Having visited Havelock, I believed that nothing else can be as spectacular as this island. But, the next island on the itinerary was beyond my imagination. It was Neil island – an island with the most mesmerizing beaches filled with mushy sand, loveliest shades of blue water and outlined with tall trees. Not only the beaches, the island is blessed with everything which I couldn’t have even dreamt for a perfect vacation. The simple village life, a community of 3000 people living with contentment, lip smacking delicious sea food and no cell phone connectivity charmed me throughout my stay.
- 1 How to Reach Neil Island
- 2 Where to Stay in Neil Island
- 3 Things to do in Neil Island
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How to Reach Neil Island
A government ferry from Neil island which we had booked a day earlier, took us to Neil island from Havelock island. There are government and private ferries to Neil island which can be taken from Port Blair depending on your itinerary. It was a comfortable ferry ride which I had spent most in captain’s cabin chitchatting with him about all things sailing.
The ferry was less crowded, so was the jetty. We walked out of the jetty and started to look for the local bus as we did in Havelock to reach our hotel, Pearl Park Beach Resort. But on that route, the local buses do not ply, so we took an auto and reached our hotel which is by the Laxmanpur Beach – 1. The 3 km route was extremely scenic sequenced with tall coconut trees and lush greens on both the sides of the not so narrow roads till the resort.
Where to Stay in Neil Island
With tourism reaching the island, a lot of resorts, home stays and guesthouses have come up. There are not a lot of budget options, but quite a few in the mid segment and there’s where we decided to put up for our 2 day trip to the island. We stayed in the inexpensive room of the Pearl Park Beach resort which was quite clean and comfortable. The advantage of staying in the resort was that it is located right at the beach which is also called Sunset beach.
Things to do in Neil Island
Watch a sunset at Lakshmanpur 1 beach
We were just in time to freshen up and walk the soft sand of Lakshmanpur 1 beach to enjoy the sunset. A leisure walk observing the dead corals by the entire stretch of beach and appreciating the fallen trees, till the edge of the beach where I could see water from two sides will remain etched for a long time in my memories. We settled at a place on the beach and let the play of the sun over clouds and sky unfold. The sun flares through the corals were sparkling clear making for the perfect shots. The sun kept descending to meet the sea while Rajat and I spent some great times together.
Also Read – Things to do in Port Blair, Andaman
Witness a sunrise at Sitapur Beach
Being a late riser, I always prefer sunsets over sunrises. But, the locals pumped me enough about the magical sunrise which happens at the Sitapur beach. We rented a scooty previous night to reach the beach in time. After snoozing our alarm multiple times, we finally hopped on to the scooty to feel the cool breeze against our bodies. Few tourists had already reached before us but there was enough time to walk the length of beach and find ourselves the perfect spot to relish the sunrise. The sun kept playing peek-a-boo for a long time before giving us the honor to embrace it. With perfectly changing hues on the sky, the water also sparkled differently every single minute. I couldn’t have enough of the breeze which touched my soul and to top that, the eyes got filled with gratitude on the exotic sight of this sunrise straight from the ocean.
The street vendors were standing right at the parking spot to serve tea and light snacks. We saw the same tea vendor we had seen last evening at Lakshmanpur 1 beach. He told us that today wasn’t the best sunset as the sun was wrapped under clouds for most of the time and claimed that we would have not seen such pretty sunset ever. Nevertheless, his amazing ginger tea had charged us up for the day’s adventure.
A hike till Howrah bridge
It was time to see the most iconic structure of Neil island called Natural bridge or Howrah bridge. Locals who have come from West bengal fondly call it Howrah bridge. We walked the initial steps which were boundaried by local craft shops. A local approached us and asked if we were willing to take a guide till the bridge. Of late, we have started taking guide to understand the place from a local’s point of view and all the tales which come up are usually quite informative.
Mr. Das, the guide walked us through the corals towards the Natural bridge. He believes that the corals safeguard the island against the natural calamities like tsunami. Almost the entire shore of Neil island is outlined with the corals which reduce the intensity of the waves striking the shore. It was an absolutely adventurous route which involved hopping on the corals, identifying the small sea animals till the natural bridge.
The huge coral structure looked splendid adding to the natural beauty of the Lakshmanpur -2 beach. The shells embedded in the bridge suggested that the bridge must have been under water for years. This place was definitely instagram worthy and I too ended up clicking a plethora of pictures.
Take a dip in the secluded Ramnagar Beach
Reaching Ramnagar beach was a fluke. We had not put this secluded beach on our itinerary but destiny too us to one of the most beautiful beaches of Andaman. It was a muddy path and we deliberated whether to go ahead or take a U-turn. But adventure in us shouted out loud and Rajat accelerated the scooty to see a pristine beach with absolutely nobody. It was the place to be with each other, have some water fun and chill out at the beach. The turquoise colored water was so inviting that without a second thought, we were seen taking a dip in the water. Seen? But who was there to see us! After few hours, few foreigners joined us at the beach to have a playful time. After a lot of contemplation of missing out on the other beach, we walked out of the water to head to the next beach.
Try water sports at Bharatpur beach
Bharatpur beach was a beach of everyone’s dreams, hence the crowd. After stepping there, I realized why did I even stepped out of water at Ramnagar beach. The beach was flooded with tourists and the shacks were bustling from all sides. Bharatpur beach should be hit only if you have missed the water sports at Havelock island. I had done snorkelling in Havelock, so I was ok giving a miss to water sports at bharatpur beach.
Eat at the small restaurants
Eating local is my way of exploring a place and thus I try to eat at the small cafes and restaurants which gives me a local flavor. Neil island has many small eateries which are run by locals. Dining at such cafes not only gives you a chance to interact with the locals but also reveals the lifestyle, culture and gives a glimpse of the life of locals. We had almost all our meals at the street side cafes and immensely relished the cuisine which had a lot of Bengali touch. I believe that’s also a small bit travelers should do to promote responsible tourism and contribute to uplifting the economy of the place.
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