Two Week Andaman Itinerary and Best Places to Visit in Andaman
This Andaman itinerary will guide you around all the best places to visit in Andaman in two weeks, with tips and recommendations for accommodation and off-beat places. Here’s all you need to know about traveling in the Andaman Islands including a comprehensive two-week Andaman itinerary.
Where are the Andaman Islands?
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of over 500 islands in the Andaman sea, belonging to India, but geographically closer to Myanmar and Thailand. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands present the perfect opportunity to Indians to visit tropical islands without having to leave their own country and obtain visas, and with plenty of places to visit in Andaman, they are typically very popular destinations with domestic tourists, making them especially busy in peak season.
Traveling around the Andaman Islands can be a little confusing since we found very conflicting information about means of transportation, and because data connectivity or wifi was very poor (at times non-existent) during our time there.
Our Andaman itinerary will show you the most logical way of traveling to the South, North and Middle Andamans with transport information, and accommodation suggestions, as well as a look at the best places to visit in Andaman.
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Which Andaman Islands should you visit on your Andaman Itinerary?
Most people base themselves on Havelock Island, by far the most popular and the most developed (excluding Port Blair) of the islands, and few bother to make their way to any of the other islands, except perhaps for Neil Island which is just a short day trip away from Havelock.
We were determined to explore as much as we could during our two-week stay on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, so we created a convenient two-week Andaman itinerary which allowed us to visit other islands besides Havelock and Neil.
We must be honest and say that we were slightly underwhelmed by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Having traveled to other remote tropical destinations around Asia such as the Kei Islands, The Banda Islands, Alor and Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Sibuyan and Cresta de Gallo in the Philippines, the Maldives local islands, Timor-Leste and more, we expected the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to be similar.
It is not that the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are not worth going to, but to us, they definitely lacked the ‘wow factor’. The white sand beaches are great but not spectacular, the water is refreshing but not particularly crystal-clear and snorkeling there was disappointing, so much so that Nikki who had initially planned to dive around the islands, didn’t even bother checking out the possibilities.
Having said that, there are plenty of places to visit in Andaman, and we did enjoy traveling around the islands immensely, especially since we had spent the previous three months traveling around the amazing and rather cold Northeastern states and had been looking forward to the warmth, sun and sea breeze and finally wearing beach clothes and flipflops once again.
Follow our comprehensive Andaman itinerary to make the most out of your stay in the Andaman Islands. Our Andaman itinerary includes Port Blair, Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep) and Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep) in South Andaman, Diglipur, Kalipur and Ross & Smith Islands in North Andaman and Rangat and Long Island in Middle Andaman.
What is the best time to visit Andaman?
October to May is the best time to visit Andaman, with the islands seeing most tourists during this time of year. Temperatures are relatively mild and there’s no risk of monsoon, so many domestic tourists plan their Andaman itinerary during this season.
Weather-wise, June to September are definitely not the best time to visit Andaman, however the monsoon season usually results in heavy discounts on accommodation and this is the period when you can definitely skip the crowds.
We were in the Andaman Islands in January and we definitely recommend being there during this time. We had bright sunny days with very little rainfall, and we only felt very hot whilst trekking in the jungle which was entirely expected. It was was a great time to explore all the places to visit in Andaman.
How to get to Andaman
The most practical way of reaching the Andaman Islands is by flight to Port Blair, the island capital located in South Andaman. Port Blair is the gateway for other places to visit in Andaman and this is where you should start off your Andaman itinerary. Direct flights from Kolkota, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam to Port Blair are available and can be booked online. Check Kiwi for the latest prices.
The drawback to flying into Port Blair is the cost of the flight ticket which by Indian standards can be rather expensive. In fact, our flights from Kolkota to Port Blair cost €86 each, whilst the flight back to the mainland from Port Blair to Chennai cost a further €52 each. Flights to other cities in India are even more expensive.
It is also possible to travel from mainland India to the Andaman by ferry. Be prepared for a rather uncomfortable journey of about 50 – 70 hours. Ships depart from Kolkota, Chennai and Visakhapatnam and arrive at Port Blair’s Haddo Jetty.
Traveling to Andaman by ship is only worthwhile if you have a lot of time on your hands and you are not restricted with your Andaman itinerary. Sometimes ships fail to leave at the scheduled hour and sometimes they spend more time at sea than predicted. There are 3-4 ships sailing from each destination every month. Online booking is not available.
Cheapest fares start from about Rs 2500 (about €32) for bunk bed class and can go up to over Rs 8000 (about €100) for deluxe. Still, the facilities on board leave much to be desired (although we have not experienced them personally ourselves), however we do believe that the best option is to fly.
Permits to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands include tribal areas, to which entry is prohibited to both foreigners and Indians alike. The Great Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) passes through such a tribal area and vehicles are escorted through that section in a convoy, but more on that below.
Previously, visits to the Andaman Islands required Restricted Area Permits (RAPs) for foreigners for most sections, however the Indian government has recently removed this requirement for a number of islands, and the places to visit in Andaman without a permit has increased. We were given a document upon our arrival stating which islands we were allowed to visit without a RAP as follows:
Although no permits were needed, we were directed to a desk for foreigners upon our arrival to Port Blair, where our passport details and our visa details were registered.
Islands accessible without a RAP included many of the ones we wanted to include on our Andaman itinerary such as Long Island, North, Middle and South Andaman, Havelock and Neil, amongst others. Day permits to some other islands such as Ross and Smith are still required and can be issued just before the day trip.
Transport around the Andaman Islands
Transport around the Andaman Islands is in the form of buses along the Great Andaman Trunk road, smaller buses running within town, ferries (which can be either government-run or privately-run), and auto rickshaws for short distances.
If you’re looking to travel between towns and villages along the Great Andaman Trunk road, and especially if you are making the long journey from Port Blair to Diglibur (described in detail below), it would be best to purchase your ticket in advance since long-distance buses tend to get booked out by locals. Privately run buses are marginally more comfortable, offering a few more millimeters of legroom, but the service is roughly similar.
Most of the routes along the Andaman Islands are serviced by government ferries, although privately-owned ferries service the Port Blair – Havelock Island – Neil Island route, since these are the most popular places to visit in Andaman.
We used several government ferries on our Andaman itinerary and they proved to be comfortable enough, although definitely not luxurious like the private ferries. They are way cheaper when compared to private ferries, seats are not assigned and they are somewhat rusty and dilapidated but are perfectly suitable.
Two ferry companies run between Port Blair, Havelock Island and Neil Island. These tickets are usually sold out weeks before the departure date and should be booked in advance. They are pricier than the government ferries which also run the same routes but cannot be booked much in advance.
It is next to impossible to get tickets on government ferries for these routes, unless you’re prepared to wait in very long queues with very little chance of getting a ticket, so you should totally plan ahead and book the private ones. The journey usually includes a snack and water.
These are the most convenient way of traveling short distances on the islands. They can be hailed on the road itself on developed islands such as Havelock, but need to be booked ahead in remote places such as Long Island (which is home to only one rickshaw). The staff at your hotel can arrange the booking for you.
Prices for short journeys are usually more expensive to those on mainland India, as is everything else on the Andaman Islands.
A two-week Andaman Itinerary
With plenty of places to visit in Andaman having been made more accessible in recent years, planning a good Andaman itinerary could be a bit of a struggle, but follow our own Andaman itinerary to relieve some of the planning dilemmas. Do remember to allow for some flexibility, as schedules tend to change without much notice, and pre-booking is not always possible.
Our plan for the Andaman itinerary was to travel from South Andaman to North Andaman by bus and then take shorter buses and ferries back down, stopping at the various destinations and places to visit in Andaman on the way. We wanted to be sure to be back in Port Blair at least 1-2 days before our flight in case of any hiccups. Our planned Andaman itinerary worked out pretty well and we totally recommend this route if you want to visit more than one or two Andaman destinations.
Day 1 – Port Blair – Where your Andaman Itinerary Starts
Whether you’re traveling to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by sea or by air, your port of entry will be Port Blair and this will also be the natural start of your Andaman itinerary. If you’re looking to get some sim cards, your best bet is to get them before arriving in Andaman (ensuring national roaming is available) or in Port Blair (BSNL or Airtel), but be aware not to underestimate the bureaucracy required to get your hands on a sim (like anything else in India). Keep in mind that data connectivity might be very poor on many of the islands.
During our time there, there was very limited data connectivity, either in Port Blair or anywhere else, and we were completely disconnected from the rest of the world for two whole weeks, but the situation seems to have changed in recent months with reports of BSNL, Airtel and Vodafone providing some connectivity in Port Blair.
After checking in to your hotel, your best bet would be to get bus tickets to Diglipur for the next day, since they tend to get sold out fast.
We were lucky enough to grab the last two seats on the 4am (first) bus at Rs 280 (about €3.50) and that left us free to explore Port Blair for the rest of the day. We suggest you don’t pack in too many activities considering the early wake-up call the following morning!
A taxi driver we met on the way offered to take us all the way up to Diglipur in a private taxi for Rs 15,000 (about €180) or alternatively, take us on a three-day tour for Rs 40,000 (about €500) which we obviously turned down.
Places to visit in Port Blair
Though not the most interesting of the places to visit in Andaman, Port Blair provides a bit of an introduction to the islands. We don’t suggest that you spend much time in Port Blair, but if you’re not tight with your Andaman itinerary, these are the best things to do and places to visit in Port Blair:
We found the old jail to be a rather sobering attraction, but one that should definitely make it to the top of places to visit in Port Blair. The ruins of the penal colony, where political activists used to be held captive, are a stark reminder of a very dark chapter in India’s history.
The light and sound show tells the story of the horrors endured by the freedom fighters jailed here, some of who, sadly, went mad or took their own lives. We found the show, which takes place twice a day, to be a little overdone, but informative. Cost: Rs50 (about €0.65) entrance fee + Rs50 (about €0.65) for the light and sound show. A quick search seems to indicate that the fees for foreigners might have doubled in the last few months, however that’s still very affordable!
Tickets can be pre-booked online, but the payment process is so complex that it might be worth just turning up early. The light and sound show is presented in two versions, Hindi and English, the latter being far less frequent. You can check the timings and costs on the government website, but keep in mind that this is infrequently updated, so best to check with the site office itself.
Ross Island (nowadays renamed to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island) is another of the places to visit in Port Blair. Be sure not to confuse it with the Ross Island in North Andaman (connected by a sandbar with Smith Island).
Ross Island in Port Blair was the island capital until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1941, and the ruins on the island have now been taken over by nature making it a bit of an eerie place to visit.
Ross Island is a 15-minute ferry ride away from Port Blair. The boat can be taken from Aberdeen Jetty near the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex and the fare is about Rs 100 (about €1.25) return in a shared ferry. A trip to the island can also be included as part of a tour package which includes stops at Viper Island and North Bay Island.
We really wanted to go to Viper Island during our time in Port Blair, having heard that it is one of the best places to visit in Port Blair, but sadly, no boats were running on the day due to some holiday.
Ferries to Viper Island also run from Aberdeen Jetty. Prisoners from the Cellular jail were allegedly hung on Viper Island, and in fact remains of ruined gallows can be found here. It is reportedly not as well-maintained as Ross Island.
Jolly Buoy Island
Jolly Buoy Island in Mahatma Gandhi National Park, can be accessed via boat ride from Wandoor beach, which in turn is a 30-minute drive away from Port Blair. You can take a public bus from Port Blair to Wandoor, however be aware that (depending on the season), boat/s only run very early, and you might not make it on time.
Jolly Buoy Island is one of the best places to visit in Port Blair, if you don’t mind being part of large groups, well-known for the pretty cool coral reefs. We thought it was a bit of a circus since the boats leave and return together, and fees are rather steep. You can snorkel around here (in a group) and you can also view the corals and fish from glass-bottomed boat (additional fee). Nevertheless, the water is beautiful and the island pristine.
Jolly Buoy Island is one of the Andaman Islands that still requires a permit for visiting and the full trip and permit is best arranged via an agent in Port Blair itself. Plastic is not allowed in the National Park, and your bags will be searched for plastic water bottles etc. You can leave them at Wandoor beach against a deposit of Rs 100 (about €1.25) for each item.
Be aware that Jolly Buoy is not open at all times of the year, so be sure to check that trips to the island are running before planning yours!
Find it on a map! – Wandoor Dock
If you you’re looking for beach places to visit in Port Blair, you might wish to hop over to Corbyn’s Cove, a few km out of Port Blair. Assuming that you are heading out of Port Blair, Corbyn’s Cove is not the fanciest beach that you’ll come across, but if you’re looking to get into the water whilst you’re in Port Blair, this is the place to come to. Water sports are available at this beach. You can either drive a rented bike to Corbyn’s Cove, or alternatively get a rickshaw.
The Anthropological museum is one of the best places to visit in Port Blair if you want to gain insight into the different Andamanese and Nicobarese tribes. Culture traditions and heritage are showcased at the museum which is a good place from where to learn a little about the history of the islands you are about to visit, especially if you have included them on your Andaman itinerary. We strongly recommend this museum! Entry fee: Rs 20 (about €0.30). No photography allowed inside.
Samudrika Naval Marine Museum
Samudrika Naval Marine Museum, run by the Indian Navy, aims to create awareness about issues related to the ocean and marine life. It depicts underwater flora and fauna and is generally pretty well-maintained. Entry fee: Rs 50 (about €0.65).
Take a walk along the promenade
Our favourite activity on the first day we arrived on the Andaman Islands was definitely taking a walk along the battered promenade lining the coast in Port Blair. The promenade is not in any way majestic, but we got to smell the sea breeze and feel the marine vibe as we watched roadside fishermen sell their wares, after months of traveling inland within North East India, which brought on wide smiles and sighs of contentment.
Hotels in Port Blair
Hotel Ritz – We spent three nights in all at the Ritz (one night at the start of our Andaman itinerary and two nights at the end of our Andaman itinerary), which does not exactly match up to its name, but which is comfortable and convenient enough. Prices at the time were Rs1400 (about €17.50) per night. We thought the Ritz was one for the more conveniently located hotels in Port Blair, being located very close to the Gandhi statue and the bus station. Contact no. +91 70639 97977
Lalaji BayView – although we didn’t stay at this very centrally located hotel, we read that the rooms were pretty well-priced for budget travelers too! Contact no. +91 3192 233 322
Fortune Resort Bay Island – A far more upmarket choice commanding outstanding views of the Port from its terrace, this is the choice for those who wish to travel in comfort and whose budget is not so restricted. Can be booked here!
Day 2 – Port Blair (South Andaman) to Kalipur (North Andaman)
If you decide to follow our Andaman itinerary, you will go all the way to Diglipur or Kalipur in North Andaman on Day 2. The bus, though very affordable, is not exactly comfortable especially if you are seated in the last (least recommendable) row like we were. Much of the ATR is not asphalted, and the buses have been modified for fast off-road travel, i.e. big wheels, raised springs, drivers with rally skills and all. There were times when we were literally hanging on to each other for fear of being thrown out of our seats.
The bus was due to leave at 4am so we left the hotel by 3.15am and walked 10 minutes to the bus terminal. The bus left promptly at 4am with our luggage stuck in the aisle so that it was blocking everything and everyone (there is no luggage hold available), as we started our 14-hour journey along the Andaman Trunk Road. About an hour into the drive, we stopped at a checkpost where our passports and visa details were checked. This was the entrance to Middle Andaman and the start of the escorted part of the journey.
As mentioned previously, parts of the Middle Andaman are inhabited by the Jarawa tribe who inhabit the Jarawa Forest Reserve through which the Great Andaman Trunk Road crosses. You can only pass through this part of the road via convoy four times a day (for protection of the Jarawa tribe which holds a protected status within India – interaction with the tribe is illegal) so the bus times are scheduled accordingly.
This part of the road winds through wild jungle and forest, making this part of the journey extremely scenic. We later got off the bus and onto a ferry (which cost Rs10/Eur 0.15 each) to Baratang. We boarded the bus again at the terminal. This process was repeated a few km later as we reached another creek. We were the only foreigners making the journey by bus throughout, and we often caught the rest of the passengers, all of whom were locals, stealing glances at us with curiosity. We quickly discovered that most people travel to the places to visit in Andaman by private car or tour, which surely is more comfortable but probably less entertaining.
We arrived in Diglipur late afternoon and tried looking for a bus to Kalipur, which is where we had decided to use as a base for exploring North Andaman, seeing that it was right next to Kalipur beach. The bus from Diglibur to Kalipur was scheduled to leave in 45 minutes time so we bargained the price of a rickshaw down to Rs 400 (about €5) which though a lot more expensive when compared to a bus, took us to the resort immediately and directly. We also got the number of the rickshaw driver whom we used as our preferred driver whenever we needed a rickshaw.
Places to visit in Kalipur
The attraction around Kalipur is surely the beach which is famous for turtle nesting. One of the guys from the resort promised to take us to see this happening the first night we were there, which he did. A few minutes into our visit, I started to get a little impatient, seeing that we were being eaten alive by mosquitos (hint: DO take DEET along with you) and we returned back to the resort after about an hour.
All the other guests who stayed, witnessed what they told us was a magnificent spectacle of nesting turtles later on in the night. No flashlights or noise-making is allowed – your guide will tell you all you need to know about observing nesting turtles as respectfully as possible.
Hotels in Kalipur
There were three resorts in Kalipur at the time of traveling, all conveniently located close to each other and to the beach. We managed to book a room at Pristine Beach Resort, a week or so before starting our Andaman itinerary but we heard reports of the other resorts being fully booked months ahead.
Pristine Beach Resort – we spent a very pleasant three nights at this resort which honestly ticked all the boxes (except for wifi, which, as in all parts of the Andaman, was non-existent). Our room with a/c was larger than most we had been staying in, the resort ground were pretty, whilst food at the resort restaurant (only eating option in the area) but especially good, and beer was available too! Felt exactly like being on holiday! Rooms cost Rs2300 (about €29) per night at the time of travel and can be booked here. Contact no. +91 94742 86787
Turtle Resort – situated opposite Pristine Beach Resort, Turtle Resort seems to offer a similar set up, although we did not actually stay here. This is actually a government-owned resort, which is usually more affordable when compared to private resorts. Other travelers confirmed that they had a good stay and paid Rs 1000 (about €12.50) a night but had to book months in advance. Contact no. +91 3192 271 818
Saddle Peak View Resort – a new resort located a couple of minutes’ walk from Pristine/Turtle resorts which was highly recommended by travelers staying there. The resort can be booked here.
Day 3 – Day trip to Ross & Smith Islands
One of the best places to visit in Andaman, is the Ross & Smith islands, which was one of the first destinations we included in our Andaman itinerary.
The two islands are easily accessed via the same trip from Aerial Bay in Diglipur and are two picturesque islands joined by a natural bridge. You can technically walk from one island to another during low tide, but a separate (additional) entrance fee is required for Ross Island, an extra Rs 1000 (about €12.50) per person, which we thought was too steep. (Price for Indians is Rs 75/about €1).
A permit to visit Smith Island is required, but it is jointly issued for all the people in one boat. It is very important to carry your passport with you, otherwise you will not be able to take a trip to the islands.
We thought that the process was unnecessarily lengthy. We started off by catching a bus outside of Pristine Beach Resort at 7.45am which stopped us at Aerial Bay Jetty on the way to Diglipur. The cost of the bus ride was Rs 12 (about €0.15) each.
Once we arrived, we immediately went to a bus stop which doubled as a permit counter, where the boat men seemed to be waiting for passengers. We were told that that cost for the whole boat was Rs 5000 (about €63) and the boat guy tried to convince us to take a private boat trip, but we opted to wait and try sharing with anyone who turned up.
Unfortunately, business was slow and the few people that turned up had already seemed to have formed their own groups. It took the best of two hours until we would find other people to share with us. Eventually we paid Rs 600 (about €7.50) each, return. A woman at the counter issued the paperwork for all the passengers in the boat, by including our names and passport details. The paperwork was then taken across the road to an army/customs official by representatives of each group. The officials in turn prepared some more paperwork and double checked the details on the permit, until we were good to go.
We walked to the jetty and paid Rs 10 (about €0.15) for ‘Port Services’. A policewoman at the jetty checked our bags and sequestered our masks and snorkels (we knew already that it was not allowed but we tried taking them anyway). A driver of one of the families sharing our boat was so kind to offer to keep them for us until our return.
Splashing our way on the open speedboat, the ride lasted about 30 minutes, after which the boat landed on Smith Island. Ominous clouds showed up on the horizon but luckily it did not rain, although we were completely soaked anyway.
We proceeded with exploring some of Smith Island, although this is partly limited by large signs indicated no-go areas, due to crocodile sightings! We could also walk halfway across the sandbar to Ross Island of course, until a clear demarcation notice, following which we would have had to pay the extra fee.
Swimming is only allowed on small sections of Smith Island, which is supervised by a lifeguard. Changing facilities and toilets are available. There were no foreigners on the island, and Indian women were swimming in full clothing, so I was reluctant to strip down to a bikini. Nikki did enjoy his dip though!
We were allowed to stay on the island for three hours. Staying longer than that meant paying an extra fee. The boat ride back was uneventful, and luckily upon our return to Aerial Bay, we quickly caught the bus back to Kalipur for Rs 12 (about 0.15).
All in all, we felt that Ross and Smith are pretty islands but extremely controlled, and there was little we could do independently except soak the sun on the beach, which let’s face it, wasn’t bad at all! We do recommend that you include them on your Andaman itinerary!
Day 4 – Saddle Peak Jungle Walk
If you’re looking for trekking places to visit in Andaman, consider hiking up Saddle’s Peak in North Andaman. You should know that the way up is rather steep and that the view is not exceptional so if, like us, you are looking for an easier walk, you can consider hiking only the first part of the route which takes you through an interesting trek in the jungle.
The southbound bus to Saddle Peak Park (coming from Diglipur) passes right in front of Pristine Beach Resort, with the last stop being the Saddle Peak National Park ticket office. We were out of the resort at 9am, and the bus passed 15 minutes later. The cost is Rs 8 (about €0.10) to Saddle Peak Park. It is really important to bring your passport to access the park, otherwise you will not be let in.
The entry permit cost Rs 500 (about €6.25) each whilst the camera fee is Rs 50 (about 0.65).
The jungle walk is about 1.5 – 2 hours long and ends just before the start of the steep trek up to the peak. We met absolutely nobody during the walk except for a bunch of soldiers who climbed up to the peak as part of their training. They were very friendly and checked that we had enough water before going on their way.
They told us that it is not really worth going all the way up unless you are looking for a workout.
The path through the jungle is dense, but at the same time is right on the coast, so that you get to smell the sea as you walk along the jungle. Sea crabs are omnipresent as are lizards and other little creatures. Mosquito repellant is essential.
We spent the afternoon in Diglipur trying to buy a bus ticket to Rangat for the following day. This proved to be no mean feat. The private buses to Rangat were all booked, whilst a couple of spaces were available on the bus to Baratang (which passed through Rangat) but we were not allowed buy tickets for those, even if we offered to pay the full price to Baratang and get off early.
We decided to be in Diglipur at 4.00am the next day and try get on the public Baratang bus instead.
Day 5 – Kalipur (North Andaman) to Rangat (Middle Andaman)
We were lucky enough to have kept the phone number of the rickshaw driver who initially had take us to the resort. He agreed to come for us at 3.30am in time to catch the bus. This time, the fee was Rs1000 (about €12.50) rather than the previously-charged Rs 400, but hey, it was early and it was cold! There were very few people waiting for the bus and we managed to get on without any problems. Our ticket to Rangat cost Rs 115 (about €1.45) each.
When we arrived in Rangat, we headed straight to Avis hotel, which we had booked over the phone. To our surprise, the owner told us they were full, even though it was clear that no other guests were staying there. We insisted that we had booked the room a while back, and eventually they took us in. It was our first time encountering a reluctancy to accommodate us probably because we were foreigners, although we have heard of several instances of this happening to other foreigners all over India.
We had lunch at Aroma restaurant which we totally recommend, and looked for a bus to take us to the Mangrove walkway.
Things to do in Rangat
Dhani Nallah Mangrove Walkway
Without doubt one of the best things to do in Rangat is to visit the Dhani Nallah Mangrove Walkway. We had been informed that it was easy to the get to Dhani Nallah by bus and that any bus passing through Rangat would take us there, however after waiting for 45 minutes for a bus to pass by, it was getting late and we decided to hire a rickshaw for Rs 600 (about €7.50) return.
We thought that we might get bored on the walkway, but the path was actually full of placards containing information regarding mangroves, most of which we were not aware of. It led to a huge beach, which though not incredibly beautiful with its grey sand, was pleasant enough for taking a long beach walk.
Entrance to the mangrove walkway is free, though a woman inside a little kiosk at the entrance registered our details. There was no need to show our passport.
We really suggest that you put the mangrove walkway on your list of places to visit in Andaman.
Hotels in Rangat
Avis Hotel – we stayed here since it seemed to be the only budget hotel available. We were initially refused entry to the hotel even though we had booked over the phone and even though it seemed to be totally empty, but we convinced them to let us stay. Avis is a very no-frills hotel but comfortable enough for spending a night in Rangat. Price per room was Rs1200 (about €15). Contact no. +91 96795 66030
Day 6 – Rangat to Long Island (Middle Andaman)
The main reason we were in Middle Andaman was to spend some time on Long Island, allegedly a beautiful, and one of the lesser-known places to visit in Andaman. When we heard about it, we knew that we had to put Long Island on our Andaman itinerary! This part of our post will focus on how to get to Long Island and things to do on Long Island.
Long Island is accessible by ferry from Yeratta Jetty in Rangat. This jetty is exclusive to ferries to Long Island, whilst the nearby Rangat Jetty connects Rangat to other places to visit in Andaman. Ferries depart to Long Island from Yeratta Jetty at 9am and 3.30pm daily whilst the ferry from Long Island to Rangat runs at 7am and 3pm. The timings and schedule should be confirmed close to your departure date as they are subject to frequent changes.
The one-hour ferry ride to Long Island, through the mangroves, was one of the most picturesque rides we experienced on our Andaman itinerary. We were on the lookout for crocodiles, which are reputed to frequent the area, but didn’t see any!
As soon as we landed on Long Island, an officer checked our passports and we were free to set off to our accommodation. We had booked a room at Blue Planet which is where everybody else seemed to be headed too. There is a government accommodation close to the port area too but we had heard good things about Blue Planet. There’s also a resort on Lalaji Beach but more on that later.
Blue Planet is located about a 20-minute walk away from the port area, and we got there though a marked path along the jungle. There is only one rickshaw on the island, so if you are not travelling light, you may want to pre-book it through your accommodation. Small huts are grouped around a relaxation area in the middle of which is a huge tree. Meals are taken on the premises, as there are no restaurants or other places serving food on the island, and only a couple of little stores.
One of the highlights of Long Island is the white-sand remote Lalaji Bay on the east side of the island, known to be one of the best places to visit in Andaman, if you like to get off the beaten track. A permit from the Forest Range Office is needed to access the beach through the jungle, which proved to be an administrative pain to obtain, and which was never checked by anyone anyway. We turned up thirty minutes before the official closing time, and tried getting the permit that same afternoon but were asked to go back the next day because the office was about to close.
Long Island is really very rural and there’s not much to do besides swimming, snorkeling and licking up the sun. A stroll around town will take you around the small village made up a few shacks, and a couple of tiny shops selling mostly sweets and bananas. Blue Planet is located behind a beach, aptly called Blue Planet Beach, where snorkeling was reputedly amazing, but really wasn’t. The water was very murky, although it might have been the case only on that specific day.
The beach is pretty though, and with only ourselves and another couple on the beach, felt as empty as possible! Blue Planet Beach can be accessed by following the yellow arrows from Blue Planet and turning left at the end of the path. There’s also a little temple on the beach, apparently run by a single guy who gifted us with a plate of offerings.
Hotels in Long Island
Blue Planet – Blue Planet is the obvious place to stay and the staff will help you with anything you might need during your stay on Long Island. A hut with private bathroom cost Rs 1500 (about €18.75)/night whilst food was decently priced and rather tasty. The staff at Blue Planet can organize boat trips to nearby islands, weather permitting. They can also rent out mountain bikes and diving equipment upon request. You can contact the hotel via their website or Contact number +91 3192 215923
Vanashree Guest House – Situated right above the Long Island jetty, this accommodation offers tented eco-friendly cottages for a decent stay and can also offer simple food menus. Contact number +91 94742 38669
Day 7 – Long Island (Middle Andaman)
We were at the Forest Range Office at 7.30am to get our permits for Lalaji Beach which turned out to be rather painless at the end. It was just a piece of paper with our names on it, and was free of charge. After breakfast, we set off on our trek to Lalaji Beach. Lalaji Beach can also be accessed by boat, and Blue Planet can arrange a day trip for you if you decide to take this route. The jungle walk is pretty fun though!
The full walk lasted about 90 minutes, first through lush fields and then through proper jungle. Steep steps down at the end of the path led to a beautiful white sand beach lined with palm trees. It was rather windy and the beach was filled with logs and wood debris washed up from the shore. There’s a resort at Lalaji Beach which looked quite empty but was open when we went to enquire about lunch.
Only veg/non-veg thalis were available, and we were told preparation would take about an hour or so, so we went for a swim until it was time to eat. The thalis were sufficiently tasty and filling and cost Rs 125 (about €1.60) each. We spent the rest of the day lazing about on the beautiful beach, until it was time to head back through the jungle. DEET spray is highly recommended!
Day 8 – Long Island (Middle Andaman)
We had hoped to take a boat trip to Merk Bay Beach on North Island on our last day on Long Island, but unfortunately it was too windy to take the boat out, so we spent the day walking around and swimming on Long Island itself. Merk Bay Beach is supposedly a lovely, remote beach with great snorkeling and one of the best places to visit in Andaman. The only way of getting there is by chartered boat from Long Island. I guess we’ll just have to go back to the Andamans to experience Merk Bay at some point!
We went to check about the following day’s ferry to Havelock Island in the afternoon and were told that a government ferry runs from Rangat, stopping at Long Island, then continues with stops at Strait Island, Havelock Island, Neil Island and finally Port Blair. It runs on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays in the morning and on Sundays in the afternoon. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, it runs in the opposite direction with the same stops.
As always, ferry schedules are subject to change on the Andaman Islands It is best to purchase the tickets in advance, especially in peak season. We only managed to get ‘standing tickets’ which cost Rs 460 (about €5.75) each.
Day 9 – Long Island (Middle Andaman) to Havelock Island (South Andaman)
We were at the ferry terminal by 6.30am, waiting for the ferry from Rangat which ran all the way to Port Blair. We would stop at Havelock (Swaraj Dweep). The boat arrived at around 7.15am. We only had standing tickets, but we did find a few empty seats and managed to remain seated throughout the whole journey. We arrived in Havelock after three hours on the ferry.
Havelock Island is the most touristic and popular of the Andaman Islands, and the one with the best infrastructure. You should definitely include Havelock Island on your Andaman itinerary but don’t spend all your time here either. There are more pristine places to visit in Andaman.
As soon as we landed on Havelock, our passports were checked and we found an auto rickshaw to take us to Green Valley Resort, which we had booked in advance. The short ride cost Rs 200 (about €2.50) which is pretty expensive by India standards!
We immediately sorted out a scooter (Rs 400/€5 for 24 hours) from the hotel itself and set off to explore. The hotels on Havelock have some wifi and there’s probably some data connectivity, although it was very poor during our time there.
We rushed off to Radhanagar Beach to see the sunset and were quite shocked at the sheer amount of people and sellers on and around the beach! We had probably become accustomed to the more empty and remote places to visit in Andaman, and the hordes of tourists on Havelock were overwhelming.
We did find that if we walked further away from the entrance to the beach, we were mostly alone though, as most tourists tended to stay right at the entrance to the beach. Radhanagar Beach is very large and quite beautiful especially during sunset time and is known to be, hands down, one of the best places to visit in Andaman.
We quickly discovered that Havelock is a lot more developed than we had expected, with luxury resorts and some very chic-looking restaurants, although it was still possible to find affordable accommodation and places to eat. We had a great fish and prawn dinners with sides for about Rs 350 (about € 4.50) each.
Hotels in Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep)
Green Valley Resort – This hotel with simple but comfortable rooms, is literally a stone’s throw away from VijayNagar beach and one of the more affordable option on Havelock at Rs3261 (about €41)/ night. You can check out availability here.
Sea Shell Havelock – if you’re looking at something a bit more luxurious than a budget hotel, we totally recommend you staying at Sea Shell Havelock which has great reviews. Bookings may be made here.
Dolphin Resort – A government run resort which, although more expensive than some accommodation options, offers great value for money. The down side is that pre-booking is a nightmare, and the place is usually fully booked throughout the peak season. Contact no. +91 3192 230 933
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa – this super luxurious resort near Radhanagar Beach is one of the best accommodation options on Havelock and we would have loved to stay here had we afforded it! You can check out the latest prices here.
Things to do on Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep)
Sunset at Radhanagar Beach
This is by far the most popular beach in Havelock island and is very popular at sunset time. The best way of getting here is by renting your own scooter, although finding where to park it during peak season is a bit of a hassle. We did see lots of tourist buses lined outside the parking lot, so we assumed that package tour tourists were also brought here with private transport. Nevertheless, we do recommend putting this beach on your Andaman itinerary.
If you are not comfortable riding a scooter, any auto rickshaw can bring you to Radhanagar Beach. If you don’t like crowds, we advise you to move towards a few meters away from the entrance of the beach. Most domestic tourists seem to take up every inch of sand at the entrance side and completely ignore the rest of the beach.
Find it on a map! – Radhanagar Beach
The walk down to Elephanta Beach is probably a lot more fun than just spending time on the beach, even though its not a bad beach at all! There is also an option to take a speedboat to the beach for Rs 950 return/ about €12, which indeed seems to be the more popular option.
We actually got to the trail leading down to Elephanta from the main road at 1.15pm and we were almost not allowed in since it was rather late (there seems to be a curfew and people are only allowed down the path until 1pm, so it would be best to come here in the morning).
You also do not need a guide to get to the beach which is around 20 minutes away from the start of the marked path. We do advise you to pack light and wear sturdy shoes though. We found flip flops to be rather annoying on the slippery grass and roots. There are some stalls on the beach offering food and drinks and storage if necessary. Water activities like banana ride, parasailing and rides on a glass-bottomed boat are available from the beach, if that’s your thing.
Elephanta is very popular for water sports and was quite crowded when we arrived, though people seemed to be leaving. Snorkeling is also highly recommended though we did not do any ourselves. Walking along the beach in low tide through the mangroves was particularly interesting and great fun, mostly due to the huge number of crabs among the trees. Leeches may be present too, so be careful not to collect any whilst trekking!
Elephanta beach gets its name from a famous photograph of a swimming elephant. This photo, and others of an elephant couple strolling on the beach have been reproduced ad nauseum yet, unfortunately, none of these glorious beings are still alive, which considering the hordes of tourists abusing the beach, is really a blessing!
Find it on a map! – Elephanta Beach Trek Start
Explore Havelock by scooter
One of the things to do on Havelock Island we enjoyed most was simply scootering around the island and ‘getting lost’. Actually, there’s no way of getting lost on Havelock, but we did ride to parts which were a lot more secluded and seemed to be completely ignored by other tourists. It was honestly refreshing to get away from the package tourists, the buses and noise, and this is the part of Havelock we still remember fondly.
Kalapathar is probably a little less popular than Radhanagar and Elephanta and very pretty, though it was really windy when we were there! You can get there on your own scooter or by taking an auto rickshaw. A few vendors sell snacks and trinkets. If you walk a few metres along the beach, you can find some quiet and empty spots, since everyone seems to just congregate on the main part of the beach closer to the entrance. If you don’t mind getting up early, this is a pretty good sunrise spot.
Find it on a map! – Kalapathar Beach
Day 10 – Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep – South Andaman)
You can choose from any of the above activities for your full day in Havelock. We advise you to visit Elephanta beach in the morning and move on to the other beaches and activities later on. Of course, one can spend a few more days on Havelock itself to enjoy more of its vibe, but we preferred to move on to Neil Island, which encompassed the final part of our Andaman itinerary. For many people, Havelock IS the Andaman, although we believe that there are many more beautiful places to visit in Andaman.
Day 11 – Havelock Island to Neil (South Andaman)
We had reservations on the Makruzz ferry running from Havelock Island to Neil Island and made our way to the jetty about an hour beforehand. Reminder – DO book your tickets well in advance. We booked ours about 3 weeks before departure date and we only managed to get the more expensive ‘luxury’ tickets for Rs1600 (about €20) per person.
A rickshaw to the jetty cost Rs 100 (about €1.25) and we needed to get into a queue upon our arrival for ticket verification. The place was quite a mess with so many people just sitting around and complaining, that we started to miss the little empty jetties where we would be the only people waiting for a boat on other parts of the Andamans.
The ferry ride to Neil Island was short and we felt really posh in our luxury seats (a stark difference to the local government ferries). Once we alighted, we immediately got a rickshaw to our accommodation, the Blue Stone Lodge for Rs 100 (about €1.25). We tried negotiating a price for a scooter with a guy renting them out at the jetty but thought that the asking price was rather expensive and decided to look elsewhere. This turned out to be a big mistake as we didn’t find any other rental place on the island and had to go back to him and rent the scooter for Rs 500 (about €6.25)/day.
We absolutely loved our time on Neil Island, despite its tiny size, and we thought it was an excellent compromise between the more remote islands with very little infrastructure and the very developed Havelock Island. We also really enjoyed the beaches on Neil which we will describe below.
Beaches on Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep)
The main beaches on Neil Island are conveniently referred to as beaches 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, although they also have actual names.
Lakshmanpur Beach No.1 (Beach No.1, aka. Sunset Beach)
This white sand beach is likely the most beautiful beach on Neil and a great sunset spot, but be aware that sandfly is rife as are mosquitos, and you will get bitten very regularly!
Find it on a map! – Lakshmanpur Beach No.1
Lakshmanpur Beach No.2 (Beach No.2)
This little beach is adjacent to the Howrah Bridge (see more below)
Find it on a map! – Lakshmanpur Beach No.2
Ramnagar Beach (Beach No.3.)
this little beach was completely empty when we went, and seeing it was low tide, a lot of the rock was exposed. It is supposedly prettier in high tide.
Find it on a map! – Ramnagar Beach
Bharatpur Beach (Beach No. 4)
this is by far the most developed beach on Neil Island and the place where most domestic tourists seemed to enjoy staying though it was our least favourite beach. Lots of stalls and water sports around here.
Find it on a map! – Bharatpur Beach
Sitapur Beach (Beach No. 5, aka. Sunrise Beach)
this was our favourite beach on Neil Island and supposedly a great place from which to watch sunrise, although we didn’t make it up on time. We were practically the only people walking along the golden sand in the morning and we would easily have spent all day here if we had the time. Sitapur Beach was one of our favourite places to visit in Andaman!
Find it on a map! – Sitapur Beach
this rocky part of the coast is famous for its stone arch, a natural coral bridge, which is best visited at low tide. It is quite a popular attraction, as we found lots of people walking to it and around the area when we got there. Of course, group selfies were happening the whole time, and we must have photo-bombed a few. Still, it was one of the places to visit in Andaman which we really enjoyed.
Find it on a map! – Howrah Bridge
Hotels on Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep)
Blue Stone Lodge/Blue Bird Residency – this little place a few minutes ride away from the jetty suited us perfectly and was one of the most affordable options around. A room with a private bathroom cost Rs 1650 (about €20.75)/night. Check availability and latest prices here.
Sea Shell Neil – if you’re looking for some luxury on Neil Island, this is your place to stay! The beautiful and very well-maintained cottages are a notch above most other accommodation options! Check availability and the latest prices here.
Day 12 – Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep)
We would have easily added more days on Neil Island to our Andaman itinerary, but you do get to see everything in 1-2 days, so any additional days would just involve soaking up the sun on one of the beaches or perhaps participating in some water sports. Our advice is to just take the time to relax on the last few days and the dreamy, slow-paced, Neil Island is perfect destination for this.
Day 13 – Neil Island to Port Blair (South Andaman)
We spent the afternoon lounging on Lakshmanpur beach until it was time to head back to the jetty for the ferry to Port Blair. The cost of the ticket of the ferry ride from Neil Island to Port Blair was of Rs 1400 (about €17.50) for premium seats.
Day 14 – Port Blair (South Andaman) – Last Day on the Andaman Itinerary
Your last day on your Andaman itinerary is best spent in Port Blair, especially if you have a flight out to somewhere else in mainland India. You can choose form any of the activities listed under places to visit in Port Blair on Day 1.
Variations to Andaman Itinerary
We believe that our Andaman itinerary above includes pretty much the best places to visit in Andaman in two weeks, but if you’re looking for something different here are some variations:
Make a stop in Mayabunder instead of Rangat
Although we believe Rangat is better connected, especially if you’re heading to Long Island, you can choose to stop in Mayabunder, further North as you’re coming down from North Andaman and then make your way to Yeratta ferry in the morning and subsequently taking the afternoon ferry to Long Island without making an overnight stop in Rangat.
We do not really recommend this since there’s a good chance of missing the afternoon ferry and having to make an additional stop, but it is certainly possible.
We were told that Mayabunder is a cute little coastal town with mangroves and turtle-viewing opportunities, and one of the charming places to visit in Andaman. Mayabunder is also known for the presence of people from the Karen tribe in Myanmar who were relocated to this area.
Spend more time on Havelock
Havelock was not really our favourite destination, and to us, a couple of days on the island were more than enough, but if you enjoy good restaurants, luxury hotels, diving and hanging around other tourists, Havelock is the right place for you. Sadly, many tourists only include Havelock Island on their Andaman itinerary.
Go all the way to Little Andaman
If you’re looking to get really off the beaten track, go all the way to Little Andaman Island. You cannot combine Little Andaman with the above two-week Andaman itinerary, but if you have more time, it is certainly possible to go there via government ferry from Haddo Wharf in Port Blair, You will need to check the schedule in Port Blair itself since it is subject to frequent changes. Little Andaman is of the more off-track places to visit in Andaman, and we know that next time round, we will be including it on our Andaman itinerary!
Find it on a map! – Haddo Wharf
Costs of traveling in Andaman
The Andaman Islands are way more expensive than other destinations in India, even more expensive than North East India.
We found Havelock Island to be the most expensive in terms of accommodation, food and transport, whilst facilities on the other islands cost considerably less. Traveling between islands on government ferries is affordable although infrequent. The cost of the private ferry prices are comparable to those in Europe.
Given the limited food and accommodation options on the more remote islands and towns, meals and rooms are usually also way more expensive to those in mainland India. After traveling around India for six months, Andaman proved to be the most expensive portion of our trip. Also many of the best places to visit in Andaman are in the form of islands which are not necessarily close to one another. Traveling from one to another carries an expense.
Our travels around the Andaman Islands set us back about Rs 2,253 (about €28.30) each per day, which for India is rather pricey! The majority of the expense was in accommodation – many very basic rooms with a private bathroom cost over €20/day. The private ferries running between Havelock, Neil and Port Blair are particularly expensive (around €20/ride) although government ferries and buses are way more affordable.
Tips for visiting the Andaman Islands
After traveling around the Andaman Islands for two weeks, here’s a list of tips that you should heed if you plan on traveling there!
- Carry mosquito repellant and wear long light clothing. Mosquitos will love to tear the hell out of you.
- Sandfly is rampant. I found that mosquito repellant usually helped to keep them away.
- Do carry sunblock around. There’s constant risk of getting burnt.
- Power cuts are frequent. You will need a flashlight or a headtorch at times.
- Learn to live without phone network. You might find very little connectivity around the islands, so be sure to clear any commitments beforehand. Internet (Wifi) café’s were available in Havelock and Port Blair with (marginally) better internet, at least sufficient to maintain a VOIP call.
- Book your accommodation before arrival due to the erratic phone signal, especially during peak season when hotels might fill up very fast. Don’t trust online bookings, and opt to confirm your booking by phone instead. Many hotels require a deposit to secure your booking,
- Carry your passport to islands and parks where permit is necessary. It is best to have copies too, since some offices require a copy.
- Book private ferries between Port Blair, Neil and Havelock well in advance especially during peak season. They fill up really quickly. It is not possible to book government much before.
- Do not spend all your time on Havelock Island as the majority of tourists do. Include some less-developed islands on your Andaman itinerary.