Last week, I had experienced life’s most enthralling moments — Visiting Andaman Island with my friends Bhuvanesh and Shiva. Let me share my experience here.
As a side note, this is my first travelogue in my blog.
It all started here.. My friend Bhuvanesh’s family living in Andaman is relocating soon back to Madurai(my home town) as his father is nearing his retirement period. He is a frequent visitor to Andaman and thus, as usual he planned to go back to spend those final moments there in Andaman with their parents. As he mentioned this might be his last visit to Andaman, I thought this is the best opportunity to club with him and travel there. I started looking for the cheapest air tickets on the dates he mentioned and finally found Kingfisher Airlines to be the cheapest amongst the rest. Though Kingfisher Airline had been undergoing a serious loss at the time of booking, I dared to choose it and booked to and fro tickets on it with fullest hope on it that Kingfisher wouldn’t disappoint me at the last moment. To my almighty, flight didn’t get cancelled.
Day 1 :
I came back from office only at 11.30 PM. Soon after reaching my room, I had to finish my office backlogs and it took around 1.30AM. Later, I started to pack things to accommodate 5 days travel. Flight was @ 4.30 AM and I didn’t have time to take a nap. With full of excitement, we reached Airport (Thanks to my roomie Asarudheen who dropped us at 3AM on his bike) and boarded into flight.
At 6.30, we reached Port blair and took an auto and reached Bhuvanesh’s friend’s place.
Port Blair, the only sizable town on the islands , serves as the administrative capital. Port blair offers several tourist spots worth visiting in andaman and nicobar islands.
From there, we took their car and started off to Marina park. We thought of going to Ross island or North Bay from there. Unfortunately, the ferry service was unavailable on Wednesdays. Took few clicks there and enjoyed the serene atmosphere and started to the next tourist spot.
Chatham Saw Mill – owned by Forest department, is credited as one of the biggest and oldest saw mills all through Asia and is located at the north tip of Andaman. The mill, dating back to 1836, is a big store house for different varieties of wood including Marble, Padauk, Gurjan and Satin wood. The mill cuts massive wood into different sizes and shapes of timber and is functioning as the main source of timber for government and private agencies at a moderate price. The entry fee there was 10 per head. We went in and found all those stupendous machines around cutting huge logs.
Once done, we spent some time wondering at those kids who were fishing standing on the bridge that connects this saw mill to Port Blair.
After a long drive for about 1.5 hours, we reached Wandoor Beach where Uyirin Uyirae song from kaaka kaaka film was taken.
Wandoor beach is around 5 minute walk from Wandoor village and is famous for swimming & for Coral Viewing. There are few other famous islands nearby – Jolly boy, Red Skin, Sink Island (where Nanban film climax was taken). They are few kilometers away from Wandoor and we had to take a boat.
One can also go to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, but we missed it as we were running short of time.
After spending time there, we returned to Port blair and had food at Bhuvanesh’s relative’s place.
From there, we then proceeded to witness the world famous cellular jail. A part of the jail had been lost in one of the natural calamities. The brutal treatment underwent by the freedom fighters of India in that cellular jail has earned the title, “Black Water” for the entire islands of Andaman.
Every evening (except Mondays), two sound and light shows are being conducted in the jail – One in Hindi and the other in English for a duration of 45 minutes.
As we have planned to hear in English, we left the place and reached the nearby Corbyn’s Cove and spent some time there watching the sunset. This beach is set in picturesque backgrounds of lush green coconut palms and pleasant sea and is the only nearest beach situated near Port Blair. We then had to rush back to sound and light show.
This show narrates the untold suffering underwent by the freedom fighters to the tourists. A British man, David Barry, has earned a unique place in the history of the cellular jail for having had made the jail a hell for the patriotic prisoners to drive away from their hearts the thirst for freedom, self rule and self respect. I realized the importance of the Jail only after the show.
Then reached back home – had dinner and done with that day. Next day, we woke up early to catch the local passengers ship @ 6.30.
Day 2 :
Soon after reaching Phoenix Bay harbor, we got into the ship and headed to Neil island – one of the isolated islands in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and it was an hour travel from Port Blair. With my friend’s influence, we got to stay in a VIP’s room in the ship ;). Once reached, we had a special arrangement for Breakfast in one of their guest houses. In this island you don’t find hotels that easily. Neil Island is mainly dependent on agriculture and agriculture has been the main trade here as the supplies of vegetables from the region has been impressive.
The population of the island is not much compared to the nearby islands. I got to see the real color of sea water – that breathtaking attractive photogenic sky blue colored transparent water matching the colour of Sky.
Got into Maruthi Omni (which was pre-arranged) and reached The Bharatpur Beach famous for coral watching and swimming. Ah! there comes the adventurous moment – snorkeling for watching Corals. We got in the boat and set off for the diving site. The boat had a transparent glass bottom to look through the corals from inside. The boat stopped in almost mid sea where there were enough Corals. Yeah – even complete newbies like us could explore the underwater world filled with corals and colourful fishes.
We were told by them to dive into water and were given life jackets and goggles fitted to a tube like thing to breath inside water. Yay, I enjoyed watching the happenings under water and that was so much fun. I could now touch those pearl oyster ‘real’ – those fresh and live corals – scare those colourful fishes – that was as if watching Discovery channel real LIVE 😉 . We stayed underwater for about 50 minutes and had absolutely no mood to go back.
Soon after that, we had our Lunch at the same guest house. This time they served Fish curry and fish gravy – Yay ! they were delicious.
Next, we took another ship to reach Havelock island. This island is considered as one of the best island tourist destinations in andaman and nicobar islands. Xylo was arranged this time once we reach Island. After a 45 mins travel, we reached Radhanagar Beach. It was recognised as the best beach in Asia by Times magazine. You should definitely try having green coconut water from one of the several vendors just outside the beach area. We had a great time sitting idle for some time, walking along the shores, *sight seeing* 😉 . This island has worlds finest sand – crystal clear water. Wild Orchid and Silver Sands throughout the place adds beauty to it.
After spending time there, a small hotel was arranged for our sleep near harbor. That night, we enjoyed walking so long and got into a random beach resort and spent some time there.
Day 3 :
Woke up at 7 and and had our breakfast. Cruise Ship was at 8.30 to Rangath and was a 3 hours travel.
In between, we got down at Long Island and met Bhuvanesh’s relative there. Had fun taking a Sea bath – Lunch @ the ‘so called’ only hotel in that island. We were almost alone in that Island.
Then started to Rangath Island that noon in a local ferry. Just 7/- per ticket. It was a 45 minutes journey and we had to get through the dense part of Mangroove forest.
Soon after reaching Rangath (the island where his parents reside), we went through the mangroove plantation farm where varieties of mangroove plants are cultivated alongside the harbor. Those green shades were looking amazing. Their car came to pick us up from there and reached home safe.
The rest of the evening went off with some chit chat and a night visit to the nearby Jetty.
Day 4 :
This day, the first half of the day was largely uneventful. That evening, we went to Mayabundhar and it was a 3 hours travel from Rangath. Enjoyed the serene beauty of mangroove forest and the nearby harbor.
Roads are laid next to sea and almost throughout the way. They look unimaginably alluring. Nearby serene villages adds beauty to it. This place does not offer the typical luxuries of a big city but you will be bowled over by the lush green ambience and the sea all around.
Day 5 :
There comes the last day. It’s time to leave Rangat and start towards Port Blair to catch the flight @ Monday early morning. We decided to take roadways from Rangat to Port Blair. On the way, we had to watch one of the important tourist spots – The Limestone Cave.
Self drive from Rangat in their car – started at 7AM, so that we can catch the last 3PM convoy. Only 4 convoys per day (6AM, 9AM, 12noon, 3PM)
After about 3 hours travel, we reached the place where the ferry service was ready to take away our car to the next part of the island. Then we took a streamer and it was a 15 minutes travel. From here, it is a 1 km walk through the tropical forest to reach the limestone cave. It is a small cave with interesting limestone structures and stalactite and stalagmites, that showed up in the secondary school text books. It is not exactly outstanding but different enough to be a saving grace on this trip. I heard that these are the largest limestone caves in the world are not only a great natural wonder, but offer a fantastic experience for a tourist.
We started off from there and on the way, we had to pass through the highly secured Jarwa reserve area where the Jarwa tribals live. Due to the recent restriction made by the government, we had to pass through with forest guards heading the roads throughout the journey of 1.5 hours. We were not allowed to take photos. As you know, they are ‘rarely seen’ and to my almighty, Jaraawas showed up on the road. Men and women – almost naked except for the loin cloth around their waist, white marks all over their body and showing their amused smiling faces. This reserve area is stretched over some exceedingly dense and green forests in two islands of Andaman.
After a long drive, we reached Port Blair that evening. Almost my whole day went off on travelling. Driving was indeed so much fun. Reached our guest house and left our baggages and started for shopping. That night went off with purchasing few stuffs for our colleagues and my family.
Day 6 :
With all those joyous memories, I started off to Chennai at 7.30AM and I had to go to office directly once I reach there 🙁
Summary of Adventures I had ..
- Surrounded by green trees and blue sea everywhere.
- It was strange watching typical south-indian looking people speaking Hindi and it is their primary language. They are really kind hearted and down to earth type unlike any other tourist spots in India.
- Had loads of fun doing snorkeling.
- Thrilled to watch those Scary looking Jarwa Tribal people.
- Long drive in those ups and downs and that was undoubtedly so much fun.
- Absolutely no network coverage except BSNL – Thus I had to survive without internet / GPRS throughout my travel (except at Port Blair).
- People there follow road rules so perfectly that I could never imagine anywhere in South India. One such example that I felt it worth sharing was.. During night, Vehicles coming opposite to us instantly dim their lights and slows down almost to zero and give way for us to pass by. Through this, I could literally feel their respect on others.
Tips for those who plan to go to Andaman
- Climate – The temperature that prevails there is moderate. I say it is same as Chennai weather.
- Mode of Transport
– Ferrys are being operated from Chennai to Port Blair – Cheaper, but operates only on limited schedules. Visit for Schedule here – http://www.and.nic.in/transport/index.php
– Flight – As Vir Savarkar Airport is an international Airport, you get flights from almost all parts of India to Port Blair. (We chose Kingfisher to be the cheapest amongst others)
- They say the cost of living is very less there. But I didn’t feel so except in very few occasions.
- Will add more info when I recollect things.
More photos here !