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!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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nagar Beach10. Bharatpur
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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