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Neil Island, Havelock Island

  • There are several picturesque and popular islands near Port Blair that you can explore during your trip to the 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!

    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.

    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.


    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 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.

    10. Bharatpur Beach

    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.

    6. Snorkeling

    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


    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.

    2) Medical Facilities

    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.

    3)
    ATMs

    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 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

Attractions

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Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach in Andaman has ranked 8th among the top ten beautiful beaches in the world based on travellers reviews and rating available on multiple sources and Radhanagar Beach deserves it for many reasons. One of the most ravishing beauty in Andaman with a lot of tourists visiting it every year, Radhanagar Beach is the gem of Havelock Island. 500 meters away from the beach, one can see only the expansive blue water and the lush green tropical forests but when you reach the beach, the sights are apparently awe-inspiring.

 Radhanagar is commonly called as Beach No.7 and this is one of the closest beach located near to Havelock Island ferry tier. The silky beach is kids friendly as well so that families are found in plenty on the beach to spend their vacation or a short holiday. There is nothing to be worried as the coast guards are roaming around always and the number of people here will be a pleasant sight to see. Andaman honeymoon packages itinerary always includes Havelock Island.

Activities: Snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, boating, parasailing etc are some of the most commonly seen activities on the beach and among them Scuba Diving is the best as it offers the clear interaction with the wide range of marine animals and coral reefs around living in harmony. 

The turquoise water gives a rejuvenating experience while you swim across or do snorkelling and since the number of tourists are relatively higher, the Government opens more opportunities for them to spend an ample time on the beach. As it is a superb place adventure lovers also would covet, the fame it has achieved international importance in no time. You must book a tour including  Andaman snorkelling, to make your holiday much more special.

Distance from Port Blair: From Port Blair it will take more than three hours to reach Radhanagar Beach as it is located about 72 kms away from the capital city.

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Elephant Beach

Settled on the sands of Havelock Island, Elephant Beach is a reveling beauty well presented by the long coral reefs and the shining shoreline. A peaceful beach with pure serenity and silent ambiance will offer the visitors a soothing melody and that would be the perfect time to relax, to walk around with your love or just to do sunbathing. 

Among the different beach on Havelock Island, Elephant Beach has a special significance because of its friendly atmosphere and not so crowded shoreline. In addition to the adventurous activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, tourists find time to do boating and similar activities on the beach. 

The clear water, the calm waves, the cool breeze and the magnificent sights on the shore have their own impacts on the number of people visiting the beach. You must check other islands of Andaman consisting of great beaches and make your tour marvelous by visiting them.

Highlights: The long array of private boats, fishing boats, and buoys extend a riveting beauty to the beach. Moreover, it is a kid-friendly beach as well so that families are found here aplenty. The huge shoreline is the key factor behind the countless visitors appears on the beach every day. 

During monsoon also, tourists would love to come to Elephant Beach. People have reported that at times, the wild elephants from the nearby forests come to the beach and stroll along the white sandy bed.

Activities: An ideal place for snorkeling and scuba diving is Elephant Beach though boating and other fun, water-based activities are also done by the visitors often. Tourists have experienced the best sea walking as well on Elephant Beach.

Distance from Port Blair: Elephant Beach is located on the famous Havelock Island. It is lying about 69 km away from the capital city of Andaman, Port Blair. One can reach the beach via boat from Havelock jetty after reaching there from Port Blair by road or by boat.

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Vijaynagar Beach

Known as Beach No.5 is Vijaynagar Beach in the north east part of Havelock Island. Very remote from the crowded locations on Havelock Island, Vijaynagar Beach is close to heart for those who love to spend time in utmost calmness. The regular touch of the sapphire blue water on the pearl like sandy beach makes no noise and it is one of the reasons why tourists chosen it as the perfect space for romantic couples and families. Don't forget to check the resorts for couples in Andaman.

The beauty of the beach has been praised so much by those who visited it. It is always better to come here freely, just to roam around, or to float on the shallow water, or to read under the large shade given by the huge trees on the shore or to do sunbathing. The collection of Mahua trees and palms is the significant ornament making the beach a splendid place to sit back and relax as much as time one wants to. This is one of the magnificent attractions in Andaman.

Highlights: A photographer's paradise is Vijaynagar Beach; especially the sunrise views from the beach is incomparably magnificent. When the sun’s fresh rays spread all over the wide sea, the entire atmosphere starts blushing in all possible colours and there is no better sight from the beach would satiate a photographic mind. The native birds appear during the fresh mornings add effective colours to the sunrise pictures.

Activity: The beach is recognized for relaxed swimming and sunbathing. Adventure activities are not yet a fashion on this inevitable part of Havelock Island.

Distance from Port Blair: Vijaynagar Beach is located at a distance of about 38 kms from Port Blair but from Havelock jetty the beach is lying 9 kms away only.