
Day 2 – Reaching Neil islands
We had our Green Ocean 2 ferry from Havelock to Neil island booked at 2.30pm and this journey took 1 hour in total. We reached Neil and again rented a scooter just outside the jetty and headed to our stay – Blue bird residency. Please note we had booked all budget stays as this is backpacking and not luxury travel.
Sunset point – Laxmanpur beach
This beach is literally at the last point of the island and it’s crazy how it looks exactly the shape as in maps and we can walk around this very peaceful beach. The sun sets really early in the Andamans and it gets completely dark just after 6.30pm. It was full moon that day and hence looked so beautiful and bright lighting up the entire place.
For further exploration:
- Bharatpur beach: This is another sunset point and also has water sports to enjoy.
- Ram Nagar beach: This beach is quite far away from the main hustle and bustle, hence less tourists but a good picnic spot.
This is a natural bridge formed by corals and looks just like a bridge, but the thing is you cannot climb on top of this bridge. To reach this location we left early in the morning and when we arrived there were a few shops at the entrance but none of them were opened and literally there were no people here. To reach the beach we had to walk for around 5-10 minutes and further hike towards the left of the beach to get to this bridge structure. The tides were very high when we visited so we could not walk till here so make sure to check with locals and visit during low tides.
Next stop – Sitapur Beach
This is really a small beach situated in a location full of resorts. It was 10am by the time we reached here and literally no one was at the beach because of the scorching sun. We did spend around 30min here sitting in the shade under the tree before heading back to catch our jetty back to Port Blair.
Day 3 – Back to Port Blair
We took the ITT Majestic ferry which leaves Neil at 11.30am and arrived at Port Blair around 1pm. We then headed to our stay by booking an auto just outside. This stay was a steal for the price having 2 big rooms and AC too, you can find the accommodation link here.
Sunset point – Wandoor beach
We again rented a scooter here and headed to Wandoor beach which is located at quite a remote place with less tourists and most beautiful location to watch the sunset in the capital.
First stop – Corbyn’s Cove beach: The drive to this location was really beautiful as we were riding beside the ocean for a long part of the way. This beach here has high tides most of the time and hence when we went it was not suitable to go into the water. This place also has benches to lie down and sunbath (paid). The surrounding is good to have a nice walk and enjoy the beach view.
Second stop – Ross island/ Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island: To go to this island we need to take a public ferry from the Water Sports Complex and it takes around 20min to reach. There is little waiting time associated with this since they wait for the boat to get full with expected passengers.
Once you reach the island you will be given a stipulated time to go explore. This island was once the headquarters of British colony but now only the ruins remain majorly because of the 2004 Tsunami which had submerged this piece of land. You can also spot deer’s and peacocks wandering around in the island. We just took a walk along the sea side and could cover most of this small island.
Blue waters of Ross island – Link.
Last stop of the day – Chidiya Tapu: We decided to go to this beach for sunset. This is located quite far around 25km from the city and the road leading to this was not in a good condition at all, hence took us an hour to reach this place.
Since it was still afternoon and the sun was harsh, we decided to visit the Chidya Tapu biological park before heading to the beach. This is a conserved place covered with natural fauna hence the weather was quite cool over here. This was constructed to protect and study the endangered species of the island.
We then headed to the beach which was very crowded starting from the entrance. This beach is actually known to be one of the best places for bird watching and hence the name. This closes by 5.30-6pm hence make sure to reach a bit early if you want to explore here. Also note that most places in Andaman islands closes by 6pm and all the major shops too get closed by max 7pm hence to be on the safer side do not wander out after that time. If you want to enjoy the beach irrespective of time restrictions then it is better to stay at beach-view stays.
Day 5 – Departure from Port Blair: We had our flight booked at 7.30am so we arrived in time to Bangalore and also left for work that day.
If you have a day or two in store you can visit Diglipur – It is an offbeat place located to the north of the islands and the best place for nature lovers.
- Saddle peak – This is the highest peak in Andaman. There are 2 trails – one passing through the beach and the other one through the forest and you can choose either of the two. The trek takes up your entire day around 10 hours approx. to complete.
- Bharatang island – This is quite far from Port Blair (100km). Few famous spots here would be:
- Limestone caves
- Mud volcanoes
- Mangrove boat rides
- Parrot island
- Flights to and from Port Blair: Please check this in accordance from the city where you are travelling from. For us from Bangalore the round trip costed around Rs.10,000.
- Ferry for island transfers: We took the budget ferry but there is one called Makruzz which is slightly costlier than the below.
- Port Blair to Havelock – Rs.1000 each
- Havelock to Neil – Rs.1000 each
- Neil to Port Blair – Rs.1200 each
- Stay at Havelock – Rs.1000 for 2 persons
- Stay at Neil – Rs.900 for 2 persons
- Stay at Port Blair (2 days) – Rs.2200 for 2 persons
- Food – Depends on your personal choice but average cost per day can be somewhere between Rs.500-1000.
- There are very few proper restaurants in the entire island and it was very difficult to find decent options so be prepared to compromise on this if you are backpacking. We were prepared to have anything as long as the place was clean. For luxury travel you don’t have to worry because we saw lots of star hotels which would obviously have good food options included.
- Scuba diving – Rs.3500 per person. Rs.500 extra if you need photos and videos. I had carried my own camera so did not take the extra photo charges.
- Scooter rental charges – Consider this to be approximately Rs.500 per day plus petrol charges.
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