I still remember that day in the Bay of Bengal. After covering a tiring journey from Havelock to Neil island in the ferry which was rather a bumpy ride in the blue sea. The seasickness had overpowered my brain and butterflies in my tummy were turning into bugs, crawling towards my throat and trying to force out of my mouth. I was in a dilemma of closing my eyes or gazing at the eternal sea.
The Bay of Bengal
I reached Neil Island by 3 pm at the small and deserted jetty. Two autorickshaw drivers leaped towards me like they had prior information of my arrival and my ferry was late by hours. The first question they asked, embarrassed me and made them laugh. Well, they asked me “Kaunse Hotel Jaana hai sir?” (which hotel do you want to go) and I answered, “Pataa nahi” (I don’t know). Like all my travel trips, I hadn’t pre-booked any hotel for my 5-day journey in Andaman & Nicobar.
I had heard that every island in Andaman & Nicobar has two separate beaches for sunset and sunrise. For those who haven’t realized yet, Goa along with other beach cities of India offers you beautiful sunsets but sunrise is rarely witnessed (considering their geographical placement on the western coast). I planned to stay in a resort which was closer to the sunrise beach in all the islands which I covered during my trip. It saved me from the pain of waking up early for a beautiful sunrise. My hope to use hotel booking apps was already diminished in Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar has very limited phone network and like any other non-commercialized place in India, provides only 2G data network on your most lucky days). So, I decided to take help of my local guide and asked him to take me to the sunrise beach. Thanks to my spontaneous plan, I didn’t even know the name of beaches, so I relied on the people I met during my journey and decided next destination on the previous evening.
The autorickshaw driver happily took me to Sitapur Beach and charged 200 INR for the 25 minutes journey. People in Andaman don’t overcharge tourists like any other tourist places of India (thanks to Andaman Tourism). After taking a tour of 2-3 resorts on a humid sunny day, I happened to land in a wooded paradise. But it was out of my budget (in peak season that luxury villa charges 8-12k per day). After bargaining for some time and trying to suppress my anxiety about missing sunset, I got a good deal (one of the advantages of traveling in offseason). The room was indeed not less than any luxury 5-star hotel of Delhi and the balcony faced the sea which was just a few steps away from the hotel and promised a perfect sunrise.
If you have the budget, do not stay anywhere else in Neil Island (One of the best location of Neil Island)
My Sun Surveyor app was warning me about only a few minutes left for the sunset. The resort manager arranged a scooter for me (500 INR for 1 day , including 1Litre of Petrol) and after a quick shower, I ran towards my scooter. I asked for the route of sunset beach called Laxmanpur Beach. Like all other roads in Andaman, there was one straight road (a narrow road amid green pastures) connecting one beach to another. The moody monsoon was changing his mood again and the scattered clouds had joined hands together for my unwanted welcome. The prospect for witnessing sunset was shirinking with the expansion of clouds in the sky. It looked as if I was running against both time and clouds now.
Despite time constraints, I couldn’t help myself from applying the brake to catch these ducklings crossing the road in my ever ready phone camera!
The clouds rushed in to show me direction towards Sunset
After racing against time and playing the daring game with speed breakers, I reached at Laxmanpur Beach just 2 minutes after sunset time as per my app. I parked my scooter and ran towards the hidden beach behind the herd of tall trees (Neil island has astonishingly tall trees which looks like a herd of ladders competing among themselves to touch the sky).
The natural sky ladders at Laxmanpur Beach
I was surprised to see that a multitude of people sitting/ standing/lying on the beach silently as if hypnotized by someone. But who left those lovebirds spellbound? (after all, it’s a honeymoon destination and 90% of people were there to lay a solid foundation for their second innings of life). The picture below will tell you the name of that magician who had spellbound the rather noisy and loud Indians.
The Magical Sunset of Laxmanpur Beach
I lost against the time but won a Magical Sunset. The Sun was almost gone but waited enough to bid me Goodbye with a promise of coming back.
Ek Shaam aur beet gayi,
Ek yaad aur jod gayi,
Kal phir subah aayegi,
Jaane kahaan Le jaayegi
Few clicks to make you fall in love with Andaman & Nicobar and force you to open the travel sites right now and check the flight tickets to Andaman – the magical land!
The Andamanese Sunset
Not just humans, even my furry friend was mesmerizingly enjoying the evening
Sunrise at Sitapur Beach, Neil Island
When the imagination of a painter comes alive
The most serene place and the calmest beach in the world – Vijaynagar Beach
Cloudland or Wonderland?
Lawn view of the hotel in Port Blair
A road leading towards the airport in Port Blair
Crab collection session with local boys in Havelock Island
- Always keep a printout of hotel booking confirmation as email and message confirmation is not accepted by resorts in Andaman due to the low internet availability
- If you are short on time, avoid your stay in Port Blair. Take an early morning flight to Port Blair and an afternoon ferry to Havelock/Neil Island. Port Blair is like any other Tier2 city of India (with the only attraction of “Kaala Pani” Fame Port Blair jail)
- Book your Ferry in advance as options are limited
- Try watersports only at Elephant Beach of Havelock Island(most colorful corals)
- Best time to visit Andaman – October to June
- Rent a scooter for local traveling (available easily in the budget of around 500 INR)
Day 1 – Land at Port Blair, take a ferry from Port Blair Jetty to Havelock(3pm), enjoy the evening at Radha nagar beach)
Day 2 – Feel your Aderaline rushing in water sports (choose early morning session for Scuba – Calm sea will offer better and beautiful corals)
Day 3 – Jungle Trek to Elephant beach, visit Blue Lagoon(you will need local guide for both)
Day 4 – Sunrise at Kaala patthar beach and leave for Neil island (enjoy the mesmerising Sunset at Laxman
Day 5 – Explore the Neil Island and find yourself amazed with the natural coral bridge
Day 6 – Experience the calmness of Ross Island
Day 7 – Sail back to Port blair and fly back from your dreamland!
Andaman Tourist Places
Sunrise Beach – Kaala Patthar Beach
Sunset Beach – Radhanagar Beach
Vijayanagar Beach – Best place in Havelock to book the resort
Other attractions – Jungle trek to Elephant beach, Blue lagoon beach,
Sunrise – Sitapur Beach
Sunset – Laxmanpur Beach
Other attractions – Natural bridge of sea corals @ Bharatpur beach
The other Andaman Islands
- Ross Island
- North Bay Island
- Baratang Island
Feel free to ask for any suggestion in planning your Trip to Andaman.