Our Andaman visit date: Feb 6th – 13th 2017 (Please take note of this especially for estimating the present costs)
Climate and geography – when to visit
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is located in the east of the Indian mainland geographically, in the Bay of Bengal. They have a tropical climate. The South-west Monsoon sets in Andaman Nicobar islands towards the end of May and the North-east Monsoon in November. So those who are traveling for the first and probably the last time (like me ;P), please avoid visiting during May and November. Divers can enjoy the best during December to April when the water is free from the monsoon turbulence and sea life is clearly visible and the bird watchers can make the most during winter.
Normal rainfall at Port Blair : 3900 mm
Minimum Temperature : 23.2° C
Maximum Temperature : 25° C
Mean relative Humidity : 80 %
Administratively, the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands has three revenue Districts. Port Blair– the capital and gateway to the islands lies in South Andaman Island and falls under South Andaman District. The latest North & Middle Andaman District with Mayabunder as headquarters lies separated from South Andaman District by a creek. Car Nicobar is the District Head quarter of Nicobar District. Source: http://www.andamans.gov.in/html/andamans.html
Places of interest
Port Blair: From few hundreds to few thousands – all kinds of hotels are available in Port Blair. Both AC and Non-AC hotels are available. That is the reason of such a wide range of costs. AC accommodation with overlooking the sea costs higher. Circuit house and PWD guest houses are available to government employees on a nominal charge. further details are given in the itinerary below.
Food cost is average – about Rs. 450 for two person. South Indian and Bengali food are more easily available.
Transportation charges are on the higher side. But most sight seeing places would require the transport facilities. In case you want to hire an auto rickshaw, you can either have an idea from the managing desk of your hotel. Get quotes from various tour operators before booking transport in order to get a good deal.
Money Saving Tips
- Do not take travel agents. You can request the hotels you are staying if anything needs to be arranged
- Travel off-season: Avoid going during Dec-Jan during the Christmas holidays
- Stay at humble place at Port Blair because most of the times you will be out of your hotel for sight seeing.
- Travel by Government ferry to Havelock and Neil islands
- Take bus to go to Baratang. We hired a taxi. So I do not have enough information for going by bus.
- Cellular jail
- Jolly Buoy Island
- Havelock Island
What to pack
- ID-CARDS, PAN/VOTER/AADHAR CARDS +FEW PHOTOCOPIES OF THEM. These are required at many places.
- Rugged Rubber slippers
- Swim suits
- Sun glasses, hats, sun screen lotions
- For kids – Take many thin cotton dresses because they soil them in every beach they go. Lifebuoys are available near most beaches
No requirement of guides. The exhibits are self descriptive. The light and sound show explains further.
Jolly Buoy Island: cleanest beach, cleanest water, 2nd best corals in the World
- This island remains closed for six months a year from May to November. At this time Ross island is opened for tourists. But this island is best 🙂 So plan accordingly
- Need special forest department permit: It can be from the Forest Counter in the Tourism Department office near the High Court building one day prior. The permit cost around Rs.50/- and the boat fare about Rs.750/- per Head. To attain the permit one should apply with the ID proofs of all the visitors.
The ticket & permit can be taken on same day at the Wandoor Jetty too but the numbers are very less, hence the chance are feeble. During peak season get the ticket and permit in advance. We had hired an agent who did it for us. You can ask your hotel do it for you – might be by some extra charge of around Rs. 100/- per person.
- Carry food and water as there is nothing available on the island. Alternately, you can pack food from the stalls just in front of Wondoor jetty where we have to be in a queue for going to Jolly buoy. Milton bottles are available on rent at the gate. Carry lots of water (2 bottles for 3 adults).
- Reach Wandoor beach a bit early and don’t miss the museum. You get to know the name of many of the corals and that you see them live at Jolly Buoy. If you are short of time just see the last exhibit of the museum which is an interactive display of various corals. It will be of help to identify while snorkeling and glass bottom boat ride.
- Snorkeling is must. Its super easy also. My 65 year old mother also did 🙂
- There you will get changing rooms, bathrooms, shacks to rest and eat (see pic). Nothing else. No you cannot stay there after 3 🙁
- Visit Wandoor beach for sunset after Jolly buoy trip
- It is a total of 12 hour trip. The phases are : Drive from port blair to Jirkatang (3 hour) – drive in the convoy through the jungle – ferry to cross the river to get to a jetty to the other side – speed boat to inside mangrove forest – walk to reach the limestone caves
- If you take 6 am convoy you need to start by 3 am in the morningfrom your hotel and you will be back by 3 pm in the evening.
- There are 3 convoys that go to limestone caves – 6am, 9 am, 10 am. The earlier the better because the sun is really scorching after 9 am.
- Before each convoy starts, there is a queue of vehicles at Jirkatang. The earlier our vehicle is in the queue, the better it is so that you can aboard the ferry sooner and we can be ahead of time so that we need not rush throughout the visit to catch the returning convoy of 12.30 pm.
- Idlis, vadas, tea are available at Jirkatang gate. So have breakfast there.
- Go to toilet at Jirkatang only. Else you will get toilets near Limestone caves after about an hour of walk.
- Take a really high speed boat (ours was very slow)
- Take only water for the final stretch of 1.2 km walk. Sun glasses and hats not required for limestone cave because the walk is shadowed by forest trees. But hat is required for Mud volcano visit. So leave your bag with the high speed boatman (yes, they are safe with them)
- Mud volcano is on a hill. Its worth going if you have enough energy to climb the hill after visiting the caves.
- Carry sun screen lotion is a must that day.
- You cannot plan for any other thing that day because you will be dead tired after Baratang
- Ferry: take the low cost class to avoid sea sickness at upper decks which are high cost. Choice of seats: ‘Premium deluxe’ left side, at the front and window seats (if you are taking Makruzz ships. Right side is exposed to sun for the entire trip.)
- Take food/snacks because inside ferry the food costs double
- Enjoy Nature’s beauty to the maximum
- Elephant beach has water sports.(we preferred to enjoy at the private beach of the hotel for the entire day instead)
- Reach as soon as possible because the sea retreats at noon. Bharatpur beach has water rides.
- After sea recedes, go to natural bridge formation. Hire a guide there. He will show you various kinds of corals there
- Wear a strong rubber footwear because the corals and stones are very sharp to walk on
- Sun screen is a must especially because you will be visiting in noon
|Day||Place of visit||Stay at||Place of stay||Contact details and Tariff||Attractions||Note|
|Day 1||Port Blair||Port Blair||Circuit house for govt employees||03192-231014|
03192-232051 (fax no.)
|Carbyn's cove Beach, Light & Sound show at Cellular Jail*|
|Day 2||Wondoor - Jolly Buoy Island *||Port Blair||No place to stay there||-||Glass bottom boat /Snorkelling|
Wondoor beach for sunset
|1. Needs special permission from forest department. Hotels do that|
|Day 3||Baratang||Port Blair||Limestone caves, Jarwa tribe, mud volcano|
|Day 4 & 5||Havelock Island||Havelock Island||Dolphin Resort|
(their rooms are divided among the ANIIDCO and tourist department)
Whereas tourist department have 3 kinds of rooms. They are booked by emailing them at email@example.com/-
|Tourism Dept. S.Valliyappan 03192- 232694 firstname.lastname@example.org|
Tariff: Super Deluxe rooms: 4000/- per day +Tax
50% of the total room tariff in the form of Demand Draft within 15 days from the date of the receipt of the email
|Radhanagar beach, Elephant beach (we did not go)||Scuba – do from a reputed company. Ask them about the area of coral reefs they have in their under
Elephant beach – water rides
|ANIIDCO have all rooms of deluxe category only. They can be booked online.||Refer ANIIDCO website for more details.|
Tariff: 4700+850 (tax)
|Day 6||Neil Island*||Neil Island||Hawabill Nest. Need to be booked through tourist department by emailing them.||Semi Deluxe rooms email@example.com/-|
Tariff: 2000/- +tax
|Lakshmanpur beach No.1, Laksmanpour beach NO# 2., Bharatpur Beach, & Natural Bridge formations on the sea-shore|
|Tariff: 2000/- +tax|
|Day 7||Shopping and misc.||Port Blair||Port Blair||Chidiya tapu for sunset|
|Day 8||Port Blair||Flight back early morning||Holiday Home, Rajaji nagar bhavan@430=1720/-|
*tariffs can differ for international tourists
- Agents we got in touch during our trip and had a lovely experience (in order of preference)
- Sagar: 9531937593 (Bengali)
- Sanjit Debnath: 80001400026
- You can do one side trip on ship that takes around 3 days (http://www.andamanbeacon.com/andaman_ship_schedule_fare.html)
Why would you love to settle down in Andamans
As a traveler you will love the white pristine beaches (still clean unlike many Indian beaches), dense rain-fed, damp and evergreen forests, 270 species and sub-species of birds, 96 Wildlife Sanctuaries, nine National Parks and one Biosphere Reserve.
You cannot get tired oft he beaches and the islands. You would love to settle down here for the rest of your life. The city dwellers include mostly inhabitants migrated from either West Bengal or Tamil Nadu. The populace is very cleanliness aware. You would not find any plastic or wrappers on the streets and on the beaches. Most islands are plastic free zones.