Sunday, April 24, 2011

Andaman Diaries - Plan And Review Andaman Islands

An Island Of Andaman
Andaman once known for Kaala Paani or 'Black Water Prison' , has now become the hots pot for Honeymooners and Naturist .The Andaman & Nicobar are a group of picturesque Islands, big and small, inhabited and uninhabited, a total of 572 islands, with white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters .It seems to be a glimpse of Paradise on Earth .

Cellular Jail- Kaala Pani
Best Planned Trip to Andaman would take full 7 days :-
Day 1 :-
1)  Reach Port Blair at around 12.00 p.m .
Check in at your Hotel , Have Lunch , Rest for a while and Set out for Cellular Jail .
NOTE - Jail closes at sharp 4.00 p.m .Light and Sound show (which is a MUST WATCH) starts at 5.30 p.m in Hindi and 6.30 p.m in English.
2) If you have a Taxi with you . You can go for a walk in Corby n's And Cove Beach after your Dinner.

Day 2 :-
3) Start off for Have lock Island  .
Govt Ferry -   which is at 6.00 a.m , 12.30 p.m( inquire from the Phoenix Bay Jetty )
Makruz  -  which starts at 10.30 a.m (from Phoenix Bay Jetty)
NOTE - Please book your tickets at least 2 day in advance , otherwise your trip might go for a Toss.

4) Reach your Resort in Havelock - Relax in your Resort
Explore restaurants and  Island by bicycle or Scooty / bike.

Day 3 :-
5)  Start for Scuba diving and Snorkeling  at Elephant Beach 7.00 am in the morning .
6) Come back at 2.30 p.m .Have your Lunch and Set out for Radhanagar Beach also Known as Beach No.7
NOTE - Beach closes after sunset , around 5.30 p.m . The security guards would not allow anybody to visit Radhanagar beach thereafter . So be well in time, to enjoy the Beach .

 Day 4 :-
7) Go to the Kala Pathar . There lies an elephant camp , where you can see elephants getting trained .
You can spend some time there .
8)Take your Govt. Ferry at 2.00 p.m from Havelock Jetty or Makruz at 3:45 p.m .
9) You would reach Port Blair at around 5:30 p.m in both the cases .
10) You can visit the Local bazaar and some Govt handicraft shops for some shopping .

Havelcok Island
Day 5 :-
11) Plan for Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (Jolly Buoy) .The trip starts at 8.00 a.m from Wan door Jetty .
NOTE - The permissions has to be taken 1 day in advance for this .
12) You will reach back by 3.00 p.m from this trip . Have Lunch and set out for Chidiya Tapu .
The way while going to chidiya Tapu is Super .
13) Sleep early at around 8:30 p.m .

Day 6 :-
14) Set out for Bhartang Trip . This trip also requires permissions before hand . The trip starts at around 2:45 a.m in Govt Vehicle through Jarawa Tribe territory . You cannot go here by your own . The package also includes the Limestone Caves sight seeing . You return back around 4.00 p.m .

Day 7 :-
15) Plan for Ross Island and North Bay Island . This should be over by 2.30 p.m .
Spend some time doing water sports activities or you can take a Half Day City tour to see
Balidan Vedi , Rubber Plantations ,Samudrika Museum , Chatam Saw Mill .

This would complete you full Andaman trip .


1) FLIGHTS (Duration is 2 hours):-
You can only think of flights which commence from Chennai to Port Blair
Kolkata to Port Blair

2) SHIPS  (Duration is 60 hours) :-

Mini Zoo
HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST (Around Rs. 20,000 per person ):-

1) I started my trip from Bangalore . I went driving to Chennai- Stayed at my friends place .
Petrol Expenses were around Rs. 2600 for the round Trip .
Additionally I paid around Rs. 490 in Toll tax for the round Trip .

2) Flight Tickets (Chennai- Port blair- Chennai) - Rs. 8400/person

3) Then in port Blair - I stayed at NHPC guest house , which cost me Rs. 250/Room .

4) Food in the Guest House cost me - Rs. 600 / person .
This includes :-
1) 3 times Lunch - worth Rs. 35/person , Rs. 40 / person , Rs. 75 / person
2) 3 times Breakfast - worth Rs. 40 / person , Rs. 60/person , Rs. 25 / person
3) 3 times Dinner - worth Rs. 60/person , Rs. 60/person , Rs. 35 / person
4) 4 times tea + Bisuit worth -  Rs. 10 / person , Rs. 8/person , Rs. 8 person , 14/person
5) 1 Pakoda Evening - Rs. 100 .

5) Tickets for the Sight Seeing -
(a)Cellular Jail - Rs. 10 / person
(b)Guide -  Rs. 150
(c)Light and Sound show - Rs. 20 / person
(d)Samudrika(Meuseum) - Rs. 20 / person
(e)Chatham Saw Mill - Rs. 10 / person
(f)Mini Zoo - Rs. 2 / person
(g)Jolly Buoy Trip - Rs. 650 / person
This includes Govt. Ferry Transfers from Wan door Jetty to Jolly Buoy + Ride in the Glass Bottom Boat +Snorkelling .

6) Makruz(Port Blair - Havelock Island) - Rs. 650 / person
Govt Ferry (Havelock Island - Port Blair) -Rs. 300 / person
Since i donot want to queue up , i asked 1 agent  near Jetty to book it for me :-
( Rs. 250 (Fare) + Rs. 50 (Commission) )
If you ask your resort to book it , they would charge 100 rs per ticket as Service charge  for the same .

7) Emerald Gecko (Beach Huts) - Rs. 1000 / pernight
They have common Toilets - which are clean , and Attached Bathrooms .

Full Moon Cafe in Havelock Island
8) Food was pretty costly :-
# MEALS(at an above average restaurant like FULL MOON CAFE) - would cost somewhere from Rs. 300 - 450 / person .However there are cheaper options also available .
# BREAKFAST (at an average restaurant like German Bakery) - would cost around 70 / person .

9) Bicycles Rent for 12 hours - Rs. 50

10) Scooty Rent(excluding petrol) for 24 hours - Rs. 250

11) Scuba Diving (Fun Diving with Barefoot Scuba)- Rs. 3600 / person per Dive
This includes Boat Charges + Equipment Charges + Expert Diver Fee + Snacks .

12) For Taxi and Ticket Arrangements , you can refer to a reliable Driver named Srinivasa .
ph No - 09434263342

Cellular Jail


I can easily say that , this is the best place in the World , I have seen up till now .
Its a must Visit Destination for all the Budding Honeymooners .
Words wouldn't do justice to this place , especially Have lock Island .

Nhpc Guest House
Day 1 :-
We took off from Chennai at around 12:20 p.m which is around 2hr 20 min delay from the Scheduled Arrival due to bad landing conditions at Port Blair Airport .
Our Driver took us to the NHPC Guest House , which is at xxxxxxx , around 12 km away from the main area
Guest has in-house kitchen and 24 hour cook at our disposal .
We ordered normal Dal Chawal and Egg Bhurji . Clock struc 3:40 p.m and then we realized that if we don't start instantly , then we might miss Cellular Jail as part of our planned targets for that day .
Hopefully , we managed to reach the jail just in time at 4:00 p.m and got the tickets for Rs.10 per person  . Ticket counter for Jail Closes sharp at 4.00 p.m . Hired one Guide for Rs. 150 and completed the Jail in around 45 min .You don't need guide if you have time to explore . Jail employees started kicking us out at 4:50 p.m .
         We again took tickets for the Light and Sound Show at 5:30 p.m .  which cost us Rs. 20 per person .
There are 2 shows 1 at 5:30 p.m in Hindi and other one at 6:30 p.m in English .The show is subject to Climatic Conditions , since happens in Open Air . The show is a MUST WATCH . It gives a patriotic feeling similar to the one you would have got after watching movies like  Rang De Basanti, , Border .

Day 2 :-
We started off for the Phoenix Bay Jetty , which was around 14km from our Guest House .
Fortunately we got the tickets for Makruz which cost us Rs. 650 / person .
Please book tickets in Makruz or Govt. ferry atleast 3 days in Advance , otherwise you will risk your whole trip .
   Also plan your Havelock or Niel Island Trip initially . The climatic conditions changes here drastically due to which ships are stopped anytime .

I spent Rest of the Day 2 , Day 3 , and Day 4 in Havelcok  .
You must be interested in the Havelock Review as well .

Port Blair
Day 4 :-
I took the Govt Ferry from Havelock Island Jetty to Portblair at around 2:30 p.m .
We had a really nice Time while coming back from Havelock . We came along with the Captain and his Crew .Thankfully we got saved from the Stinking Passenger Sitting Area .We reached PortBlair at around 5:30 p.m . It was dark and raining Heavily .
           We did some shopping from the Govt Handicraft shop 5-6 km from the Phoenix Bay Jetty . Then we came back to our Resort for Jolly Buoy Trip .

Balidan Vedi
Day 5 :-
Day 5 was complete flop for us . We started off well ahead of time at 7.00 am from our guest house with our Lunch Packed .Jolly Buoy is a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park , and hence a Plastic free zone .This is undoubtebly the best Island of Andaman accessable to Tourist .
On the way to Wandoor Jetty , We saw a place named as BALIDAN VEDI , this is the place where 40 freedom fighters were killed by Japanese .Then we reached Wan door Jetty and found all Ship Services Closed on that day due to bad weather . In such cases the Trip amount is completely Refunded to the Tourists .We were completely disheartened . Then we thought of exploring Port Blair .

1 kilometer ahead of Wandoor Jetty is a beautiful beach known to few .This is one of the best beaches of port blair .
The uprooted trees of Tsunami are not yet removed from this beach . It adds to the beauty of the Beach .

Rubber Plantations
Our Driver took us to the RUBBER PLANTATIONS and RUBBER FACTORY . We took a guide there who explained us the Rubber Creation Process . We gave that guy Rs. 20 for his services , which he took with a big smile .

Samudrika Naval Meuseum
Then we went to SAMUNDRIKA  - a Naval Meuse um . It was good . It is just infront of the "Andaman Teal House " a Govt . Hotel . The Location of the Hotel is extremely good .
A good collection of shells, corals, fishes and a few species of colourful fishes found in these islands are on display.It also has a remains of a Giant Whale and Info on Local Tribals .

MINI ZOO was pathetic . Donot waste your time going there . All the animals are in a process of shifting from here to Zoological Park at Chidiya Tapu .

Chatham Saw Mill
he Chatham Saw Mill, one of the oldest and largest mills in Asia, built on a tiny island, is connected to Port Blair by a bridge .Forest Museum Situated inside Chatham Saw Mill , offers an insight into foresty activities and displays decorative pieces made of Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin Wood etc. open on all working days from 9.00 am to 5.00 p.m .
The entry ticket was Rs. 10 / per person .

DAY 6 :-
This was the last day of our trip .Our Flight was at 1.00 p.m and we utilized the Time quite well that day .

DAM :-
Being the Guests of NHPC(National Hydro Project Co-orporation) ,we got the Privelage to Visit the beautiful Dam Sight .

Its a Beautiful park , on a elevation infront of the airport runway .

Following are some Fact about Andaman and Nicobar Island which we learnt the Hard Way :-

Q  Which is the Best Season to Visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands ?
1) PLan your trip in Good Weather Conditions starting from December to March .
Q Which is the Best Place for Scuba Diving in Andaman for First Time Divers ?
2) Havelock Island - Elephant Beach .
Q Which is the best place for snorkelling in Andaman ?
3) Jolly buoy Island
Q Is it possible to do Scuba Diving in Port Blair ?
4) Yes there are 2 Diving Centres in Port Blair .
I enquired about snorkelling with them charged around 1500/person including Boat Charges .
Q) Can we book Ferry Tickets to Havelock Island, Niel Island after reaching Port Blair ?
5) It is strictly advisable to Book Ferry Tickets from Port blair to Havelcok and Niel Island atleast 2 days in advance .Though we got it on the same day we were travelling to Havelock . But every one was telling we are very lucky to have it the same day .
Q) How do we book Jolly Buoy Trip ?
6) You can ask your Hotel, Driver or Directly go to the Jetty to book the tickets .This require a Photo Identification Proof Copy to be submitted .

Andaman Diaries - Havelock Island

Havelcok Island

Havelock Island is the most popular Island Destination of the Andaman . Havelock Island is famous for its pristine beaches, coral reefs and for a relaxing holiday. Generally People opt for a Day Trip to Havelock . But I feel its worth it to spend a night or two or even more . You can find the Nature at its Best here .
Government Ferry - North Passage
1) Government  Ferry : which starts at 6.00 a.m , 12:30 p.m from Port Blair to Havelock(Everyday) .
Goes back from Havelock Island to portblair at 3.00 p.m (Everyday) 
Goes back from Havelcok Island to portblair via Niel Island : 3:00 p.m (Wednesday).
2) Makruz  starts at 10:30 a.m from Port Blair to Havelock (Everyday)
Goes Back from Havelcok Island to Port blair  at 3:45 p.m  (Everyday)
3) By Air : 10:30 a.m 
Vijay Nagar Beach
1) Port Blair To Havelock Island .
Government  Ferry 6:00 am     - 3hrs 15 min
Government  Ferry 12:30 p.m - 2 hrs 45 min
Makruz at 10:30 a.m           - 1 hr 45 min 
By Air                          - 20 min
2) Havelock Island to Portblair 
Government Ferry at 3:00 p.m (Everyday) - 2hrs 45 min
Government Ferry at 3:00 p.m Via Niel Island(wednesday) - 4hrs 30 min
Makruz at 4:00 p.m (Everyday) - 1 hr 45 min .
NOTE - These ferry's are extremely dependent on Weather Conditions . 
The Ferry Services could stop working anytime . So please plan your Havelock Island Trip during the start of your Andaman trip .I have heard from quite a few people who missed thier flight back to Chennai and Bengal due to Halt in Ferry Services from Havelock .

Market Place - Havelock Island

HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST  : 2 night 3 days would cost around Rs. 9000 / person .

1) Scuba Diving - Rs 3600 / person
2) Snorkeling - Rs. 500 / person
3) Under Water Camera rent - Rs. 500
4) Stay for 2 nights 3 days : Rs. 1000 / Night 
5) Havelcok Island Transfers from Port blair : Rs. 650/ head
Port Blair Transfers from havelock Island : Rs. 300 / head 
Done through Shekhar - 09474215720 .
6) Cycle  Rent for 12 hrs - Rs. 40 / cycle
7) Scooty Rent for 24 hrs - Rs. 250 / Scooty
They also take security Deposit as Rs. 1000/scooty .
8) Breakfast - Rs. 80 / head / per breakfast
9) Meals - Rs. 300 / head per meal
10) Petrol - Rs. 100 
11) Liquor - Rs. 350  for 1000 ml of Bacardi Rum
12) Beer - Rs. 60/650 ml Beer

All shade Of Blue

This place is a paradise on Earth  for Nature Lovers . This is the best place on the earth , I have seen up till now . I saw all possible colors of Sea water-> Green , Sea Green , Torquise blue , white and the list goes on .
Yes , the worlds would not do justice to the place . 

Emerald Gecko Beach Hut No.1
Day1 : 
Spent in Portblair
Day 2 : 
Caught Makruz at 10:30 a.m .There were 3 different Sitting Areas :-
(a) Down was Rs. 650 / person .
(b) First Floor Rs. 750 / person .
(c) A Special compartment for 10 people worth Rs. 1000 / person .
It also had a Snacks Counter Inside the Cruz.

Inside Beach Hut
We reached Havelock Island and Auto driver from our resort Emerald Gecko was already waiting for us. The distance from Jetty to our resort was not more than 7 km.Emerald Gecko is in Village No.5 against the Vijay Nagar Beach or Beach No.5 .To my surprise , we got the best Beach Hut of the Resort . The hut is actually on the beach .Sea water was merely 20 steps away from our hut .

We were so excited , that we went running to the beach waters . Weather changed suddenly and the sky got covered with thick dark clouds .The sea water turned green from its original blue color .After playing to the fullest , we came out to have Lunch .We had Lunch in the In-house restaurant of Emerald Gecko . The ambience of the restaurant was good but food had a very limited options .
1 plate Rice + Curry costed around Rs. 250 - 300 .The taste was pretty  Average .
Quantity was also less . Just sufficient for a Girls Apetite .Then we came out in the evening to explore the Island .We were lucky enought to avail the bus service . We got down at Village No. 3 . Hired bi-cycles and Enquired about scuba .After exploring all the Dive Centres , we could easily rate :- 
Dive India as         No. 1 
Andaman Bubbles as No. 2
BArefoot Scuba as No. 3 
Since Dive India was full and andaman bubble's underwater camera had gone for repairing , we booked Barefoot Scuba .At night we went to Full Moon Cafe for Dinner .

Scuba Diving at Elephant Beach
Day 3 :
We were well on time for Scuba Diving at 7:20 a.m after returning the bi-cyles .
We had our breakfast in the Restaurant of Barefoot Scuba .

Elephant Beach
It started raining Heavily .After an hour and a half we were briefed about the Diving Signs and breathing techniques .Then we set out for Diving on elephant beach .
We would have reached there in 35 minutes .Again we were given a Hands-On training on Diving .Each of us were assisted by a Personal Professional Diver .
We saw an amazing aquatic life . Lots and Lots of Colorful fishes , Octopus , Star Fishes , Corals .Thats an unforgetful experience .We spent around 45 min and recorded 35ft under the sea .Then we came and had snacks provided by Barefoot Scuba .We waited for another 1 hr , untill another group finished their Diving .I explored some parts of Elephant Beach and passed some time doing snorkelling by borrowing the Snorkelling Aparatus from the other Group .

Great Diving Experience

We came back around 2:30 p.m . Had Lunch in the same restaurant and came back to our resort on Scooty .Then we rested for some time and set out for Radhanagar Beach . It was almost dark , but i got some evening shots of Radhanagar Beach . The beach closes at 5:30 p.m and is guarded by Police .  This is due to an attack on a Foreigner by a Salt Water Crockodile in 2010 .

Radha Nagar Beach
Day 4 :
I was very excited to see the Asia's 7th best beach . With a firm determination of getting up early in the morning , we set out for Radha Nagar beach again at 5:00 .a m in the morning .
The Way was extremely beautiful . There was absolutely nobody except me , my wife , scooty and some stray dogs .The dogs were pretty playful . We captured some shots of the beautiful beach and beautiful birds around it .
There are only 2 resorts on Radhanagar beach :-
1) Government Resort .
2) Barefoot Jungle Resort .
Way to Radha Nagar Beach
Though the above 2 resorts are facing the beach , but they are still quite far from sea water .
You have to walk down atleat 150 steps to touch the blue waters of the Radhanagar beach .
When I compare Resorts in Beach No. 5 , their location is much better for a stay .
We were about to return back to our resort and Suddenly i saw a glimpse of Rajan - The last celebrety swimming Elephant of Havelock .I started running behind it , after running almost a kilometer , it escaped in the Jungle with its Mahout(elephant rider) .We also saw , shooting of an Holywood movie - "Echoes" , while returning back to our scooty on Radha Nagar Beach .

Emerald Gecko Beach Hut 
Then we came back to our Resort at around 7:30 a.m .
We freshened up , and had breakfast at German Bakery .It was really good .
Then we started for Kala Pathar , but rain spoiled it .
We didn't wanted to get drenched again and decided to take shelter at one Local's house .
We came back to our resort and went into the waters again .
That day the water level was pretty low .
We took some beautiful shots that day , owing fully to Sun God which showed up for 2-3 hours .

Beach Outside Emerald Gecko
We checked out from our Resort emerald Gecko at around 12:00 p.m . Handed back the scooty and came to the jetty .Then we took the tickets from our person and Dined at nice Restaurant "B3" on the Jetty .At 2:45 p.m we boarded the Govt Ferry "North Passage" . It had a seating capacity of around 160 .The room stinked and had a lot of cockroaches .

I also got to know that there is a special cabin for about 20 people , which costs Rs. 200 more than normal seats .After few minutes , i started exploring the ship as well . we went to the Restricted cabin Area .The captain was very friendly and allowed us to stay there for complete 2:30 hrs .This was an amazing experience . It seems the Weather was pretty bad that day , with a very poor visibility and Sea Roughness being on a scale of 2 .We reached safely back to port Blair at aorund 5:45 p.m .

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Travel Living by Nitin Bhatnagar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License