After our plans for Maldives got called off due to passport issues, the only honeymoon destination in India that we could think of amidst preparation for our wedding was, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which was long due in my travel bucket. Although the flight was nearly as expensive as the ones we had booked for Maldives, the stay was relatively much cheaper than water villas we had been drooling over for last few months. This was rather an impromptu plan (given we both were busy managing our wedding) with the only goal being getting some respite from the utter chaos Indian wedding brings in your life. The original purpose, therefore, was having a relaxed stay at one resort, instead of hopping from one point to another.
How to Reach
Take a flight to Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair. Book cruise/ship to Havelock and/or Neil Islands well in advance.
Thanks to my wife who smartly managed the whole change in plan and successfully negotiated with the hotel manager of Silver Sand Beach Resort to get a substitute room at Havelock island in their group hotel, while I was busy clicking the above photographs. To our surprise, Silver Sand Resort at Havelock was even more beautiful and totally worth the difference we had to pay in the room tariff. In my head, I just felt proud again to have married such a smart girl.
The ferry took around two hours to reach Havelock island and by the time we reached our hotel room, it was already time to rush for the sunset at Radhanagar beach. Later (after one year) I found out, Radhanagar beach is one of the very few blue flag certified beaches of India known for its cleanliness and pearl-white sand.
Despite being super hectic, our Day 1 was overall productive as we could cover two picture-postcard beaches of Andaman, ending the day with a relaxing stay at a premium property in Havelock.
Landing in Port Blair unplanned, we were as clueless as our 12 years old selves knowing nothing but the name of our resort. After pestering airport’s travel desk for some time, we came to know that the only way we can reach our resort (at Neil Island) is by ferry, for which one must book the ferry tickets in advance (online). Leaving our fate to the cab driver (who promised to get our tickets booked), we reached a travel agent’s office in Port Blair who could finally book our tickets. As there were no seats available for a direct ferry to Neil Island, we decided to tweak our plan to include one day stay at Havelock Islands. We still had 2-3 hours in hands for the ferry. The cab driver suggested, ‘why don’t you fill-in this time by taking a quick tour (30 minutes ride) to Wandoor Beach which is hardly 22Km’. We agreed and thus we landed at our first unplanned stop.
For your benefit, let me share the contact number of the nice driver we met and the details of ferry rides available (as of Feb, 2020) for Havelock and Neil Islands, if you ever plan to visit.
+91 95318 16314 (Cab No. AN01M 7854)
+91 94342 97004/ 99332 77798 (Recommended)
- Makruzz: (03192) 236677/ 230616
- Green Ocean: (03192) 230777
- Sealink: (03192) 239209/ 239210
- Bhagya Express: (03192) 231669
- ITT Majestic: (03192) 243786
Day 2 to Day 5
3. Glass Bottom Boat Ride & Snorkelling – Bharatpur Beach
As we had to catch an early morning flight, we preponed our return from Neil Island by a night to reach Port Blair late evening. However, it was still early enough to catch the Sound & Light Show at Cellular Jail. It was more about ticking off a check list item in a rush than actually taking an elaborate tour of the Cellular Jail. You can book your tickets for the show online here.
Before, we could get the cab for airport next morning, I found few extra minutes to capture a mesmerizing sunrise bidding adieu to us and inviting to come again to explore many unseen treasure trove of its enchanting beauty .
Day 2 took a major blow when I fell sick with severe tummy upset post breakfast, with my wife mostly taking care of me the whole day. It is only when I got better on Day 3, we could resume the trip with the same energy as the Day 1. As per the original plan, we tried to stay mostly at our resort in the next three days, with occasional visits to nearby beaches.
Wait a minute, was there no more deviations from the original plan? Actually not many, except for these:
1. Guided Marine Walk – Laxmanpur Beach II
2. Sunset – Laxmanpur Beach I
Tip: As sunset here is surprisingly much earlier than the west coast of India, you need to leave your hotel room a bit early.
What We Missed
- Scuba Diving
- Elephant Beach (Havelock Island)
- Kalapathar Beach (Havelock Island)
- Jolly Buoy Island (Port Blair)
- Sitapur Beach (Neil Island)
- Hotel (with breakfast and dinner) for 5 nights at Havelock, Neil and Port Blair: INR 47,799
- Flight for two (Mumbai – Port Blair – Mumbai): INR 31,284
- Private Cruise for two (Port Blair – Havelock – Neil – Port Blair): INR 8,796
Scuba Diving – Where to Do?
- Vicky (Neil Island): +91 70639 34799
Sticking to the original plan, I did not give in to the temptation inside to click more and more photographs and could only click limited number of photographs with my Sony A77 Mark II (with 18-135mm lens) and modest Samsung Galaxy M30 phone camera. Underwater footage of marine life was shot by the guy who dived in the sea to take snorkelling videos.