Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is the gateway for visiting this beautiful part of India, in the Bay of Bengal. Located on the east coast of the South Andaman Island, Port Blair offers glimpses of British rule, numerous water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and sea cruises and the history and culture of the region. It also features budget hotels and Airbnb vacation rentals for tourists who are looking for a a great place to stay. The Aberdeen Bazaar is the center of the town.
Port Blair is connected with mainland India by both air and sea. By air, it can be reached in two hours from the mainland from either Kolkata, Chennai, New Delhi, Bhubaneshwar, and Vishakhapatnam. However, by sea, it takes three to four days to reach the islands from Kolkata, Chennai or Vishakhapatnam.
1. The Cellular Jail
No visit to Port Blair is complete without visiting ‘Kala Pani’ or the Cellular Jail. If you are interested in the colonial history of this part of India, this is a must-visit place. The prison has a history of cruel punishment and the execution rooms, cells, torture rooms and different areas of the jail, are open for public viewing.
As you enter, the museum provides a detailed history of the prison that explains how during British rule, prisoners were sent to the Cellular Jail in order to keep them away from the revolution. There is a light and sound show that explains the history of the prison and is shown in Hindi and English - in Hindi at 6:00 pm and 7:15 pm, every day, except on Monday, Wednesday & Friday when the 7:15 pm show is in English. Many freedom fighters like Veer Savarkar and Batukeshwar Dutt, were imprisoned here.
The architecture of the building is spectacular, with the seven wings of the jail stretching out from the bell tower, in the center. All the cells were made for solitary confinement, with no scope of communication amongst the prisoners. After the Japanese invasion, three out of seven towers remained. Don’t forget to go on the roof through the central tower, for a beautiful view. The entire city can be viewed from here.
Cellular Jail - Port Blair
Address: Atlanta Point, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744104
Website: Cellular Jail - Port Blair
2. Ross Island
The former capital of Port Blair during the British regime, Ross Island displays remnants of the Victorian British era. The island has ruins of a century-old filtration plant, the chief commissioner’s house, Presbyterian Church, club, cemetery, Indian market, old Andaman’s home bakery, and a hospital, all in ruins.
A museum maintained by the Indian Navy has a collection of pictures depicting the island in its full glory. A documentary about Ross Island is played at the bakery from 9:30 am to 9:45 am and from 11:30 am to 11:45 am. The bunkers and tunnels made by Japanese soldiers can be found on the island and you can also see remnants of the devastating 2004 tsunami.
The island is open for visitors from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, every day except Wednesday. There is an entry fee of INR 20 (USD 0.31) and a guide is available, with a small golf cart, who will show you around the whole island, for a nominal fee. There are a lot of deer, rabbits and other animals on the small island. You can even feed the friendly wild deer from your hand. The entire island is small enough to be covered within two hours.
Address: Located about 2 km (1.24 miles) from Port Blair. You can board a ferry from the Ross Island boarding point. The ferry stops for 2 hours on the island.
3. Chidiya Tapu/Bird Island
Chidiya Tapu or Bird Island, is popular for the amazing panoramic view it offers from Munda Pahar. The end point is called Munda Pahar Beach, which has crystal clear water and mesmerizing natural beauty. The water in this area is full of colorful coral which makes it a great place for snorkeling.
It’s around a 30-minute trek to Munda Pahar from the beach. You will fall in love with the beach and the breathtaking road that leads to it but trekking Munda Pahar after 4:00 pm is not allowed. You should also ensure you have proper trekking shoes. Once you reach the top of Munda Pahar, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view and many people flock here during sunset.
You won’t find anything to eat in this area so carry food or snacks. There is a park with wooden furniture near the beach if you want to relax and it’s a place worth visiting for photography lovers.
Chidiya Tapu/Bird Island
Address: Chidiya Tapu is an approximately 1hr drive from Port Blair. You can book a car or rent a two wheeler to get here. A car can be booked (for INR 1500 / USD 23.30).
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4. Jolly Buoy Island
Part of the famous Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Jolly Buoy Island is the best place to see underwater coral and marine life. Boat trips can also be organized for dolphin spotting and fishing. The main activities one can experience at Jolly Buoy Island are snorkeling and scuba diving.
Visiting the island is a half-day activity, including to and from travel. Once on the island, you can enjoy a glass-bottom boat tour (INR 600 / USD 9.31) to see the amazing coral. Jolly Buoy coral is the best in the Andamans, much better than North Bay. Snorkeling ranges in price from INR 300-1000 / USD 4.65-15.51).
You need to book a ferry ticket at least one day in advance from the ANIIDC Tourism office (near the court, in Port Blair). The fee is INR 750 (USD 11.65) per head. From Wandoor to Jolly Buoy by ferry, it takes almost 30 minutes.
Jolly Buoy Island
Address: One hour from Wandoor Jetty, Port Blair
5. Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex
Water Sports Complex-This is the first of its kind in India that offers all possible aqua sports facilities including...Posted by Dream Holidays Andaman on Tuesday, 3 April 2012
The water sports available in the beautiful Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex are attractive for both kids and adults. You can enjoy water sports like jet skiing, speed boating, parasailing, paddle boating, sail boating, water scooters, rowing and water skiing. The monument commemorating the Battle of Aberdeen can be seen within the complex structure and the artificial waterfall and nearby children’s park are some of the other attractions.
Many tourists come here to train in different water sports. It is also where you find the jetty for the ferry to Ross Island and the site features a cafe and restaurant as well as a scenic view of the sea, especially at night. The Water Sports Complex is open every day from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex
Address: Located close to the Cellular Jail in the northwest part of Port Blair
6. Sea Walk at North Bay Island Andaman
This island is a perfect place for a sea walk. For those not in the know, a sea walk is a fun, underwater activity that lets you walk under water, breathing comfortably, with the help of a special helmet. Sealink Adventures offers sea walking, from their anchored pontoon, just a few meters away from the jetty. Built across 1600 sq ft (149 sq m), the pontoon is a one of a kind facility and the best place for the whole family to enjoy the different colors of the sea, in a safe environment.
Lockers and changing rooms are available on the pontoon. Before the sea walk, the guide explains to you the technique of how to walk under water. The variety of fish and coral reef found here are not found in other islands.
Sealink Adventures also offers several other activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and a semi-submarine tour. The great scenery of North Bay Island is difficult to forget, so if underwater activities are your thing, make this a stop on your list.
Address: 43 M.A. Road, Phoenix Bay, Port Blair
Website: Sealink Adventures
7. Samudrika Marine Museum
Well maintained by the Indian Navy, this museum is the perfect place to get to know about the various aspects of marine ecology in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands area. The museum has a rare and huge collection of coral, shells and other sea life.
Samudrinka Marine Museum has five sections, presenting the history of the Andaman Islands. The section displaying a variety of coral, colorful fish and different types of crabs and shells, is the highlight of the museum.
Samudrika Marine Museum
Address: Airport Authority Colony, Haddo, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744102, India
8. Little Andaman Island
The white sandy beaches, palm trees, waterfalls and the surf draw a number of tourists to Little Andaman Island. The beaches are great for surfing and coral viewing. However, the elephant safaris organized by the forest department, where tourists are taken on a tour through the jungle up to the White Surf Waterfall, are the highlight. A number of intriguing trekking trails are available for visitors to explore.
The island is connected to Port Blair by ferries and speed boats from Hut Bay. Ferries operate once a day, therefore prior planning is necessary to visit Little Andaman Island.
The island has bounced back from the devastation of the tsunami, in 2004 and has established resorts and thatched houses where tourists can stay.
Little Andaman Island
Address: Located 120km (74.56 miles) south of Port Blair
9. Sagarika Government Emporium
Strolling through this huge emporium is like walking in a dreamland of handicrafts. Beautiful coconut lamp shades, quaint wood carvings, stunning seashell murals, and wooden trays will pique any shopper’s interest. The tribal artifacts, ranging from bamboo items to seashell jewelry in the Nicobar section, will leave you stunned. The merchandise available at discounted rates is made by self-employed locals. The Sagarika Government Emporium will save you money in case you wish to purchase a few island souvenirs.
Sagarika Government Emporium
Address: DAG Colony, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands 744101, India
Mesmerizing beauty amidst the sea
The beauty of Port Blair is beyond comparison. Visitors can visit Mount Harriet National Park for some fun things to do. The coral reefs, sea walk, and the arts and culture of the island will take you to a different world and has to be seen to be believed.
When visiting Port Blair, don't miss out on scuba diving at Swaraj Island (formerly Havelock Island). I still remember my dive - those 30 minutes underwater were magical, like entering a whole new world. It cost me 3000 INR, which included training and a half-hour dive. It's an experience that sticks with you, trust me. The vibrant marine life and serene underwater scenery are just indescribable. Just make sure to book in advance, as it's quite popular.
If you're ever at Swaraj Island, you absolutely have to visit Radhanagar Beach. It's not just any beach; it's consistently ranked among the top 10 in the world. I still remember my first time there – the moment my feet touched the soft, white sand, it felt like stepping into a dream. What's really incredible is how shallow the water is. You can walk out 500 meters and the water's still only waist-high! It's perfect for a relaxing swim or just wading around, especially if you're not a strong swimmer. Just be mindful of the tides.
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