To give the tourists a foreign experience, nine Indian islands have been chosen to boost tourism as per the recent masterplan of Niti Aayog. Out of nine, four islands of Andaman and Nicobar have been selected: Ross and Smith Island, Long Island and Avis Island. Considering the ecological sensitivity, the government has decided to augment the current facilities to increase tourism.
- ROSS AND SMITH ISLAND:
Situated in North Andaman, Ross and Smith Island should not skip your itinerary if you are in search of a peaceful, enchanting, and flawless destination. Known as ‘Twin Islands’, Ross Island and Smith Island are connected by a natural crescent-shaped sandbar that disappears at high tide. The island leaves you mesmerised and makes you go awe of the tranquillity. The boat takes you to Smith Island from where you pay extra money to reach Ross Island.
The island has changing room and resting place, but no food service. You will have to carry food. The island is filled with dense and evergreen forests. It’s a great location to spend time with partner or friends. If you travel solo, take a book or iPod to relax and enjoy. Take an early morning boat to reach the island and leave by 3 or 4pm. Make sure you fix your return boat. Visiting Ross and Smith Island is a wholesome benefit.
HOW TO REACH: Take a bus or car to travel from Port Blair to Diglipur. It takes around 7 hours (300km). Hire a speedboat from Aerial Bay Jetty, almost 10km from Diglipur, to Smith Island. It takes around 15 minutes. As boats are limited, the availability is possible early morning. A boat carrying five people charges around Rs 2,500. Try to return by afternoon. Around four hours are enough to spend time.
- LONG ISLAND:
Long Island isn’t very long! Under the administration of North and Middle Andaman, Long Island has been identified as an upcoming tourism destination. The beauty of the island is akin to those found in Singapore. It’s all about marine treasure, beautiful beaches and hills, and splendid mangrove trees. The island is famous for Lalaji Bay Beach and Guitar Island.
Lalaji Bay Beach lies on the west coast of Long Island. A dinghy from the Long Island can be hired to reach the beach as it’s on the other side of the island.
Hire a dinghy from the quayside in the Long Island to reach Guitar Island. It takes around 15 minutes. Formed in the shape of a guitar, the island is peaceful and pristine. The combination of dense forests and calmness makes you fall in love with this place. In the case of low tides, the island is connected with other islands through stones. One should travel to these locations in groups. Opposite to Guitar Island lies Small Guitar Island which resembles a small guitar. The best time to visit is early morning and return by afternoon.
HOW TO REACH: The distance between Port Blair and Long Island is 82km. You can take a speedboat from Port Blair which runs three times a week with the stopover at Havelock and Neil Island. Besides, you can take a bus until Rangat which takes around six hours, and then travel to Yerrata Jetty to take a speed boat to Long Island. It takes 1.5 hours.
- AVIS ISLAND:
Avis Island is a 30-minute dinghy ride from Mayabunder, a town situated in the north of Middle Andaman Island. Small, yet creamy beach where one can spot corals and fishes hopping in water. It’s probably an apt location for sun bath. This uninhabited island is known for coconut plantation. The beach is not apt for swimming as there are small stones and water depth suddenly increases. Currently, tourists are not allowed here. The visitor needs permission from the local authorities to visit the island.
Nearly 13km away from Mayabundar lays Karmatang Beach which is an ideal location for a picnic. The beach, which is the nesting ground for turtles, is veiled from the road.
There is Interview Island, three hours away from Mayabundar. The island is currently occupied by elephants who worked in the British Timber Company. Only daytime visit is allowed on this island.
HOW TO REACH: Mayabundar is 242km away from Port Blair. A bus would be a convenient option to relax and enjoy the scenic views.