The gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and
the Andaman Sea, Port Blair is the capital of the Union Territory located in
the Bay of Bengal. Located on the Southern Andaman Island, Port Blair is at the
very heart of tourism in the Andamans. Greatly connected with the mainland of
India, Port Blair is also the center of finance, culture, and other major
activities prevailing in the Union Territory.
Be it sightseeing, interactions with the prevailing local tribes, knowledge of the history of the area, or water sports in Andaman, Port Blair is truly the heart of all that makes Andaman a true tropical destination worth exploring any time of the year.
Surrounded by the rugged yet beautiful coastlines, and tropical yet mesmerizing forests, Port Blair is a culmination of not just the most beautiful of sceneries, but also of various cultures. Bengalis, Tamils, Telugus, Nicobarese, and Burmese are the main inhabitants of the capital, with Bengali being the most spoken language, followed closely by Hindi.
Major things to do in Port Blair includes the name sightseeing at Cellular Jail, birdwatching at Chidiya Tapu, and shopping at Aberdeen Market, and must visit places near Port Blair are Havelock Island, Ross Island, Corbyn’s Cove, and Viper Island.
Places to visit in Port Blair:
As is clear from the name itself, Chidiya Tapu is a heaven for bird lovers. With a lot of rare migratory birds approaching this island and a number of other indigenous species calling this place their home, Chidiya Tapu is a famous attraction near Port Blair. Another great thing to do here is to watch a mesmerizing sunset from the beach which is flanked by hills on one side and forests on the other.
Popularly known as the Kala Paani Jail, the Cellular Jail was a colonial prison built on the Andaman islands because of the remoteness of the place. The British sent exiled prisoners here, including the notable names of Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (in the honor of whom Port Blair’s airport was named). The place is now an important historical monument and hosts an amazing light and sound show every evening.
Named after the ship that brought Lieutenant Archibald Blair to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789, the viper island was the site of the British Exile Prison before the construction of the famous Cellular Jail. With the ruins of the old gallows still sitting on the top of a hillock on the island, the place is a scenic as well as bio-diverse wonder. Interestingly, the wreckage of the ship HMS Viper was also found near the island itself.
Samudrika Marine Museum
Ran by the Indian Navy, the Samudrika Marine Museum is situated in the capital itself and was built with a great initiative in mind. The museum works for generating awareness about the situations in the ocean and about marine life. Divided into 5 sections, the museum presents exhibits dealing with the Islands, the geography, people and demographics, archaeology, and the marine life. It houses a great collection of cells, corals, and a few colorful fish species from the waters around.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
A stretch of unmatched natural beauty, the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park was given its status on 24th May 1983. With the main aim of preserving marine life, especially the rare coral life, and the nesting sea turtles, the National Park is divided into 2 major island groups; Labyrinth Islands and Twin Islands. Spread in an area of 281.5 sq km, the place is a heaven for nature lovers and diving enthusiasts.
Rajeev Gandhi Water Sports Complex
Most of the water sports and related activities
are concentrated in one place, the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex. Offering
a safe place for enjoying water sports, you can enjoy joy rides on speed boats,
Jet Ski & Banana rides. Apart from these, there is also the availability of
Kayaking, Canoeing, Parasailing, Paragliding, Waterskiing, and Boat Tours.
North Bay Island
The heaven of life underwater, North Bay Island is the adventurer's paradise. With a number of good diving sites, the island is swarming with opportunities for exploration underwater. You can choose to enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and sea walking, alongside glassbottom boat rides to spot the rarest and most beautiful marine species. Don't miss our full guide on the top places in andaman to visit on your next visit.
A group of islands, the North Cinque and South Cinque Islands are so famously known for being connected with sandbars in between them. With this passage named the Manners Strait, both the islands have some features that make them favorites of visitors all year round. While North Cinque is famous for water sports like diving and snorkeling, the South Cinque island is a part of the famous Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park.
Ross and Smith Island
Located far away from the mainland of Andaman are these twin islands connected by a sandbar in the middle. The entryway to this majestic pair of islands is from the small town of Diglipur, and one needs a formal permission from the forest department to visit. The clear blue waters, and an amazing marine life, alongside animals in the forests make this place a great experience to visit
Mount Harriet National Park
Covering the area around the third highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Mount Harriet National Park is named after the wife of Robert Christopher Tytler, an avid naturalist, and photographer of British Origin. It must be noted that the picture on the back of a 20 Rs currency bill was actually taken in this National Park. Don't forget to check out our full guide on the top things to do in andaman on your trip.
A famous attraction of the Andamans, the Forest Museum is located in Chatham, on the very outskirts of Port Blair. Managed by the forest department, the place is famous for exhibiting artifacts made with timber, gurjan, oak, satinwood and paduak. As an added flavor, the museum also has a mini zoo and a small zoological garden inside the complex.
Home to more than 350 species of marine animals, including creatures like fishes, turtles, sharks, and crabs, the place was built with the thought of preservation and showcasing the natural assets of Andaman. Ideal for all age groups, you can also see a lot of corals, clam shells, and lobsters as well.
With a rather sad history attached to it, the
ruins present on the island speak volumes about the time that this place has
seen. Once the administrative headquarters of the British colony in Andaman,
the place was abandoned after the earthquake in 1941. The place is now taken
over by forests that add an unsettling feeling to the whole place.
Jolly Buoy Island
Home to majestic corals and an unmatched beauty
of a beach, the Jolly Buoy is a part of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National
Park. A haven for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, the corals here are in
their most pristine form and have been attracting travelers and adventurers
from all around the world.
Things to do in Port Blair
Attend the Light and Sound show in Cellular Jail
The cellular jail sound and light show is one of the best things to do in Port Blair. Displaying the story of the struggle behind fight of freedom in India, it is a popular attraction between tourists. The show runs in both, English and Hindi, taking care of all the audience that comes to view it.
Spot beautiful birds at Chidiya Tapu
Chidiya Tapu is one of the most colorful places around Port Blair to explore, as it is not just visited by the tourists, but also by some of the rarest bird species in migration and native to the archipelago. You can spot the Andaman Serpent Eagle, White-breasted Kingfisher, Oriental Scops-owl, and many other such rare species.
Visit Rajeev Gandhi Water Complex
The Rajeev Gandhi Water Complex, named after the
deceased ex-Prime Minister of the country, is a great place to go to when you
seek adventure and a calling for water sports, You can enjoy jet skiing,
parasailing, banana boat riding, kayaking, water skiing, and more adrenaline
spiking sports right here.
Visit at Munda Pahar Beach
Located right on the Chidiya Tapu, the Munda Pahar Beach is covered by hills on one side, and with mangrove forests on the other. Apart from the views of some of the rarest birds, this secluded beach is a great spot to witness a mesmerizing sunset, and thus attracts a large number of visitors. You can also take a look at our article on the best beaches in andaman which you must visit on your vacation.
Visit Mount Harriet
The third highest hill on the Andaman and Nicobar Group of Islands, the area around the hill is densely forested and makes for what is known as the Mount Harriet National Park. Named after Harriet Tytler, the British Officer who documented the buildings and monuments of Delhi and her notes on the 1857 uprising in India.
Watch the only active Volcano in India at Barren Island
Home to the only active volcano in South Asia,
the smoking hill on Barren Island is also the only active volcano in a chain of
volcanoes that runs from Sumatra in Indonesia to Myanmar. Just like the name,
the place is barren yet beautiful, with the latest eruption recorded in the
Explore North Bay Island
A beautiful island full of beaches, the North Bay Island is one of the best places to visit near Port Blair. You can enjoy many water-related activities on the North Bay Island, with the most amazing ones being Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Sea Walking, and Glassbottom boat riding.
Visit Japanese Bunker
Telling the story of the Japanese invasion of the Andamans, these bunkers located at various strategic locations across the town of Port Blair. The Japanese came here during the time of the second world war and constructed these bunkers to help in the process, one of which is quite close to the Corbyn’s Cove. You can also check our best andaman honeymoon packages.
Visit Clock Tower
In the very center of the city of Port Blair not far away from the water sports complex and on the main bazaar road, the Aberdeen Clock Tower is surrounded by many shops and is lit up in the evening, making for a great place to hang around. Forming a reference for the city, this landmark is also amongst the most photographed one.
Do Shopping Aberdeen Bazaar
The most popular shopping area in not just Port Blair but also in the entire Andaman Island, the place is also the commercial hub of the capital. Be it the festive season, weekends, or any normal day, the place is just packed with shoppers buying clothes, household items, coconut shell lamps, bamboo cane craft and jewelry made out of shells as souvenirs or just for use.
Divided into 5 sections dedicated to Andaman and
the marine life around it, the famous museum is a great place to gain knowledge
about the history, geography, and biology attached to this amazing tropical
destination. Also, get to witness some rare species of corals and fishes in the
Go on Samudrika Museum tour
Other Essential Info about Port Blair
The mobile connectivity in Andaman has always
been a concern for the modern traveler, and is a question often asked. The
prefered connections that usually work in Port Blair are Vodafone, BSNL, and
Airtel, with Vodafone being the best service. Reliance Jio and Tata Docomo do
not work in Andaman at all.
Unlike the rest of India, people in Andaman and
Nicobar enjoy free healthcare services from government hospitals, meaning the
people do not pay consultation fee or medication prices. On Port Blair, the GB
Pant Hospital and ANIIMS together form the best medical facility, with the
Maricar Hospital following closely in keeping the people of the islands, and
the travelers healthy.
Cash is something that you will always need when
you are traveling to a new place. The same applies to Port Blair, and the
question of unavailability is something that will surely inconvenience anyone.
As it turns out, many major banks have ATMs at strategic places in Port Blair,
including Canara Bank, HDFC, United Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, Bank Of
Baroda, and United Commercial Bank.
Places to eat
Food is another major concern of a traveler. Although the experience of going to a new place and trying their cuisine sounds exhilarating and tasty, the best thing is always to enjoy it all from the best of the restaurants around. Some of the most favorite and highly rated restaurants of Port Blair are Icy Spicy, Hotel Kattabomman, Amaya, Annapurna, New Lighthouse Restaurant, Ananda Restaurant, Brewberry’s and many more. The taste here ranges from Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Continental, Seafood, to Cafes and Breweries.
Minimum Duration for Visiting Port Blair
For covering all that Port Blair and surrounding regions have to offer, you would need at least a 4 day trip to Port Blair. If you're looking for hotels to stay in andaman, there are many amazing options to choose from.
Things to Keep in Mind
Following are a few pointers for keeping in mind while visiting here.
1. Mondays are a holiday in Andaman and you will find most of the places closed on that day, including the Cellular Jail.
2. For foreigners and NRIs arriving here, a Protected Area Permit is a must for entry into the capital, as well as the Union Territory.
3. The locals are very helpful and cooperative, and you must talk to them for a better experience of everything.
4. The local transport here is as effective as public transportation, and again the people are very cooperative in this scenario. You can also go on a cruise ride for leisure.
5. ATMs are easily available throughout the city. Also, cards may or may not work here because of the network issues, so it is advised that you keep some cash handy at all times.
7. Do not litter as the locals do not like tourists who do that.