5 Places Not to Miss in The North Andaman Island: Going Beyond Havelock and Neil Island



There is no denying the fact that Andaman and Nicobar islands are one dream destination on the Indian subcontinent. Stunning vistas and majestic topography set it apart. Unrivaled Nature unfolds herself and flourishes here, more than anywhere else. It is no wonder 200,000 visitors visit the Andaman Islands every year. But Alas! 95% of them never leave the "Port Blair - Havelock - Neil" triangle. We have spent 5 weeks here and for me, the true attractions of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago lie in the North Andaman Island. 




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    So drop out of your modernized lifestyle. Answer to the call of your primitive DNA. And delve into the wilderness the northern islets has to offer. 


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    The literal layers of blue merging into the white! at andaman @doibedouin
    The literal layers of blue merging into the white! Picture Courtesy: Argha Nag



    North Andaman Highlights

    North Andaman has the highest peak, amazing jungles, the turtle nesting beaches, uninhabited islands, a mud volcano, and the famous Ross Island, connected by a sand bridge to the Smith island.


    True, North Andaman lies 13 hours bus or ship journey north from Port Blair. However, the adversities are not forever. Neither is it the only catch here. You will be able to enjoy the serenity in the beauty of this Island without the touristing bunch.

    If unhurried and quiet holidaying, away from the buzz of the city is your forte, then the North Andaman is your new best friend. Whether to call it a boon or bane, your phone will not ring for the duration of stay. Beyond the outskirts of Diglipur town, there is no network coverage.



    Diglipur

    Diglipur is the first and only town you will see in the North Andaman and most travelers just pass-thru on the way to Kalipur. Diglipur is the last place where you will get everything you need; catch any mobile signal, visit an internet cafe or stock up on supplies. 

    map of north andaman @doibedouin
    map of north andaman  @doibedouin
    Diglipur area North Andaman Map. Courtesy: EagleFlyFree


    Saddle Peak 

    It is the highest peak of Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago. While the peak's elevation is only 732 meters above sea level, the hike to Saddle peak requires quite an effort. Plan for a full-day and take plenty of water with you.

    You do not have to peak the summit. The journey itself is extraordinary. Evidently, the visible path takes you right through the shades of the fantastic rain forest. And the ocean will always be right there if you feel like having a splash. This trek is delightful. And it is a very easy and comfortable, compared to the jungle walks in Africa or the Amazon basin. Temperatures are ambient here. Expect some 29-32 degrees Celsius during the winter season. 


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     At the entrance to the Saddle Peak national park stands a tiny Forest Department building where your permit will be issued on the spot for a small fee.


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    Craggy Island 

    I fell in love with this tiny, uninhabited island. And deservedly so. It is one of those places where you be the Robinson Crusoe. The most photographed site, maybe, with its colorful underwater world. The reefs would leave your jaw on the floor (read ocean floor); just the perfect spot for Snorkeling!

    Granted, one should not come all this way without some precaution to keep you from the scorching heat of the sun. The jungle is too dense to take shelter into. And there is no natural shade on the beach. It is always advisable to carry a larger umbrella. A hammock or two may save your day here. Even beach blankets could serve as canopy sheds here. 



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     When you design your North Andaman trip, you will see a few sources saying that “Craggy Island is just a swim away from Kalipur beach”. Trust me, it is not “just a swim away”. Take a boat instead.


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    Anchoring by Craggy Island @doibedouin
    Anchoring by Craggy Island


    Turtle Nesting and Hatching in The Kalipur Beach

    Come the hatching season and the Kalipur beach becomes the nesting grounds of the turtles. You will find four turtle species here- Olive Ridley, Leather Back, Green Turtle, and Hawks Bill. Nesting season runs from mid-December to March and little turtle hatch within 45-50 days. The beach offers three accommodations nearby wherefrom you can observe the turtles in the night. 


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     Pro Tip: It is good to be rational here. Turtles will not come every night. Sometimes you wait till 1 a.m. and then go to sleep, just to hear that 3 turtles came to nest just after you left. Locals advise coming one hour before high tide and stay for 2 hours. If there is no turtle nesting, go back to rest and come back again the next night. If you want to increase your chances, remain silent and definitely use NO light! Loud sounds and blazing your mobile light on the beach will scare the turtle away. If you need to use light, use low red light.



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    Turtle hatchling on the shorelines Courtesy: Andaman Emerald

    The Twin Islands of Ross and Smith


    Imagine a milieu of perfect cerulean seawater divided by a beige stretch of shoal; sounds overwhelming? Then this is your Spot! You can walk the white sand from one island to the other. The Indian Ocean will always flow with you. You can’t possibly pull yourself away from this slice of Paradise!

    You would come across the duo when you surf through the net for the Andaman Islands. You will see iconic pictures of the twin islets pretty often. As often as not, visitors flock here for the stunning geographical formations. And that makes the tedious journey to the North Andaman all the more alluring and enduring.

    Boats depart from Aerial Bay Jetty and charge around 4000 rupees per boat (not person) for a return trip with 3 hours waiting time in the islands. This price will work for up to five people and the trip gets more expensive if there are more people. 






    How to Reach North Andaman? By Ships

    Ships sail between Port Blair and Diglipur 3 to 6 times a week. Fares are from INR 630 for the deck to INR 1470 for a deluxe cabin. The ship sails all day or all night. Best is to take a cabin, sleep well and wake up in the morning in Diglipur. Ships anchor at the Aerial Bay.



    How to Reach North Andaman? By Bus

    There are 4 buses daily from Port Blair to Diglipur. These depart Port Blair at 4:15am IST, 7:00am IST, 10:00am IST and last at 12:45am IST. Lately (in November 2019) an overnight bus started from Port Blair to Diglipur. Buses return from Diglipur at 7:00am IST, 10:00am IST and then there is an overnight bus back to Port Blair. 


    Backpacking by Bus in Andaman @doibedouin
    Backpacking by Bus




    Getting from Diglipur to Aerial bay and Kalipur

    A public bus is a cheapest and reasonably convenient way to reach both Aerial Bay and Kalipur from Diglipur. Buses leave every hour from Diglipur central market area and the last bus leaves at 7 pm. Do not miss it!

    Auto rickshaws and taxis between Diglipur and Kalipur will cost 300-600 INR one way. Bargaining in a friendly manner can benefit you here.

    If you arrive by ocean vessel, you will disembark at Aerial Bay jetty. No need to go to Diglipur, just jump on the Diglipur - Kalipur bus as it passes by Aerial Bay and disembark at your accommodation near Kalipur beach. 



    Where to Stay? North Andaman Hotels, Resorts, and Accommodation

    Within walking distance to Kalipur beach, there are 3 accommodation options:  Turtle Resort, Pristine Resort, and Saddle Peak View Resort.
    Tourism department operated Turtle Resort is the best value for money choice here. Double room with hot water and AC will cost from INR 1200 at the Turtle Resort or similarly priced Saddle Peak. Pristine is the most expensive of the three.

    North Andaman offers so many things to do. I would recommend spending at least 4 days here. 5 days and you will love it even more. So, set sails! Ahoy Matey!



    Click here to check Andaman IslandsTravel Guide.  

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