Places of interest
There are numerous places of tourist interest in the Bay Islands, another name of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Neil Island (about 35 km from Port Blair by sea) is a virgin island and beaches, natural bridge formations and scuba diving are the main attractions. The Tourism Directorate has a 24-room guesthouse for tourists. The Union Territory administration has identified about 9.2 hectares for development of eco-tourism.
Radha Nagar beach on Havelock Island is a major attraction. There are some diving sites for snorkellers and scuba divers near the island. The Government offers accommodation in tents on the beach for nature lovers at moderate rates.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park at Wandoor covers an area of 281.5 sq. km. The park comprises mangrove creeks and 15 small and large coral islands with white sandy beaches and abundant underwater marine life. The famous islands of Red Skin and Jolly Buoy are part of this park.
Chidiya Tapu is known for harbouring rate 46 varieties of endemic birds, white spotted deer and also seasonal orchids. It was a favourite spot of the great ornithologist, Salim Ali. It has a forest guesthouse and a biological theme park.
Mount Harriet, the summer headquarters during the Raj, is the highest peak in south Andamans. Rare endemic birds, animals and butterflies can be seen here.
Little Andaman offers the only waterfalls in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, white surf and whisper waves as its main attractions. An elephant safari and a cruise along the creeks and lagoons is available. Being developed by the Andaman Nicobar Forest Plantation Development Corporation, the place is well connected to Port Blair by boat.
Barren Island is famous for its live volcano, said to be the country's only active volcano. While trekking towards the volcano's crater, one can witness smoke coming out from many places. The volcano last erupted in 1995. The island's uniqueness is the presence of wild goats, which survive by drinking salt water.
Long Island, Rangat, Mayabunder and Diglipur are among the other important places in the Andaman group of islands.
The Nicobar Islands, comprising 28 islands, are separated from the Andamans by the 10 Degree Channel. The southernmost tip of India lies here in the Great Nicobar Island and is called Indira Point. However, entry into these islands is restricted even for Indian nationals. Application in a prescribed format has to be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Port Blair.
How to go
The Andaman and Nicobar administration's Directorate of Shipping Services operates inter-island passenger-cum-cargo ferries/vehicle ferries from Port Blair to different places including Havelock, Rangat, Diglipur and Little Andaman. The ferries are also operated to Car Nicobar, Katchal and Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar). The Transport Department and private operators run bus services daily from Port Blair to Rangat and Mayabunder. Buses leave Central Bus Stand, Port Blair, between 4-30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. Besides, there are private tour operators also.
The Directorate of Tourism runs conducted tours, covering important places in and around the city. The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, the Corbyn's Beach and Mount Harriet are among the places covered, apart from the zoo and museums in Port Blair and the Cellullar Jail. The tours commence from Andaman Teal House, the department's guesthouse in Port Blair. Further information can be had from (03192)-234060, 234061 or 232642.
Foreign nationals are allowed to stay in the Andaman group of islands for 30 days and this can be extended by another 15 days with permission. They require a permit to stay, which can be obtained on arrival at Port Blair from the immigration authorities. In addition, permits can be obtained from Indian missions abroad and Foreigners' Registration Offices at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
Explore the Emerald islands : Andaman & Nicobar