Fed up with the same office routine, we started searching for a place for vacay to refresh our minds. All we wanted was to be surrounded by nature.
We started browsing the internet. After browsing a lot of pictures, blogs, and videos on the internet, we decided to get some Vitamin D from Vitamin sea and therefore decided to explore Andaman Island.
The first thing we did was, quickly booked our plane tickets so that there was no turning back now; our dates were all set.
After all research, we planned five days and four nights trip in April, i.e., two days in Portblair and two in Havelock island. It was a girl’s leisure trip, and we wanted our holiday to be profuse with fun and relaxation. So we made sure about the stay and complete itinerary accordingly and booked a customized tour package from Dream Journey travels.
We kick-started our trip by boarding a connecting overnight flight from Pune to Bangalore then from Bangalore to Portblair.
We landed in Portblair in the morning around 7.30 am. It was humid and felt like 11:00 of the morning. One of the travel executives was waiting at the airport for pick up.
We checked in to the Hotel Mansha Regency. The Hotel was perfect. The mobile network was good in Portblair, but the internet network was 2g or no network at some places.
We quickly got ready and headed for days’ sightseeing after having breakfast. The first place we visited was Ross island, which is known as the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime. It took around 20-25 minutes to reach by speed boat. The water was clean and blue and was fun sitting and enjoying the speed boat after a long time.
There was an entry fee at the Island costing 30 Indian rupees per person. The Island had ruins of old buildings like houses, Churches, Bakery, Press, etc. and all in dilapidated condition along with varieties of flora and fauna. I was more than happy seeing Deer, Peacocks, Rabbits, etc. roaming around freely.
We started the trekking on the narrow pavements and covered the Island in about two hours. It has only one restaurant for snacks, which was a little expensive in terms of food quality.
After covering this, we headed towards Northbay island with the same speed boat. Both Ross and Northbay can be covered in a day. Northbay holds a good position for the best varieties of corals. Hence one of the best places for water activities like scuba diving, sea walk, etc.
As per our itinerary, we had planned for scuba here. Initially, we were very excited. It was going to be my first ever underwater experience. As per terms we filled a form(which included details of our medical history), submitted 3500 Indian rupees as part of scuba cost(which included taking pictures and videos inside the water), placed our stuff in lockers (which were available for 50 Indian rupees) and moved towards the sea. There were many people, and each of us provided with a separate instructor. Once the instructor called us in the water, we became nervous. He provided some initial training to perform inside the water and pulled us into the water to practice the breathing using oxygen cylinders. I was not able to breathe and freaked out completely. He then patiently taught me about the techniques used inside the water. The breathing is a little tricky, but I learned in few practices.
After around 10 minutes of practice and teaching, the instructors took us inside the water for the actual diving. The temperature was moderate. The water was calm and clear. Neither I was a trained diver, nor I know how to swim still; I was comfortable inside the water. I was weightless and could float effortlessly. It reminded me of the fictional character of Walt Disney – “The little mermaid’s Ariel.” While diving in, I also felt like a mermaid, twisting and turning as smoothly as Ariel used to do. I started seeing corals; there were varieties of them. I was in around 20 feet crystal clear water and could easily see multiple small, tiny, colorful fishes like Nemo, Parrot fishes, etc. along with other marine species and was amazed seeing such beautiful species underwater. Different varieties of fishes were swimming near me. I even tried touching a few of them but failed.
Everything moved slowly, and I never realized how the time passed when I was inside the water. I was there for about half an hour and felt like staying there for more. It was a fantastic adventurous feeling to be inside the water. There were times I felt pressure in my ears, which was pretty common. Thought of doing the certification of scuba crossed my mind.
For all the people who are scared of water, there is an alternate option available wherein you can go and see Marine life sitting inside a submarine. It has transparent glass windows where one can easily see inside water. It costs around 1800 Indian rupees per person. Different varieties of corals, fishes, turtles other marine species, etc. can be seen through it.
We came out of the sea, changed our clothes, and went to grab something to eat. The only options available fruits and fresh coconut water. We spent close to 3 hours here.
We then headed back to Portblair through the same speed boat took some rest and left for hopping in and around the city. It is the Capital of Andaman, a clean place with dustbins easily accessible. It looks just like any other city but full of humidity. The sunsets very early here around 5:00 pm only. We ran out of cash and need to spend the next two days on another island, so we walked around for finding an ATM and then went to a local restaurant “Dal roti” for having dinner which found within walking distance from the Hotel.
It was only 8:00 pm by the time we had dinner. We were exhausted and sleep-deprived due to overnight travelling. Hence headed back to the Hotel, packed everything for early morning check-out then wrapped up for sleep.
Day2: Portblair to Havelock Island
We started our day a little early and boarded the first cruise at 06:30 am to reach the Havelock island(also known as Swaraj dweep). Our tickets were booked already so we directly moved towards the cruise after the security check-in.
The cruise was fully air-conditioned with window seats. It had a small canteen along with televisions which were showing some Hindi movies during the journey. It was my first ever experience of sitting on a cruise. It felt like sitting in some air-conditioned box, not even a single feeling of movement.
We reached the Island at around 9:00 am.
One of the travel agency executives was waiting for us; he took us to the Havelock beach resort, which was going to be our home for the next two days. The resort had beautiful wooden cottages and its own beautiful personal beach dining facilities.
We hired bikes for this day(readily available on rent) which cost around 300 Indian rupees per day without fuel. The fuel can be readily available at some local shops. Soon after breakfast, we took the bike and started exploring the Island.
Havelock is known for a few of the beautiful beaches in Asia. The blue waters and soft white sands and crystal clear water, a perfect place with a picturesque view. It was precisely similar to the ones shown in the pictures and videos on the internet. It is one of the most serene and cleanest beaches in the whole of Andaman.
We came back to the resort for lunch, and after taking a power nap, we started our sightseeing with Radhanagar beach. The road leading to Radhanagar was beautifully covered with coconut and palm trees. It was a raw beauty, but commercialization is going to hit the place soon as all we can see was in-progress construction of resorts throughout the way. We reached the Beach by going through a few of the twisted turns in around 15-20 minutes. The Beach was clean (also known as beach no 7) and listed as one of the most beautiful Beach of Asia.
We walked on the sand, played in the water, captured the beach moments, ate fruits, jhal moori, and saw the sun setting down.
At night, we had dinner at the beachside cafe in the same resort itself. The place was lit. Fortunately, it was a full moon night, and the reflection of the moon can be seen easily on the water. We sat barefoot touching the smooth sand on the shacks beside the sea where the lights hallucinated our minds. The delicious food and soothing music just made the place & the time worth it.
It was dark; we could not see anything but jellyfish at the shore. We still sat there for a couple for hours after dinner listening to the sound of waves, the cool breeze soothing our skin. It was a peaceful experience. We left the place only after the restaurant got closed.
Day 3 Kalapathar and Elephanta Beach:
We had scooty in the morning as well so we headed towards Kala Pathar beach. The single way road towards the Beach ran parallel to the shore with few twisted turns and cool breeze. There were multiple potential spots for clicking some of the excellent clicks.
The Beach was located at the end of the Island with hardly any people around. The turquoise crystal clear water had mangroves within it. It had all the picturesque views which I used to see on the internet and wallpapers before – The perfect treat to the eyes. The Beach has few dried trees giving us a chance for excellent clicks. It was the best Beach I ever visited.
After this, we all headed towards Elephanta beach through a speed boat. It is one of the secluded beaches with clear blue waters and white sand. The corals here remain one of the best on the Island with the reef being close to the shore, making this an excellent spot for snorkeling.
Other water sports like jet ski, banana ride were also available. Small stalls serving completely organic fruit plate and variety of chats were present. There were plenty of places having the shade of big old trees and mangroves, but the humidity was on the higher side by noon. We switched our speaker on and sat down on the smooth white sand just below a large old tree watching the crystal clear sea and capturing the goddess of this place in our eyes.
After spending some time here, we headed back to our resort, with the ac on, ordered lunch in our rooms, and jumped on our cozy, super soft bed and took an afternoon nap.
In the evening, we hopped around the streets of the Island to explore the locality. Instead of exploring some other cafe/dining place on the Island, we decided to spend our evening and night on the shacks again like yesterday. This time we chose a different table which was closer to the sea and ordered delicious seafood. At some point in time, the waves were touching our feet and again saw few of the jellyfishes on the shore; we joined a group of youngsters sitting on the sand, playing guitar and singing along with it. It was similar to the picturization of the famous song- Sham Bhi koi Jesi hai Nadi…Lehar lehar Jese beh Rahi h…!!!
The evening was perfect. We sat on the white sand; we danced, we sang, we partied, this was just the best part of the trip. I was in the moment, enjoying it to the fullest.
Once the party was over, we spent some our time just sitting on the shacks, talking about the joyous time we had. After midnight, we went to our rooms and wrapped up to sleep.
Day 4: Back to PortBlair
While all my friends were sleeping, I woke up very early around 05:00 am(the sun rises early here) and went back on the beach area, took a barefoot walk on the shore. The cold seawater was giving a good feeling. I just wanted to capture all the beautiful view in my eyes. I clicked a few pictures there and then sat on one the swing looking towards the sea.
All I can see was the sun and the sand, the sights, and the sound of waves. The same place was lit yesterday night, and now it looked barren with no one around. Complete silence yet beautiful. It was utterly’me-time’. I spent a couple of hours there just sitting alone and staring at the waves, an absolute treat to my eyes and hoping to visit here back soon. I wished I could stop the time then and there.
Once my girls’ gang was ready, we all had toothsome breakfast in the resort and checked out from the resort and headed toward the harbor to start our journey back to Portblair.
Our Cruise tickets were booked already, so we directly moved for the security check-in. Our cruise was ‘Green Ocean’. It had the luxury as well as the economy class of seatings. The luxury ones had glass windows for the beautiful sea view, whereas the economy ones were in the basement of the cruise with no windows on both sides, creating a reason for seasickness. They made arrangements for a movie on the televisions available along with a small canteen wherein you can get packed food items. There was a dance floor with good music playing throughout the journey on the top floor. We went and stood near the deck throughout our journey looking into the water, hoping to get a chance to see some dolphins or other marine species.
Once we reached Portblair, the travel agency executive dropped us in the same Hotel Mansha for stay. After stomach full of lunch and delicious desert, we felt the urge of taking an afternoon nap, in the evening, we went to Corbyn Cove beach. It was clean Beach with tall coconut trees. There were multiple water sports available and was a little crowded as well.
We then directly went to attend the light and sound show at the Cellular Jail, which starts around 07:00 in the evening. The show had a narrator(the Peepal tree, being an only witness of these tragedies and was still here standing erect) who narrated everything in terms of a story. The show was presented in open ground in the Hindi language but was engaging. It was about the story of people like Veer Savarkar and others, who spent most of their life in this Jail, the humiliation and cruelty they faced, the description of strict punishments like no food given for many days after working very hard.
The show ended in an hour but made our heart weep thinking about the brave souls who lived there, sacrificed all their lives for the country.
After the show,we sat there for a while and left the place to visit some of the local shops for buying sovereigns. While on the way back to the Hotel, we had our dinner in Dal Roti restaurant. I liked the place, pocket-friendly serving both Veg/Non-veg with good taste
After coming back, we packed our luggage completely, prepare the to-do list for tomorrow, watched the famous ‘Suryavansham’ movie along with delicious desserts, and wrapped up to sleep.
Day 5:- Cellular Jail and return Journey to Pune:
We checked out and visited the Cellular Jail, also known as ‘Kala Pani’ because the entire Jail surrounded by sea, and there was no way a prisoner could escape. Just because we attended the light and sound show a day before, we easily relate the area and places around the vicinity. The complete Jail has around 700 cells. There were two museums in the Jail which had many details, pictures, and the models which explained how brutal it was. The freedom fighters were imprisoned in a cell and were not allowed to speak/meet with each other.
The Jail earlier was constructed in a wheel shape and had seven wings and a tower in between for guard to keep an eye, plus if you stand at the center tower, it completely resembles like a wheel but now only three wings were there.
We spent around 2 hours here, and after a walk around the whole Jail, we went and sat near the Peepal tree. It is heartbreaking, thinking about how miserable life people spent there. It is one of the must-visit places in Port Blair.
We then left and took a halt at Hotel Marina for Lunch and then headed towards the airport to catch our return flight to Bangalore and Pune.
After boarding the flight, I sat at one of the window seats. While the plane was taking off, I looked outside the window, the Island started looking small, and I closed my eyes and gave a thought on the vacation I just had. I was thinking about the early mornings in Havelock Island, sitting on a swing seeing and listening to the sound of waves. How peaceful escape it was!
No internet, no early morning rush to office, no traffic, no work, no one around: Just me and the shades of blue in front of my eyes.
It seems like only yesterday that we were worried about starting our trip, and now we are heading back home with lots of memories.
Important points :
- Do carry a copy /original national identity proof and driving license(must) if planning for self-drive on Islands.
- If choosing an overnight flight for travelling, you will surely be sleep-deprived. So make sure to keep fewer places to visit on day 1.
- Do Carry all the essential medicines and first aid kit.
- Do carry hats/caps, glares along with good SPF sunscreen.
- Do carry colorful flared dresses to get some excellent clicks on the beach.
- The internet facilities are frail here, so don’t rely on it, not even on Hotels’ wifi.
- Jio network doesn’t work here at all. Networks like Airtel, Vodafone & bsnl are better.
- Don’t pick any shell/corals from any beach or carry back with you. These are banned and punishable.
- Sufficient ATMs are available in Portblair, but online money transfer/swipe machines are available only at hotels and resorts; everywhere else you need to pay cash.
- It is suggested to book a customized tour with some travel agency to avoid the hustle and wait in a long queue for buying ferry, speed boat and other tickets.
- Alcohol shops are available in Portblair and Havelock island, which opens from 3:00 pm. To 8:00 pm.
- If carrying alcohol, make sure it is sealed and take the bill for security check-in at seaports; else you’ll not be able to bring it to other islands.
- The local people are amiable and ready to help whenever required.
- It is a beautiful and clean place; lets’ try to maintain it by disposing of all the wastes/used bottles and wrappers in the dustbin which are readily available throughout the city.
Andaman has all the charm that one requires to live a calm and composed life.
Happy tripping 🙂
Do visit and feel free to ask if you have any questions.