Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Essential Andaman in 8 night / 9 days

Dear All,

Just today we finished long awaited Andaman tour. Detailed travel blog would follow this post, however, this is a Teaser to entice others to visit Andamans ASAP. This post also is to show that it can be done very comfortably in just 8 nights / 9 days (9 th day is for return journey).

Lets go.

Day I - 17th Jan

Mumbai - Chennai - Port Blair

Departed at 0615 and reached Port Blair at 1240 hrs via Chennai. Post Check in at hotel Visited Cellular Jail, a must visit place and a memorial to countless freedom fighters since 1857 who suffered British atrocities. Also visited the Aquarium. Thereafter witnessed Light and Sound Show in the Cellular Jail.

Day 2 - 18th Jan

Trip to North Bay Island (water borne and Under water activities) and Viper Island Where freedom fighters of first war of independence were jailed by british. Viper now has a Gallow Room on a hillock where some very famous peole were hanged by british. Most other old structures are now non existent. This is a Trip by boat.

Day 3 - 19th Jan

Transfer to to Havelock Island through Boat Journey. Visited Radha Nagar beach, the most beautiful beach as per travel sites post Check-in in the hotel. Sunset at Radha nagar is wonderful (we missed it due to clouds).

Day 4 - 20th Jan

Visited Elephanta Beach, another beautiful beach at Havelock where we did snorkelling. All water related activities can be done. This visit was by boat but a beautiful Jungle trek also can be done to this beach.

We also had lunch at a very unusual place having many kind of seating and which is on a beach (beach no 2) called Something Different. There are many other options for food. Evening was again spent at Radha Nagar and this day we could see beautiful Sunset.

Day 5 - 21st Jan

Visited Kala Pathar Beach (third of the three beaches of Havelock) post check out and enjoyed this quick trip. Departed for Neil Island by boat and reached there by 1545. After checking in at Hotel visited Laxmanpur 2 beach, famous at Neil for majestic Sun Set. It was really magical. This beach is unsafe for venturing in the water.

Day 6 - 22nd Jan

After breakfast and check out We visited a natural wonder called Natural Bridge at Laxmanpur 1 beach. Also could see some very cute sea animals and some beautiful live corals. Guides cost very little and taking a guide is highly recommended.

Thereafter we went to Bharatpur beach, the beach where activities like fun dive, glass bottom boat ride, snorkelling, etc can be done. Otherwise also it is a pristine beach with emerald colour water. Also paid a afternoon visit to Sitapur beach where sun rise is at its best. The boat Journey to Port blair was the next event of the day. We reached PB after 5 pm which is the sunset time in Andamans.

Day 7 - 23rd Jan

Visited Ross island, the administrative seat of British at Andamans before it shifted to Port Blair. Every building there is in ruins but it gives a glimpse of the grandeur in which British lived there. Post this visit and lunch we visited Chatham Saw Mill (of the Government), biggest and oldest saw mill in Asia.

After this visit we travelled to Chidiya Tapu (just a name but this place is not a island) for (yet another) sunset view. Swimming can be done here in a very small protected area as crocodiles have been seen in this area.

Day 8 - 24rd Jan

Getting up very early we left for Bartang by road. The travel through reserve forest (also Jarawa Tribe country) is in convoys at fixed time. We took 6 Am convoy. After a 2.5 hrs road journey Bartang is reached by a RO - RO boat which joins Mid Andaman with North Andaman.

AFter reaching Bartang we had to go to Lime Stone Caves by about 40 minutes of very enjoyable speed boat ride. Lime Stone Caves are a real wonder. The return trip also is by Speed Boat. Next place that we visited by a short car trip from Bartang jetty was Mud Volcano. Not a grand site as one associates with volcano but a very rare natural phenomenon in which steam gushes out through mud at a very slow speed.

After this visit, we started our return trip with 1230 hrs convoy and reached Port Blair at 1500 hrs. Then we visited Anthropology Museum. This museum gives us lot of detailed information about the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar.

With this we would up our visit.

Day 9 - 25 Jan

Return trip from Port Blair to Mumbai via Chennai.

Outcome - This trip was at a slow speed and enough time was available for all visits. Our costs were modest Rs 30000 per person for trip stay, transport (AC for surface and AC / Non AC boats for water), entry fees and food.

The water related activities are better done at Havelock or Neil though even North Bay activities are also good but costly.

Anybody motivated to visit Andamans after this quick Teaser post? Do visit this paradise which is very much part of our own country. Highly recommended for people of all ages. Specially recommended for Honeymooners.

Hello from Meghalaya and Assam Installment IV

Fourth day

Morning brought us more cheer. The view and surrounding of Orchid resort was beautiful and invigorating. The sun that rose very early was adding to the beauty of the place. They had small but well maintained lawns and garden. We enjoyed the morning and then had breakfast. Post breaking after finishing the packing we visited the lake yet again to see it in its morning mood. That was also fun. The photographs for morning session have been already posted in Day III blog.

After this visit, it was picking up luggage and leave for Shillong which took just an hour or less (it was a Sunday else this 20 km hill road can take up to 2 hrs or more because of narrow main roads of Shillong and office traffic).

 The city looked clean and peaceful (again Sunday effect). We visited the Shillong peak (highest point in Shillong) which is inside an Air force station but they allow common people to visit on production of valid ID like Aadhar. View from Shillong peak which covers whole of Shillong was fantastic. Also one can wear Khasi (local tribe) dress and take photographs here (and in many other places in Meghalaya).

View of Shillong Valley from Shillong Peak

Our next destination was Elephant Fall (so named because once upon a time there was an elephant head shaped rock there which got destroyed during an earthquake. It is a cascading water fall with Three stages (going down stairs) of viewing point. The view from first and third point is  good. We enjoyed the water cascade for some time and climbed up to the main road.

One part of the fall

Fall Viewing Point under stage 3

On the way to Stage 3

At small garden in the way to the Falls

After this visit we went to Cathedral in shillong. This is part of a big Christian set up including a school, orphanage, hostels, etc. It is a well constructed structure which is not a historical one. By the time we did this visit, sun was going down. We then went to my departmental guest house and checked in there. Rest was normal evening there.

Despite best efforts I could not find many photos though we had taken many) hence only few photos. Will try and add some more.