Andaman & Nicobar Islands form an Indian archipelago group of roughly 572 islands of which only 36 are inhabited and they lie in the Bay of Bengal and spread North to South forming two distinctive groups of islands with a 170 km water gap in the middle between the Andaman group and Nicobar group. The main features of these islands are palm lined white sandy beaches, mangroves and tropical rain forest. Coral reefs that support exquisite marine life are a great attraction for snorkeling. Port Blair is the main port town located at south Andaman that has great historical importance of the British rule era and Second World War.
The most popular tourist attractions are given below.
1. Cellular Jail, Port Blair
Cellular Jail, located at Port Blair, Stands mute witness to the tortures meted out to the freedom fighters against British Rule, who were incarcerated in this jail. The jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name ‘Cellular’ because it is entirely made up of individual cells for solitary confinement. The Jail, now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom loving people, has been declared a National Memorial. The jail museum here, draws your memories back to those years of freedom struggle.
Today the entrance block of the National Memorial houses, Freedom Fighters Photo and Exhibition Gallery in the Ground Floor. The first floor of the building has an Art Gallery, Netaji Subash Chander Bose Gallery and a Library on Freedom Movement. An eternal flame of Freedom-Swatantrya Jyot has been erected in the vicinity of the Cellular Jail in memory of all freedom fighters and martyrs.
SON-ET-LUMIERE (SOUND & LIGHT SHOW) AT CELLULAR JAIL
The saga of the heroic freedom struggle, brought alive in a heart rendering Son-et-Lumiere, in the Cellular Jail, is one of the best you can get to see and is very popular among the tourists. Two Hindi shows on all days at 6:00 pm and at 7:15 pm except on Mondays, Wednesday & Friday when second show is in English at 7:15 pm. Entry fee for Adult is only 50/- (INR).
TIMINGS FOR CELLULAR JAIL & JAIL MUSEUM:
09:00 AM to 12:30 PM, 01:30 PM to 04:45 PM (Open all days except national holidays)
Entry Fee (INR) :30/-, Camera: 200/-, Video Camera:1000/-, Film shooting per day with prior permission 10000/- (Ph.03192- 230117)
2. Jolly Buoy Island
Jolly Buoy Island is famous for underwater corals and the pristine clear waters. This Island is one hour journey by ferry from Wandoor beach. Snorkeling and scuba diving are available here. This route is same for visiting Red Skin Island also. Both Jolly buoy and Red skin are located at Mahatma Gandhi National park. Make sure to reach Wandoor beach before 9.00am as all the ships leave at the same time and come back together. Jolly buoy is a No Plastic zone.
At Jolly Buoy Island nothing is available as this island is uninhabited. Visitors are supposed to carry all necessary items like, food, water etc. with them.
People visiting this place through travel agents will get everything packed and will be accompanied by one guide. People have to carry swim suits or other gear suitable for Snorkeling and scuba diving. The main attraction here is a very flat stretch of the beach reaching almost 100 m into the sea at waist deep crystal clear water. The area around this island has fascinating under water marine life by way of multi colored coral, fish etc.
Visitors enjoy the underwater coral view through snorkeling, Scuba diving or from the glass bottom boat. One can view the coral through the glass bottom boat while being transshipped from the ferry craft to the island which takes only 5-10 minutes. People willing to see more of these can hire a boat independently and enjoy. Additional amount has to be paid for each ride of 30 to 45 minutes which is very reasonable.
There is no proper shelter for changing your dress, especially for ladies and kids. Make shift shelters are pitched by tourists with bed sheets etc. Take care of your belongings while you are enjoying in the sea by keeping a person escorting your items. As there are no shelter it is advisable to carry some Newspapers or bed sheets which will help in relaxing in this place while sitting and also for taking food. Don’t forget to clean the place and carry the wastage’s back to the main island in a card board box/ containers. The ferry returns by 2-2:30 pm and all have to leave compulsorily. This island is not open throughout the year. Hence you need to check this out before planning your itinerary.
3. Ross Island
The Ross Island is controlled by the Indian navy, which requires every visitor to sign in on entering the island. It was during the British rule that the island was developed to a perfect township. Many reminiscent of old British regime are still alive in this stunning Island which has a lot of history attached to it.
The Ross Island is about 2 km east of Port Blair and can be reached by a short boat ride from Phoenix Bay Jetty. The island presently houses the ruins of old buildings like Ballroom, Chief Commissioner’s House, Govt. House, Church, Hospital, Bakery, Press, Swimming Pool and Troop Barracks From 1942 to 1945. There is also a cemetery and a small museum managed by the Indian Navy.
The island has scenic beauty and attracts not only adventurous crowd but also many History buffs due to its historic significance. There is no sand beach on this island. The buildings seems to stay erected due to the roots of the trees that seems to hold together the brick/stone walls.
Location: Ross Island, Port Blair.
Timings: Timing to visit this place is from 8:30 in the morning to 16:30. (Closed on Wednesday).
Ticket Details:(a) Entry Ticket: Rs.20/- per person. (b) Ferry Ticket: Rs.75/- per person.
Video Camera: Rs. 50/- Still Camera : Rs. 10/-
How to Reach: Reach Aberdeen Jetty from Port Blair by road. Then take a Ferry ride (10 mins) to reach Ross island. Ferries are available from Aberdden Jetty at 08:30, 09:30, 10:30, 12:30 and 14:30 hours
4. Andaman Water Sports Complex, Port Blair
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex is also named as Andaman Water Sports Complex, this must visit place is filled with fun, excitement and delight. Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex offers the traveler an assortment of thrilling water sports activities like parasailing, banana boats, speed boats and also the conventional row boats & pedal boats. Other than offering water sports experience, Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex also has an historical connection. It was the battle ground of Aberdeen, which was fought between Andaman aborigines and British in the year 1859. The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex also houses a memorial of the ‘Battle of Aberdeen’. The activities at this complex are permitted during day light hours at a very reasonable cost throughout the year.
One of The sparsely habited islands is the Red Skin Island, located within the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National park right next to the Jolly Buoy Island. Although the latter is much more popular. The Red Skin Island has its own charm and activities within it to make it stand out from Jolly Buoy. During the monsoons, the Jolly Buoy Island becomes quite unsafe for travellers, which makes Red Skin Island, the next best option to visit in this season.
The Red Skin Island derived its name due to the abundance of red corals lining the coastal area of the island. The sea water appears reddish due to these corals and can best be seen on a glass bottom boat. The island is a very small and has an extremely narrow beach which can be conveniently reached via a ferry from Wandoor, which is only 40 minutes away from Port Blair. The timing of ferry is same as for jolly buoy.
The most appropriate time to take a trip to the Red Skin Island is off-season that is during April to Oct. Hence to be able to enjoy the underwater treasure of this island one needs to hope that not many visitors are there during your visit.
6. Havelock Island
A visit to A &N islands without a trip to Havelock would make your visit incomplete. Havelock is a picturesque paradise with natural beauty. There are white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs and lush green forest. It is one of the most populated islands in the Andaman group with an area of 113 sq. km. and is located 39 km north-east of Port Blair.
This island, with beautiful sandy beaches fringed with green canopy of the rain-fed forests and mangroves makes it the most popular tourist destination. You even have huts to stay overnight or you can pitch up your own tents.
Government ferries run by the Directorate of Shipping Services connect Phoenix Bay jetty, Port Blair to Havelock daily. Private luxury boats Makruzz operated by M/s Mak Logistics, Port Blair & Coastal Cruise operated by M/s Coastal Seaways India Pvt. Ltd., Green Ocean, Bhagya Express ferry tourists to Havelock daily. At havelock auto rickshaws, taxis, buses, motorbikes are available for transportation within the island.
The Civil Aviation Dept. of A & N Administration operates regular seaplane & helicopter services from Port Blair airport to Havelock. Best places to see in Havlock are as below:
RADHANAGAR BEACH : It is about 12 kilometers from the Islands ferry pier. Radhanagar is a Grade A beach of outstanding quality. This beach is also rated as one of the best beaches in Asia by TIME Magazine. It has an overall length of two kilometers and an average width of 30 to 40 meters. The sand is white and very fine in grain. The beach has a gentle gradient of around 1:20 and continues out into the sea as a sandy bottom for over 100 meters. There are changing cubicles with showers at this beach where you can change into your summing gear & have a shower after the sea bath. The waves out here are high enough to give you the thrill of sea board surfing.
VIJAYNAGAR BEACH : Vijaynagar Beach, Havelock, is a long stretch of sand on the east coast of the Island, punctuated occasionally by rock section. Most of the beach is lined by mahua trees, whose trunks grow along the ground for many feet before they begin to climb vertically. These trees have lent a distinct character to the sea front and provide shade, close to the water. Vijaynagar Beach is perfect for long walks along the sea. Dolphin Resort run by the Tourism Department and many other hotels are also located on this beach
ELEPHANT BEACH : This beach is another ideal site for snorkeling. It has a rich coral reef formation and amazing underwater marine life. One can reach Elephant beach by small cruise boat from Havelock Jetty in about 40 minutes. By road one can go up to the Forest Camp which is 8 Kms from the Jetty towards Radhanagar side and from there on foot to the Elephant beach which will take another 40 minutes. Private ferry operators organize tours to Elephant beach from Havelock.
WHAT ALL ONE CAN DO AT HAVELOCK : Beach-combing, sunbathing, scuba diving, sea-walk, snorkeling, water sports, surf riding, swimming, game fishing, watching the sunset or sunrise, elephant ride, bird-watching, trekking, sailing, kayaking and much more.
Neil is a tiny but beautiful island located 37 km south of Port Blair. Neil Island is also known as the vegetable bowl of Andaman Islands; thanks to its soil &climatic conditions the land is ideal for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Neil is connected to both Port Blair (1.5 hours) and Havelock (45 minutes) by private ferries and to Port Blair, Havelock, and Rangat by Government ferries. Internet is mostly unavailable at Neil. If lucky, one can find patchy BSNL data network on phone.
Neil Island is best suited for those who want to spend a relaxed time among long deserted beaches. With little bustle, few activities to take up, and many luxury resorts, this island is best for those who want to spend a luxurious few days of tranquillity amidst nature.
Inspired by Indian mythology, all beaches in Neil have been named after characters from the Ramayana – Ramnagar, Sitapur, Laxmanpur, and Bharatpur to be precise.
8. Fisheries Aquarium
Located at Port Blair, Fisheries Museum is a well-known tourist attraction in the Andaman Islands. This popular sightseeing place of Andaman has a wide range of installations with informative coverage of the islands’ ecosystem, plants, animals, tribal communities and marine life. This museum includes a small aquarium that houses various collections of fishes corals and clamp shells. This museum is located adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sport Complex, Port Blair. and this place exhibits species of marine life endemic to the islands.
MUSEUM TIMINGS : The timings of the museum are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and it is closed on Mondays, public holidays and second Saturdays.
9. Carbun’s Cove Beach
Teeming with people and encircled by lush green coconut palms, the Corbyn’s Cove is one of the most busy beaches in the Andaman Islands. This is the closest beach to the Port Blair, a mere 8 kms from the City center. The drive to the beach is a stunning visual treat as you move along the coast for quite a distance after crossing Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex. On the way try to spot the famous Japanese concrete bunkers where troops were housed to fire gens at enemy boats approaching from sea . You will get quite a view of the Marina Park, the pristine blue sea lining along the entire route.
What makes this beach such a popular destination with tourists is its many entertainment options. Zip across the ocean in a jet ski or a motor scooter. Enjoy a relaxing drink with your friends at the beach facing restaurant. The blue benches lining the area make for a great seat to enjoy the view. You will also find clean and well maintained bathrooms and changing rooms at your convenience.
For those staying near the beach, there are great accommodation options to choose from. You could try the Peerless Sarovar Portico Resort which is the only beach resort in the city. Or the Hornbill Nest Guest House. All in all this is a great beach to hang out at if people and energy is what you are looking out for.
10. Little Andaman Island
(120 kms by sea from Port Blair)
Little Andaman Island, located South of the South Andaman Island, has various attractions in store for the tourists. There are two water falls in the island, both in the midst of the evergreen rain forests. White surf waterfall is 6.5 kms from the Hut bay jetty. One can enjoy Elephant safari through the forest here. The other water fall whisper wave is 20 kms away from here. Journey to the whisper wave includes 4 kms trekking through the forest. Butler Bay a beautiful beach, is 14 kms from the Hut Bay jetty. The beach is suitable for basking, snorkeling and surfing. Boating through the creek near the beach is very fascinating. Netaji Nagar beach (11 kms from Hutbay Jetty) is another beautiful beach in the islands. Little Andaman is also famous for its red oil palm plantation, which spread over an area of 1600 hectares. There is a palm oil extraction factory inside the plantation. This can be visited on way to the White Surf waterfall and Butler Bay beach.
11. North Bay Beach
Located just 15 minutes away from the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, the North Bay Beach offers one of the easiest water sports—Sea-walking—in Andaman and Nicobar. Walking barefoot on the base of the sea offers you an exquisite view of rich marine-life and the corals. If you’re heading to Andaman and Nicobar, don’t miss this. Skilled life guards accompany you underwater, to ensure maximum safety.
Best time of the day to visit: Morning and afternoon.
Required equipment: A transparent helmet, which pumps the oxygen in from an oxygen cylinder kept in the pontoon.
12. Rangat Island
One can enjoy the quiet village life and solitude of virgin nature at this part of Middle Andaman Island. You can also breathe unpolluted air, a rare commodity for the city dweller. Amkunj beach (15 kms away from Rangat bazaar/ jetty towards Mayabunder), Cuthbert bay Beach (20 kms away from Rangat ) are the beaches near Rangat. Cuthbert bay is a turtle nesting ground. One can view the nesting of turtle during December – February season. Hawksbill Nest is near the Cuthbert bay beach and turtle sanctuary are on the way to Cuthbert bay.
- Famous for: Turtles, Mangroves, Beaches
- Major Attraction: Cuthbert Bay Beach.
- Nearby Places: Baratang, Havelock Island.
- Ideal Visit Time: 1 day or less.
13. Great Nicobar Island
Great Nicobar is the largest island of the Nicobar group of islands and is situated south of all the other islands. Nature is what attracts tourists and honeymooners to this outdoor paradise. The island is also recognized by the World Wide Fund for Nature. This island had been devastated by the tsunami of 2005 and had destroyed the famous habitat, Nicobar thatched roof double story hut. These have been re built and one must see if you plan to visit this island. A 40 km long circular road goes around the island. Main attraction out here is the unique traditions and culture of the Nicobar people.
14. Botanical Garden
This is a horticulture park of the forest department having the best plants specially those that provide condiments like white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The variety you find here gives an exquisite flavor that you do not get to see in the metros. This is located on the way to Wandoor jetty and one must plan a stop over for at least half an hour.