A Week in Andaman – A Complete Backpacking Guide to Port Blair, Neil and Havelock14 min read

Andaman Travel Guide

Updated on

India’s most remote part

Despite it having more than 200 islands

A place that has inhabited areas

Where tribes can still be found

Also a jail of the olden times

Andaman is not only a place with beauty and pretty views, but also history, culture and tales of past destruction

Below you will find all the details that you need to plan for a successful trip to Andaman – Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Islands.

 

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About Andaman Islands 

 

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are so silently tucked away from the eyes of the world, it is difficult to spot them on a map so easily. It is home to some of the last remaining tribes of our planet Earth, which makes this place a lot intriguing.

Even though there are 572 islands in total here, however, every island is not accessible to the general public. Some of them are in fact inhabited. If you will look clearly on Google maps, you will find Andaman to be closer to Thailand than to India. Yet these islands are a part of India. Due to its interesting position, the islands have suffered a lot in terms of wars and international conspiracies.

Over here you will find intensive check posts and presence of the Indian army. The islands are heavily guarded but despite all of this, these islands are a perfect place to spend your holidays. The oceans are crystal clear, the color of the water is deep blue and the place has a magic of its own.

 

 

Entering and Exiting Andaman Islands – Port Blair

 

Andaman Island is separated from the mainland of India. There is no road or train that connects to the Island. You can only take a ship or a flight to cross the Bay of Bengal.

 

By Air

There are no direct flights to Andaman from Delhi. You can get direct flights from Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai or Chennai though.

One essential tip I would like to give while booking flights is to check Kiwi.com – Book Cheap Flights!A Week in Andaman - A Complete Backpacking Guide to Port Blair, Neil and Havelock 1

This website tells you the cheaper available flight to a particular destination, month by month. This helps in better planning in accordance to your budget. Ensure that you book the flights well in advance though to get cheaper available option.

 

By Ship

You can also avail ships from Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag. It takes 3 days to reach Port Blair via ship. You can avail the tickets right from the shipping services in these cities. You can be check the timings and ship details in the government website at Andaman Ship Schedule. Note that these ships are not cruises but givernment operated ships.

 

A guide to Andaman
View from the flight

 

How to Travel Island-to-Island

 

Port Blair to Havelock/Swaraj Dweep

Distance from Port Blair to Havelock

The distance between Havelock and Port Blair is 57 km and takes about 2 hours to reach. There are many privately owned ferries that run between these ports. You can book the tickets online or tickets are also available on the port as well.

However, there are many people traveling from Port Blair to Havelock. It is better to book the tickets well in advance in this case.

The ferry and cruise from Port Blair to Havelock

We took Makruzz, whose services are very nice and the cruise was comfortable as well. Some of the other ferries/cruise operating between the two islands are – Sea Link Cruise, Green Ocean, Express Bhagya, ITT Majestic.

Timings

The ferry starts to operate from 6 AM, 6:30 AM, 8 AM. Although during the busy season (October till March) ferry are available at 1:30 PM and 2:00 PM as well.

 

Havelock/Swaraj Dweep to Neil/Shaheed Dweep

Distance from Havelock to Neil

Neil Island is located 18 Km from Havelock Island and takes about an hour to reach. You can book the tickets online or tickets are also available on the port as well. When we traveled from Havelock to Neil, the ferry was mostly empty.

The ferry and cruise from Havelock to Neil

We took Makruzz just like from Port Blair to Havelock. Some of the other ferries/cruise operating between the two islands are – Sea Link Cruise, Green Ocean, Express Bhagya, ITT Majestic.

Timings

The ferry operates between 11 AM to 1 PM.

 

Havelock to Neil
Havelock to Neil

 

Neil/Shaheed Dweep to Port Blair

Distance from Neil to Port Blair

Neil Island is located 37 Km from Port Blair by sea route and takes about one to one and a half hours to reach. You can book the tickets online or tickets are also available on the port as well.

The ferry and cruise from Neil to Port Blair

We took Makruzz as usual. Some of the other ferries/cruise operating between the two islands are – Sea Link Cruise, Green Ocean, Express Bhagya, ITT Majestic.

Timings

The ferry operates post 12 PM.

 

Neil to Port blair
Neil to Port blair

 

How to Travel Inside the Island

 

The best way to travel inside the islands is by renting a scooter. You will find many rental shops everywhere. In fact as soon as you will get down at the jetty you will be swamped with locals who would give you all these rental options. If not, then ask your hotel staff and they will guide you thorugh.

Usually the cost of renting a scooter per day is INR 400 – 500, petrol excluded.

 

A guide to Andaman
Scooty rental in Neil

 

The Best Time to Visit Andaman Islands

 

Andaman is considered an evergreen destination. The islands weather do not fluctuate much and it remains pleasant always. Usually the footfall of tourists increase multiple folds during the months of November to May. Further, monsoons are usually avoided due to high tidal waves.

Summer – April to June

Monsoon – July to September

Winter – October to March

 

Planning to go here solo? Read this – Tips for Solo Traveling

 

Places to Visit in Andaman Island in One Week (Itinerary)

 

I was in Andaman for a week. Below I am listing down all the places I could cover, along with its route map. Of course, you can add and delete these places as per your preference and time 🙂

 

Two Days in Port Blair

Cellular Jail: The Prison-Turned-Museum

This jail is also known as Kalapani and shows the gruesome era of the colonial times. The place is rich with history and one of the most popular places of Port Blair. You can also enjoy lightshow here that happens at 18:00 and 19:15.

Timings: 09:00 – 12:00 and 13:00 – 16:15 (Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays.)

Entry Fee: INR 10 (adults) | INR 100 (permits video recording)

 

Corbyn’s Cove

The perfect place to watch the sunset and is very close to the place I stayed at – TSG Hotels and Resorts. The beach is mostly crowded though due to the easy access it has from the main market.

 

A guide to Andaman
Corbyn’s Cave, Port Blair

 

Ross Island

Ross Island also known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island served as the headquarters for the Britishers once upon a time. Now, you can only see the ruins that are covered with wild vines, roots, and trunks on the walls of these old buildings. You have to take a ferry to reach here. You can easily book one ferry at the waterfront. The waterfront is very close to Corbyn’s Cove Beach.

 

A guide to Andaman
Waterfront Port Blair

 

Chidiya Tapu

Another perfect beach to watch the sunset. Although it is a little far from the main market and the roads are rough but it is worth it. You will find limited crowd here as compared to Corbyn’s Cove. You can also visit the biosphere park where you will find several types of animals and birds. A perfect place to for a forest walk.

Note: Please beware of the crocodiles present in the ocean here.

 

A guide to Andaman
Chidiya Tapu

 

 

Two Days in Havelock/Swaraj Dweep

Radhanagar Beach

We were so happy to visit this beach. It is one of the most beautiful beaches of Andaman. The waters are very clear and deep blue and the sunset looks even prettier here. If you want a little secluded time go either to the left or right side of the beach. Also, visit this beach during the night time. You might spot milky way 🙂

 

A guide to Andaman
Radhanagar Beach, Port Blair

 

Kala Pathar Beach

Epic sunrises is what Kala Pathar Beach offers. It is a beach where you can enjoy picnic and perfect relaxation time. Although do witness the sunrise here. It is worth the 4 AM getting up effort.

 

 

Elephant Beach

There are two ways to reach this beach – either by doing a forest trek or taking a ferry instead. We took a ferry because we were told that the forest is all swamped with mud. So do your research before trekking to this beach. The water is insanely blue here! You can enjoy a lot of water activities such as kayaking, jet skiing, para sailing. Although the beach is mostly swamped with Indian tourists and when we visited this place a few restrictions were already placed where even swimming was not allowed, let alone snorkeling.

 

 

Two Days in Neil/Shaheed Dweep

Sitapur Beach

This beach is right in front of the TSG Hotels and Resorts – the place where we stayed at. Get up at 4:30 and walk down to this beach. It is really surreal to watch the sunrise from here and hence this beach is also known as the sunrise beach.

 

Laxmanpur Beach 1

A perfect beach to watch the setting sun. This place has many food stalls as well where you can enjoy a few drinks and snacks while enjoying the sunset. If you want some alone time, then walk to the right side of the beach.

 

Natural Bridge

This bridge is close to Laxmanpur Beach and is formed naturally due to ocean cutting. it is now decorated with creepers and flowers. This beach is also called Howrah bridge and while reaching here you will cross a small lane of food stalls and souvenir shops. A perfect place to shop for souvenirs.

 

Bharatpur Beach

The bluest beach I have seen on the islands. Over here we enjoyed scuba diving with the amazing team of Reefers Scuba. They are well trained and are also PADI instructors. Since I was doing scuba for the first time, they gave a good hour of training before taking us to the actual diving spot. I would highly recommend them for your underwater adventures here.

Contact Number – 9933272826

 

An Offbeat Beach

There is an offbeat trek to a beach, the name of which I am not allowed to disclose. There was literally no tourists at all here and the trek through the forest was refreshingly good. You have to contact Reefers Scuba if you wish to go here. Picture from the beach is as below 🙂

Contact Number – 9933272826

 

 

Accommodation in Andaman Islands

 

Port Blair

We stayed in TSG Emerald that was very close to the market and Corbyn’s Cave, making it a perfect place to stay in. The rooms were exceptionally cozy, the food was good and the staff over here is incredible.

If you are traveling on a budget check out hostels and budget hotels here – Budget Hotels

 

A guide to Andaman
TSG Emerald

 

Havelock

From Port Blair, we moved to Havelock and again stayed in TSG Blue. The best part about TSG Hotels and Resorts was its location. Just a 2 minutes walk from Radhanagar beach. Also, they had a swimming pool, a bar, and a restaurant which made our stay very memorable and lively.

If you are traveling on a budget check out hostels and budget hotels here – Budget Hotels

 

 

Neil

In Neil we stayed in TSG Aura which was right in front of the Sunrise beach or Sitapur Beach. The place is so cozy and peaceful. The entire resort feels like a vintage collection. The rooms are incredibly beautiful, where they have also provided a dressing space as well.

If you are traveling on a budget check out hostels and budget hotels here – Budget Hotels

 



Booking.com

 

A guide to Andaman
TSG Blue

 

Typical Cost

 

Flights Till Port Blair

If you book well in advance, a round trip to Delhi will cost you about INR 12,000. One essential tip I would like to give while booking flights is to check Kiwi.com – Book Cheap Flights!

This website tells you the cheaper available flight to a particular destination, month by month. It will help in proper planning and budget allocation.

 

Ferry for Island Transfers

A ferry ride from Port Blair to Havelock is about INR 1,300 one side. The total cost for all the ferry rides, that is, from Port Blair to Havelock, Havelock to Neil and Neil to Port Blair would be about INR 3,000 to INR 4,000.

 

Accommodation

I stayed in TSG Hotels and Resorts. If you wish to stay here on an average it would cost you INR 7,000 to INR 8,000 per night for two people. However, if you are traveling on a budget, you can opt to stay at budget rooms or home stays that would be of INR 1,000 for two people.

 

Food

Port Blair, Neil and Havelock have many food stalls where you can enjoy a good meal. I am a vegetarian so for me the cost was about INR 500 per meal (maximum).

 

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving in Neil is INR 4,000. I did scuba diving with Reefers Scuba and they are the best, there is no comparing. In this cost everything is included – gears, training, boat ride and 20-30 minutes dive.

 

Scooter Rental

The cost of renting a scooter is INR 400 – 500 per day, petrol excluded. This is best and the most comfortable way to travel in Andaman.

 

A guide to Andaman
Serene Roads of Andaman

 

Things to Pack for Your Trip

 

Hiking Shoes

If you plan to go to Elephant beach via forest, or go to the Secret Beach in Neil (as covered above), please carry your hiking shoes. The forest area can be covered with slippers on as well but for a more comfortable and safer walk hiking shoes are recommended.

 

Rain cover/Ponchos

During the monsoon season, especially, ensure that you are carrying your ponchos along. It rains cats and dogs starting June until September end.

 

Backpack Covers

Get essential covers for your cameras, bags, etc. A phone cover would also be a good option. Since you will be roaming around the ocean areas, the equipment can go inside the water/ocean.

 

Cotton Shirts and Shorts

Beach areas can get very hot and sweaty. it is a good option to carry good cotton shorts and shorts that are comfortable.

 

Swimming Costume

How can you go to the beach without a swimming costume? Swim, take a dive do snorkelling and soak the sun.

 

Sunscreen, Sunglasses and Cap

Protect your eyes and face with these. The sun in Andaman is mostly blasting and getting a tan is very easy. It is better to stay covered up.

 

Chappals

In beach there is no way you can roam around in slippers/sandals. Carry a comfortable pair of slippers.

 

Network Connectivity

 

Network connectivity on the islands is very poor. Your best bet is to buy a local sim from that island itself. Meaning, buy a sim from Port Blair for best usage and from Havelock yet again. You can also get Wifi in TSG Hotels and Resorts, however, the connection is very weak.

BSNL is the one with the best connectivity followed by Airtel. You do get Vodafone’s reception at a few places but generally all of them are not great. I was told that the government is trying to set up the lines and within six months the condition will improve.

 

Language Spoken

 

The most widely spoken language on the islands is Bengali followed by Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. People are also aware of English language so communicating here is not a problem.

 

View this post on Instagram

I turned 26 in this place. 🙂 🎂 . Past couple of days have been such a blessing! From watching the milky way over the calm ocean to scuba diving under deep blue waters with @ReeferScuba. From riding amidst deep jungles to late night forest hikes alongside crabs. From getting up at 4 AM to catch the best sunrises to going to another end of the island to catch the golden light yet again (sunsets). . From watching the crescent moon on @TSGBellaBay cruise to lying down next to the shore under a moonless country sky. From getting over the ocean fears to the formation of a few new dreams; 26 I welcome you with arms wide open, promising myself to make this year even bigger and better! . 📸 @AnkitBhatiaFilms

A post shared by Travel Blogger 🎿 (@radhika_nomllers) on

 

Comments

  1. Merina Hyde

    Andaman is indeed a beautiful place to spend holidays. I have been to Phuket for my honeymoon. I guess , I will plan my next trip to Andaman. Than you for this detailed travel guide.

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