There are several picturesque and popular islands near Port Blair that you can explore during your trip to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, few can match the quaint and soothing charm of Neil Island. This island is preferred by visitors for its amazing biodiversity, white sandy beaches, unspoiled and pretty coral reefs and tropical woodlands. If you want to get away from bustle and crowd of popular places in the Andaman’s, this is the perfect weekend getaway!This island has enough places where you can relax or laze around in afternoon watching the sunset and staring at the vast blue sea. There are not many amenities and the beaches may not be lavish but that can actually be bliss in disguise, more so if you prefer serenity.
Located approximately 36 km northeast of port Blair, this island exudes a certain type of laid back charm and you can feel that sometime after setting your foot in. Besides, it is a small island which makes it ideal for spending a couple of days, ideally. The widest part is about 5 kilometers. If you start walking, covering the island may take just 2 hours or so. It is somewhat warmer than neighboring Havelock and so lacks forest cover.
Best Time to Visit Neil Island
Basically there is no winter or summer in Andaman as a tropical weather pervades all around the year. Only the changes in humidity are visible. Still, it is best for you to avoid the rainy season, mostly July and August. The optimum period to visit Neil Island is October to February. This is the best time to enjoy crystal clear water, lush green vegetation and less humid, charming weather. Besides, the island does not get too cold even in winter months. The summer months can be warm and humid but it does not get too scorching for the cool sea breeze.
How to Reach Neil Island From Port Blair
The Island is approximately 37 kilometres away from Port Blair. The Government ferry service is available from Phoenix Bay jetty of Port Blair to Neil Island every day for a fixed duration and it takes around 2 hours-based on the sea condition. You can book the tickets in advance from Port Blair as well as Havelock and this can be helpful if you visit the island in peak season. There are two private boat services you can avail to reach the island as well. Since the weather condition may change unexpectedly, it is better to check boat schedule at the website http://www.andaman.gov.in.
Places to Visit in Neil Island
1. Howrah Bridge
The nameksake of Heritage Bridge originally located in Kolkata, the Howrah bridge of Neil island is actually a pair of living natural corals. It is ideal for taking snaps and spending romantic moments. It is also called the natural bridge and viewing it at sunset can be ethereal.
2. Sitapur Beach
Among the beautiful beaches of Neil island, the Sitapur beach deserves a special mention. It is also called the sunrise beach and watching sunrise at the beach can be an amazing experience. There are hardly any amenities though you can buy fresh coconuts. The beach remains quiet and swimming is easy.
3. Ram Nagar Beach
The beach no 3 is close to the Ramnagar village in the island and so it is called the Ramnagar beach. The beach is spectacular with clear blue water but it is not ideal for swimming owing to the presence of sharp corals. You get plenty of shades from the trees nearby. It is used a lot for snorkeling.
4. Natural Bridge
The Howrah Bridge which is a live natural coral formation resembling bridge in Neil Island is also called the natural bridge. It is an ideal place for shutterbugs and especially the changing color of horizon at sunset draws the tourists. The place is best visited at sunset.
5. Kalapathar Beach
Nearby Havelock Island has plenty of attractions and people visiting Neil island head to that place, usually. The contrast posed by its white silky sand and large black rocks fascinates the eyes for sure. Sometimes, it is crowded but the southern part remains somewhat secluded.
6. Long Island
Long Island is a largely unspoiled beautiful island in the Andaman that should be in your itinerary. If you like Neil Island’s serenity you will love long island beyond doubt! The village ambiance is additive and you get basic amenities for eating and staying in the island.
7. Laxmanpur Beach
The Laxmanpur Beach has a lovely waterfront and the White shell sand is ideal for playing and enjoying long strolls. The kids can play with the sea shells found in abundance in the beach area. The shallow and calm sea is just perfect for swimming. You also get great imaging opportunities.
8. Neil Kendra
The village market in the island is called Niel Kendra and it is where you can find some shops and eateries. The location of the zone is strategic and you get amazing view of the nearby beaches from the place. However, you may not find everything you want here.
9. Vijay Nagar Beach10. Bharatpur Beach
Vijay Nagar Beach is one of the popular beaches in Havelock Island. It should be in your Andaman tour itinerary. The vast white sand beach and calm turquoise blue water is beautiful and soothing. The sunrise at the beach is spectacular and many visitors engage in water sports.
Bharatpur Beach is where most of the people visiting Neil Island are headed to. The greenery and vast sandy beach are like ointment on tired eyes. The beach is also loved by visitors for its colorful coral reefs and the pretty aquatic creatures swimming around are like icing on the cake.
Things to Do in Neil Island
1. See sighting in Neil island
The natural beauty and seashore are the best things to see when you are in this island. There is not much forest growth here owing to the climate. You can see the natural bridge which is an ideal place for photography.
2. Visit beaches
Beyond doubt, most of the times the visitors to the island spend in the beautiful, sandy beaches. The beaches are named after characters of Indian mythology. The laxmanpur beach and sunrise beach are sought after by most of the tourists. Bharatpur Beach however is better for water sports activities. Don't forget to check our guide on the best beaches in andaman which are must visit.
3. Cycling around Neil Island
The island is not big and it is possible to explore all of it by cycling! The hotels rent cycles to the guests or you can find one from the market too. The rate is cheap and you may also rent a bike for exploring the region.
4. Sea walk in Neil island
Neil Island is not much famous for sea walking though the same activity is quite popular in Havelock islands.
5. Game Fishing
Nearby Havelock Island is more frequented by anglers but for game fishing, Neil Island is also good enough. Try to fish when the tides are not strong for the best results. Use good footwear and try to fish around in the area near the jetty for good catch.
The pristine and amazing beaches of this island are good for diving and snorkeling. However, the Bharatpur Beach is where most water sports activities take place. The Sitapur beach is also ideal for snorkeling lovers. The hotels at the island can prove to be useful in this regard.
7. Scuba Diving
The dive shop offered by one of the hotels in the island is ideal for learning and enjoying scuba diving. Most tourists interested in the sports choose the Sea Shell Neil dive shop. There are a few off shore sites aimed at divers with varying levels of efficiency.
Don't miss to check out our guide on the best things to do in Andaman, which can help you in planning your trip.
Other Essential Info about Neil Island
2) Medical Facilities
1) Mobile Connectivity
Owing to its remote location from Indian mainland, telecommunication is still weak in most parts of Andaman. Neil island is no exception and you can expect spotty and no network coverage at times. It is advisable that you keep SIMs of 2 networks at least to get some coverage. However, it is natural that sometimes you will not get any coverage at all and so uploading images in your Facebook or Instagram account should be out of your mind! Talking to your friends and family is the best thing you can expect over phone.
The Island is small and you get only basic accommodation and eating options. So, there just a basic healthcare setup which offers free service. It is however advisable that you carry first aid kits and basic medications when you travel here. This will help you cope with any unforeseen medical situation after reaching the island. Port Blair is where you get decent medical facilities, as it is. If you need any medication regularly it is advisable you buy those before visiting the island.
The island has a couple of ATMs, as of now and both are situated at the bazaar area. However, it is always better that you get enough money to explore the island or stay here beforehand. You may land in trouble if the existing 2 ATMs run out of cash or develop snags. Small resort owners may accept foreign currency though mostly Indian currency is accepted. These can be handy in emergency situations. With time, more ATMs may come up in the island.
4) Places to eat
You will not get lavish restaurants or eateries at the island, as it is. There are a few shacks by the beaches and they have mostly open air settings. However, food quality is pretty good and you get fresh and homemade dishes. Sometimes, the preparation takes quite long and that can take up more than an hour-based on the dishes you order. The Neil Kendra market is ideal for getting cheap but quality food. The good thing is you can savor yummy seafood and the eateries can prepare different types of dishes.
5) Minimum Duration for Visiting Neil Island
Most visitors to the island stay for a couple of days and that could suffice for you too. However, you may also spend a day if your Andaman tour duration is not very long and you can still have a good tour. Those seeking serene bliss amidst natural bounty can stay longer. You may spend more than that if you want to soak in the blissful feeling after spending a few days in crowded places in Andaman. This is a good option for those who want to enjoy their honeymoon in Andaman without clutter.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are a few things to mind when you pay visit to Neil Island, so that you obtain the best experience. These are:
While most tourists exploring the island love its serenity and peaceful ambiance, you may seek some amount of boisterousness. Then you must visit the place during either Subhash Mela or Island Tourism Festival. The first is a weeklong festival to pay homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose held in January and the latter is a 10-day festival, held in winter season each year.
You need to remember that nightlife in the island is almost non-existent apart from a few lavish resorts that have come up. While cycling or booking is simple and cheap, those visiting with elderly or kids may opt for private, chauffeured AC vehicles. However, prior booking is necessary for those.
To ensure you can evade hassles in reaching the island in peak season, book your ferry tickets from Port Blair in advance. The govt ferries allow 4 days booking in advance.
The locals are quite friendly and you should not face any problem in communicating if you speak either Bengali or Hindi. You should carry sunscreen, protective clothing and mosquito repellents when visiting the island. In the evening, mosquito bites are quite commonplace.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I get at Neil Island?
The best way to reach this island is from the Port Blair Jetty. Now, both govt and private ferries offer service to the island regularly a few times a day. Those with deep wallets can fly in charter plans and helicopter. It can’t be reached from Andaman’s mainland otherwise. You can also take cruises in Andaman for leisure.
2. Which resorts are in Neil Island?
Accommodation options at the island are not extensive, as it is. The most popular resorts are Silver Sand Beach Resort, Sea Shell Nil and Summer Sands beach resort. At these 3 resorts, you get free wi-fi access and parking. Coconhuts Beach Resort is ideal if you are looking for more affordable accommodation options.
3. How far is Neil Island from Port Blair?
From the capital of Andaman, Port Blair, Neil Island is roughly 42.4 km away. By ferry service, the distance takes a couple of hours to cover.
4. What is the length of Howrah Bridge?
One major attraction of the island is a unique bridge like rock formation which is called Howrah Bridge. It has a couple of living natural corals set up like a bridge like structure. It is ideal for snapping images and you should watch it during low tide.
5. What are the timings to visit Ram Nagar Beach?
Those seeking some cozy and quite time in this island head to the Ramnagar beach. The beach has a secluded look and can be visited any time of the day. It is close to sunset point.
6. How do you get to Andaman from Long Island?
The Long island is a destination in the Andaman and its remote location and poor connectivity keeps it largely unexplored. Govt buses reach Rangat from Port Blair and from Yeratta Jetty you get ferries to Long island. For a group visiting long island, hiring a private boat for reaching Andaman will be good.
7. What activities can be done at laxmanpur beach?
There are plenty of activity options for tourists exploring laxmanpur beach in Neil Island. The White shell sand and picturesque waterfront are soothing on the eyes. The calm sea is perfect for swimming while the kids can collect seashells and play on the sand. The beach is ideal for imaging too.
8. What are the timings for visitors in Bharatpur beach?
This is one of the most frequented beaches in this island. The beach is known for colorful coral reefs and aquatic creatures that inhabiting those reefs. The Glass Bottom Boat Ride is chargeable and plenty of imaging opportunities are there. You should ideally visit it at mid day or morning.
9. Is there any accommodation near Vijay nagar beach?
The beach no 5 in Havelock Island is also referred as Vijayanagar beach. It is ideal to enjoy sunset and sunrise. There are some good hotels near the beach. Examples include the Silver sand resort and those looking for government resorts can opt for the Dolphin Yatri Niwas.
10. Which is the best place to do shopping in Neil Island?
There are not many shopping zones in the small island. The village market named Neil Kendra is where you can buy things. It is located between two prominent beaches, namely Laxmanpur beach and Bharatpur beach. You will find some eateries in the area which offer fresh regional dishes