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Old 13th January 2013, 11:41   #16
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Default Re: Neil Island - Don't miss the woods for the beaches

Thank you all for the appreciative comments on the travelogue. The pictures are about two years old and so are the info.

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Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
This is a fantastic place you have re-discovered on the Andaman-Nicobar belt. Would you have to spend an extra night in Port Blair to catch the flights?
Flights operate out of Port Blair airport only till 2 pm. But its possible to catch a morning ferry from Neil and the last flight out of Port Blair.

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Originally Posted by NMS View Post
I had been to Havelock a couple of years back around Feb. Had a wonderful time.. One thing I would suggest doing in the Andamans, is Scuba Diving (Don't know if that happens at Neil Island). And as you suggested, Snorkelling.
I have seen a few tourists doing scuba diving near the jetty at Neil and you can find boat and scuba sets if you enquire around at Rampur. I'm not sure if these guys have PADI certification though. So its better for amateurs to stick to the professional scuba diving offers at Havelock.
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Old 13th January 2013, 12:56   #17
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Default Re: Neil Island - Don't miss the woods for the beaches

After seeing your pictures, I deeply regret not going to Neil Island when I went to Andamans way back in 1996.

It was very much in my plan to take the ferry, but as fate would have it, it was cancelled for that day. I still had 2 days for my return flight to Madras, but did not risk going the next day, as I was apprehensive of what would happen if the return ferry was cancelled. Those days if one missed the flight, it would take minimum one week to get a ticket on the next flight. I'm sure things are better now.
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Old 13th January 2013, 17:27   #18
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Default Re: Neil Island - Don't miss the woods for the beaches

This place looks like a paradise. I loved the blue and green in your pictures. Awesome place to be.
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Old 13th January 2013, 23:28   #19
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Default Re: Neil Island - Don't miss the woods for the beaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Did you also go to any other islands? It would be great if you could put up some travel plans for your trip and any recommendations on the duration. It seems that even a fortnight would be inadequate for this marvellous place.
I have been to many other islands in the Andaman Nicobar chain and each offer unique attractions. Havelock and Neil in Ritchies Archipelago, Camp Bell Bay at Great Nicobar in the south, Hut Bay at Little Andaman, Ross and Smith Islands (connected by a sand bar in low water) in the north, Jolly Buoy / Red Skin in the west, Baratang and Parrot Island in the middle are all accessible to tourists and offer memorable experiences. You are absolutely right that you need at least a fortnight to cover even a few of them.

Its difficult to draw up an itinerary that will suit all. Travel bureaus offer packages usually lasting five to ten days covering the popular tourist circuits. Here's my take on some of these islands.

Havelock remains the most popular and not without reason. Have a look:

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No 7 Beach (Radhanagar) is perhaps the best beach in the region. Regular snorkeling and scuba diving trips to nearby elephant beach are available at reasonable cost. Conducted by PADI certified professionals its safe for novices too.

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The woods around the No 7 beach are lovely and a walk here after a long dip in the sea is invigorating. One may even spot Rajan, the sea swimming elephant owned by Barefoot resort grazing here in the morning hours. (More info on Rajan here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/pr...elephant.shtml)

Its possible to travel to Havelock on the same day you arrive at Port Blair; there are regular ferries.

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I recommend traveling to Havelock by the Catamaran Ferry that takes about 90 minutes from Port Blair.

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The catamaran ferry though more expensive is much more comfortable than the ferries run by the administration.

Port Blair is on South Andaman Island and one usually spends a day or two here. There are a few attractions around Port Blair that can be covered in a day. This includes snorkeling and under sea walking at North Bay, visit to Ross Island and a harbour cruise that takes you to Viper Island.

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Viper Island. Female prisoners (freedom fighters) during British era where located here.

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A view of North Bay. This is the place depicted in a Twenty Rupee note.

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Port Blair itself is quite crowded like other Indian towns and best avoided apart from the Marina.

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Chidiya Tapu is at the southern tip of South Andaman island and is about 30 Km from Port Blair. Go there to see sun setting over the Rutland Island.

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The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is at Wandoor 30 Km north west of Port Blair. Wandoor has a longish beach overlooking Tarmugli Island. The two hour ferry ride to uninhabited islands of Jolly Buoy / Red Skin which are excellent for snorkeling also starts at Wandoor.

Mount Harriet is another place you can visit from Port Blair.

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Mt Harriet is the highest point (~1200 ft above MSL) around this area and is covered by lush green tropical forest.

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While you can take a car right till the view point on top, I prefer to trek up this seven km road through this colourful forest.

Trip to Andamans is all about enjoying the little things around you that nature offers..

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...be it a beautifully patterned butterfly,

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...or the multitude of hues that the forest offers,

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...or the majestic Sea Eagle. (Now you know where my profile picture came from)

Great Nicobar is the southern most Island in the chain and home to the Nicobari tribe. Its a long sea journey of over 24 hrs and tourists often skip this island.

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The Southern tip of India Indira Point is on Great Nicobar Island. This area was devastated in the 2004 Tsunami and a new statue of Mrs Gandhi has been erected here recently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Next January, I guess there will be a tbhp meet there. A paradox considering there is no driving involved
It will be great to have a T-BHP meet at the Andamans.

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It is possible to do a fairly long drive at the Andamans too. The Andaman Trunk Road connects Port Blair to Diglipur in the North, a distance of about 330 Kms. The road runs through four islands (South Andaman, Baratang, Middle Andaman and North Andaman) spans one sea bridge and two ferry crossings. The journey takes you through protected areas of Jarawa tribe, which is covered in a convoy under police escort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
After seeing your pictures, I deeply regret not going to Neil Island when I went to Andamans way back in 1996.

It was very much in my plan to take the ferry, but as fate would have it, it was cancelled for that day. I still had 2 days for my return flight to Madras, but did not risk going the next day, as I was apprehensive of what would happen if the return ferry was cancelled. Those days if one missed the flight, it would take minimum one week to get a ticket on the next flight. I'm sure things are better now.
While the flight situation has improved, weather still plays an important part in both air and sea travel. One can still get stranded if the sea gets rough disrupting ferry movement or heavy wind / rain prevents flight landing. So there is still that uncertainty factor particularly between Oct and Dec.
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:26   #20
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Default Re: Neil Island - Don't miss the woods for the beaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by NMS View Post
Wonderfully put Raj. Short and Sweet, just like the island !! I had been to Havelock a couple of years back around Feb. Had a wonderful time.. One thing I would suggest doing in the Andamans, is Scuba Diving (Don't know if that happens at Neil Island). And as you suggested, Snorkelling.
There is some very nice diving on Neil. Been there back in 2010 and again last year. You can look up India Scuba Explorers for details. The dive shop is run by a guy named Johann.
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