Ross Island, Andaman - Everything you should know
The Andaman archipelago has many pretty islands and those are frequented by nature and marine wildlife loving tourist across the year. However, the remnants of former British settlement in the serene and remote Ross Island hold a unique charm for the visitors. The island was named after Daniel Ross, a British marine surveyor.
In pre independence India, this island was a British colony where administrative activities were at peak. It was called Paris of the East’ and even now you can find the remnants of that colonial period. A tour in this island takes you down to road of nostalgia and also offers you an escape from clutter of busy tourist locations in Andaman.
The flora and fauna you witness in this island is amazing, and the population of peacocks, birds and deers in the island will amaze you too. The variety of plant species in this island is also great. The ruins of a church, the cellular jail, a bakery and several other buildings are there to be explored too.
Now, the Indian Navy maintains the former British Administrative Headquarters and its numerous historic ruins. There is the Smritika Museum (Indian Navy) which is well maintained and the newest attraction for visitors is a sound and light show. It takes place every evening barring Wednesday and major holidays.
How to reach Ross Island from Port Blair
Ross Island is barely 2 km away from Port Bair and reaching it is therefore not a problem. You can use either the air or ferry routes to reach this beautiful small island from Port blair.
From Port Blair, the majority of tourists prefer using boats to reach the island. It does not take much time and boat ride is quite economical too. A number of tour operators offer trip to this island from the Phoenix Bay Jetty or Aberdeen Jetty. The boat ride from Port Blair to Ross Island takes 10 to 15 minutes, approx.
Those with deep wallets can hire charter flights or helicopters to reach the island. The Veer Savarkar International airport in Port Blair is where the flights land. There are a few tour agencies that offer helicopter transportation to islands adjacent to Port Blair.
Best time to visit
Like the majority of tourist destinations in Andaman, this island has a typical tropical climate. The summer months are quiet hot and humid here. Average summer temperature hovers between 35 and 38 degree Celsius.
However, the monsoon months bring down the scorching heat and the cool breeze offers a soothing experience. The temperature remains within 30 degrees Celsius in monsoon and apart from the rough sea there is no other hassle. The island is replete with lush greenery in the monsoon months as well.
However, the most ideal time to explore Ross Island is the winter months. The temperature does not dip too much and the sea conditions are optimal too. The average winter temperature in the island hovers between 15 to 22 degrees Celsius.
Ideally, you should plan your vacation plan to explore this island and adjacent locations within October to march.
Other Essential Info about Ross Island
1. Mobile Connectivity - Like the most other island in Andaman region, mobile connectivity in Ross island can be quite weak and it gives tourists headaches even now. Over the last few years, things have improved a bit but data speed will be sluggish and call drops and network congestions are expected.
It would be the best thing to carry 3 different SIMs when you visit this island if staying in touch with those at home is a priority at all times. Despite trying all options, sometimes you may see zero network coverage in the island.
2. Medical Facilities - The Island has no provision for staying overnight and there are no such medical facilities-as a consequence. You should carry medications with you or first aids stuff when you reach it from port Blair.
It is especially important for those visitors who need to take specific medications every day. Apart from medications, you may carry sunscreen and antiseptic cream when visiting the island as a precautionary measure.
3. Timings to visit - Ross Island can be visited throughout the years and the first ferry leaves from Port Blair at 8.30 am. However, a majority of tourists prefer visiting the island prefer going by afternoon to witness the evening show-which is a major attraction of the island.
Ideally, you should visit in the morning because there are several sightseeing in the island. It will take some time to explore the remnants of British colony- even in their dilapidated form. This will leave you with enough time to enjoy the evening show that begins around 5 pm and the return to port Blair.
4. Places to eat near Ross Island - Ross Island is not used for human inhabitation and it is maintained by the Indian navy. So, you will not get much eatery or restaurant here –unlike some of the nearby and popular islands.
So, it is advisable that you carry enough food and water before visiting the island. Thankfully, in port Blair you can find nearly all types of foods and snacks. In Ross Island, you will find a lot of tender coconut sellers though.
5. Activities to do - The entire island is quite small and you can cover it all within a couple of hours by foot. However, the historic ruins are quiet enticing and some of them have been restored by the Indian navy. Rest of the buildings is really in a dilapidated state, with overgrowth of trees and wild vegetation all around.
The church is worth watching as is the Farzand Ali Store which now serves as a museum. The ruins of a former water distillation plant, printing press, tennis court and a small cemetery are there. The island sanctuary has a good collection of animals.
The wildlife in the island, comprising mostly of the peacocks, deers and parrots are rather bold in nature and they do not shy away from human company.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do I get from Port Blair to Ross Island?
It is quite easy to reach Ross Island from Port Blair and the distance is barely 2 miles. The island is connected through ferry route with capital of the Andaman. The ferries leave mostly from Port Blair’s Phoenix Bay Jetty and reach the island in 15 minutes or so. You may opt for a helicopter tour if money is not a hindrance and you want to enjoy aerial view of the small, pretty island.
2. Is Ross Island the highest island?
No, it is not the highest island in the Andamans.
3. How large is Ross Island?
As a matter of fact, it is among the smaller tourist accessible islands in the Andaman. It is comprised of 31 hectres. That is why it is preferred by most tourists prefer daytime trip while others cover it while exploring nearby islands.
4. What water activities are available at Ross island?
While most water sports loving tourists prefer Havelock Island, Ross island is not exactly without any option. The water sports complex provided boat can be used for ride. It has a glass boat and so you can watch the aquatic wildlife beneath. Scuba diving and swimming are also possible. Some tour operators also make arrangements for walking under sea and you can enjoy watching fish and colorful coral reefs from close proximity.
5. What are the timings of Light and Sound show at Ross Island?
The famous Light and Sound show is held at the Ross Island every evening, except for Wednesdays and major holidays. The 45 minute long show has been made in alliance with renowned Bollywood personalities and it begins at 5.15 pm approx.
6. Which is the best resort near Ross Island?
Ross Island is not used for any type of human inhabitation and the visitors are not allowed to stay overnight. There is no resort or hotel in the island. Most of the visitors stay in nearby Port Blair where several accommodation options are available. Some of the popular resorts in Port Blair are Palm Grove Eco Resort, Fortune Resort Bay Island, Peerless Sarovar Portico and Wild Grass Resort.
7. What places can we visit around Ross Island?
Ross island is in close proximity to Port Blair and it is not very far from popular tourist destinations like Neil island and viper island. In fact, most tour operators offer tours in these islands on same day or in a couple of days.
8. What are the ticket price of the light and sound show at Ross Island?
The amazing light and sound show that is held every evening at Ross Island has an entry fee of INR 100 for the adult visitors. For the kids, you need to pay one fourth of that amount. Advance booking is required to witness the show.
9. What happens in the light and sound show in Ross Island?
The amazing light and sound show of Ross Island has renewed tourists interest in the remote island in Andaman archipelago, as it is. The show has been created with inputs of famous bollywood personalities like Revathy, Gulzar, Shabana Azmi and Resul Pookkutty. It features Dolby Surround sound for outdoors and showcases the glorious past of the Andaman.
10. Do we have to pre-book boats to visit Ross Island from Havelock?
Ross Island has direct and regular ferry connectivity from Port Blair. So, it will be necessary to pre-book private ferries to visit Ross Island from Havelock. A number of companies offer private speed boats to let the tourists cover these islands and the nearby attractions. Of course, they charge higher than the govt ferries.