When I was thinking about a solo trip for my 25th B’day & searching for different destinations, started with Maldives, Vietnam, Andaman, Goa etc & finally fixed with Andaman. The main reason to go for an island is to try Scuba which is in to-do list from a long time, also I didn’t know Andaman is that beautiful till I came across Life of Ram Song from 96. The first 2-3 mins of this song, shot only in Andaman.
One of my insta friend ( Flamingo Diaries ) recommended HTC ( Hyderabad Trekking Club ) for a backpacking tour. Though I was more interested in solo travel but thought of trying a trip with strangers & have a different experience of solo traveling. Gone through the itinerary & other details, decided to try HTC & prepared for that.
This was a 5 Day trip ( From Wed Afternoon in Port Blair to Sun Afternoon ).
Day 01 – Port Blair: Cellular Jail
Got up early in the morning & took a flight from Hyd to Port Blair via Chennai. Landed in Port Blair at 11 AM & rest of the group gathered by next flight at 12 PM then we headed to the room, checked in & had lunch then started to Cellular Jail.
Note: Jio is completely off in entire Andaman, Airtel got signal which is not good enough for even calls & doesn’t even think of data while you are in Andaman islands.
The famous prison which we used to call as Andaman jail in childhood. Cellular Jail gave me that feeling of that perfect place to torture a human surrounded by water where you can’t even think of escaping the jail. After going through a couple of writings on the wall, got to know about the history of jail & checked 2-3 cells & got to top of the central point where the 2 wings of jail connect. The view was good surrounded by water & islands.
corbyn’s cove beach
The first beach of the trip with a good view surrounding by tall trees & okay maintenance. we spent a good time here, the route from cellular jail to Corbyn’s Cove beach is too good & you can see I love port Blair sculpture on the way with a sea backdrop. Boating is available on this beach.
Cellular Jail Light & Sound show
Back to cellular jail from cove beach for light & sound show. In Andaman, you witness early sunrise & sunset, it was so dark by 5:30 PM. Cellular jail was covered by 3 color lighting to give the Indian flag feel. The show started with the sound focusing on narrating the history of cellular jail from a tree point of view & then lights just glowing randomly.
There was slight drizzle & because of dull lightning without any laser effects felt drowsy & fell asleep within a few minutes. Overall the show was kind of okay, they should focus on some laser-related stuff rather than plain lights & narration.
We headed for dinner & then to the room to relax. People were already giving those shocking looks & questions on my solo travel 😂 & being an introvert, it wasn’t easy for me to initiate a conversation that early without any context. 😓
Day 02 – Port Blair to Neil Island
The morning we had breakfast & then headed to Chatham Sawmill & museum before the cruise ( Makruzz ) check-in. It was an AC cruise, so not a big threat of seasickness reached Neil island by 2 PM, it was around 1 hour of journey from Port Blair to Neil. The first thing which attracted me is the blue water in Neil island.
Checked in our room & had lunch in the same hotel then headed to Coral Bridge.
Natural bridge / Coral Bridge
This was not a regular beach but more of a coral shore beach. You will walk on dead corals & a guide is mandatory to explain few creatures present in small corals & also explanation about different corals. ( This will help you at the time of scuba )
The naturally formed bridge was a scenic beauty & the corals were good ( most of them are dead but few are alive with a good amount of fish ). We were then greeted with heavy rain which continued for a good 45-60 mins, took shade & had some snacks & then headed to sunset point.
Sunset point at Laxmanpur Beach
Thought we would miss the sunset because of rain & clouds but just got in time to witness the beautiful sunset. You need to walk for around 15-20 mins on the beach to witness the sunset with a clear view. Took a lot of pictures & played in the water then back to the room for dinner & relax. We played some games & slept, slowly started to interact with others 😝
Day 03 – Scuba Diving / Radha Nagar Beach
We headed for a Sunrise point but due to clouds, there was no clear view of it, though the beach was good but disappointed with no sunrise view then we headed to our Scuba spot.
There were around 10-15 mins training for each person where the instructor explains about different hand signs & also how to breathe & different techniques to remove water from goggles & the mechanism of Octo holder etc.
We traveled to our diving spot on the boat & then completed our scuba diving. The underwater dive was around 15-25 mins I guess where you get good time viewing the underwater coral life & species, the coral is not that clean even the water is just okay to watch, expected a crystal clear water but nevertheless it was a good experience for my first dive. The dive is around 10 – 15m I guess. 💗
Once we are done with a dress change, had our lunch & headed to our Cruise. The same Makruzz which arrived from Port Blair, we boarded on that & started our journey to havelock island, it’s again 1-hour journey from Neil to Havelock
Radha Nagar Beach
In havelock, we took a bike for rent & checked in hotel then headed to Radha Nagar beach on the bike. Don’t ever take a car ride to Radha Nagar beach, as you will miss the scenic beauty.
Heard so much about Radha Nagar beach, crowned as Asia’s best beach & 7th best beach in the world, it lives up to expectations with clean white sand & beautiful scenery.
You can literally spend hours just sitting on the beach & watching the waves, played in water & took images then headed towards room for dinner.
This was quite a hectic day with the day started at 4 AM for sunrise point & then Scuba followed by 1 Hour cruise journey & then a bike ride to Radha Nagar beach & playing in the beach. My battery was already down with symptoms of cold & fever. 😂
Day 04 – Kala Pathar Beach / Mangroves Kayaking
Again we started the day at 4 AM for sunrise point & was greeted with the same thing with earlier sunrise because of clouds we couldn’t witness a good sunrise but the beach was good, took pictures & started for Kayaking.
Kayaking in Mangroves
We did Kayaking in Mangroves which lasted around 90-120 mins, Kayaking completely exhausts your body if you go with a single seat one. The view in Mangroves & the experience was good with a bit of sun & slight drizzle.
When everything is going as per planned here comes our first speed breaker. As per plan after kayaking, we should head to Elephant beach but because of the weather, Elephant beach was closed.
So we had breakfast & went for a bike drive in havelock, explored for around 1 -2 hour then had our lunch & headed to jetty for our final cruise experience to Port Blair.
From Havelock to Port Blair we took Sealink cruise, as Makruzz wasn’t available, personally felt Makruzz was a far better cruise than Sealink in terms of ambiance & comfort in seating. This was around 2 hours non stop journey to port Blair, we reached room & had dinner, played cards till 1 AM & then slept.
Day 05 – Chidiya Tapu
Early morning ride to Chidiya Tapu which was a good ride in dense forest, took a lot of pictures in the forest & on the beach. There was a trek to reach a viewpoint but we missed it because of time constraint.
Headed back to have our breakfast & then check-in for a flight. Here our trip ends, started the trip with 9 strangers & ended up with 9 friends 💗
Expenses Break down
So, let me break down the expenses involved in the trip so that everyone can get an idea about how to plan their budget.
HTC Package – Rs 15000 ( In this they will cover accommodation + Travel with pick up from port Blair airport to drop on the final day including cruise tickets, car & bike rentals etc + Entrance ticket for cellular jail, light & sound show etc ).
Flight tickets – Hyd to Port Blair Round Trip – Rs 10,300 ( Actual cost is around 11K, got 800 cashback from PayTM )
Water Activities – Rs 6000 – Scuba ( 4k ), Kayaking ( 2k)
Food + Miscellaneous – Rs 4000
Total – Around 35K
Around Aug end, the round trip flight cost was around 7k but I already booked tickets earlier, so missed a saving of 3k. With a perfect plan, you can travel for around 30-33k per person & again the amount depends on the number of water activities you do.
If you are into the solo trip without any package kind of stuff, you may spend 5-10k more than my budget because of rooms.
There is a helicopter ride from Port Blair to Havelock / Neil island, check this link regarding airfare ( Helicopter ride ), the price is on par with Cruise one. Tickets should be taken at island only, so just ask someone over there, most of them speak Hindi / Bengali.
For Scuba, you can try at Neil / Havelock island. In Neil, you will have Deep dive for around 4.5k, havelock it’s a shallow dive, so the price is around 2.5k
Make sure to have an alternative plan, as they might close the beach at any moment because of the weather. We missed Elephant beach, as the weather isn’t good.
Food is a bit expensive in all islands, even a Rs 10 maggie would cost you around Rs 50-80. Take snacks like snickers, cup noodles etc to save you in disastrous situations. In havelock island, try Big Bite restaurant.
Don’t book through Oyo rooms, there is some issue regarding Oyo room booking, even though you book the room, the hotel owners aren’t giving the rooms stating some reasons. So make sure to double-check this.
There is no perfect time to visit Andaman, as we can’t expect what nature will throw at us. We were experiencing a sunny morning but in 5 mins there was heavy rainfall, so be prepared for everything.
Apart from the above destinations, you can also try Viper island, Ross Island, Barren Island, Diglipur, Mahatma Gandhi Marine national park, limestone caves.
If you have any doubts or queries, comment below or get in touch with me in Social media ( Facebook / Instagram ).