Port Blair Travel Guide

Photo of Port Blair

Port Blair Overview

Port Blair, on the east coast of South Andaman, is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a collection of 572 tropical islands. Located 1190km east off the coast of Chennai, this former prison base of Indians fighting for freedom from the British Raj, is today both a haven for nature lovers and the gateway to the pristine beaches and lush green pastures of an unspoilt paradise.

 
The main action takes place around Aberdeen Bazaar, with a scattering of local handicraft stands, restaurants and hotels, the waterfront Marina Park, with its aquarium and public swimming pool, and the Phoenix Bay area. Heading south along the coast from Aberdeen Bazaar, the towns only beach, Corbyns Cove, is a pleasant palm fringed stretch of sand, ideal for whiling a day away and watching the sun go down.
 
Depending on the choice of transport, arriving to Port Blair can at times be somewhat of an adventure. Daily flights, which are snapped up quickly in high season, arrive at Vir Savarkar Airport, 3km south of the centre, from Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata. If travelling by boat, it is important to check the schedule and weather conditions. SCI operate services from Port Blair to Chennai, 60 hours, and Kolkata, 56 hours, both long and gruelling trips. Walking and cycling is a great way to explore the city and for trips out to the nearby islands, ferries depart frequently from the Phoenix Bay and Marina Park Jetty.
 
Overall, Port Blair is a quiet little town thriving on tourism and coming to life during its peak season, December to early April, with comfortably warm days and agreeable nights. Boasting more than a handful of attractions around the city, it is worth spending a few days, taking in the remnants of colonial times, before exploring the laid-back island villages.

Things to do in Port Blair

Cellular Jail National Memorial - Well worth a visit to learn about the colonial past of the islands and appreciate its status in the eyes of the Indian people, paying homage to the countrys freedom fighters. The jail was constructed by the British in 1890 and now houses an art gallery, museum, memorial and the original gallows.

 
Museums - For its size, Port Blair has a number of interesting museums scattered around town. The, Navy run, Samudrika Marine Museum contains exhibits on tribal communities and the eco-system. The Anthropological Museum tells stories of the islands indigenous people and the Forest Museum, inside the Chatham Saw Mill, retells the regions timber milling history.
 
Havelock Island - 54km northeast of Port Blair the island is ideal for a laidback getaway and a chance to sample the easygoing village lifestyle of its Bengali settlers. Radha Nagar Beach is arguably the most pristine stretch of sand on the islands and an excellent spot for scuba diving and snorkelling. There is plenty of accommodation to choose from, ranging from simple bamboo huts to luxury resorts.
 
Ross Island - The ghostly former British administrative headquarters makes for an intriguing day trip from Port Blair. Garden paths weave around the island, passing the ruins of the colonial buildings damaged during an earthquake in 1941 and the 2005 tsunami. Ferries cross the island 4 times a day from the main jetty.
 
North Bay - Great spot for an afternoon of snorkelling and exploring the coral reefs and colourful ocean life of the Port Blair bay.
 
Mt Harriet - Across the water from the northern tip of Port Blair, on the Bamboo Flat, the mountain, at 365m, offers excellent sweeping views of the islands. Regular boats depart from Chatham Jetty, from where it is a 7km walk to the top on the other side.

Hotels in Port Blair

Budget Hotels Port Blair

Aashiana Residency Inn - Pleasant family run guesthouse. Ask for a room with a balcony looking onto the marina. Tel (91) (3192) 242858.
Central Lodge - Classic backpackers set back from the main drag. Tel (91) (3192) 233632.
Jagannath Guest House - Simple backpackers under knowledgeable management. Tel (91) (3192) 232148.
 
Midrange Hotels Port Blair
Megapode Nest - Rooms with harbour views, complimentary breakfast and a pleasant garden. Tel (91) (3192) 232207.
Sun Sea Resort - Excellent value hotel located in the heart of town (Not by the sea as its name suggests). Tel (91) (3192) 244442.
 
Luxury Hotels Port Blair
Fortune Resort (Bay Island) - Good hotel overlooking the ocean, with swimming pool and decent bar/restaurant. Tel (91) (3192) 234101.
Peerless Resort - Decent rooms and cottages right on Corbyns Cove Beach. Tel (91) (3192) 229311.

Port Blair Weather

Port Blair Travel Resources

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