Port Blair is the heart of Andaman Island. Missing this island is not something you wish to do during your Andaman Trip. There are plenty of things to do in Port Blair from discovering a rich tribal culture to exploring shorelines and islands and picking up coral artifacts at Aberdeen Bazaar. Water sports activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea diving and ocean walks are also a plenty here and make for a great holiday adventure in Port Blair. From shimmering beaches to anthropological museums and colonial jails, there is plenty to keep you busy in Port Blair. Apart from attractions in Port Blair, you can enjoy shopping or nightlife in Port Blair.

Sightseeing in Port Blair

One of the most popular things to do in Port Blair is to discover its colonial past. The most famous and popular attraction among tourists is the Cellular Jail, where visitors get to know and experience the island’s colonial past. In the evenings, a special sound and light show is hosted in Hindi and English. The Cellular Jail is the definitive beginning to this journey, Along with a trip to the fascinating Ross Island. A trip to Viper Island is also possible as part of the famous three-island tour, although few tourists venture there. The city also has some museums- like the Anthropological Museum, the Samudrika Marine Museum and the fully functional Chatham Saw Mill on Chatham Island. The Aberdeen bazaar is the hub of the town, about 3km from the airport and only a kilometre away from the Phoenix Bay Jetty, from where most ferries depart. In Port Blair, there is something interesting in every corner, each of the sightseeing in Port Blair have their unique appeal making them a must visit when in Port Blair.

Activities in Port Blair

Outdoor enthusiasts will have a field day in Port Blair. This tiny islet considered as a paradise for adventure enthusiast offers a wide range of outdoor activities that you can enjoy here. While Port Blair city has limited activities to offer, snorkelling, diving, sea-walk are all possible in North Bay. Jolly Buoy / Red Skin in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in Wandoor are great for a day trip. Snorkelling and rides on glass-bottom boats are available here.  The Munda Pahad Trek in Chidiya Tapu is highly recommended. For more serious trekking, Mount Harriet is a must go. A relaxing evening in Marina Park is recommended for families. Anglers will have some good salt water fishing opportunities in the Andaman Sea as the waters here are teeming with fish as commercial fishing is virtually non-existent.

Shopping in Port Blair

Head to the Aberdeen Bazaar where you can pick up a number of items from the roadside stalls as well as government emporiums. Coloured fabrics, wood artefacts, jewellery, Port Blair T-shirts much more are aplenty here. Best things to pick from the Sagarika Government Emporium are pearl jewellery, home decor accessories made from shells, coconut lampshades and bangles and paper mache tribal masks.

Eating Out in Port Blair

In Port Blair, almost all kinds of food is available. Port Blair is heaven for any food lover, as there are plenty of seafood restaurants as well as international restaurants, serving some delicious fare. Fine dining spots for romantic candle-light dinners are very popular among honeymooning couples. If you are craving a fun night out, stroll over to the ‘Sea Sip Bar’ that is open at night. There are plenty of tasty cocktails and mocktails, you can sip on throughout the night.

Festivals & Events in Port Blair

Island Tourism Festival in Port Blair is another major and one of the most famous festivals of Port Blair. This famous festival is celebrated in the month of December or January with lots of passion and joy every year. This festival is 15 days long celebration which lures large number of travellers every year. The festival features various cultural programmes, exhibitions, puppet shows, water sports competitions, dog shows, canoe race and baby shows. Aqua sports and para sailing are other added attractions at the festival. Through this festival the island administration aims to project the islands image as an eco-friendly destination.

1. Howrah Bridge

Nestled in the heart of Neil Island

 

Nestled in the heart of Neil Island lies a natural wonder that has been drawing travellers from far and wide—the Howrah Bridge. This stunning formation is made up of two living natural corals, sculpted into the shape of a bridge, and is a popular spot for visitors to witness the beauty of the island. Originally named Rabindra Sethu by early Bengali settlers, it has since been referred to as the Howrah Bridge. If you are already planning to cover the distance from Port Blair to Neil Island, this place is a must-visit.

 

2. Laxmanpur Beach

Beach Side View

 

Laxmanpur Beach on Neil Island is a stunning stretch of sand that is split into two parts, each with its own unique appeal. Laxmanpur Beach I is the perfect spot to witness the stunning sunset views that are so beloved by tourists from around the world. Meanwhile, Laxmanpur Beach II is home to two natural arch bridges, affectionately called Howrah Bridge.

3. Bharatpur Beach

a beautiful peaceful place

As you step off the Neil Jetty, the magnificent Bharatpur Beach awaits you with open arms. With a long stretch of soft sand and picturesque views, it’s no surprise that tourists from all over the world are drawn to this paradise. The beauty of this beach is simply unparalleled and is also the hotspot for all kinds of exciting water sports activities on Neil Island.

 

4. Sitapur Beach

charm and scenic views

 

Sitapur Beach, located on the southern tip of Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep), is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful and serene experience to travellers. Spanning 5 kilometres, the beach is cocooned by lush greenery on three sides, while the fourth opens up to a breathtaking view of the vast sea. Unlike the mainstream beaches, Sitapur Beach has managed to stay relatively undiscovered, preserving its natural and raw beauty, and making it one of the best tourist places in Neil Island.

5. Ram Nagar Beach

It is fantastically scenic

 

Ramnagar Beach, located in the village of the same name, offers a serene escape for travellers seeking a quiet and tranquil experience. Located 70 kilometres away from Mayabunder, and 35 kilometres from Diglipur, this pristine beach is perfect for swimming and offers a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ramnagar Beach is also renowned for turtle nesting, making it a popular spot for nature lovers.

Our dedication to help you achieve your travel aspirations with maximum back up, be it adventurous with, wildlife & birding treks, jungle camping and witnessing the anthropological & historical diversity. We all welcome you on your Journeys of Discovery at this archipelago, the endemics of these Islands are waiting for you and your expeditions around the islands with memories captured in snaps & clicks…..

The Andaman group of islands is principally divided into the Great Andaman Island (s) and the Little Andaman Island.

“Great Andamans” is a hypothetical term given to a group of islands consisting primarily of North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Baratang and Rutland Island. These islands even though separated by narrow creeks appear as one big land and thats why it is termed as “Great Andamans”.

There are 3 major Islands in Andaman Group:

South Andaman

(Port Blairis situated in this Island).

Middle Andaman

(Rangat and Mayabunder towns are situated in this Island).

North Andaman

(Diglipur is situated in this Island)

Relative locations of other major Islands are as follows :

 To the North – Landfall Island
 To the North-East – Narcondam Island
 To the East – Barren Island / ‘Ritchie’s Archipelago’ (described in a section below)
 To the South – Rutland island / Cinque Island
 To the South-West – Labyrinth group of island.
 To the To the West – North Sentinel / South Sentinel Island / Interview Island.
 Baratang Island is situated between Middle and South Andaman Islands.
 Little Andaman Island is about 55 km south of South Andaman across the Duncan Passage.

Of the land area of 6,408 km2 of the Andaman Islands, forests occupy about 5,629 km2, constituting reserve and protected forests, of which approximately 2,118 Km2 is under the tribal reserve. The elevation of the Andamans ranges from 0-732 m, with Saddle Peak in North Andaman Island being the highest.

Ritchie’s Archipelago :

The archipelago is named after an 18th century British marine surveyor, John Ritchie

Havelock Island- 113.93 km2
Henry Lawrence Island – 55 km2
John Lawrence Island – 41.98 km2
Peel Island – 23 km2
Wilson Island – 14 km2
Outram Island – 13 km2
Neil Island – 18.90 km2
Nicholson Island – 1.8 km2
Inglis Island – 1.4 km2
Hugh Rose Island – 0.6 km2
Middle Button Island – 0.4 km2
North Button Island – 0.25 km2
South Button Island – 0.1 km2

Source – Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritchie’s_Archipelago)


GEO-Political details of the Andaman Island Group

Districts of Andaman

the Andaman group of islands are divided into two districts: 1. South Andaman 2. North & Middle Andaman
Till 18-Aug-2006, North, Middle and South Andaman were a single unified District – “Andaman”. Little Andaman is covered under South Andaman District. The Capital City of Andaman and Nicobar – “Port Blair” is situated in South Andaman District.

There are total 199 revenue* villages in both the Districts Andaman. Out of which 100 village are in North and Middle Andaman and remaining 99 in South Andamans.

[ Revenue village is a village which has definite surveyed boundaries. The revenue village may comprise several hamlets but the entire village will be treated as one unit for presentation of the data. In the non-surveyed areas like settlements within the forest areas, each habitation area with locally recognized boundaries within each forest range officer’s area will be treated as a separate village. A village with no population is to be termed as Bechirag or ‘deserted’ or ‘uninhabited’.] (Source : http://7thsurvey.ncert.nic.in/glossary.htm)


Great Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) passes from the capital Port Blair to Diglipur of the North Andaman through numerous creeks, deep and dense forests and Jarawa Tribal settlement.


Population :
Bengali Settlers : During 1949-1952, 450 refugee families from east Pakistan (Bangladesh) were settled in South Andaman on 3000 acres of land.

These National Parks are notified to protect Marine and wildlife in these region. The live coral cover, species diversity and density of corals were estimated in 120 sites located in several islands of Andaman and Nicobar. A total of 424 species of scleractinian corals belonging to 72 genera and 16 families were reported in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

 Campbell Bay National Park | 1992 | 426.23 km2
 Galathea National Park | 1992 | 110 km2
– The above two are part of Great Nicobar Biosphere reserve


Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (previously Wandoor National Park) | 1983 | 281.50 km2
The following Islands together are part of the National Park :
Alexandra Island
Bell Island
Boat Island
Chester Island
Grub Island
Hobday Island
Jolly Bouy Island
Malay Island
Pluto Island
Red Skin Island
Riflemen Island
Rutland Island (parts of the island)
Snob Island
Tarmugli Island
Twins Island


Mount Harriet National Park | 1987 46.62 km2
North Button Island National Park | 1987 0.44 km2
Middle Button Island National Park | 1987 0.64 km2
South Button Island National Park | 1987 0.03 km2


Rani Jhansi Marine National Park | 1996 256.14 km2
The following Islands together are part of the National Park :
John Lawrence Island
Henry Lawrence Island
Outram Island

A total of 110 species of scleractinian corals belonging to 8 families were reported from the Rani Jhansi Marine National Park in surveys conducted by National Coral Reef Research Institute (NCRI). Among them the family Acroporidae is dominant as it composed of 43 species includes the genus Acropora (28 species) and Montipora (8 species). The percentage of live coral cover ranged from 59.53% in Henry Lawrence Island to 63.71% in John Lawrence Island. Besides, Eight genera of soft corals under the families Alcyoniidae, Nephtheidae and Isisidae; 18 genera of gorgonids under 10 families; 30 species of echinoderms belonging to 21 genera and 15 families; 100 species of gastropods belongs to 36 families; 54 species of nudibranchs belonging to 11 families; 52 species of crabs under 21 genera; and 216 reef associated fishes belongs to 39 families were reported. The studies indicated that corals of John Lawrence Island, Henry Lawrence Island, and Outram Island in Rani Jhansi Marine National Park; were bleached to the extent of 45-73% during April to May 2010. The recent survey conducted during January 2011 observed the progress of recuperation of the bleached corals.


Saddle Peak National Park | 1987 32.54 km2


Notified Wild life Santuaries at Andaman and Nicobar:

1.Bingham IslandBaratang
2.Sir Huge Rose IslandBaratang
3.Pitman IslandSouth Andaman
4.James IslandSouth Andaman
5.Potanma IslandSouth Andaman
6.Kyd IslandSouth Andaman
7.Patric IslandSouth Andaman
8.Defence IslandSouth Andaman
9.Montogemery IslandSouth Andaman
10Clyde IslandSouth Andaman
11Sandy IslandSouth Andaman
12Snake IslandSouth Andaman
13Cinque IslandSouth Andaman
14Passage IslandSouth Andaman
15Sister IslandSouth Andaman
16North Brother IslandSouth Andaman
17South Brother IslandSouth Andaman
18Loha BarrackSouth Andaman
19Bluff IslandBaratang
20Spike IslandBaratang
21Talai Katcha IslandBaratang
22East or Inglis IslandBaratang
23Mangrove IslandBaratang
24Stoat IslandBaratang
25Belle IslandBaratang
26Ariel IslandBaratang
27South Sentinel IslandSouth Andaman
28Duncan IslandMiddle Andaman
29Oyster IslandMiddle Andaman
30Perkinson IslandMiddle Andaman
31Barren IslandMiddle Andaman
32Cane IslandNorth Andaman
33Landfall IslandNorth Andaman
34East IslandNorth Andaman
35West IslandNorth Andaman
36Peacock IslandNorth Andaman
37White CliffNorth Andaman
38Reef IslandNorth Andaman
39Mayo IslandNorth Andaman
40Pagat IslandNorth Andaman
41Shearme IslandNorth Andaman
42Point IslandNorth Andaman
43Ox IslandNorth Andaman
44Shark IslandNorth Andaman
45North IslandNorth Andaman
46.Kwangtang IslandNorth Andaman
47.Rowe IslandNorth Andaman
48.Latouche IslandNorth Andaman
49.Jungle IslandNorth Andaman
50.Trilby IslandNorth Andaman
51.Table (Excelsior) IslandNorth Andaman
52.Table (Delgarno) IslandNorth Andaman
53.Temple IslandNorth Andaman
54.Turtle IslandNorth Andaman
55.Ross IslandNorth Andaman
56.Brush IslandNorth Andaman
57.Bamboo IslandNorth Andaman
58.Blister IslandNorth Andaman
59.Dot IslandNorth Andaman
60.Curlew IslandNorth Andaman
61.Oliver IslandNorth Andaman
62.Orchid IslandNorth Andaman
63.Curlew (BP) IslandNorth Andaman
64.Egg IslandNorth Andaman
65.Swamp IslandNorth Andaman
66.Dottrel IslandNorth Andaman
67.Gurjan IslandNorth Andaman
68.Sea Serpent IslandNorth Andaman
69.Snake IslandNorth Andaman
70.Bondaville IslandNorth Andaman
71.Buchanan IslandNorth Andaman
72.Surat IslandNorth Andaman
73.Entrance IslandNorth Andaman
74.Bennet IslandNorth Andaman
75.Roper IslandNorth Andaman
76.South Reef IslandNorth Andaman
77.Mark IslandNorth Andaman
78.Tuft IslandNorth Andaman
79.Hump IslandNorth Andaman
80.Gander IslandNorth Andaman
81.Goose IslandNorth Andaman
82.Flat IslandNorth Andaman
83.Spike IslandNorth Andaman
84.Ranger IslandNorth Andaman
85.Wharf IslandNorth Andaman
86.Tree IslandNorth Andaman
87.Channel IslandNorth Andaman
88.Narcondum IslandNorth Andaman
89.North Reef IslandNorth Andaman
90.Interview IslandNorth Andaman
91.Oyster IslandNorth Andaman
92.Curt Burt BayMiddle Andaman

Inorder to regulate the entry into the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park Islands, Department of Forest and environment has issued the below notification in 2011.

To facilitate easy way of obtaining entry permits for visit to Red Skin / Jolly Buoy Island of Mahatma Gandhi marine National Park and to minimize the hardships faced by the tourists in the boat trips to said places, the following system will be adopted by the Forest Department w.e.f 11.1.2011.

1. The entry permits to visit Red Skin / Jolly Buoy Islands will be issued one day in advance on first come first serve basis on production of application and subject to terms and conditions given therein. A modal copy of the application form will be displayed in the counter for information of tourists / others.

2. Since, the entry permits to be issued is subject to availability of authorized boats, the No. of permit to be issued will be displayed in the counter for information of tourists.

3. The tourists may purchase the boat ticket from the authorized operators plying inside the MGMNP on production of entry permits. A list of authorized boat operators and permitted passenger capacity of the boats shall be displayed in the counter for information of the tourists.

4. To avoid congestion in Red Skin / Jolly Buoy beach and consequent damage to marine life, 5 Nos. of tourism trips will be organized in the Wandoor Jetty as per the following table on all days except ԍondayԮ The No. of trips may vary subject to availability of boats / weather conditions. All the permit holders are advised to get the boat tickets with time stamp of the trip to avoid congestion in Wandoor jetty.

Trip TimeName of the TripNo. of Boat permitted in the trip
8.30 A.MFirst trip1
9.00 A.MSecond trip1
9.30 AMThird trip1
10.00 AMFouth trip1
10.30 AMFifth / final tripRemaining authorized boats, if any

Neil Island is stroked by the constant rock and roll of waves. Adorning the most exquisite landscapes, Natural Bridge in Neil Island is testament to this. A cup of sunshine is poured all over the land – allowing it to bask and shine in the warmth. Well, Natural Bridge is, at first glance, extraordinary in its beauty. It is, as locals refer to it, the Howrah Bridge. Let’s take a walk across nature’s bounty and discover what it has to offer us. The natural bridge-shaped rock formation is basically a rock jutting out composed of two living corals. Best seen during low tides, the landscape makes for rare and extraordinary photo opportunities. Enclosed in the emerald waters, with small fishes, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and starfish swaying along the waves, Natural Bridge is perfect for thrill seekers.

Getting There

One can reach the Natural Bridge on Neil Island after travelling 43 kilometres from Port Blair. Upon reaching the Jetty, you can hire a bike or book a taxi to reach Laxmanpur Beach, which lies close to the bridge. From here you need to take a 200 meters walk to see the bridge. Or you can board an auto-rickshaw as well. The entire journey takes nearly 30 minutes. Stroll along the craggy shore to see other corals, tide pools, and diverse marine life.

Be There Do That

The Natural Bridge is a landmark in Neil Island and a photographer’s favourite. Look at the adjacent wall that bears the brunt of the 2004 Tsunami and shielded Neil Island from devastation. You can spot many starfishes, sea cucumbers visible in the shallow waters between the rocks as well as crabs, sea urchins, colourful corals, and seldom tiny octopuses. The beach accompanying the bridge is called the dead coral beach and is ideal for trekking rather than swimming. The iconic Howrah bridge got its name from its Bengali settlers, and they delight in showcasing their culture through folk dances and music. The island hosts the Island Tourism Festival and Subhash Mela in winters that you must attend if your dates match.

While You’re There

Note that you do not require any entry fee to visit the beach.
Hire a guide to understand and appreciate the natural aquarium (Read: shallow water).
Plan your visit before afternoon, to capture the landscape in the best light and when the tides are low and clear.
Please do not bring back corals as it is a punishable offence by law.
Return before it gets dark as the route is tricky.
Be careful while clicking photographs and do not step on any creature.
Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes when you visit this place because you will walk on a wet and slippery rocky path.

The Andaman Islands are a pristine cluster of over 572 islands and are truly a paradise on Earth. The islands have an intense colonial history and are full of culture, and of course, beautiful beaches, making them a must- do vacation destination for anyone!

As it is a part of the Indian subcontinent, domestic travellers don’t need a passport, visa or other documents to visit. Still, they might want to take care of the guidelines set up by the Andaman administration. 

As for foreign travellers, a passport is required along with their Indian visa. No Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for most foreign nationals. Travellers from Afghanistan, Myanmar, China and Pakistan will require one, for which they will have to get prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

You can reach Port Blair, the capital of Andaman, by either air or water from most major cities in India. Travellers can take direct flights from major Indian cities, which will last 2.5-4 hours. You will easily get many hopping flights or ‘one-stop’ options for the rest of the cities.

For those who want to reach Andaman by water, ships are operated by the Indian Government from the ports in three coastal cities in India. This journey will take you almost 3 to 4 days, and you will land at the main sea-port at Port Blair. However, we don’t recommend this as a mode of travel, because it’s not a cruise-type vessel but more of a basic passenger + cargo ship.

Travel by Air

Taking a flight is the fastest way to reach Andaman from mainland India. You can take a direct flight from Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Vizag to reach Andaman within 2.5 to 3.5 hours! There are also connecting flights from other airports in the country.

Foreign travellers may note that there are no direct international flights to and from Andaman, since there’s no international airport as of now. You will have to fly here from Mainland India. 

Veer Savarkar airport is the only commercial airport in Port Blair, Andaman. Popular domestic flight services like Indigo Airlines, Air India, Indian Airlines, Spice Jet, Go Air and Vistara have daily flights from major Indian cities. You can get exciting offers or discounts if you book in advance! Also, keep a close eye on last-minute deals that come through from time to time, especially if you’re not the type of traveller who books their trip well in advance. 

A flight from Delhi will take you around 5 hours. For those living in Kolkata or Chennai, travel time shouldn’t be more than 2.5 hours! If you’re travelling from anywhere else in India, you will have a layover or a hopping flight.

Pro-tip: Take an early morning flight and don’t lose out on the day!

Travel by Sea

While this doesn’t come recommended by us, for those who want to take up the option of reaching by sea, you can board a ship from Kolkata and Chennai 3-4 times a month and only once from Visakhapatnam. However, the travel time would be around 3-4 days (50-60 hours). 

We don’t recommend travelling by sea in these passenger ships due to the duration, limited food choice, possible sea-sickness and no entertainment options. You’ll have plenty of time surrounded by beautiful waters when you reach Andaman!

It isn’t really easy to make a booking for these ships either, as travellers will have to physically visit the Tickets Corporation Offices in Chennai, Calcutta and Visakhapatnam.