On one late evening in the month of March 2019, we decided we will take a trip to Andamans. Though we were told this was not the peak season to go, we still went ahead and booked our flights.
Port Blair is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. This is our entry point to the island. Irrespective of whichever island you want to visit you have to reach Port Blair first.
History about Port Blair
According to a survey it is believed that the Andaman tribes have been living on this island for more than 2000 years.
In 1789, government of Bengal named this city Port Blair to honor Archibald Blair of East India Company.
As the Indian freedom movement was gaining momentum, British government wanted a place far away from the main land India to imprison these freedom fighters, and Port Blair suited this requirement just perfectly.
These freedom fighters were made to live in unimaginable conditions and many were hanged to death.
A visit to cellular jail will give you a better insight into to the dark forgotten history of our freedom fighters.
How to reach Port Blair?
You can reach Veer Savarkar International Airport by flight from any of the major cities of India.
You can also take the sea route from Kolkata, Chennai, and Vishakapatnam. This would take you about 3-4 days to reach Portblair.
Best time to visit Port Blair
October to February is the perfect time to visit Portblair. It will neither be too sunny nor rainy. We were there by the end of March and the weather was still pleasant.
Where to stay in Port Blair
- Sinclairs Bay View – They have a beautiful sea view.
- Fortune Resort Bay island
Everything is a little overpriced as compared to mainland India.
Keeping that in mind you can book your accommodations on the beachside if you prefer to stay at your resort or hotel and relax all day.
Or you can stay at a budget hotel in the city center and visit places more comfortably.
How to commute in Portblair
Rental bikes are very easily available all over Portblair. Rent per day is Rs.500/- with Rs.2000/- as refundable deposit. Fuel extra.
You can book a cab or auto as well.
Things to do in Portblair
1. Learn history at Cellular Jail
This is right in the middle of the city and one of the top attractions in Portblair. The entry ticket is Rs.30/-. I would highly recommend hiring a guide to know the history in detail.
There is a sound and light show which happens every evening. English narration is only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, other days it would be in Hindi. You can get all the details here.
The Cellular museum within the jail campus has a huge collection of pre-Indian independence photos, which are very rarely available. Spend a few minutes to absorb the effort behind our independence.
2. Samudrika Naval Marine museum
You can learn a lot about tribals of Andaman and the history of the naval force here. You will need about 20-30mins based on your interest. Entry ticket would cost Rs.50/person.
3. Tirang Park (Flag Hoisting Point)
This is the place where Netaji Subash Chandra Bose hoisted the tricolor Indian flag for the first time on the Indian soil back in December of 1943.
We accidentally happened to see the huge 150 feet tall flag from a distance, which made us visit this park. The energy around this place was just so positive.
4. Joggers Park
I always carry my running shoes whenever I travel. The runner in me enjoys exploring new places like a local.
A friend of mine happened to mention this joggers park. Though its relatively a very small park, the view is amazing.
After all how often do you get to see a flight take off while you run?
5. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island AKA Ross Island
I totally loved being here. Old buildings, long suspended roots of the trees, deserted roads, there was something very mystical about this island.
In short its a ghost island and a mirror to the glories past of the British era in India.
My personal favorite on this island is the lighthouse which is at the tip of the island. It’s quite a walk to get there, however, it’s worth all the effort. There is a buggy service if you cant walk.
Isn’t this beautiful? There is also a beautiful bridge that takes you to this spot. Let me know in the comments box below if you have ever been here.
You have to take a 15 mins boat ride from the water sports complex in Port Blair to reach Ross Island.
I would highly recommend you visit here if you are someone like me who enjoys visiting historic places.
6. North Bay Island
Ok first thing first, visit this island only if you are not going to Havelock island or Neil island.
This is the island where you do scuba diving, snorkeling, and other water activities. In my personal opinion, its nothing compared to what you will get to experience in Havelock or Neil.
Since we had been to both these islands, visiting North Bay was a total waste of time and money for us.
On the other hand, if you are just visiting Port Blair, this would not be such a bad place I suppose.
7. Chidiya Tapu
This is about 17kms from Port Blair and takes you easily 45mins to reach as you have to drive through some curvy roads.
Visit here to get some amazing sunset view. Though it gets way too crowded it’s still beautiful.
Don’t forget to grab some Maggi and tea at the local shop. Maybe be I was really hungry, it tasted too good.
8. Chattam Sawmill
Let’s say you have covered all the places that I mentioned above and you still have a few more hours before your flight or Ferry to arrive, now is the time you should go to Chattam Sawmill.
So you get what I mean right? It is not on the top of your must-visit places. It is not bad to get the history and feel of the sawmill.
I’m very eager to hear your experience in Port Blair, do let me know them in the comment box below.