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Andaman and Nicobar Islands - A Glimpse into the Entire Trip

The year 2022 was approaching its end and the usual discussions on how to spend the winter break started in the house. We had been to Jammu and Kashmir (Kashmir Trip – Planning And Travel Logistics) for our summer break and hence the kid had announced his intention for the next holidays to be on a beach destination. It made sense as well given the extreme cold spell in the Northern part of India. A beach holiday would give us a much-needed respite. Hence, kicked off the search for an ideal beach destination. A number of strong potential candidates cropped up from South-East Asia and all of them were equally great. However, as they say, explore your own country before others, and wifey suggested Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a good candidate. After some deliberation, it ticked all our checklist criteria and hence we fixed our destination.

Once the destination was decided, we started with our planning phase. As usual, we researched a lot on review portals, looked at travel packages, and read a lot of travel blogs. While we like to cover most of the touristy stuff, we heavily customize our plan so we look out for options accordingly. Most times when we are venturing into a relatively new geography, we make our plans and then work with a travel company to help with logistics. This time we decided to give a newer player a try - Travel Triangle. We negotiated with a couple of travel partners on the portal and ended up selecting Sai Andaman Holidays. They turned out to be great, so in case you need their contacts for an Andaman and Nicobar trip, let us know.

In a glimpse - Itinerary, Stay, Travel & Luggage

Below is a short overview of our itinerary, how we traveled, and where we stayed. We also cover a brief overview of what and how should you pack for the destination.

Travel - Flights and Local Travel

Considering the distance, there are very limited direct flight options to Andamans from India, most of which are from Kolkata or Chennai. We had to choose a hop-on flight from New Delhi. Given the kid and the luggage, we opted for an option that allowed us to not change the aircraft.

New Delhi to Port Blair
(hop on at Kolkata)
Port Blair to New Delhi
(hop on at Kolkata)
Vistara UK 747 (5.5 hours)Vistara UK 778 (5.5 hours)

Ready for the adventure - time to see off the work!

Beyond Port Blair, waterways take over as the primary mode of transport. There are ferries to take you across islands. There are government ferries that run as per the defined schedule. Tickets to these ferries open up closer (up to 2 days before) to the departure date. However, there are a few private ferries that run across the touristy islands and can be booked in advance. These are luxury boats that offer convenience, speed, and comfort for a price. There are three companies that provide this option and all of them have good services. The three companies are MajruzzNautika, and Green Ocean. While the first two are similar in their offering, the last one offers access to an open deck during the ride.

Our travel partner arranged the tickets for us but you can do it yourself too. We had three legs to travel but all were on the same cruise (Nautika), however, we would recommend exploring the three potential options (Nautika, Maccruzz & Green Ocean), one on each leg.

Port Blair to Havelock IslandHavelock Island to Neil IslandNeil Island to Port Blair
Nautika Cruise (2 hours)Nautika Cruise (1.5 hours)Nautika Cruise (1.25 hours)

For local transportation, our travel partner made the arrangements and booked private cabs. If you prefer, Port Blair has decent public transportation as well including buses and autos. For other islands, we would recommend advance arrangements. Also, it is important to note that there are limited cars on the islands. Hence, most cabs are mapped to multiple guests, and they work around it by assigning different drop times to each of them. So, do not go by their assignments, and feel free to ask for what is convenient for you.

Itinerary and Stay - Setting the Basics

Day and DatePlanned CityStay (linked to our Tripadvisor Reviews)Description
Day 1 - December 31, 2022Port BlairAdhvasaha Beach Resort & SpaTravel from New Delhi to Port Blair
Sunset at Chidiya Tapu after relaxing
Day 2 - January 1, 2023Havelock Islands (Swaraj Dweep)Coral Reef ResortTravel from Port Blair to Havelock Islands
Explore Radhanagar Beach & Market
Day 3 - January 2, 2023Havelock Islands (Swaraj Dweep)Coral Reef ResortDay trip to Elephanta Beach for water sports
Day 4 - January 3, 2023Neil Islands
(Sahid Dweep)
Sea Shell SamssaraExplore Natural (Howrah) Bridge, Bharatpur Beach, Laxmanpur Beach
Day 5 - January 4, 2023Port Blair & Ross Islands (NSCB Dweep)Megapode ResortTravel from Neil Islands to Port Blair
Explore Port Blair
Trip to Ross Islands
Day 6 - January 5, 2023Port Blair-Return from Port Blair to New Delhi

What to Pack and How to Prepare for Andaman and Nicobar

We believe in packing light and it always is the best idea if you are on a long journey. We have been on trips packed with dresses (hoping for a fine dining meal) or smart shirts (hoping to meet folks) - however, each time we have come back without using a significant part of our luggage. So now, we research in advance what would be absolutely crucial for the trip and what can be left behind. Here are some specific considerations for the Andaman trip:

  • Documents - For any such long trip, especially outside the mainland, we recommend carrying your identity cards in double (placed separately). Also, given you have limited network coverage, we recommend printing all your reservations and itinerary.
  • Sim Cards - Airtel works in most locations apart from some remote parts where only BSNL is your lifeline. We recommend buying an extra prepaid BSNL sim for emergencies even if you have an Airtel connection - if you do not have Airtel, buying an emergency sim for Andamans is a must. We saw quite a few folks living on borrowed phones for calling their driver but it can get tough at times.
  • Foot Wear - Have a good pair of waterproof footwear for your beach trips and water invasions. We recommend crocs (or similar things) as they protect your feet from corals and pebbles when you venture into water (especially around Natural Bridge in Neil).
  • Medication - These islands are mostly small and scantily equipped for your specific needs. When it comes to medication, everyone has their needs - some prefer saridon while others disprin! You may not get your choices here even if you find any. Consider that the entire Havelock Island has 2 pharmacies (both closed on New Year's Day)! CARRY YOUR PREFERRED FIRST AID MEDICINES.
  • Food & Munchies - Again there are limited food options across the islands. While your meals would be catered to at the place you stay but if you have specific preferences on munchies (kids needed specific wafer/candy brands) or beverages (we are specific about our tea...Kettle remember), please carry some stock.

There is so much in Andaman and Nicobar Islands that no duration is enough to cover it all. Also, given that there is so much diversity in the offering, you would always want more. We spent six days in the region and tried to cover the most prominent and touristy destinations. However, we did end up missing quite a few things as well, especially the Baratang Islands. Here is a short summary of what all we covered during the Andaman and Nicobar trip:

What To Visit and Explore in Andaman and Nicobar

Cellular Jail, Port Blair
Sunset at Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Islands
  • Port Blair - Port Blair is the capital town and also the only airport. Hence you are bound to be here for a couple of nights. While there are limited options in terms of natural beauty but there is a lot from a historic perspective. Cellular Jail gives a glimpse into the way our freedom fighters were treated by the British. There are multiple museums bringing to life the rich flora and fauna, historic anthropology, and other stories from the past. Some typical places to visit are the Cellular Jail, Samudrika Museum, Chidiya Tapu (Sunset Point), and Corbyn Cove Beach. For more details, visit the article Port Blair – Gateway to the Amazing Andamans

  • Havelock Islands - Havelock Islands have recently been named the Swaraj Dweep in an attempt at the Indianization of the islands. These are beautiful islands away from the hustle of the world. Nestled in the beauty of nature, they are an ideal destination to spend your vacation time. Pristine beaches, mesmerizing views, lovely sunrises & sunsets, and the warmth of folks welcomes you to the island. We spent most of our time on Radhanagar and Elephanta Beach. The former gives you calm and peace and the latter adrenaline rush. For more details, visit the article Havelock Island or Swaraj Dweep – An Excursion

  • Neil Island - Neil Island has now been named Shaheed Dweep. This is a small island in the lap of the Bay of Bengal. A beautiful island untapped by commercialization is a wonderful break from the noise and monotone of the outside world. The tranquil environment and easy-going life are great for unwinding and spending time with yourself. Natural Bridges (Howrah Bridge) is a wonder of nature, offering views of interesting structures, live corals, and colorful fishes in the natural environment. Laxmanpur and Bharatpur beaches offer places to relax and Sitapur beach offers marvelous sunrise! For more details, visit the article Neil Island or Shaheed Dweep – Calm and Scenic Indulgence!

  • Ross Island - Ross Island is a dip into the history of the English Era when India was a British Colony. This was the regional establishment for the occupants and we can still witness ruins of their structures. They also brought and settled deers for hunting but these innocent beings have now found a safe haven after the English left.

Natural Bridge at Neil Islands

Playing with Deers at Ross Island

Time to Return to Reality

It is always difficult to come out of a vacation and this was particularly difficult. Andaman and Nicobar is a destination par excellence and we would love to come back. What stood out to us, apart from the natural beauty and undisturbed environment, was the absolutely great people here. We felt the warmth everywhere we went and did not face a single incident of haggling. For someone who has traveled to enough touristy places, this was a welcome change. Well, we wrapped our visit with some wonderful views of the Bay of Bengal from our balcony of Nicobari Cottage at the Megapode Resort over a cup of hot tea. Leaving you with a few of more pictures from the trip!

Water Sports at Elephanta Beach, Havelock Island

Sunrise at Kala Pathar Beach, Havelock Island
Playing in Sand, Typical Beach Holidays

Mesmerizing view of the Bay from Megapode Resort, Port Blair

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