by Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar
Return Airfare 3 Pax: 78732INR || Stay 3 Pax: 44789INR || Food 3 Pax: 17398INR ||
Local Transportation: 42320INR || Fees (Museum, watersports etc): 19140 ||
|21st Dec 2019||Bangalore (Karnataka, India) to Port Blair(Andaman and Nicobar, India)
From airport to Aberdeen Bazar Breakfast, Corbyn’s Beach, Cellular Jail, drop at the Jetty
Port Blair to Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep)
Check into CrossBill Resorts, Havelock
|22nd Dec 2019||Elephanta Beach, Radhanagar Beach|
|23rd Dec 2019||Govindnagar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Kala Pathar Beach
Havelock to Port Blair
Check into The Shelter Hotel, Port Blair
Light and Sound Show at 9.00PM at the Cellular Jail
|24th Dec 2019||Port Blair – Chatham saw mill (forest museum), Ross Island, North Bay Island – water sports, Anthropological Museum|
|25th Dec 2019||Port Blair to Baratang Island(Jarwa Reserve is on the way)
Check in to Dew Dale Resort, Barantang
Parrot Island, near Baratang
|26th Dec 2019||Limestone caves, Mud Volcano, Baratang|
|27th Dec 2019||Check in to Pristine Resort, Diglipur
Sit out at the beach waiting for Olive Ridley to come and nest
|28th Dec 2019||Checkout from pristine
Dhanninallah Mangrove Walkthrough to a beach
Check into Lakshmi Villa, Rangat
|29th Dec 2019||Back in Port Blair check into Atlanta Point
Waterfront at night
|30th Dec 2019||Fisheries Museum, Samudrika Museum
Check into The Oceanus Resort
|31st Dec 2019||Wandoor Beach, Kalapani Museum, Chidiya Tapu|
|1st Jan 2020||Port Blair to Bangalore|
Tips for your trip
The beaches in Havelock and Neil are the best both for bathing and water sports. Bathing in the beaches of Port Blair is banned owing to fear of crocodiles. The water sports at North Bay / Corbyn’s beach are not so much fun as in Havelock.
The journey to Baratang can cater to most excursion enthusiasts. It passes through Jarwa (Andaman tribe) reserve, where they can be seen quite often.
If the duration of the trip is longer, Diglipur north of Andaman can be explored, it is a big town with Ross and Smith twin islands accessible from the Areal Bay. A new airport is coming up at Diglipur. It has beaches where the turtles come to nest from Dec to Feb.
If the trip is shorter then Havelock is a must (2 nights), Neil can be dropped, in Port Blair the Cellular jail, Samudrika Museum, and Chatham Forest Museum can be done in a day and another can be spent to visit Ross Island and North Bay and the city in general.
There are a few hiking and mountaineering opportunities but in Andaman, the blue is what predominates; the weather is ideal to be in the waters and the beaches are too alluring to forgo.
Recommended Itinerary for 10 days
|Day 1||Fly into Port Blair – Cellular Jail / Fisheries Museum – Both are near the waterfront
Head to Havelock(Swaraj Dweep) by Macruz around 3pm, check-in at Havelock
|Day 2||Spent the morning at Govindnagar Beach / Vijaynagar Beach / Kala Pathar Beach to bathe in the shallow waters and build castles, water sports are available at Govindnagar/ Vijaynagar, have lunch at the Something Different Beach cafe, explore the market after sundown, retire to the hotel|
|Day 3||Visit Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep)|
|Day 4||Explore Elephanta Beach – Hike /Water sports, be at the Radhanagar Beach to catch the beautiful sunset|
|Day 5||Enjoy the bath at the beach near you or just laze around looking at the azure waters and return to Port Blair by Macruz, enjoy the light and sound at the cellular jail|
|Day 6||Port Blair – Chatham Forest Museum, Ross Island, Northbay, Anthropological Museum|
|Day 7||Head north towards Baratang through Jarwa Reserve, visit Parrot Island, check-in at Baratang|
|Day 8||Visit Limestone caves, Mud volcano at Baratang and return by the last gate|
|Day 9||Reach Port Blair by sundown and enjoy the waterfront / Aberdeen Bazar is lively at night|
And now our travel story…
The brief Port Blair Stint
If I were Sanjay, no not the famous Dhritarashtra’s Charioteer from the Indian epic Mahabharata, but the guy who drove us around in Andaman, I would possibly start the blog thus:
It was another usual day at the airport. Tourists were not so abundant. I had no party to cater to. Usually, December is rush hour and I am overbooked. But here I was waiting at the arrival gate having queued for any stray passenger to be dropped at the hotel, generally, that is what they do, check-in first. Suddenly a trio in black jackets emerged; the grumpy one had a receipt in hand with my car number. As soon as the scanty luggage was fitted into the boot the chatty one started spilling out the beans regarding their travel plan. This was a family I gathered, with a 12-year-old son. They would be in Andamans for 10 days, definitely a good party to latch on to and that is what I did.
If I were Anoushrayan, our son about to be 13 with eyes only for kindle and is waiting for the day when we could teleport everywhere, I would have possibly started the blog thus:
The ordeal was not over yet. We had started late night on the 20th of December around 10pm after dinner, spent the night at the airport as the take-off was around 4am. The 1st-row seats were airy with a good leg space and since the door was open for long, I did not nauseate. My travel happy mom had not booked any hotel in Port Blair, the entry point of Andaman as we were supposed to be heading to Havelock around noon by a catamaran the same day. There we can finally hit the bed is what she has promised. The first thing we did in the port city was, have breakfast and good it was; both tasty and sumptuous, that made me very happy. I needed the energy as we were about to ride on a whirlwind for the next 10 days.
If I were Rajib, my hubby who loves to travel as much as me, has a keen eye for details and is fact-oriented, he also needs to get value for money from everything, I would possibly start the blog thus:
Andaman’s only operating airport for civilians is at Port Blair, it is called Veer Savarkar International Airport. It has a very small arrival and departure lounge. We collected the luggage which came quite fast and freshened up, the bathrooms were decent for Indian small city standards. A band was getting ready to play in one corner. We headed towards the inquiry counter and asked about the catamaran Sea Link. They suggested we better checkout at the Jetty, booked us a cab and gave us a receipt. The grey Suzuki Ciaz was comfortable and the driver Sanju though a serious kind of Bengali gentleman was quite efficient. He took us to a good breakfast joint understanding our requirement. We wanted to book the return journey from Havelock after 2 days, so he took us to a travel agent and we got it done.
If I were me, well which I am, a romantic storyteller who forgets names but remembers experiences, for whom the loss of money counts the least, I am going to write my blog thus:
As I stood behind the bars of the cellular jail I could feel the scream, the pain, the torment that this jail was supposed to have caused to the hundreds of innocent people who were not criminals but political prisoners entitled to humane conditions though in captivity. In Port Blair, the cellular jail and a ferry away the Ross island are the two major places where lies the dark history of Andamans, of the deported Indians, Burmese and the brief but devastating Japanese occupation. A must-visit for all who value their independence and want to know the level of human endurance.
The Great Andaman Tribes were worst affected while they were enslaved in their homeland, forced to give away their cultural identity and accept the so-called civilized way of life. Today as we know the ‘Sentinelese” remain the only tribe that did not let the outside world touch them. The Jarawa are at an interesting crossroad of modern and primitive lifestyle. The Nicobarese tribes though modernized keep to themselves. Tourists are not allowed in the Nicobar Islands, only the government officials and residents of Andaman can visit and stay there. Thus there is no chance of meeting the Nicobar Pigeon and other endemic life forms, in person, any time soon.
We went to Aberdeen Bazaar from the airport to have breakfast. It was early morning and most of the shops were closed. We immediately recognized the Clock tower at the crossroads, having read Deepak Dalal’s Andaman story more than once.
After the breakfast and return booking from Havelock, we went to Corbyn’s beach through the waterfront.
Port Blair’s waterfront which opens up to a harbor with lots of colourful motorboats parked in the blue pristine waters of the Andaman sea, steals away one’s heart from the first look. The capital is a small city, somewhat in layers, the city kind of spirals up the hill and slides down to the sea level.
Corbyn’s beach is the nearest beach from the airport/city center and it has a few water sport options. Though bathing is strictly prohibited due to possible attacks from crocodiles, a few have recently been spotted nearer than what could be called a safe distance.
We stayed at the beach for a while for the photoshoots and headed to The Cellular Jail. Even if I don’t make it as dramatic as calling it a life-changing experience, it is definitely going to create a mark. The seven spokes, of which only 3 survived with the surrounding grounds that house the hanging room, the oil churning equipment, the chair where David Barry sat and saw his cruel tortures being executed, create a heart-wrenching experience. The 3 wings are open to the public, one can go inside the cell to feel it more. I felt claustrophobic inside the cell, even with the iron door open. We went up the tower, which joins all the spokes/wings that house the cells. A sentry was enough to keep a watch on all the seven wings with 696 cells.
The terrace of the wings has some breathtaking views of the ocean around. A public hospital has been established where two of the wings used to be. At the entrance to the jail, there are two museums to the right and left of the gate, packed with photographs and write-ups about the horrible times this jail has witnessed, we could finish only one as the other one was being moped and we didn’t have time to wait so long; definitely, a reason to go back.
Our catamaran was to leave at 12.30 so we headed to the jetty. Sanju readily exchanged numbers so that he could catch us when we are back from Havelock. The Jetty has two big lounges with chairs, restrooms, and a small canteen. Sealink, the catamaran was supposed to provide lunch so we didn’t plan for it. Unfortunately, it got canceled and we had to fill ourselves with snacks and beverages available at the small counter. We were accommodated on another catamaran called Makruzz, the best and the fastest. The wait was long, till about 2.30pm but the journey and the sitting quarters compensated for it.
As we sailed on the blue waters of the Andaman Sea, I could see, through the huge glass windows, the fading lines of the islands; I could see the waves but could not feel them, as the catamaran is a very stable vessel. We bought tea, 40INR per cup, but it felt good to have it in this smooth sailing vessel as we watched the horizon where the two blues met.