A Trip to Andaman- A Photo Travel Blog
Sparkling shades of green and blue, stretches of white sand beaches bordered by dense green forests – that’s the picture you see when we speak of Andaman. For long I have only heard stories of how “if you have seen the Andaman, no other Indian beach will impress you”. So when we were offered an option to vote for our annual team offsite between Goa and Andaman, I didn’t give it a second to choose the latter. The fact that it’s going to be a two-day trip most of which will be spent in the journey didn’t matter. I already have two vacations planned for the year. Add to that a couple of home-bound trips, and my quota of earned leaves will be exhausted before I can plan the long-cherished dream of visiting the breathtaking archipelago of the Bay of Bengal. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone, and Andaman won with a clear majority!
Our 2-Day Andaman Itinerary
Is Andaman a destination you should plan for a 2-day holiday? Of course not. Just the flight to Port Blair from Bangalore takes 2.5 hours. That’s only the entry point. After that wherever you want to go, you’d have to visit a jetty and take a ferry to the island or beach of interest. But two days was all we had. Here’s a photo story of my first trip to this floating paradise.
Check out our Pondicherry itinerary, another beach destination along the Bay of Bengal.
Day 1: Arrival at Havelock Islands
Arrive at Port Blair
After an usual work-day, Chayan dropped me at the Bangalore Airport by midnight. (Dearly missed my permanent travel partner on this trip). The 4:30 am flight was on time and we reached Port Blair by 9 am. From the moment I stepped into Port Blair my network went off. My phone remained in airplane mode throughout the trip till I was back to Bangalore. It was an inconvenience for sure, but was a blessing in disguise. A good riddance from the news of dirty politics just before the Delhi elections.
Transfer to the Jetty for a boat to Havelock Island
The jetty for Havelock was about 30 minutes away from the airport. The road gives glimpses of Goan interiors. While the boat itself was air-conditioned and well-equipped, there was no scope to enjoy the views outside. We did however take turns to visit the observation deck as well as meet the captain of our ship.
Reach and refresh at T.S.G. Blue Resort in Havelock Island
The T.S.G. Blue resort is located less than 1 km from the Radhanagar Beach, the most famous beach of Andaman. I loved the welcome drink here – the sweet coconut water of the Andaman. Make no mistake, the coconuts in Andaman are much larger and sweeter than what we usually find in the rest of India. The property is not huge but it is well-decorated. It’s not one of those luxury resorts, however, the location is perfect. Even the adventurer’s favorite, Elephant beach is quite close to this resort. After the much-needed lunch, we were charged up again for the forest trek.
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A guided trek to Neil’s Cove and the beautiful Radhanagar beach
Radhanagar Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in India, and the best that I have ever been to. In a stretch of 2 km the beach changes from rocks, to gravels, to coral reef to velvety soft white sand. I was exhausted after the long journey following the sleepless night at the airport. But the excitement of exploring a new place triumph all. We went on a 2 km guided trek in the jungles marveling at the bustling biodiversity of the island.
Did you know that about 86% of the land in Andaman is under forest-cover? The mesmerizing photos of the crystal clear ocean reflecting the moods of the sky, the white sand and coral reefs overshadow the incredible forests of this green paradise. During our guided trek we came across trees that are over 500 years old. “These giants are so sturdy that they couldn’t be cut with ordinary equipment”, said our guide. We heard stories of the forests, the beach and the crocodile scares. Presence of such a dense forest just beside the beach is an unique aspect of the beaches of Andaman, especially the Radhanagar Beach.
It was hard to resist the sound of the turquoise waves splashing on the sparkling sand right across the forest but I did. As they say, save the best for the last. After completing the trek to Neil’s cove we finally went to the beach – what a fulfilling experience! The snails moved around camouflaging beautifully with the vibrant corals at the beach. As we approached the sand beach we witnessed an army drill live. That was quite an experience indeed. It was finally time for quenching the throat with another serving of the delicious coconut water just before the marvelous sunset.
Here are some more pictures of the most photogenic beach that I have ever been to.
Day 2: Elephant Beach and Cellular Jail
Early morning next day, some of us went to the Radhanagar Beach once again to witness the morning vibes in the most beautiful beach of India.
Adventures in the Elephant Beach
We started off early, around 8 am, for a short speedboat ride to the famous Elephant Beach. The only way to Elephant beach is by boat from Havelock Nagri Resort. Elephant Beach is known for adventures – snorkeling and sea-walk for novices, scuba diving for professionals only. If you are not into these adventures, don’t forget to take the glass bottom boat ride. We took one on our Rameshwaram trip as well but the the glass panel was so soiled that there was no scope of seeing anything underneath. The one in Andaman is just the opposite. The large glass panel becomes an aquarium and you can see a teaser of the world underwater.
Beginners are not allowed to go for Scuba diving here. Scuba diving is a popular activity in Havelock island. So if you are doing it for the first time, or are an ammeter, get in touch with one of the many scuba diving centers in Havelock for that. They will take you to the safe sites for this activity.
Journey back to Port Blair
After a delightful lunch at the Seaside Restaurant with live music, we set off for our journey back to Port Blair. I highly recommend the restaurant, Something Different for dine-out in Havelock. It is a simple beach-side cafe with great food and live music. I loved the quirky decorations inside.
We managed to reach Port Blair around 5:30 pm, just before the sunset. I think I managed to click a decent enough picture amidst the hullabaloo on dislodging the ship.
Okay, as always, it’s time to take a short history break in this travelogue. Andaman Islands is not the typical historic place, with 1000-year-old architecture to marvel at. In fact for a long time the islands here remained secluded and untouched by the rest of the world. This is why you will come across some of the world’s oldest tribes in these islands. Most of the tribal areas are still protected with partial or complete restriction from tourists. Towards the end of 19th century, the British started settlement in Port Blair. This was when the revolutionary movement for self-determination had spread across India. They started construction of a huge cellular jail in the island to instill fear in the people. The freedom fighters were sent to Andaman for life, with no hope of every seeing anyone from their family again. The cellular jail of Port Blair is replete with the most tragic events in history of India’s freedom struggle.
In 1942, during the World War II, the Japanese Army invaded and took possession of Port Blair. A year later, one of India’s greatest freedom fighters, Subhash Chandra Bose, visited the island. He declared the island as a free territory, much before August 1947, when India was officially independent from the British imperialism. 30th December 1943 is the historic day when he hoisted the Indian National flag, the tricolor in Port Blair.
Today that place and that time is commemorated through the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Memorial in Port Blair. I loved how the entire approach road of this place is illuminated with lamps and decorative lighting. The purple hues of the sky at dusk was a sight to behold against the Tricolor soaring high.
Visit the Cellular Jail for light and sound show
I could have spent hours at the place but there was a show to attend. The Light and Sound show in Andaman Cellular Jail takes you through an emotional roller coaster ride. You will be sitting in the middle of the Andaman Cellular grounds looking at the empty cells all around. It is an old recording by some of the greatest actors in India like Om Puri. It is old-school, but a must-have experience in Andaman for first-time visitors. I did get tears and goosebumps during the show.
Well, that marks the end of my short trip. Some of us took a scuba diving adventure on day 1 and mangrove kayaking in the evening as well in Havelock Island. I wasn’t among them. But this is probably the best way to explore the Andaman if 2 days is all that you have.
Hope you enjoyed this travelogue. I don’t intend this to be a guide, but just a source of inspiration for people to consider Andaman for their next trip. If you liked it, please don’t forget to share the love. I am waiting to hear your Andaman story. Visited the place already? Feel free to share your memories in comments.
Coming back soon with my Sikkim diaries – from the second trip I took on February. Subscribe to the blog for the latest updates.
Suggested Travel Readings
Stuck in home due to Coronavirus scare? First of all, stay safe and keep a check on travel advisory. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. Instead, read and virtually travel to the mystic Andaman and Nicobar Islands.You can check out some of these books and download their Kindle edition.
- Andaman and Nicobar Island Travel Guide (free Kindle edition)
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands – a Distant Destination
Or get the Lonely Planet India travel guide to know about this diverse country. I too have some pretty amazing stories of my travels across the length and breadth of India. Check them out on the blog. If you love beaches you can start with the following.