A few tips for the Andamans

#76 Oct 24th, 2011, 14:53
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Jan 2010
  • arnabbthika is offline
Originally Posted by time to go View Post Hi ,

I'll be going to the adanmans hoping to leave calcutta on the 15th of december returning to Chennai on the 3rd of January doe's anyone have a link I can book a boat in advance or an idea of who would be the best air carrier .

How long doe's the boat take ?
hi ...time to go
if u really want to enjoy scuba drive ....... andaman bubbles is good i did on 1st oct of this month
it was really a good experience after that i fall in love with scuba drive ........ i will go again
#77 Oct 26th, 2011, 20:13
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  • Pammi is online now
Thanks Prena and arnabbthika.
#78 Nov 7th, 2011, 22:59
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  • apurv21 is offline
Are their any private ferry (not cruise) operators to Andaman from Chennai? And is there any change in frequency from 4 sailings per month from Chennai?
#79 Jan 13th, 2012, 19:11
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Dankuni, West Bengal, India
  • Goutams is offline
isn't it the right place to get suggession for itinerary?
#80 Apr 7th, 2012, 12:47
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  • ayymer is offline

eating alive by mosquitoes and heading to andaman

So havin be eaten alive by mosquitoes, which I am allergic to, as it turns out we are planning to go to Andaman in the next few days. In the hospital where I had tpo go for my legs a girl there said that the sandflys were ten times worse.

Is there any spray that actually works? I already have to put on sunscreen, antibacterial cream, antihistamine cream and the normal chemical deet cream has not worked. The only one that has remotely worked is a natural citronalla and lemongrass one, that I bought in Goa and now can't find here. I'm near chennai.

I dont want to bring a bag full of drugs, I made that mistake coming to India, and now have loads stuff I dont need.

Help. I've been in hospital twice already with my bites!
#81 Apr 8th, 2012, 22:22
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  • Prerna is offline
Originally Posted by ayymer View Post So havin be eaten alive by mosquitoes, which I am allergic to, as it turns out we are planning to go to Andaman in the next few days. In the hospital where I had tpo go for my legs a girl there said that the sandflys were ten times worse.

Is there any spray that actually works? I already have to put on sunscreen, antibacterial cream, antihistamine cream and the normal chemical deet cream has not worked. The only one that has remotely worked is a natural citronalla and lemongrass one, that I bought in Goa and now can't find here. I'm near chennai.

I dont want to bring a bag full of drugs, I made that mistake coming to India, and now have loads stuff I dont need.

Help. I've been in hospital twice already with my bites!
Sad to hear about your body's response to Mosquitos!

I don't remember seeing any Mosquitos at all in the islands. There were a few in Port Blair Hugh, so you might want to avoid it altogether. About sandflies, I've no clue how they work, but the only place I've seen them on Earth was Beach no 7. Still, you should give it a try as it's really beautiful there, and who knows, maybe they don't like you or they only come on certain seasons?

An alternative I would propose is you to stay 3 weeks in an Ayurvedic hospital, like the one in kottakkal, Kerala. There you would be able to have your body and blood deeply cleaned until these allergies go away for good.
#82 Jun 2nd, 2012, 21:51
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  • caroline1979 is offline
How did you get on? I never really had problems with bites until I went to the Andamans, between ants and god knows what else my legs were destroyed... The place is covered in jungles so its inevitable... Hope it wasnt too bad for you...
#83 Nov 19th, 2012, 18:53
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  • alxztravels is offline
Originally Posted by bukowski View Post http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=tlRSsvB4iLE
just stumbled across this on youtube - heartbreaking.
will probably still go there after christmas but certainly food
for thought - especially regarding using the road through jarawa land
interested to hear anyone else's thoughts
That was an amazing documentary. It is unfortunate that our visit to the Andamans will be indirectly responsible for the further destruction of the islands and it's original inhabitants. Although I would like to have a environmentally zero-impact visit it would be impossible or hypocritical to do so.
#84 May 30th, 2013, 21:07
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  • IndiaPhile is offline

A few tips for the Andamans

A few tips for the Andamans. Some are repeats of what others have posted but, with some people obviously failing to read or search the forums before posting questions, I hope you think them worthwhile.

1) Obviously, only a very naive person would expect a mobile (cell) phone signal throughout most of the Andamans but it's worth noting that my trusty old Nokia (toughest and most reliable phone ever – see the Internet Meme) struggled and was unable to connect anywhere but in the most popular areas i.e. Port Blair, some parts of Havelock (notably around the jetty and Village #1) and a few larger towns on Middle and North Andaman. I was told by locals, that this was because my service provider (Virgin) does not have reciprocal agreements with some Indian service providers. Locals and foreigners with other service providers often had a useful signal where I had none. As my phone is ancient (but GSM) this might just be a technical issue. Perhaps some guru hanging around in the Electronics forum could provide more information?

2) On the same subject, the normally ubiquitous PCO/STD booths are almost entirely absent from most of the Andamans. No-one could help me with one in Port Blair or most islands. Even Internet cafes were unwilling or unable to provide an international voice line. When my trusty Nokia was accidentally left behind in Pristine Resort Kalipur (Diglipur) I struggled to contact the UK. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem but with family members in the UK being seriously unwell, being incommunicado was a serious problem.

[I'd like to say thanks to Asif at the Aashiaanaa Guest House in Port Blair and (Alex at Diglipur) for letting me use his mobile and for all his efforts to reunite me with my phone, which were ultimately thwarted by weather and timetables.]

At the one internet café on Neil Island I was quoted very expensive prices for both Internet and telephone calls, justified by the tariffs for satellite connections. Interesting that the ubiquity of mobile phones and internet is causing those without either to be unconnected!

3) Neil Island, Long Island and many other places lack ATMs, and money-changers seem elusive to non-existent everywhere. Do your banking in Port Blair or on the mainland.

4) Ugly Rumours. I was told by a shopkeeper in Neil Island that he wouldn't be re-ordering rolling tobacco as there was a upcoming law banning the sale of tobacco and attempting to make Neil Island (and the rest?) entirely non-smoking. Of course, it could have been a sales tactic (or scam, as we like to call them.) Can anyone confirm this? What I did buy had been diverted from Duty Free. Maybe worth stocking up in advance?

5) Ditto with booze. Wine shops in Port Blair close very definitely on the stroke of 8pm. That is, on the infrequent days they appear to be open. Other towns and islands were even more restricted. Oh, and they don't stock wine or even 5% of the long menu displayed in the shop. My companion embarked on a determined but ultimately Quixotic quest for a bottle of decent red wine, which even I thought showed the triumph of optimism over experience. The bars I saw in Port Blair were not inviting places. I can't speak about the posher hotels and restaurants.

6) May I just reiterate the warnings others have given about infections and wounds? Despite my best efforts, a tiny sore (caused by ill-fitting flip-flops) ended up looking like something from a Zombie movie and needed serious antibiotics. I usually take a very cautious attitude to wound hygiene in the tropics, but island-hopping by dunghi and forest trekking makes keeping wounds clean and covered very tricky at times.

7) While some people seem to manage the ferry ticket offices swiftly, I spent a very uncomfortable 3 hours in Port Blair and an hour and a half in Havelock. Despite lathi wielding cops, the queues were the usual Indian chaos and free-for-all. Hint – in Port Blair it helps to be female and/or over 65. Or, dare I suggest, pay someone else to queue for you?

8) I'd like to put in a good word for the Anthropological Museum in Port Blair. Ignore the slightly condescending comments in the LP and also their listing for opening hours – both are inaccurate and misplaced. Alas, I cannot give accurate opening hours but, last November, they seemed to be open all week. It's well worth an hour or three of anyone's time to see their collection of artefacts and photos. It's also as close as you can (or should) get to the aboriginal peoples.

9) A note of warning. I whiled away the long hours queuing for ferry tickets in Port Blair by chatting to several fellow souls in Purgatory, among whom was a civil servant from Kolkata who was attached to the anti-malaria programme. He told me that there was considerable malaria in the Andamans (again, he would, wouldn't he? Or am I too cynical?) I had failed to notice (or seriously protect myself from) the tiny but deadly mozzies there and had quite a few bites. I reacted very badly to the bites with huge red weals and swellings. I'm a fairly experienced Asia hand and normally rely more on protection (repellent, nets, cover-up) than prophylactic medicine, but here I made a serious schoolboy error. And none of the Port Blair pharmacies could supply malaria prophylactics. All I could find was a course of therapeutic i.e. post-infection, chloroquine, which is probably ineffective anyway. You might be able to get something more modern and effective at the hospital (known locally and on buses as 'Medical.')

Most guest houses in Port Blair seemed surprised and unprepared to be asked for nets, and fixing my own was difficult. So, elementary lesson here, it may be prudent to be wary of the danger, especially in Port Blair. Elsewhere, I found good nets were usually provided although it did take one resort manager 2 days to replace a net with holes large enough for a megapode to fly through..

10) Similarly, watch out for the sand-flies. Vicious little bu**ers. One poor woman on Neil Island was very badly bitten (again, she was a seasoned veteran of Asia and Andamans travel who, like me, did know better but made an elementary error and suffered for it) and had to go to the field hospital.

11) If you take the bus along the Trunk Road from the Diglipur in the north to Port Blair, buy chai, samosas etc. before the ferry crosses the Uttara/Baratang gap. You may have to wait some time for the convoy on the south bank and there are no stalls on that side. It's also the only long stop on the 14 hour trip.

12) In Port Blair, I noticed yet another example of the Lonely Planet Effect, which is where a positive review spawns identically-named imitators in an attempt to cash in. This effect is particularly common in South East Asia and in Vietnam, (and Delhi) I've seen several identically named restaurants and hotels next door to each other. In this case, another Annapurna restaurant has opened in Aberdeen Bazaar. Both seemed good to me and, who knows, it may just be coincidence.

13) Those beaches look lovely and, at high tide, the water looks very inviting. However, on most beaches, that pristine sand extends only to the high water line and below it is a minefield of sharp rocks. Signs warn of the dangers of stonefish (and crocodiles!) but a far more common danger for the unwary is the usual collection of broken glass and vicious rusty metal – often wedged between stones and ideally fixed to do the most damage. Although some people (especially the nature reserve staff) will tell you the rubbish drifts over from Burma (and some does, especially bamboo matting and rafts and the odd dead fisherman) the whisky and other glass bottles etc. are from the Andamans, unless Burma now makes Bisleri and Indian Native Liquors!
And, by the way, just off the beach I proved the hard way that the pointy end of those tiny shells the crabs live in can easily go straight through the sole of a flip-flop, like a hypodermic needle.

14) Regarding ShiverMeTimber's comments on al fresco hammocking under the stars. At major tourist beaches, rifle-toting cops hustle everyone off the beach with alacrity at sunset. In my opinion, the best part of a good tropical sunset is the period after the sun has set, when the clouds light up in glory, so you might want to choose your spot with care. Whether this exclusion does any good in protecting the wildlife I'm not sure, as they left as soon as the sun was fully set. Maybe they patrol later through the night?

15) I hope the above tips don't give too negative an impression. For one thing, I'm not going to advertise my favourite places/people/experiences here on an open forum. They just couldn't absorb a large number of visitors without losing their special magic. Sorry. But I did have a (mostly) great time there with good food, lovely people and amazing places. The travelling (apart from the ferry ticket offices) was, by Indian standards, mostly easy. The almost total absence of hassle, harassment and scams a joy. Even autorickshaw wallahs only overcharged me by three or four hundred percent! The people were open and friendly in a way that was reminiscent of old India, when one could meet people from all walks of life and not just those who specialise in, and are often jaded by, supplying the needs and wants of foreigners.
Above all, the peace and quiet (at least one island has, very wisely InMy(NotSoVery)HumbleOpinion, banned motor vehicles) were very relaxing and the beauty of the landscape and wildlife all mean it's a place to which I'd happily return.
#85 Nov 6th, 2013, 17:47
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Oct 2013
  • ranjitha.p is offline
Good post
#86 Apr 1st, 2015, 11:02
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Mar 2009
  • oraja is offline
can any body suggest a 6 day self-tour itinerary for 2 people to be undertaken in the month of April '15

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