Mrunal is a diver and had a trip to Andamans recently. She writes to give us an exhaustive guide for the place:
Andaman are a collection of islands and it is mostly the southern Andamans which is more touristy. North andamans is good but not much options to go around. I haven’t been there myself.
I travelled first in Feb and the weather was awesome. Good sunshine, calm water, ideal for snorkeling, and diving.
This time I went in Dec and couldn’t enjoy so much this time. Hence, go during Feb to May, you will enjoy the most from the ocean. Nov to Jan is always risky due to cyclonic weather and quite windy. Not much fun!
Ideal itinerary( the one I followed)
1. Day 1 arrive in Port Blair max by afternoon. Note you have only direct flights from Chennai, Bangalore, and kolkata to Port Blair. Once you check in, head to andaman tourist office. Get your tickets for cellular jail, and next days tickets to Jolly Buoy island.
Evening spend time in cellular jail showing you the way our freedom fighters were treated by the British.
2. Next day go to Jolly Buoy island and witness beautiful coral reefs and fish while snorkeling. You need not know swimming, you ll be given a wooden tyre n a life jacket and a guide who ll explain the corals and fish to you. This place is a must!!
3. Next day you can either go to Chidiya Tapu or head to Havelock for diving.
4. In havelock you can stay at a budget accommodation like 500rs a night provided you are doing a diving course( which I highly recommend due to crystal clear waters and awesome visibility. )
5. Chidiya tapu has a good dive centre too, and if you are diving with them they can also help you with a budget accommodation.
6. Most important dont miss the night kayaking tours offered in Havelock. You ll see bioluminescence( one u would have seen in life of Pi) and schools of flying fish hitting your kayak. Note it is dependant on weather, and ideal days are moonless nights when the sea is calm at night.
7. I have heard there are tours to limestone caves where you can spot some Jarawas. I m not sure how it works.
Some tips: 1. Get your tickets yourself from andaman tourist office. You’ll save on giving commissions.
- For ferry to havelock book govt ferry. It ll cost u around 400 rs whereas private ferries will cost you around 1200.
- To ensure you get govt ferry, you’ll need to book within 3 days of departure. No prior booking or online booking for govt ferry.
- For budget stays in Port Blair try some homestays like the andaman homestays by Tanaz Noble. Tanaz is also the one conducting the night kayaking tours.
- Chidiya tapu diving: I did with Lacadives. They are really good.
- Havelock diving: I have had diving with DiveIndia. Many dive shops in Havelock in beach no 5 area.