General Information About Andaman & Nicobar Island
The canopied rain forests of the islands harbour 3000 species of plants including mangroves, epiphytes, palms, woody climbers, timbers (teak, mahogany, Andaman Paduack) and a wide variety of tropical fruits and 6451 species of fauna both in marine and coral. Considering a wide variety of tropical fish and coral. Considering the diversity and uniqueness of flora & fauna and the fragile nature of the eco system here 96 sanctuaries spread over 4662.18 Sq. Kms. And 9 National Parks spread over 1153.93 Sq. Kms. Have been notified in these islands. There is also a Biosphere Reserve.
Administrative capital : Port Blair
Airports : Veer Savarkar Airport, Port Blair
Distances : 1255kms from Kolkata, 1190kms from Chennai, 1200kms from Vishakhapatnam
Currency : Indian Rupees
Altitude : Varies from sea level to 732 meters
Highest peak : Saddle peak – 732 meters
Climate : Tropical climate throughout the year with average minimum temperature at 23°C and maximum at 32°C.
Humidity : Relatively high – 70% to 90%, with a gentle breeze blowing all the time. The weather is generally pleasant with average annual rainfall of 3000 mm in Port Blair.
Population : 3,80,000 approx
Forest cover : 92% protected forest; 86% reserve forest
Clothing : Cottons throughout the year
Internet Access : Good in Port Blair, but very poor dial up connections on extremely slow speeds in most other important islands like Havelock and Neil. Satellite internet is available in Havelock although expensive. Data cards (of a few companies) work in Port Blair, however do not work at all on other Islands. Most of the islands do not have internet access at all.
Mobile & Telephone Access : Mobile providers include BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel with Reliance functioning currently only in Port Blair with excellent connectivity. As you travel away from the city of Port Blair to outer city limits or other islands, connectivity may become weak.
ISD code : +91-3192
STD Code : 03192
Transport & Access:
Local Transport : Local bus services are not very well developed however dependable regular reliable ferries ply to all important islands. Auto rickshaws and taxis are easily available.
Access by air : International : None. However the government does permit charter flights to land after taking necessary permissions from the Civil Aviation Ministry. Domestic – Port Blair is well connected with Chennai and Kolkata by daily flights.
Access by sea : Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam and back. There are three or four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice versa. There is one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month.
Government Ferry Service:
Entry Formalities :
Indian Nationals : Indian nationals need no permit to visit Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are given in exceptional cases only. Application on a prescribed form may be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Port Blair.
Foreigners : All foreigners need to specify that they intend to visit the Andamans while obtaining the visa to India. Foreigners arriving in Port Blair with a stamp reading “Entry to restricted areas not allowed” (or similar stamps) will not be allowed to enter the Andaman Islands. Do note that there is a line in fine print in all Visas stating that ‘entry to restricted areas not allowed’ and that is to be ignored, only if there is a separate rubber stamp then kindly check with your issuing authorities urgently!
With a valid India Visa, foreigners can arrive in Port Blair. However a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required to enter the Andamans which can be easily obtained on arrival at Port Blair from the immigration authorities. The permit is free of cost.
In addition, permits can also be obtained from Indian Missions Overseas, Foreigners Registration Offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and the Immigration authorities at the airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The Restricted Area Permit allows foreign nationals to stay on the islands for 30 days. This can be extended by an additional 15 days at the immigration office in Port Blair. Getting the extension depends on your reason for extension and luck.
The Places Covered By Restricted Area Permit:
For night halt : South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island (excluding the tribal reserve), Neil island, Havelock island, Long island, Diglipur, Baratang, North Passage island, and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (excluding the islands of Boat Hobday, Twin, Tarmugli, Malay and Pluto). Night halt in the park is only with permission.
For day halt : South Cinque island, Ross island, Narcondam island, Interview island, Brother island, Sister island and Barren island (you are not permitted to land on Barren). Please note that the above can be changed at a short notice by the government and hence request you to contact the Immigration authorities for updated information.
Island Tourism festival
Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands celebrates an annual Island Tourism festival. The festivities include exhibitions, cultural performances, and water sport competitions that carry on for a fortnight in the months of December and January.
Subhash Mela – January every year
Organized in Havelock every year on the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. This mela (carnival) is celebrated with a week-long festival filled with cultural programmes, food stalls and small roadside shops.
Vivekanada Mela – January every year
Organised at Neil Island to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanada. This mela (carnival) is celebrated with a week long festival filled with cultural programmes, food stalls, loud music and small roadside shops.
Block Mela – January/February every year
Held at Diglipur, this highlights the developments that have taken place in the rural areas and displays the typical rural life of these islands.
Hari Bol Mela – February every year
This is gathering of all local villages where they sing religious songs and pray together. Free food is served in the evening to all people and the festivities last 3 days. As this festival is mainly a religious one, travellers are advised to wear attire that is conservative if attending the festivities.
How to Reach Andaman?
The Veer Savarkar Airport, an International Airport is located in the capital town of Port Blair, the gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Port Blair, is connected with Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Bhubaneswar by air. Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air, Spice Jet, Indigo & Air Vistara Airlines operate regular flights. Foreign chartered flights are also permitted to land at Port Blair subject to the fulfillment of guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa. There is only one sailing for Visakhapatnam in a month. The voyage takes about 50 to 60 hours during fair weather.
Island At Andaman
Long Island, just 47 nautical miles from Port Blair, having an area of about 18 sq.km., is a modern village with a population of around 2000 having many plus points and facilities generally not available in other villages of Bay Islands. It has its own power-house, a well equipped Boat Building Yard, Senior Secondary School, bank, wireless facilities, hospital, Range Forest Office and an even police outpost. Long Island is a dreamland settlement without any road network
Little Andaman Island, located south of the South Andaman Island, is at a distance of 120 km. by sea from Port Blair. Hut Bay in Little Andaman is the entry and exit point and also the island headquarter. Little Andaman island offers a perfect mix of white sandy beaches bewitching Waterfalls, Boating through the Creeks, exciting Elephant Safari, Elephant lumbering, Elephant calves training, Surfing etc. All the places of tourist interest are approachable by the road, leading northwards from the Hutbay Jetty. Little Andaman has an evergreen rain forest which paves way for a very rich biodiversity.
Havelock is a picturesque natural paradise with beautiful white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs, and lush green forest. It is one of the populated islands in the Andaman group with an area of 113 sq. km. and is located 39 km of north-east of Port Blair.
This island, with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with a green canopy of the rain-fed forests, beckons everyone to enjoy the frolic and fun at the azure sea.
Neil is a tiny but beautiful island located 37 Kms. to the south of the Andaman Islands. With unexplored coral reefs, brilliant bio-diversity, white sandy beaches and tropical forest and vegetation, it is one of the hot tourist spots in the Andamans.
Neil Island is known as the ‘vegetable bowl’ of the Andamans. The settlers named the beaches after mythical characters of the epic Ramayana (Bharatpur, Laxmanpur, Sitapur, Ramnagar etc.) The island, with its very relaxed vibes and long, deserted beaches is a place to chill out after the “bustle” of Havelock. The widest part of the island is about 5 km in length. You can walk the whole island in about two hours.
(100 Kms. by road from Port Blair)
This island between South and Middle Andaman has beautiful beaches, mangrove creeks, mud-volcanoes and limestone caves. Andaman Trunk Road to Rangat and Mayabunder goes through this island. Limestone cave can be explored with the permission of Forest Department at Baratang and proper local guidance.
Diglipur (325 Kms., approx. 12 hrs by road from Port Blair)
Situated in North Andaman Island, Diglipur provides a rare experience for eco-friendly tourists. It is famous for its oranges, rice and marine life. Saddle Peak the highest point in the islands is nearby. Kampong, the only river of Andaman flows here. The only Hydro-electric project of the islands is on this river. One can feel the innocent beauty of village life everywhere in Diglipur.
Middle Andaman Island:
The island belongs to the Great Andaman Chain and is located 73 km (45 mi) north from Port Blair. It is the central island of the Great Andaman archipelago of India, with a total area of 1,536 km². Middle Andaman is separated from North Andaman Island by Austen Strait, and from Baratang Island at the south by Homfray’s Strait, both shallow and narrow channels, a few hundred meters wide; and from Interview Island at its west by the navigable.
The island’s coastline was inundated by the tsunami resulting from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (26th Dec), though the effect was far less severe when compared with other Islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Barren Island is an island located in the Andaman Sea. It is the only confirmed active volcano in South Asia and the only active volcano along a chain of volcanoes from Sumatra to Myanmar. Along with the rest of the Andaman Islands, it is a part of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and lies about 138 km (86 mi) northeast of the territory’s capital, Port Blair.
South Andaman Island:
South Andaman Island is the southernmost island of the Great Andaman and is home to the majority of the population of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the location of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
North Andaman Island:
North Andaman Island is the northern island of Great Andaman of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the North and Middle Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. the island is lying 137 km (85 mi) north from Port Blair.
The island belongs to the Great Andaman group and lies north of Middle Andaman Island. many small island groups surround its beaches. The island’s main town is Diglipur.
The island previously had an indigenous population of the Great Andamanese, for example, the Bo, but they are no longer present: the island is populated by immigrants from the Indian mainland and their descendants.
The island is home to the highest point in the archipelago, Saddle Peak at 738 meters.
North Andaman has fairly frequent large earthquakes and suffered inundation from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake tsunami.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands>>Points of interest
Radha Nagar Beach:
Not many know that an Indian beach has been named as the Asia’s best beach and the world’s seventh best beach by Time magazine! The reputed Time magazine named it as Asia’s best beach in 2004.
This beach is Andaman’s prideful possession and at the very sight of it, everyone exclaims ‘what a beauty!’
Radhanagar beach is in Havelock island which falls in South Andaman district and is probably the most visited place in Andaman and Nicobar Islands group.
The beach is about 7 kms away from the popular Vijaynagar beach and Dolphin Yatri Niwas, a beautiful government resort.
Radhanagar beach, Havelock Island is very well known for its vast spreading and long white, sandy beach that sprawls across a wide area. With lush green trees on one end and aqua green, clear water on the other end, one can truly take a walk midst nature and forget all his woes.
The beach is also very safe for swimming though incidents of saltwater crocodile attacks on humans have been reported a couple of times. But in such cases, the forest department issues a warning to the visitors.
After sunset, it is not advisable to go inside the water as the intensity of waves increases and it gets a little dangerous to stay in water post sunset.
But in the daytime, one must visit this nature’s gift to our beloved country and our sacred islands!
North Bay Beach:
North Bay Island is about an hour ferry ride away from Port Blair jetty (speed boat takes much less time) and is a lovely place to go for a day’s trip. What makes it even more tempting to visit is the wide array of water activities that one can enjoy.
Sea walk has already been introduced and has been going on for over a year now. Along with sea walk, you can do jet skii, speed water boat ride, snorkeling and other such activities at the beautiful North Bay Island.
There are a number of islands that one can go to if you have a day in Port Blair. Ross Island, Jolly Buoy Island, Red Skin Island, Viper Island, Chatham Mill, Chidiyatapu and North Bay Islands are some of the options.
Jolly Buoy remains closed for half of the year because of the weather conditions in Andamans and Red Skin is not my choice. Hence, I would strongly recommend Ross (if you like a laid back day seeing the historic ruins of the British colony in Andaman) or North Bay Island
The ride from Marina Park, Port Blair by a boat takes anywhere about 30-40 minutes to reach North Bay Island. Most of the boats leave by 11 am in the morning and they only come back by 3 pm. So, plan your day accordingly.
While the main attraction of the place is its water sports and sea walk, the island is very serene in itself and gives you ample space to have some time of yourself on its small beach.
How to reach: Take a boat from Marina Park jetty in Port Blair. Remember the boats generally leave at 9 am though the times change with season and tourists traffic and they come back by 3 pm so a trip to North Bay takes half of your day.
Neil Island is one of the most beautiful islands of Andaman and Nicobar group. The place has many attractions and some of the most beautiful beaches as well.
I have already described Bharatpur beach of Neil Island on the blog and today I would take you on a tour to Laxmanpur beach.
Laxmanpur beach is a beautiful, white sandy beach that is full of shells, dead corals and has a beach that is very wide and long and provides an awesome view for an evening walk. The beach also gives an impressive sunset view!
I have been to Neil Island several times and each time I visit, the place seems more beautiful than ever.
Bharatpur beach is right next to jetty and is not as big as Laxmanpur beach. The former is known for its corals so I suggest snorkeling at Bharatpur beach is a must.
Laxmanpur beach on the other hand is a very long beach and even on peak tourist days, the beach gives you ample of time and space to be on your own and enjoy the privacy even among crowd.
Since the beach provides a stunning sunet view, I suggest you go there in the evening. Bharatpur on the other hand should be visited during the day as you might want to go for a swim there or snorkeling which is best experienced only during the early hours of the day.
We also spotted a small tower that the locals had made from the sea shells and dead corals.
How to reach: Regular ferries run from Havelock Island and Port Blair to Neil Island daily. There are some great resorts to stay in Neil Island.
Lamiya Bay Beach, Diglipur:
In Andaman and Nicobar Islands, if there is one place that offers everything to a traveler, it is Diglipur. From the exotic Ross and Smith Islands to Active Mud Volcanoes, the place is truly blessed with natural beauty.
The post today explores another beautiful beach called Lamiya Bay Beach, that lies in Diglipur. It is a wide, sandy beach that is long stretched along the sea and with rocks on the shore provides a different view of the sea beauty. You can see a wide assortment of dead corals on the beach.
The beach lies a few kilometers ahead of Kalipur beach and marks the foothill of Saddle Peak, the highest peak of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The beach has brown sand, unlike the many white sand beaches in Havelock and Neil Islands. Infact, all of Diglipur’s beaches viz. Ramnagar beach, Kalipur beach and Lamiya Bay beach have black/brown sand except Ross and Smith.
Water is clear, beach is clean and the place is beautiful.
One can have a long and intense moment of solitude at the beach, while sitting on the rocks and hearing the waves crash against the rocks that produces a melodious sound and brings peace and calmness to the mind. I believe it is this elevated arrangement of rocks on the beach that make Lamiya Bay different from the other beaches.
How to reach: Take the road that goes to Kalipur beach from the jetty, and go ahead of the Kalipur beach. Pristine resort is located near Kalipur beach and isan excellent place to spend a few days.
It was truly a pleasure to spend some time in the lazy afternoon on the beach and do a round of snorkeling.
Bharatpur beach is the beach that one gets to see as soon as you step onto Neil Island jetty.
Bharatpur beach is right at the Neil island jetty (about half a kilometer) and is wide, white beach. Most of the tourists visit this beach in the morning hours and do snorkeling as in the evening they get to watch the sunset at Laxmanpur beach.
The beach is well known for its coral reef which is undoubtedly utterly beautiful and probably the most beautiful in Andamans. This is one reason I call Neil island the coral capital of Andamans.
The best way to enjoy the beach, its cool sea breeze and the calmness of the place is to carry a nice book and a hammock with you. Tie the hammock around a tree and read the book under the shade. There are plenty of benches to sit and some stalls around that sell packaged drinking water and coconut water.
How to reach Pathi Level Beach, Diglipur – Pathi Level beach in Diglipur is a little isolated and far away from the main city. To reach the beach, you need to walk from Ram Nagar beach or take a dunghi from Kishorinagar.
Mayabunder is a rather dull place in terms of tourist spots. There isn’t much to see in Mayabunder except Karmatang beach and Avis Island.
This weekend we decided to explore Karmatang Beach. It is in Mayabunder and is about 20 mins drive away from my house. It is a beautiful, green, clean beach that also has a little park for children.
The beach is a perfect location for an evening outing and to have a small beach party. There are several small huts that one can sit in during rains or when needs some shade.
The water is not clean as the sand is not dark colored brown sand and thus the color of the water is also like the sand but you would surely enjoy the walk on the beach.
Beware of the sand flies as with the sunset, one can actually feel the attack of the sand flies so it is better to carry an anti-mosquito cream.
This place gives you an opportunity to take a walk in the nature’s lap; enjoy the cool breeze and have a nice evening or a morning or rather any time of the day!
If you come to Karmatang beach, Mayabunder, carry a book with you for there are many benches and hammocks at the beach that provide a perfect setting for an evening read. There is also a small hut built at the beach that provides superb view of the sea and makes the beach an ideal place for an evening get together.
How to reach Karmatang Beach, Mayabunder: The beach is about 20 mins drive away from Mayabunder city. You can take a STS bus from Port Blair or come to Mayabunder by ship and then hire a cab to the beach.
:Port Blair Sight Seen:
Corbyn’s cove beach & Sound and Light Show at Cellular Jail: On arrive at Port Blair, our representative receive you at Airport and escorted you to check in to the Hotel / Resort. After check-in at the hotel In the afternoon proceed for visit to Corbyn’s cove beach – a coconut fringed beach about 8kms from Port Blair city ideal for swimming, was built by Britishers in the years 1905 to imprison Indian political freedom fighters , Late evening witness the enthralling Sound and Light Show at Cellular Jail – where the heroic saga of the Indian freedom struggle is brought alive. Overnight stay at respective Hotel / Resort at Port Blair.
Excursion to Coral island/ North Bay & Ross Island : After breakfast, start off for a day excursion to Coral Island (North Bay) to see coral reefs, exotic varieties of beautiful ornamental fish and other marine life. This is an ideal place for snorkeling as this sandy beach coupled with clear water creates a breathtaking spectacle. Please carry your drinking water & changing dress.( water sports activities available here are Scuba diving , Under water sea-walk , Snorkeling , glass bottom boat ride , Jet ski- water scooter , Banana boat ride , speed boat etc on direct payment basis Note Package not include water sport Activity) After North Bay, Visit Ross Island, the former residential and administrative island of the British during their rule of South East Asia, was nick named the Paris of the East. This island was completely destroyed in an earthquake. Overnight stay at respective Hotel at Port Blair.
Note : Wednesday closed Ross and North Bay island.
Port Blair – City tour ( 05 Point): In the Morning After breakfast, start tour for a day “City Tour” of Port Blair – covering Cellular Jail- Better known as Kalapani –was built by Britishers in the year 1905 to imprison Indian freedom fighter, Chatham Saw Mill (one of the oldest & largest in Asia), Forest Museum, Anthropological museum, Navel museum, -, Fisheries (Marine) Museum is, cottage industries free for shopping activities. Overnight stay at respective Hotel / Resort at Port Blair.
Note: Monday closed City Tour.
Mahatma Gandhi National Marine Life Park , Jolly Boy /Red Skin: In the morning start for a tour of places the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at wandoor (Jolly Boy/Red skin ) is at a distance of 29 Kms. from Port Blair covering an area of 281.5 Sq.Kms. This Marine Park made-up of open sea, creeks and 15 small and large islands, is one of the best found anywhere in the world. Viewing of race corals and underwater marine life through and snorkeling are a lifetime experience for anyone .overnight stay at Portblair.
Note :Monday Closed Jolly Boy /Red Skin
Mountharriet With Rs 20 Notes Back Sightseen: In the morning by 9.30 AM start for a tour from chatam jetty to bambooftat jetty by ferry then visit Mount Harriet with RS 20 notes back sightseen The summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj, this place is an ideal for a nice and fascinating over view of the outer islands and the sea. It is the highest peak in the South Andamans (365 metres high). One can trek upto Madhuban through a nature trail and can find rare endemic birds, animals and butterflie.reach back hotel by ferry to Portblair and relax hotel . Overnight stay at Port Blair.
Chidiya Tapu with sunset Point: After Lunch to by car 50 Km (approx.) to visit Chidiya Tapu is the southern most tip of South Andaman. As its name this is favorite destination for bird watchers. Its lush green mangroves, forest cover with numerous chirping birds and the Sylvan Sands make it an ideal picnic site. A very beautiful beach named Munda Pahad near by is very famous amongst the local people. There is a forest guesthouse situated on top of a hillock providing a fabulous view of isolated islands, breath-taking sunset also called the sunset point,then back to Hotel. . Overnight stay at Port Blair.
Bratang Island Sightseen, lime Stone Cave: Early morning at 3:30 AM departure (110Kms) from Port Blair to Baratang which holds the nature’s best treasures gifted to the Islands. Limestone caves are a must see points for nature lovers & leisure travelers alike. The Road journey from Portblair to Baratang involves crossing through creeks and dense equatorial forest. In the evening proceed for Port Blair. Overnight stay at Port Blair
Note :Monday Closed Baratang Limestone cave.