Sunday, February 19, 2017

Andaman Islands - 2017 Family Trip


  • Book the ferry tickets as soon as you know of your plans and it is difficult to get during the peak season for the timings of your choice.  Since I didn’t book in advance, I had to waste about an hour going to a travel agent to book the tickets.  We couldn’t get the morning ferry to
    go to Havelock, so got the afternoon ferry.
  • It is more economical and better to do introductory scuba in Havelock than in North Bay.  It costed us 3500 rupees in North Bay but it was only 2000 rupees in Havelock.
  • If you plan in advance, book the Dolphin resorts in Havelock and it is the best value for the money.  
  • The Radhanagar beach is an awesome place to chill and swim.  It is not deep as well as no currents, so you can go much deeper in the water for a swim.  Compared to beach No. 5 area where the Dolphin resort is located, it is not that scenic (it is on the east side).  But if you want to spend a lot of time swimming and be in the water, go to Radhanagar beach but all of the water activities happen near the beach No. 5 area.
  • The beach no. 5 area is really scenic and the water is very shallow for about quarter of a mile.  Nice area to walk around, sun bath but there are no waves.  If you have your own snorkeling gear, you should bring it with you to this area to snorkel.
    Radha Nagar Beach
  • Hotels in Andaman get booked pretty early, so to get the best location, please plan in advance.  Havelock island is a nice place to relax and it is still not developed much which is a good thing (compared to other beach resorts).
  • You are not allowed to carry liquor in the ferry, from Port Blair to Havelock.  But there’s no check on the other direction.
  • After 30 minutes or so, get up to the top deck in the ferry to see a lot of people dancing for the loud music and plan to enjoy the party.
    Kalapather Beach
  • There’s a pure vegetarian restaurant in the Radhanagar beach (in the beach itself) which is really nice.  It is the only pure vegetarian place there.
  • It gets dark by 530pm, so plan your day accordingly.

My Journey

Starting Trouble

The flight got delayed more than 2 hours due to some technical issues and we were moved to a different plant after sitting the flight for an hour.  Even with the flight long flight delays, Indigo didn’t offer any snacks or meal  because it was during the lunch time but they were kind enough to offer water.

Immigration at Port Blair

Since i read about immigration for the foreigners in Andaman, I realized that I need to do some formalities before getting out of the airport.  There’s no one stopping the foreigners and advising them to get immigration done, but they the passports on the return trip.  It is a quick process and the officers were extremely friendly and helpful.

We pre-arranged a car and the drive, Sarath, was there to take us to the hotel.  It is better to browse and book for hotel hotels India specific sites because has very limited supply and the
Corbyn's Cove
hotel that we got is not that great.  Also, if you have a contact or travel agent ask them for hotel advise.  I went through Kumar and he’s pretty professional for car services (I booked hotels through online), his information:  Blue Sea Tours & Travels, 9476045145.

Spent the first day going to the Corbyn’s Cove beach and the marina park.  Since it was new year, all these places were packed with people.  The beach seems to be a nice place to swim but there’re signs of crocodile warning everywhere, that make me think
Corbyn's Cove
twice before getting in the water.  After spending a lot of time in the beach walking around, went to the marina park to walk around.  With the number of people around there, that place is kept reasonably clean.   Had dinner int he Green Park restaurant which was ok.

The next day, we went on a day long cruise to Viper island and North Bay.  If you are not planning to do any water activities, don’t bother going on the tour to North Bay.  There is nothing much to do in North Bay other than water activities.  We did introductory scuba and it was good.
Viper Island

After we returned, we went to the Sound and Light show in the Cellular Jail and it was good.  After that we had dinner in the Vegan Creek restaurant at the Blue Sea Hotel, the food sucked and the service sucked worse than the food.

Our ferry to Havelock was at noon, so we took the tour of the saw mill, naval marine museum and tour of the Cellular jail before heading to the ferry dock.  The naval marine museum was good and it has small aquarium, tribe
Cellular Jail
history and coral/shell displays.  More educational that what I expected and it was good.  The saw mill is not that great.  The Cellular Jail didn’t have any English speaking guides available that day, which sucked.  Since we saw the light and sound show the previous day, it provided good background to the visit.  

By the time that we checked in to our rooms, it started to get dark so we took a short stroll in the beach and after that we walked to Cocoa Anju restaurant for dinner - the ambience and the food was good but it is on the expensive side.  The next day, when we were ready to
go to the Kalapather beach it started rain, but we left to the beach anyway by taxi.  Since it was raining there’s not much crowd there and we spend about an hour there before heading to the Radhanagar beach.

The drive to Radhanagar beach was nice but in a narrow muddy road.  There are a lot of eating places in that area and has very good showering/change room facilities.  We spent a lot of time swimming in there before heading back to the hotel.  We made the arrangements to go for the board dive next day morning at 6am.

This is one of my very few inactive vacations and we basically lazed around the beach the whole day.  The only active thing that we did were board dive with Underwater Tribe, who took us about a mile into the ocean to dive.  Since there was heavy rain in the previous night, the visibility was not that great but we really enjoyed the dive.  We felt better diving in the middle of ocean than just walked to dive in the North Bay. 

On our fourth day, we returned to Port Blair and just relaxed in the
room.  The other option we had was to drive 25 miles to another beach that we decided not to go because it looked like it was going to rain.  Surely, it rained a lot in the evening.


Overall, it was a nice relaxing vacation and Andaman has a lot to offer in terms of the scenic beauty and activities.  If we had more time, we would have gone for PADI certification there.

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