When I first booked my trip to the Golden Triangle in India, I was expecting heat, crowds of people, and old city life. When I arrived to India, it was exactly what I was picturing. While, booking my trip, a fellow travel blogger mentioned the Andaman Islands. I simply typed it into Google and found this paradise I had never heard of before. I should mention there is very limited to no internet service on the island. So it was a perfect place to go and shut down.
The Andaman Islands are located closer to Thailand, but still considered India territory. I only made it to one of the Islands, Havelock. To get there, you must fly into Port Blair Airport and take a ferry to the islands. However, the way. The ferry times are set make it so you must spend the night on Port Blair coming and going. If you are not an India resident, you will need to stop by the immigration counter before leaving the airport… you can’t miss it. There is no extra fee, just show your visa and passport and fill out some paperwork. You also need to stop back at the immigration counter before flying back out.
There are taxis outside, but it is cheaper to preorder a taxi at the airport. It was 90 Rupees (about $1.50 usd) for an air conditioned taxi to my hotel on Port Blair.
Meet Sudevan (+9933266021). He was my awesome tuk tuk driver on Port Blair. He let me pay him whatever I felt was fair, knows the island like the back of his hand, and is always on time. You can have your hotel give him a call and he will pick you up and take you around Port Blair or just transfers to and from the airport/ferry/hotel.
Port Blair wasn’t my favorite place. Although, I didn’t spend much time on the island… so let’s just skip to Havelock Island!
There are a few ways to get to the Island. The cheapest option is the Gorvernment ferry, however, the line for tickets is very long. So I suggest you get there very early or get them the day before. There are private owned ferries, which I did, and ordered my tickets online. It was around $25 USD each way. Finally, you can pay for a small plane to take you, but will be shelling out the dough. The ferry ride is about 2.5 hrs to get from Port Blair to Havelock Island.
Once you get to Havelock, there will be people offering to take tour luggage to the taxis, this is a fee. They do not work for the taxis. Since I was by myself, I walked my own bag past the taxis and grabbed one of the tuk tuks on the street. A taxi will cost you around 300 rupee, but a tuk tuk to my hotel was only 50 rupee.
I stayed at the Havelock Island Beach Resort. It was a fairly nice facility, has it’s own beach in the back, comfortable bed, really good food, but the service was terrible. Don’t get room service unless you want to wait 2hrs for it. Except for that, o would highly recommend it as a place to stay.
Transportation on the island: tuk tuks are the easiest way to get around, but you can also rent a scooter for 500-700 rupees/day. I was going to try to ride a scooter myself, but chickened out since they drive on the opposite side I’m use to, and basically everyone is a crazy driver there.
Beaches: Since the Andaman islands are not very well known outside of India residents, there really aren’t very many people there. The beaches stretch for miles, have sand so soft if feel like silk, and water so clear you can see to the bottom.
Elephant beach is the most crowded because it offers snorkeling, jetskiing, and those underwater diving where you wear a helmet and walk around the bottom of the ocean. There are 2 ways to get to this beach. One is to take a ferry that only runs certain hours, the other is to trek through a rainforest.
A tuk tuk will cost you 300 Rupees one way to the trekking trail, but will wait for you and cost 500 Rupees total for round trip. There will be locals offering yo be your trekking guide for 500 Rupees, but your really can’t get lost. JUST STAY LEFT. I did this in flip flops, by myself and just kept asking people I passed which way to go. The trail is easy for children too.
Radhanagar Beach was voted most beautiful beach in India, and that I was. A tuk tuk will cost you 400 rupee one way or 600 rupee round trip. Btw, all of these are set prices for all tuk tuks.
Outside of the entrance to Radhanagar Beach, locals will be selling fresh fruit and coconuts… you can’t bring those onto the beach! I bought a coconut and then they told me so I had to chug it!
These were the two beaches I made it to during my short stay. I had gotten a bad cold while I was there and spent most of my time sleeping on my resort beach which was also quiet and relaxing.
My favorite part of my entire trip, quite possible anything I have done on any trip, was scuba diving. I went through Sea Link Scuba, it was 3000 rupee ($48 USD). I don’t have my scuba license and had never been scuba diving before. Each person is paired up with a guide who teaches you hand signals, how to equalize pressure in your ears, and use all the equipment.
They hold onto you the entire time and go at tour pace by asking using the hand signals they show you. Since I had a cold, my ears were a little clogged. We didn’t go as deep as some other people because I couldn’t get one of my ears to pop. Since the islands aren’t well know, the coral reef is barely touched! It was an incredible experience! Bring a memory card and they will transfer pictures/videos of your time underwater for free.
There is a small market with a grocery store and little souvenirs on the island. To get there just tell the tuk tuk driver that you want to go to the market.
One last item on the list that I wasn’t able to get to was the sunrise on Neil’s Cove. This is located near Radhanagar Beach.