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Neil Island Tourism And Travel Guide
22° C / 71.6° F
October to May
3 to 4 Days
Veer Savarkar International Airport (Port Blair) (36 kms)
Neil Island is a beach paradise in the collection of Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal. It is known for its pristine white-sand beaches, clear turquoise waters and a relaxed vibe that is salvaged from the constant tourist influx. Neil Island is well connected to the rest of the world thanks to Port Blair, the capital of Andaman And Nicobar Islands, which is only 36 km away. Airways and waterways are your best bet for travelling here.
It is a tropical destination and has maritime climate all year round. However, the best time to visit Neil is between October to May. You will find a list of things to do here, from beach hopping across Laxmanpur, Sitapur and Bharatpur beaches, exploring natural rock formations and indulging in water sports like Snorkelling, scuba diving and jet skiing. Read on to get a general overview of what Neil Island has to offer.
How to Reach
Neil Island is only 36 km away from Andaman’s capital Port Blair. The Veer Savarkar International Airport of Port Blair is the nearest airpot that receives fights from all over the world. You can hire a car, take a taxi or book a seat in the ferry or boat leaving Phoenix Bay Jetty of Port Blair. The journey is a short one, half hour at the most, and gives you a scenic tour of the island.
While you can use planes and helicopters to reach Neil Island, the waterways are the best. Regular boats and ferries leave Phoenix Jetty in Port Blair and reach Neil Island in about half an hour. You must book your seats in advance as long lines during tourist season are full of hassle. You can also use the ferries and boats to go island hopping to Havelock or Sir Hugh Rose or Ross Island.
Getting by Locally:
Getting by in Neil Island itself is not an issue at all. It is a small island in itself, only over 17 square kilometre. With a population of around 2000, you must imagine how close knit the town is. You can explore the whole island walking in about 2 hours, or take autos which are cheap. Renting a cycle or moped for 50-100 Rupees is another option. AC taxis are also available but are slightly expensive.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The island of Neil is blessed with a tropical climate, with a year long pleasant weather. The best time to visit it though is in winter and summer, from October to May.
Winter (October to February):
This is the peak tourist season of Neil Island and there is a huge influx of tourists. With temperatures falling to 14°C, the highest in Neil can be around 30°C. The skies are clear, lands dry and water sports are open for one and sundry.
The Island Tourism Festival is also celebrated for 10 days during this time.
Summer (March to May):
Summer in Neil Island is not as hot as the rest of the country. The temperatures are moderated at around 34°C and the humidity is very high, almost as high as 80% at times. The sweaty heat increases with the passage of day, up until noon. Evenings bring respite from heat and cool breezes embrace the island. This is also a good time to visit.
Monsoon (June to September):
The average to heavy rainfall in Neil Island ensures that it is wet through the monsoon season. This time of the year is crucial in growing crops and vegetables in the island as Neil is also called the salad bowl of Andaman.
Constant rains disturb the sea, and water sports are suspended. Sightseeing and relaxing in wet landscape is always on though.
Things to Do
Neil Island 3 Point Tour:
For tourists on Neil Island for only a day, this becomes their go-to tour. The 3 point tour makes sure you visit the 3 main beaches of this island. It starts with the Howrah Bridge or the Natural Rock formation, proceeds to Bharatpur beach known for its stretch of coral reefs and scuba diving opportunities, finishing at Laxmanpur beach. Laxmanpur beach is also the best place to see the sunset, in almost all of Andaman.
You can become a certified Scuba diver in Neil Island. There are 3 diving schools giving PADI/SSI Open Water Diving certificates. One of the most renowned among them is the Indian Scuba Explorers.
The clarity of waters on Neil beaches and overall tranquility make it a coveted destination for diving.
Bharatpur beach is one of the best places to pursue snorkelling activities. It is blessed with clear turquoise waters and is home to coral reefs where marine life thrives.
Many resorts and beach shacks rent out snorkelling gear and guides are available to help you out.
You can also try your hand at jet skiing or swimming if you are not an underwater baby.
Exploring Neil Island on foot is one attraction, another is taking a cycle and riding across the length and breadth of the town. You will see farms, lonely crop files, palm trees and the sea waving in the distance.
The bicycles are rented out by resorts and are quite a cheap way to get by in Neil as well.
Lazing on the Beach:
If you are looking out for some quiet me-time on the beach, then Ramnagar beach is the place to go. It is one of the most underrated beaches on the island and not always chosen by mainstream tourists. Take your sunglasses, book and a cold drink to this white-sand beach and just relax in the sun.
Neil Island is known as the salad bowl of Andaman as it produces most of the vegetables of the island. The food here is fresh, made from farm fresh ingredients and has a home-made touch to it. In most restaurants you need to order your food at least 2 hours in advance. The chef steps out, shops for the ingredients and then prepares the dish, just like at home.
They have some culinary delights in fresh sea food preparations. The fish thali, a slightly inferior version of sea foods, is priced at only 100 INR.