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Ease by the Neil Island

By Ayanita Hore

Neil Island is a less explored spot in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Sprawling over an area of 19 km, this island has deserted and sandy beaches, which is far more reposing and relaxing than Havelock Island. The name of the island was coined after British soldier, James George Smith Neill. It is under the administration of South Andaman district. The widest part of the island has a length of 5 km which can be traversed within 2 hours of time. The greenish blue water looks alluring by the beaches of Neil Island.

Neil Island is neither clustered by many visitors nor by its inhabitants. It houses five villages which are home to very less number of people. Villages in this scenic island are Neil Kendra, Bharatpur, Sitapur, Ram Nagar and Lakshmanpur. Agriculture practiced by the villagers here is the source of vegetables for entire Andaman islands. Though Havelock Island is at the vicinity of this scenic place, Neil Island is rarely visited by tourists. So if one is in search of peace and solace from the regular hustle-bustle of life, this is the ideal place where one should be.

Ease by the Neil Island

How to Reach: Once you are in Port Blair which has flights from various metro cities in India, Neil Island is not too far from you. Port Blair is at a distance of 40 km from this less explored scenic beach. It is situated towards the north east direction of the capital city and can be ventured by ferries which takes around 2 hours to reach. Price of the ticket varies around Rs. 200/-.

Few boats make round trips from Port Blair to Neil Island amongst which one goes via Havelock Island. Weather conditions play a pivotal role in planning the boat journeys. Therefore one should be assured of the climatic changes with which the boat schedule also varies. Neil Island houses a ticket office and waiting room which is situated beside the Bharatpur jetty which is the only way of entry and exit from the island. If one is travelling form Havelock to this scenic island, Rangat Ferry is available which commences a journey of 1 hour.

What to Do: On reaching this peaceful part of the world, tourists can reach out to the guest-house if booked beforehand. Bicycles and Two-Wheelers can be hired to travel all around the island. Auto-rickshaws are also available at this scenic island. While bicycles charge Rs. 50-75, two-wheelers may range upto Rs. 300/-. While you enjoy the enticing views of the beach and explore various food joints, do not be late in refueling your vehicle before 5 p. m. Photography is another activity which tourists can enjoy here.

Snorkelling is one of the renowned adventurous activity in Andaman tourism and specially in Neil Island. If one dives into the sea, coral reefs and live corals will treat the eyes. Variety of colourful fishes and shells are also visible. India Scuba Explorers runs courses and dive safaris in the crystal clear water of Neil Island. Certified courses are run by Diveindia which provides training for snorkelling and scuba diving.

Ease by the Neil Island

If you are indeed a peace lover, just walk through the sandy beaches of Neil Island which will shed your worries and troubles. While Laxmanpur Beach is ideal for a romantic walk, being long and secluded, Sitapur Beach can be opted for swimming. Bharatpur Beach is again suited for collecting shells.

What to See: Sunset Point in the western corner of this scenic island is perfect for watching the setting sun. One can also enjoy this bewitching view while relaxing on a hammock. Natural Bridge is a connector between the mainland and small islands. It is breathtaking to see its natural formation.

Rockpools formed below the bridge is a sight which one should not miss during low tide. Sitapur Beach is a must visit for sunrise, swimming and the restful beach. Ramnagar Beach is wanted for the glass bottom boats which take you to the mid-sea and allow to relish the view of live corals and colourful fishes. Water activities like snorkeling, water scooter and bathing can be readily enjoyed here.

When to Travel: October to May is the apt time to explore the beauty of Neil Island. During this time various diving centres run their training courses for diving and snorkelling.

Ease by the Neil Island

What to Savour: Neil Island has certain eateries which provides delicious food at ordinary rate. Other than these there are beach resorts which prepare mouth watering delicacies. Green Heaven Restaurant and Gan Garden Restaurant are famous for serving grilled fish and pancake. The friendly ambiance of the restaurant allows to dine cozily with your family members. Sutapa Sweets are a must try desserts available in the market.

While you are enjoying the shades of coconut grooves, coconut milk can be a relishing drink here. Almost all the resorts serve superior quality of alcohol.

Where to Stay: Neil Island is home to various resorts and guests houses which are comfortable and luxurious enough to make your holiday memorable. Cocon Huts Resort is situated at a distance of 1 km from Bharatpur Jetty. Hawabill Nest Guest House is situated at the vicinity of the jetty which offers rooms as well as dormitories. Other resorts which one can opt for are Tango Beach Resort, Hotel Kingfisher, Pearl Park Beach Resort and Kaala Pani Resort.

Enjoy a delightful vacation at Neil Island while you travel to Andaman and Nicobar in the upcoming vacation. Though a less explored place, it is gradually becoming an integral part of Andaman tourism.

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