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Port Blair Tourism And Travel Guide
27° C / 80.6° F
October to May
4 to 7 Days
Veer Savarkar International Airport (2 kms)
Port Blair is the capital of the beautiful Andaman And Nicobar Islands. For many millennia it has been home to many tribal communities that developed a close association with the sea. During the reign of the British Raj the island had become home to political prisoners, but much has changed since then. Now tourism in Port Blair is a picturesque delight with people coming in from all over the world to enjoy its white sand beaches and its tranquil clear waters. The city has much to offer and lives a neat balance between development and stubborn connection with its past. The city is bustling with activity on one hand, with shops, restaurants and busy beaches, and on the other there are places that are quiet and rarely visited by anybody. So whatever it is that you are looking for, you can definitely find an answer for it here after reading this travel guide to Port Blair.
How To Reach
The fact that the Islands are located in the midst of the Bay of Bengal means that you can reach Port Blair either by sea or by air. Port Blair is connected to the coastal cities of Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata and to the capital city Delhi by a number of flights and ships. So far the only way to reach Port Blair is via India. Foreign nationals can collect their permits to visit the islands either from offices at the city of departure or can secure it on arrival.
By Air: The Veer Savarkar International Airport is situated a couple of miles from the city and is connected to Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata by daily flights. There are flights twice a week from Visakhapatnam. Each of these cities have domestic and international flight services and is connected to the rest of India by rail.
By Ship: There are five ships that travel between mainland India and Port Blair. If the weather conditions are suitable, there are usually at least two ships that leave from each port every week. The journey time can range from 3 to 4 days. This also depends heavily on the weather. Nevertheless no one can deny the charm of travelling through the majestic sea on rustic ships. There are only so many times you can ‘Bon Voyage’ someone so the travel by sea has its own charm.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Port Blair experiences a tropical monsoon climate with the months between May and November, and is subjected to heavy rain in this period. But this is usually followed by a relatively dry season which usually comes as a relief. The average temperatures remains between 26 and 29 degree Celsius throughout the year. That being said the best time to visit the city would be during the dry season, especially during the months of December, January and February. The weather is calm and the sea is perfect for all sorts of water sports. It is also the best weather for sightseeing.
Things To Do
Sights to See: The Cellular Jail is perhaps the most frequently visited place in Port Blair, but there is more to the history and culture of the island. The numerous museums situated around the city make it possible to learn about its rich culture and history. The Jail itself has numerous collections of records and images of the Indian Independence movement. The Samudrika Naval Marine Museum for example was solely built to create awareness about the delicate marine environment surrounding the islands and the marine life that inhabits it. The Anthropological museum is another fascinating place that will take you way back into the past of the Island. They have beautiful displays of different artifacts that were in use before the British set foot on the islands.
Snorkeling, Scuba Diving and other Adventure sports: Scuba diving and snorkeling are among the most promoted activities in Port Blair. Blessed with extensive coral reefs and colorful fishes, this can make for a heavenly experience. The best part about diving is that you don’t need to be an expert. There are many different experiences awaiting beginners like the shipwreck diving or exploring the corals in North Bay.
If this is not enough, the Rajiv Gandhi Sports complex in Ross Island opens up a world of experiences with Jet Skiing, Speed boat Cruising and numerous other water related sports. Then there is the undeniable experience of sea walking among the corals that is open for anybody and if you are someone that just wants to watch what living underwater looks like then there is the glass bottom boat ride.
Trekking: This may come off as a surprise, but Port Blair has quite a few trekking sites. The peaks of Mount Harriet National Park or the one at Chidiya Tapu are easy to conquer and hold a stunning view of the neighboring islands in all their glory. During the climb, it is usual to spot the shy inhabitants of the island, like the many colorful birds, butterflies and spotted deer. These trails also make good picnic spots and are often lined with benches and fresh water sources.
Food: Traditionally, the food here consisted mainly of fish and fruits. The islands are blessed with a great supply of fishes, crabs, lobsters, oysters and prawns. They were mainly flavored by preparing them in banana leaves and by the addition of coconut. Whatever may have been the cuisine many centuries ago, you will notice that now Port Blair has been influenced by tastes from India, Thailand, Indonesia and many of its neighboring countries giving its cuisines a unique flavor. Besides the cuisine, Port Blair is home to a number of delicious fruits - there is nothing that keeps one refreshed like some freshly cut indigenous pineapples, oranges and guava!