Andaman Islands has always been one of my dream destinations for its turquoise colored waters and unspoiled beaches. It can easily give the beaches of Maldives, Mauritius, Bali, Seychelles and many more beach destinations a run for their tourism and money. So, just before Andaman season was about to get over which means when it was about time for summers to make these pretty islands hot and humid, Rajat and I set out to explore Andaman Islands. We explored Port Blair which is where one lands to visit Andaman Islands, then Havelock island where we explored one of the prettiest beaches of Asia and finally unveiled the untouched and lesser explored Neil Island.
You don’t have to be rich to travel well. – Eugene Fodor
Most of us often prefer foreign destinations over Indian ones if that cost us almost the same as domestic ones. And from that standards, Andaman Islands even with its pristine beaches and mesmerizing sunsets gets missed because it comes across as an expensive Indian destination. To make a trip to Andaman Islands affordable, here’s my account of how I did it under INR 25K per person. For the convenience of detailing, I have stated the prices for a couple put together.
Travel to and from Port Blair, Andaman Islands
In order to get a good deal, I often book my flights during the period when airlines run a sale. Hence last November, when Air India was running a sale, I booked my flight from Chennai which means an additional cost of travelling from Bangalore to Chennai. But with my calculations even that extra travel was coming much cheaper than booking the flight from Bangalore to Port Blair. The key here was to try permutations and combinations of travel modes and fares. Also, in this case, it meant spending a few hours at Chennai airport as we had to reach Chennai few hours early keeping the time margin right.
Bangalore To Chennai- INR 1200
Chennai to Port Blair – INR 6200
While booking the return ticket, I had the option of travelling via Chennai but the cost was only slightly less, hence I booked the flight to Bangalore. Flying directly back to the base always helps to start the next working day in time even if the flights are costing a little more.
Port Blair to Bangalore- INR 7900
Stay in Andaman Islands
The first stop in Andaman Islands has to be Port Blair, so we decided to start Andaman Islands exploration from there itself. We planned to spend 2 days in Port Blair – one in the beginning of the trip and second in the end of the journey. It gets quite convenient if you don’t have to rush from another island just in time to catch the flight back home, hence we kept last day in Port Blair. Also, two days are sufficient to see around Port Blair
There are abundant properties available in Port Blair to choose from which is not the case in Havelock and Neil Island
I had booked Hotel Andaman Galley which is a basic bed and breakfast place but with huge rooms, beautiful terrace view and central location.
Port Blair – Hotel Andaman Galley- INR 6600
In Havelock Island, we spent 2 nights in Blue Ocean Resort which is extremely close to the number one beach of Asia, Radhanagar beach. At the time of booking a place, not many resorts had availability and the ones which were available had shot their prices sky high. Blue Ocean Resort is an average hotel with basic amenities and good cleanliness. I was content with its proximity to the beach and then everything else was additional for me.
Havelock island – Blue Ocean Resort- INR 8300
We stayed in a 3star hotel in Neil Island called Pearl Park Beach resort. It was right by the Laxmanpur beach also called as Sunset beach. We opted for a Non-AC room to cut down on the cost but trust me, it was as comfortable as an AC room might have been.
Neil Island – Pearl park beach resort – INR 6200
While booking various hotels online, I tried to look for the hotels with basic amenities. And the catch was to look for the rates on different platforms for different dates.
Eat in Andaman
The cuisine in Andaman Islands draws its flavors from Eastern India. The coastal food, the cosmopolitan flavors and peppy cafes were a delight in Andaman Islands.
If one doesn’t eat at the shacks by the beach, the beach vacation can’t even begin. Hence on first day itself, we snacked by the Corbyn’s Cove beach
Port Blair – Corbyn’s Cove beach – INR 90
The exotic coastal food for lunch enjoying the rains overlooking the Corbyn’s Cove beach set straight the vacation mode.
Port Blair – Lunch – INR 300
We absolutely can’t do without our perfect coffee and we figured out the most amazing café of Port Blair, Brewberry. It’s a must try.
Port Blair – Brewberry coffee – INR 180
There are a number of pubs in Port Blair and we checked out a few before giving in for The Love Garden which was perfect for a romantic date.
Port Blair – The Love Garden – INR 500
Day 2 –
Breakfast at Andaman Galley came as part of the deal.
We snacked a little for lunch and headed to hop on the ferry for Havelock Island. The munchies come to the rescue in dire times of hunger.
We decided to treat ourselves for dinner at Barefoot Havelock and relished the exotic dinner with a couple of drinks.
Havelock Island – Dinner – INR 1300
With an early start to the day and indulgence in water activities, we could make time for brunch directly where we celebrated a successful Snorkeling stint. I collaborated with Something different café and they gladly offered some discount. But the café clearly needed no marketing as their grilled fish was an absolute killer.
Havelock Island – Brunch- INR 1100
It was time to watch the most awaited sunset at Radhanagar beach but the hunger prangs had started to knock in. The fresh cut fruit bowl looked way too appealing to miss.
Havelock Island – Fruits – INR 100
For dinner, we went to a nearby resort and had an appetizing meal.
Havelock Island – Dinner – INR 200
With breakfast taken care of, it was time to move from Havelock to Neil island. Trip advisor suggested to try another fancy eating place right at the jetty by Barefoot Bayside Brasserie. We sipped a few beers and snacked there.
Havelock Island – Snacks & Beer – INR 400
Had to gulp in some lunch too and the Port Canteen was a perfect respite to eat some Maggie, samosa and lassi.
Havelock Island – Port Canteen – INR 100
We reached Neil just in time to catch the glorious sunset. After doing rounds of this tiny island, we zeroed to a local café for dinner and indulged in local fish and rice.
Neil island – Dinner – INR 180
I love when I don’t have to worry about the breakfast which is such an important meal of the day for me. Breakfast was taken care at the resort.
On the way to the most famous beach of Neil, we stopped at a small restaurant and had the most delicious egg fried rice and a bowl of Maggie.
Neil island – Lunch – INR 170
We realized that we treated ourselves every other day and this time it was at a 5-star property. So what, if were are not staying at one, but we were absolutely delighted to indulge in delicious cuisine coupled with a few drinks at this restaurant.
Neil island – Dinner – INR 1200
With complimentary breakfast, we started our day and boarded the ferry to Port Blair.
Hunted for a famous restaurant Golden dragon mentioned in the guide, but to our dismay we couldn’t find and settled for our favorite place in Port Blair which is Brewsberry. Yes, we are coffee addicts and can have coffee anytime of the day.
Port Blair – Lunch – INR 300
The Love Garden – a pub in Port Blair impressed us so much that we spent our last evening singing and dancing there.
Port Blair – Dinner – INR 450
Travel within Andaman Islands
The ferry from Port Blair to Havelock Island costed us INR1050 which was a private cabin in the government ferry whereas the private ones cost almost double of it.
From Havelock Island to Neil island, we opted for a seat which is more economical than the chair as we had realized that we are going to be standing on the deck the entire time. It costed us INR 760.
The ticket from Neil island to Port Blair again costed us INR 760 and I got the privilege of standing in the captain’s cabin and enjoyed the view from the front of the ship the entire time.
We hired scooty in Portblair for a day and explored all the distant places. Hired one in Havelock too for a day and also in Neil island for one day. Hiring scooty really helped us move around the island at our whim and fancy. It suited best for a drive to witness early morning sunrise, driving down to various different beaches in Havelock and see around Port Blair.
Scooty – INR 1600
Hired auto at a few places which costed around INR 200
Miscellaneous expenses including tickets to Cellular Jail light and sound show (INR 100), ferry ticket to Ross island (INR 700) , snorkeling (INR 1300) and others costed around INR 2500
Aren’t you feeling like packing your bags right away but hold on and plan your travel to Andaman Islands in November to enjoy the most!
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