Andaman & Nicobar Islands are situated about 1500 KMs east of the mainland (South India) in the Andaman Sea. Tourists are allowed to visit Andaman Islands while the Nicobar Island is a tribal area and restricted due to security concerns. There are over 500 islands in the Andaman, while only a few are inhabited. Since the usual travel plans are made for about a week, we can either cover North Andaman or South Andaman in one visit.
Our plan was a trip to South Andaman. You have to know that the optimal duration should be at least 5 nights & 6 days to enjoy all the places with leisure & relaxation. We planned for 6N/7D duration which was sufficient to cover the South Andaman Islands which included Port Blair, Havelock Island and Neil Island.
Disclaimer: Although our entire trip did not go exactly as planned due to a heavy rainfall on the second day, thanks to the after-effects of cyclone Gaja, we covered all the places by making up time on the last 2 leisure days including the day of our return flight. So in this article I will be writing the details of the places as per my experience, but considering the timeline as per my original plan. ☺
Day 1 of Andaman islands: Port Blair
Port Blair, the capital of Andaman, is your first stop if you are travelling by air. An early morning flight (to land by 10:30 – 10:45 AM) is recommended so that you do not lose out a day of sightseeing. The recommended itinerary for Day 1 is to cover Cellular Jail, Corbyn’s cove beach and Chidiyatapu.
As soon as we landed, we went to our hotel in a prepaid taxi. We befriended the taxi driver and hired him for the rest of the day for sightseeing, covering the above mentioned places, for Rs.1400.
The Cellular Jail is a historic place where hundreds of freedom fighters were imprisoned by the British in the pre-independence era. The building is a work of art and engineering with 7 long wings all connected to a central tower, which is the only entry/exit point to ensure no escapes from the prison.
Hiring a guide seemed useless, so we looked around on our own for about an hour or so. People who are interested in history can try to get tickets for the sound and light show for the same evening.
Corbyn’s Cove beach:
Corbyn’s Cove is a nice beach where some water activities are conducted. Parasailing and Jet-ski rides are the recommended ones. We did not participate as we had previously experienced them in Mauritius, and also because we did not carry a set of clothes to change.
Chidiyatapu is a famous sunset view place in Port Blair which is about 30 kms away from Corbyn’s Cove. There is a sunset view point at the entrance of Chidiyatapu, while about 2-3 kms further there is the Munda Pahar beach which is also a great point of view.
After Corbyn’s cove, we immediately started towards Chidiyatapu as we had to reach before 4:30 PM for the sunset. However, we were not very lucky as it was a cloudy and rainy evening. Nevertheless, the beach was very beautiful with a forest view on one side and some other islands ahead.
We started our return at 5:00 PM. I remembered my friend’s warning that it gets pitch dark within a few minutes by 5:00 PM IST, or even earlier on rainy days.
People with tickets for the sound and light show can head back to Cellular Jail. Since the show does not take place on rainy days, we just had to return to our hotel.