2 Weeks in Andaman - Photos of Tropical Paradise

Wednesday, November 21, 2012



Amazing colors of the beaches in Little Andaman
We all know beaches of Andaman are awesome, but that is not all. The history of the tribes, the settlers who migrated years ago, the Jurassic era kind of forests and not to forget the clear blue waters, Andaman is a backpacker's paradise. Seen here is one such brilliant blue beach of Little Andaman.
Far far away from my beloved mountains and Himalayas, I took a chance by visiting the tropical islands of Andaman this October. I am not a big beach person, neither do I know how to swim so I went there with mixed feelings. Don't be surprised if I tell you I never got into the water beyond my knees, did not snorkel  and didn't Scuba dive either! But I had the most rocking time ever! No kidding, here's what I saw during 14 days. However, before that, let me gloat about the bragging rights I acquired after visiting some of the most exotic and remote islands of Andaman! :)

Neil Island :

This was my first stop. Landed in Port Blair and headed straight here the next day with my friend.  A quaint little island which still has managed to retain it's charms yet offering enough comforts to the traveller, it was a good place to start getting used to the island culture before I headed to the more remote parts. I fell sick right on day one, went to the hospital, got myself a small heart attack when the doctor checked for malaria, thankfully which was a negative. But the temperature was still running high, which is why I didn't snorkel. But that didn't stop me from shooting the stars though. The resorts are located right off the beaches, making star gazing and sunset viewing very very convenient! 

Milkyway Galaxy as seen from Neil Island
Milkyway seen through the tall Mahua trees in Neil Island, Andaman. The nights are clear and there is practically no light pollution. A 2 minute walk from my room to the beach showed me this view. It was pitch dark and I was alone with the camera. I fought the terrible temptation to run back to the room, the scuttling noises of the hermit crab wasn't soothing, it only scared me more. But when my eyes adjusted to the darkness and I saw the stars above, all of that dread didn't vanish but the struggle to stay put seemed worth trying and the rest as they say is history! ;)

Sunset in the Andaman Sea, Neil Island
We stayed at Tango Resort almost at the southern tip of the island. It was a lovely property and 20 minutes walk on the white sandy shore would take us to the sunset point at the southernmost tip. But the sad thing is, sun sets so early it hardly gives one enough time to enjoy the scenery. It gets pitch dark by 5.30pm but while I was there, the moon used to give us good company.

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Long Island:

Two days later my friend and I went separate ways, she took the ship to Havelock and I, further to Long Island. It was a long journey and I was the only tourist in the boat apart from locals. We went past many small islands scattered here and there. Finally when I landed I knew this would be wild but it was much more wild than I expected. I spent three days in the island with no other traveler in sight, walked to the farthest beach, drank fresh coconut water straight from the tree and wandered alone in the ruins of the island. 

Scary Forest of Long Island
That is the way to the resort, I call it a resort but it is nothing more than basic accommodation surrounded by a lot of trees and bushes. The jungle in this island looked straight out of Jurassic Park era. Huge trees, dense canopy, thick undergrowth characterized the forests of Long Island. I woke up with a snake skin in my bamboo hut and it was after I woke elated that I survived a night alone in a remote island. Was a colossal FML moment! With the only ship having left for the day, I had no choice but to ignore the fact that a snake might have crawled into my room and left.

Wonderfully pristine Lallaji Bay, Long Island
The only saving grace of the 3 hour long walk along the beach was the beautiful Lallaji Bay. Far from the settlement in the island, this is one pristine stretch of clear blue waters. As of now coconut plantations dot the beach side and there isn't any provision to stay overnight. Eventually a resort is being planned here which might make this beach private. But for now I enjoyed the views, drank fresh coconut water straight off the trees and sat there doing nothing, nothing at all.

Kalipur, North Andaman:

Three days after I landed in Long Island, I took the ferry to Yerrata Jetty. The boat went through mangroves and several densely forested islands with no beach. It looked very wild and very beautiful. The jetty was constructed right in between dense mangroves, so much so that I felt I was in the movie Anaconda or something. Several hours later I landed in the desolate Kalipur, quite close to Saddle Peak. The remoteness of Long Island got to me and here I did not want to be in the budget bamboo hut far away. Instead I convinced myself that I earned some luxury, stayed in a beautiful cottage. Thankfully there was one other French couple in the huge property. I spent three days here as well. 

Stream crossing on a fallen tree in Kalipur, North Andaman
On the way to Saddle Peak, this is how we crossed streams, if there is a fallen tree that is. Otherwise depending on the time of the day and the tide, we would wade through waist deep crocodile infested waters or just walk across ankle deep waters. 

The impossibly huge trees of Saddle Peak NP, Kalipur
The ginormous trees were extremely intriguing. These forests haven't been disturbed for a very long time and it shows in the size of everything. Very tall, very huge, very green, very dense was all I could think. The forests around here are just as amazing.

Little Andaman:

After Long Island, Kalipur and the ridiculously tiring journey from Diglipur to Port Blair through the Jarawa Reserve, I was in double minds about visiting Little Andaman. Practically no one could give me useful information on how this island would be. Several phone calls later I finally summoned some courage to visit this very less known island and what an island it was! I can even claim that this was the best beach I had seen so far in all of Andaman. Three days later I had no intention of leaving but forced myself to return back. 

Beautiful Lagoon at Kala Pathar Beach, Little Andaman
Apart from spectacular beaches, Little Andaman has a beautiful lagoon at Kala Pathhar Beach. The water slowly collects in the pool here as the waves hit the black rocks. By evening the pool is full and it meets the ocean out of a corner. I sat here all day watching the pool fill up. Did nothing, absolutely nothing! Just watched the tide rise. Awesome day. 

Sunset aboard Ship Campbell Bay, Hutbay to Port Blair
The ship journey to and from Little Andaman was an amazing experience. I went to the other islands on a boat, but since Little Andaman was across open waters, ships run between Port Blair and Hutbay. Watching the sun set in the middle of the ocean was magical to say the least. I stood on the deck till the wind threatened to throw me off the ship.

Ross Island:

Between the island hopping, I took a day to visit the popular tourist spots, one of them being the Ghost town of Ross Island. The once thriving settlement was abandoned after repeated earthquakes and water depletion. Today all that remains is the red bricks and the growing forest around it. 

Ruins in the Ghost Town of Ross Island
It was a rainy afternoon and I walked alone through ruins imagining the days they would've seen. It was just as eerie as it was beautiful. There was a cemetery with some old spectacular graves but obviously I wouldn't go. It drizzled all the time, the tourists left much earlier and I took the last ferry to Port Blair.

Rainbow over the wild North Sentinel Island
After two weeks, I heard a lot of stories and saw a lot of rainbows. But the icing on the cake was the one last rainbow seen above the North Sentinel Island. This island is home to the Sentinelese, one of the world's last uncontacted tribes! For now, I will have to make do with an aerial view of the mystery tribe. But two week, totally well spent!

So, how does Andaman look and which Island do you like best?

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64 comments

  1. Wonderful! Could you please share the details of the hotels/homestays you used? Thanks.

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    1. Welcome to my blog! I will be doing that post very soon with all the logistics and details. Watch this space.

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  2. wow!!! now that was a quick post!!! and it wants me to leave everything and rush off to the Andamans at once!!! of course, i cant do that, but whenever i do, be prepared.. i am going to pick ur brains :D

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    1. Ha ha, not as quick as I wanted to, but if you say so! :)
      Sure, do let me know when you plan a trip to Andaman, will be more than glad to help you out.

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  3. Really awesome... I became big fan of you... :)

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    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoy the content here. :)

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  4. Photos are fantastic as usual!!! I had been to Andaman last year.. Since then I don't like any other beach...
    manuponnappa.blogspot.in

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    1. Agreed! The beaches of Andaman are spectacular, but I like few beaches here too. Variety is the spice of life, isn't it? ;)

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  5. Well, I can't see any photographs!

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    1. Hmm, I can and others seem to be able to see too. Try again?

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    2. Now I can, and they are nice! (There's some glitch I guess)Anyway, it's a nice read, too. thanks for sharing!

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  6. The way you enjoyed without doing the usual 'touristy' things - Hat's off! I would've done the same and still called it awesome :)

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    1. I always have the toughest time traveling to all these "non-touristy" places, but worth the effort, no? :)

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  7. Awesome!! Lovely captures and experiences.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  8. This is the first travelogue about the Andamans that has actually made me want to go there. Unfortunately I am not as intrepid as you - so I will just get my vicarious thrill out of reading your blogs. I love the way you state your fears - most travellers sound so blase - but you show your human side. Many thanks for this post.

    Gouthami

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    1. I have to admit exploring the remote islands was such a challenge and I have no idea how I managed to keep myself sane for 2 weeks! But all's good in retrospect! :)
      Thanks for the lovely comment.

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  9. The pictures are awesome, to say the least! I am too afraid to explore remote areas, especially among jungles. At least, not yet! I heard some company was organizing an underwater coral walk in Andaman, but not sure where.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Well I am afraid too, but then I do want to see remote place as well. So I try to do my best. :)
      Yes, there is a sea walk organized close to Port Blair in an Island called North Bay. Have heard good reviews and is a good option for those who don't want to try Scuba diving.

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  10. First word uttered from my heart after reading your travelogue.."Sri..you summit your dream of visiting the Andaman..and take the leaf out from this blog as a direction"

    Hats off to you Neelima. The little Andaman really fascinates too much, and your narration makes this diary a wonderful piece of information. Great write up, superb landscapes. Please let me know the approximate cost Bangalore to Bangalore for this sojourn!

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    1. Little Andaman is a fascinating place, a tropical paradise if you will. Do plan your visit to Andaman.
      The cost depends on a lot of factors, like I mentioned in the guide, accommodation can be cheap but food costly. And if you have time you can via ship to Port Blair, which is much cheaper than flying in.

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  11. You are an amazing photographer!! Andaman has been captured so beautifully by you. I bow to thee my lady :)

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    1. Ha ha, thank you! Thank you!
      Btw, it also helps a lot if the place is beautiful already! All I had to do was to get there. ;)

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  12. Ah! out-of-the-world pictures. Neelima.
    Now I know what I missed when that trip to Andaman (a couple of years ago) got cancelled. :(

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    1. Hope you get to take that trip soon Nambiar. Andaman will not disappoint you. Thanks.

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  13. beautiful pictures Neelima. I am a native of Andaman(Port Blair) and it makes me happy to see that u enjoyed every single moment of your trip.

    I was wondering if u managed to take any shots of the Waterfalls in Hutbay, Little Andamans and the natural bridge at Neil islands? If yes, where can I find them?

    Hope you make your next trip soon :).

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    1. Thanks Anshul. You live in a beautiful place, loved Andaman very much and will have to return again! :)

      Couldn't find time to visit the waterfall in Little Andaman and did not go to the natural bridge either. So no pictures.

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  14. Time seems to be wellspent. At Diglipur I'm told tsunami has raised the creeks overground. Are they really dry? We used to go from Maya Bandar to Diglipur through the creeks and that was way back in 1996-1997.

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    1. Yes, that's what even I have heard but I traveled by road to Diglipur so I am not really aware if the creeks have gone dry. Although there is a ship that runs from Port Blair to Diglipur. Since the Mayabundar to Diglipur road is not through the Jarawa reserve, it is used primarily for transport as of now.

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  15. Spectacular pics..sply the one which u clicked of the star lit sky...liked the content..keep it up

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  16. Pics are amazing and blog very well written. Heading to Havelock and Neil in March for 4D/3N. Look forward for the trip. Will be staying at Munjoh and Tango Beach Resort. Few people have had bad experiences at Tango (rooms and bathroom not clean, restaurant takes forever to get them food et al). What is your take on that?

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  17. How beautifully you describe beauty of nature. Awesome pics and really it has become my favorite traveling blog site. Keep going :)

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    1. Well I guess it is true when they say beauty makes poets out of us! ;)
      Thank you and so glad to know you are liking my blog much. :))

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  18. Wooooooooooow, Thanks for this amazing post.
    Fab Pictures and good to know info as well
    Thanks :-)

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    1. Welcome to my blog Navin, glad you liked the post. :)

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  19. Super stuff,
    september would be good time ?

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    1. It is always a good time to visit Andaman! :)
      But depends on what good means to you. September will see lots of rain, cloudy skies and little sun. You may not get to see the colors of the ocean and not conducive for dives either.

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  20. Hi Neelima!

    Do you have any idea how many people envy you? I've always wanted to visit the Andamans but it just hasn't worked out so far. Thank you for the blog and the amazing pictures!!

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    1. Ha ha, I might have a fair idea on how many people envy me, but trust me, it isn't that hard to travel like I do. :)
      Whenever you decide to Andamans, get off the tourist trail and do experience the charm of these islands.

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  21. Hi i am Amita, Andaman is amazing… Beautiful.. Awesome… It totally rocks.I love the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. To me that's one of the finest places in India. If you wish to read more our website....
    http://www.lifelinetourism.com/India/Andaman-and-Nicobar-holiday-packages/

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  22. Hi Neelima,

    Till the time I read your blog, I thought Andaman was only about havelock and its beaches. Before doing the flight bookings, I checked with every one I knew who has visited Andaman - "would 7 days be enough??" - and everyone said I may be stretching it by a day or two.

    Wish I had come across your blog earlier.... have already gone through each pic a dozen times ... just can't stop admiring them.



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    1. Likewise Vish, even I thought it was just about beaches and Havelock until my visit. Don't worry about not visiting all these places, now there's a good reason for you to return and have one more amazing trip. :)

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  23. sooooo beautiful photos, the sky is wonderful and amazing, I admire them!

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    1. Thank you, even I love watching and photographing the skies. :)

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  24. Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a memorable lifetime experience.Andaman and Nicobar Islands are definitely the most beautiful Islands in Asia and its beaches are Most Famous after Goa.there are still some conflicts on Andaman best time to visit, read more on Andaman packages You can also over to our website www.lifelinetourism.com
    for detailed information.

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  25. Oh my God. The Neil island night sky. I'm utterly spellbound.

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    1. Night sky was that awesome all over the islands actually, thank you! :)

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  26. Kudos !!! These are the best pics I have ever seen, revealing The beauty of Andamans. Planned to travel in January next year. It is a family travel, any tips !!!

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    1. Thanks Hemant, glad you found the images interesting. You have an awesome time in Andaman! Tips, just take it slow. Don't cram too many things/islands into the schedule. :)

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  27. Hello Neelima!
    Thanks for such an inspiring blog. I fully relate my feelings with you. I enjoy travelling and nature, photography and reading. I am leaving for Andaman for a week this month. Thanks to my friend Abhi, who shared your blog with me. I am particularly inspired by your '30 before 30!' concept and the list. Though I had many thing in my 'mind', your list has motivated me to put them down on paper. I hope that I will have my own list soon which hopefully guide me to accomplish them one by one.
    Thanks again.
    Nilam

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    1. Hope you had a great time in Andaman Nilam! And looking forward to seeing your list, if you publish it that is. :) Having a list is good, to remind us from time to time of things we need to do.

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  28. Hello Neelima,

    That was a great travel blog. And the pictures were simply breathtaking - quite a relief from the usual "touristy" pictures that one gets to see on travel websites. My wife and I had been planning to go somewhere exotic and your blog was instrumental in making up our mind. So, come next week - and we are off to the Andamans!

    I sure hope to see most of the places that you have mentioned in your blog. Only, and that's a pity, we will not be able to visit Ross Island because of suspension of ferry services (due to a boat accident in January).

    I will get back to you on my return

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  29. Is this place safe for family traveller?

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  30. Which Camera did u use for dese pics???

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  31. Thanks to your post - I visited Long Island and loved the place. A perfect place to wind down. There were only 2 more tourists on the island.

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  32. Superb pictures. I love the clouds and the detailing. Amazing. I myself visited Andamans in Feb 2015, such an awesome place it is, minus the sun burns hah! Check - http://www.pixelsorcery.in/p/andamans.html

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  33. Hey, This looks really good. When are clear skies expected in Andaman for star gazing.. Lemme know. I get conflicting view in google searches.
    And thanks in advance.

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