Top ten must do activities in Andaman and Nicobar
Andaman and Nicobar Islands as exotic as they sound! With white sand virgin beaches and high adrenaline water sports, these islands are India’s best beach destination. Add a dash of history and you have a wholesome experience that only the islands can offer! Here are the top ten things that you must do on your trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands –
1. Experience ecstasy on Havelock Island
Blue waters, green sashaying coconut trees and the fluttering clouds in the sky; it’s not an idyllic setting in a novel but how the beaches at Havelock Island look! The beautiful white sand looks inviting with the ocean water breaking into waves, all ready for a swim.
Havelock Island is one of the larger islands in the Andamans archipelago, measuring about 114 sq km in area. It is at a distance of 57km from the capital city, Port Blair and is accessible by cruises and ferry. The Radhanagar Beach, Elephant Beach, Vijaynagar Beach and Kalapathar Beach are some of the famous beaches on the island and must visit stops. You can simply relax and soak in the serene atmosphere on the beach or engage in activities like scuba diving, snorkeling and going on fishing trips to the nearby uninhabited islands.
2. Log onto history at Chatham Saw Mill
Stepping into the Chatham Saw Mill is like stepping into a period in history, Asia’s largest and oldest saw mill; it reminds you of a bygone era. While it is a tourist destination, it remains a working mill with an average turnover of Rs. 6 crores. Today the mill produces “Paduak” or Andamans premier wood as well as other varieties like marble wood, chool and sagwan. Visitors can peek into history at the wood museum which houses several items made of the wood from the islands as well as lot of information about the mill.
Chatham Saw Mill can be accessed by road from Port Blair and is especially not to be missed if you are traveling with family.
Pic Credits: tripadvisor
3. Feel patriotic at Cellular Jail
Indian independence history has a lot of references to the dreaded “Kala Pani”, the jail off the coast of mainland India where political prisoners were banished. The jail is the Cellular Jail, built it 1906 by the British to imprison Indian freedom fighters during the struggle for independence. Several freedom fighters like Batukeshwar Dutt, Veer Savarkar, Yogendra Shukla and many more were imprisoned here.
The jail was meant for solitary confinement and create despair among the prisoners for lack of communication, all the cells were made in such a way that the inmates could not communicate. The building initially had seven wings however today there are three wings which serve as a National Memorial and also a hospital to the local residents. It is a poignant destination and reminds the struggles of the country’s freedom fighters. The jail is located in Port Blair and there is a sound and light show which is conducted in the evening which narrates the story of the jail.
4. Reminisce at Ross Island
Ross Island is one of the popular tourist spots in the Andamans, it is a tiny island measuring 0.6 sq kms, 2km off the coast of Port Blair. The island studded with flora and fauna is a peek into the colonial history of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The British had used the island as a headquarters when the penal colony was set up.
Today you can visit the ruins of the island which include the officers club, a bakery, barracks etc which give a glimpse of how well established life was set on the small island. It can be easily accessed by boat from the Phoenix Bay jetty.
5. Find out your roots at the museums
Port Blair has to more offer than just beaches, it also has two museums, Anthropological Museum and Samudrika Naval Museum which give you a quick lesson on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Anthropological Museum showcases the culture and history of the tribes of the Andaman Islands namely of the tribes Jarawas, Sentinelese, Great Andamanese and the Onges many of whom still populate the island. The museum hosts shamanic sculptures, clothing, weapons, crafts and boats which these tribes used.
The other modern museum is the Samudrika Naval Museum which is run the Indian Navy and is run to educate visitors about the marine life and natural environment around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
6. Birding at Chidiya Tapu
If you thought that Andamans was only about the beaches, Chidiya Tapu (Bird Island) will make you think twice! This beautiful island is teeming with flora and fauna, you can sight more than 46 species of birds including parrots and macaws as well other small animals like white spotted deer. It is definitely the best place in Andaman to catch the sunset as the sun sets the sky on fire with the orange and crimson glow. It can be reached by road and is an hour away from Port Blair.
Picture credits: Velachery Balu, Flickr
7. Walk the bottom of the sea at North Bay
Sitting on the beach you day dream of how amazing it would be to walk the bottom of the sea to be one with the fish! And you can live that dream of sea walking at North Bay where Sea Link Adventures conducts a sea walk. It does not require you to know how to swim or even have prior experience; you will be equipped with a helmet which is attached to an oxygen cylinder attached to the pontoon. North Bay can be accessed by boat from the Water Sports Complex; the cost of the sea walk is approx Rs. 3,500 and is worth the experience!
Picture Credits: Sealink Adventures
8. Snorkel at Jolly Buoy Island
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are synonymous with water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving and the best place to do so is at the Jolly Buoy Island and the Red Skin Island in the Mahatma Gandhi National Park. The Jolly Buoy Island is a beautiful island with a dense patch of forest, white sands and clear blue waters with an abundance of corals and marine life. Both the islands are open 6 months each to allow the corals to thrive and maintain the ecosystem.
You can indulge in snorkeling, scuba diving or simply view the marine life through a glass bottomed boat! Jolly Buoy Island can be reached by boat from Wandoor Beach and the boats leave at 09:00 AM in the morning and return after the day’s picnic at 02:30 PM. Do not miss this experience of amazing corals at Andamans which rivals the Great BarrierReef in Australia!
9. Trek up to Mount Harriet
Have you noticed the image of palm trees with the lighthouse on a Rs. 20 Indian note? That image is none other than the visual that can be seen from Mount Harriet in Andamans! Mount Harriet is the second highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago and is accessible by a short ferry ride, one can view the surrounding islands of Port Blair and provides a great view of the islands.
10. Limestone caving at Baratang Island
Baratang Island has much adventure to offer for a day’s worth! The Limestone caves on the island with imposing stalactites and stalagmites are a natural wonder to behold and a must visit while on a trip to the Andamans. What makes the trip more exciting is the journey itself. Baratang is about 90 km away from Port Blair and you need to travel by road and reach by a ferry from the Middle Strait. Upon reaching the Baratang jetty, you have to hire a boat which traverses a mangrove creek and then walk another 2 km to reach the caves!
So what are you waiting for? Go Andamans!