Like all the best places, The Andamans are tricky to reach meaning many tourists don’t bother to visit. A quick google search shows paradise beaches and huts more reminiscent of Thailand than anything else I had seen in India. Being 1370km from the mainland but only 150km from Indonesia this is no surprise. For me the islands were a must and we decided to fly to Port Blair. This was one of our few luxuries on the trip but with a ferry crossing of sixty hours it saved us a lot of time. I had also saw one of the ferries sinking on TV when we were staying in Goa which cemented this plan!
Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman Island and is a bit like an airport in the fact that everyone appears to be in transit to somewhere else. I warmed to the atmosphere of the place and would say it is worth exploring a bit. I would highly recommend a visit to the Cellular Jail National Memorial if you have enough time.
This British prison is now a memorial for political dissidents who were once occupied here and holds importance within India’s history. Like Alcatraz you are free to wander the grounds and into the eerie cells, there is ample historical information available within the museum and the rooftop view is incredible, as is its beautiful location which I can only imagine made imprisonment more unbearable. There is a cheesy light show in the evening which I quite enjoyed. Entrance was rather cheap so after initially attending the light show we went back to fully explore the following morning.
It is important to note that Andaman Islands have a distinctive lack of WIFI available and even a few internet cafes we went into were so busy that we were unable to do very little online.
Your priority on arrival however would be to book your ferry ticket to one of the many other island. The booking office closes early so check the times on arrival. Be prepared for large queues and to guard your spot as many people will try and skip you. I left my other half with our bags whilst I joined the slightly shorter woman’s queue but it was by far the most stressful ticket to buy of our entire trip. There is allocated seating on your tickets which everyone seems to ignore which meant we had to end up sitting separately for the journey.
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Luckily our onward trip to Hancock island made me forget the stress soon enough! (Blog post on this to follow soon!)
*All views are my own and I was not paid for any contribution to my writing.