The lively capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands boasts a long, beautiful coastline looking out to the surreal shades of the Andaman Sea. Surrounded by forests and teeming with luxury resorts, bazaars, and historical sites, Port Blair offers a huge range of activities for the discerning traveller. Here’s how you can make the most of a day-long stopover. By Sushmita Srivastav
SUNRISE AT CHIDIYA TAPU
Begin your island sojourn by waking up early and driving 17 kilometres south to Chidiya Tapu, known for its indigenous and migratory birds, and otherworldly sunrises. Visit the
eponymous beach and watch the sun slowly rise from the ocean. If you wish to spend more time here, go on a 60-minute trek through thick mangroves to the black-rock clifftop of Munda Pahad, and watch the waves crashing against the rocks. Visiting hours of Munda Pahad: 9 am to 3:30 pm.
BREAKFAST AT BREWBERRY’S
After your rewarding trek, head to Brewberry’s Cafe to gorge on fresh brownies, French-press coffee, wraps, loaded sandwiches, and more. The brand has over 100 outlets across the country, and its cafe in Port Blair is a popular tourist hangout best known for its hot and cold brews.
BACK IN TIME AT CELLULAR JAIL
Take a tour of Cellular Jail, an infamous prison built by the British using prisoners as labour. The three-storeyed structure features seven wings radiating from a watchtower in the centre. This architecture ensured solitary confinement for all who were held here. Better known by its moniker of Kala Pani, the structure was used to exile Indian political prisoners from the mainland and crush their dissent. Though it fell into ruin post-Independence, the jail was later restored by the government and is now open to visitors. Timings: 9 am to 12:30 pm; 1:30 pm to 4:45 pm.
A GLIMPSE OF OCEAN LIFE
Run by the Indian Navy, Samudrika Naval Marine Museum offers insight into the island’s ecosystem, diverse flora and fauna, and indigenous tribal communities. The entrance displays the skeleton of a blue whale that once washed ashore on Kamorta Island. The aquarium and zoo inside house corals, turtles, fish, saltwater crocodiles, and seashells recovered from poachers.
FRESH SEAFOOD SPREAD
Although New Lighthouse Restaurant has an impressive global menu, it’s the freshly-caught
seafood—grilled, steamed, or barbecued to perfection—that makes the eatery popular among locals and tourists. Take a tuk-tuk to this open-air restaurant for lunch, pick a breezy spot on the rooftop, and wolf down delicious grilled crabs and prawn curry with a glass of local beer.
A PIECE OF HISTORY ON ROSS ISLAND
Take a 15-minute ferry ride from Aberdeen Jetty to Ross Island (now known as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep). The former British administrative headquarters of the archipelago houses ruins of colonial-era buildings and magnificent caves reclaimed by roots of fig and peepal trees. You can also spot peacocks, deer, and other fauna in its protected forest.
Enjoy the idyllic beach life by heading to the quieter Corbyn’s Cove Beach, around six kilometres from Aberdeen Jetty. Curl up with a book on a sunbed, or scuba dive in the turquoise waters to swim with schools of colourful fish. The largely pristine beach is fringed with coconut groves and ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing.
SHOPPING AT ABERDEEN BAZAAR
The bustling centre of Port Blair, Aberdeen Bazaar caters to all your shopping needs. The
local shops offer great deals on everything from beachwear to shell jewellery and spices like cloves and cardamom. Drop by Sagarika Emporium to get your hands on pearls, sarongs, bamboo cane crafts, carved padauk fixtures, trinkets, and souvenirs—sold at fixed prices.
DINNER ON A CRUISE
Bring the day to a memorable end by boarding the TSG Bella Bay luxury cruise and feasting on a lavish dinner spread. On the cruise, you pass by islets like Viper, Dundas, Haddo, Chattam, Mount Harriet, and North Bay. Onboard, groove to live Nicobari and contemporary music, and gorge on local delicacies prepared by the in-house chef.
Flights are the fastest and most convenient way to reach Port Blair. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Vizag, and Hyderabad.
Overlooking the turquoise waters of Bay of Bengal and an age-old lighthouse, Fortune Resort Bay Island offers a balance of luxury and serenity (starts from INR 6,750/USD 90). Sinclairs Bayview Port Blair is a contemporary hotel offering bay views, a restaurant, a bar, a gym, and an outdoor pool (starts from INR 7,500/USD 100).
October to March.
Adventure lovers, honeymooners, and solo travellers.
A 90-minute ferry ride from Port Blair, Havelock Island (renamed as Swaraj Dweep) is home to white beaches, teal waters, and the most popular dive sites. Its Radhanagar Beach is counted as one of the best beaches in Asia. The Full Moon Cafe here is a favourite among divers and tourists who want to gorge on fresh catch from the sea.