How to reach Andaman Islands.
How to reach Andaman Islands.
Locating the Andaman and Nicobar islands at one go on the map of India is never easy, sprinkled far away in the Bay of Bengal these beautiful emerald islands are a part of the Indian territory, even though they are geographically closer to countries like Thailand and Myanmar.
The Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar islands consists of about 572 islands out of which very few islands have been inhabited.The Andaman group of islands comprises of North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman and little Andaman in addition to many more smaller islands.The Nicobar group of islands consists of the Great Nicobar, Car Nicobar, Nancowry, Katchal and Chowra.The territory's capital is Port Blair and is situated in the Andamanese islands.
Port Blair is the major gateway to Andaman islands and is directly connected by air and sea from 3 major cities of India viz Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.As an Indian national you do not need any permit to visit Andaman islands.However, you will require a permit to visit the Nicobar islands and other tribal areas, and these permits are only issued in exceptional cases by the deputy commissioner of Andaman district at Port Blair.
By Air :
This is by far the best and easiest way to reach Andaman islands and most tourist prefer reaching the Andaman islands by flight.The airport at Port Blair i.e. 'Veer Savarkar International Airport' is connected with airports at Chennai and Kolkata and the air journey is approximately about 2 hours from both places.There are also a few flights every month from Bhubaneshwar on certain days.Tourist from Mumbai and Delhi can travel to Port Blair by a direct flight (with a brief halt at) via Chennai or Kolkata.
The flight fares from Kolkata and Chennai to Andaman Islands are expected to be anywhere between INR 7000 to INR 15000 depending on the choice of airliner.While air fares from Mumbai and Delhi are expected to be anywhere between INR 10000 to INR 25000 depending on the flight duration and halts.
The major airlines that operate airway services to and from Port Blair are Jet Airways, Air India, Go Air and Spice Jet.These airliners operate regular flights to Port Blair on all 7 days of the week.Private jets and chartered flights are permitted to land at Port Blair airport only after fulfillment of all guidelines laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands are located far away in the Bay of Bengal, this isolation makes tourist and local islanders heavily depend on water ways to reach Port Blair as the Ship fares are cheaper as compared to the flights.
Traveling to the Andaman islands by sea is less preferred by tourist because of the long and arduous journey, but a journey by sea is enjoyed by adventurous travelers and is also preferred by honeymooners who have all the time in the world to enjoy and experience a wonderful 3 day journey by the sea.
One of the best things of going by sea is that you get to see beautiful sunsets over the Bay of Bengal and get a rare glimpse of the dolphins gliding through the waters and flying fishes.
Regular cruises and passenger ships are available for Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.There are about 3 to 4 sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice versa, while there is only one sailing from Visakhapatnam in a month.
Chennai to Port Blair - Voyage time about 60 hours (1190 kms).
After reaching Ships normally dock at Port Blair for about 2 to 4 days.
Please note : Schedules of ships can be erratic and cancellations are common due to weather and sea conditions so kindly keep a day or 2 in buffer during your trip.
Regular Ships traveling for Port Blair
- M.V Nicobar.
Accommodation types and rates on ships
- Deluxe Cabin - Between 7000 to 8000.
You can choose deluxe cabins; air conditioned dormitories or bunker class depending on your budget.
Please note the above mentioned fares are for visiting tourist, each class on a ship has separate charges for local islanders and for tourist.
Know more about the latest Andaman ship schedules and fares 2015
Mainland Ship Fare for the Year 2015-2016
Contact details of Shipping Services :
The Directorate of Shipping Service.
Shipping Corporation of India Limited.
The Deputy Director of Shipping Service.
M/S A.V.Bahanojirow and Garuda Pattabhiramayya & Co.
Inter - Island Transport in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The inter – island transport system is the lifeline of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and all islands here are located at a considerable distance from each other, so these inter – island transport system plays an important role in connecting all inhabited islands. There are two kinds of transport systems i.e. water transport and road transport.
Inter - Island connectivity by Ferry (Government Services):
The Ferry services run by Andaman and Nicobar administration and the Directorate of Shipping Services is the main mode of transport for tourist and local residents while traveling in and around Andaman islands. The administration operates regular ferry services from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Fisheries Jetty and Chatham Jetty all at Port Blair to various tourist places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands like Havelock Islands, Neil Islands, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Chowra, Nancowry, Katchal and Campbell Bay.
The sailing schedules are published in local newspapers like 'The Daily Telegram' (English Daily) and Dweep Samachar(Hindi Daily), the sailing schedules are also announced on AIR(All India Radio) and Doordarshan.
Tickets for ferries are issued through 'STARS'(Ship Ticketing advanced Reservation System) counters which is managed by the Directorate of Shipping Services.
Ferry Timings :
Government ferry to Havelock Islands starts at 6 a.m. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fares of Mainland and Island Vessels in Inter - Island Sector
Inter - Island connectivity by Ferry (Private Services):
Apart from the inter - island ferry services of Directorate of shipping services, there are a few private players providing ferry services to visiting tourist that operate from Aberdeen Jetty(Andaman Water Sports Complex) to nearby popular tourist destination including Havelock Islands, Ross Island, North Bay and other popular islands. This private service is highly recommended for visiting tourist since your travel time will be considerably cut down and is hassle free.
Inter - Island Luxury Cruise Vessel (Private Service):
MAK Logistics is a major private player in Andaman and Nicobar islands that operates passenger shipping services. They have introduced a daily passenger luxury cruise namely M.V. Makruzz that connects Port Blair with Havelock Islands. This passenger cruise can seat 280 people and can reach Havelock islands in 90 minutes. It starts its daily service from Port Blair at 8:30 a.m. and returns from Havelock Islands by 4:00 p.m., tickets for the luxury cruise can be booked online through tour operators, travel agents or hoteliers at Port Blair.
M.V. Makruzz Fares :
- Royal Class - INR 1000.
Inter - Island connectivity by Air:
Recently the Directorate of Civil Aviation has introduced sea plane service for tourist places like Havelock Islands, Hut Bay and Diglipur. Tourist can also avail daily helicopter services from Port Blair to other nearby islands such as Havelock Islands, Dig HutBay etc.
Please click here for Helicopter Inter Island Schedule
Please click here for Helicopter Fares
Getting around Port Blair by Road :
Since there is an absence of rail transport within the islands, road transport is the backbone for both long and short distance travel within the island.
The city of Port Blair has various modes of transport to choose from, metered taxis are easily available while auto rickshaws (Tuk - Tuks) can ferry you to various points of the city. There are also government buses that are ideal for visiting far away destinations within the island.
Motorbikes, scooters and mopeds are easily available at most resorts for hire for a price of about INR 500 per day and is an ideal way to explore the island at your own pace, furthermore the roads are in good condition so tourist will definitely enjoy the drive.