How to do Andaman on a Budget?
Written By Manveenaa Bhasker on July 07, 2022 Money & BudgetPlanning Your HolidayTravel Tips
Can the Andamans be done on a budget? The short answer is yes. The long answer is it really depends on when and how you choose to travel. In this blog, we’re putting together everything you’ll need to know before you head to the Andamans for a budget trip.
Cheapest Flights to the Andamans
It’s no secret that the off-season in any destination is the best time for budget travellers. Off-season in the Andamans runs from May to September. You’re sure to get inexpensive flight tickets during this time and you’ll definitely be beating the crowd this time of year.
The flipside can be that the weather can be something of a bummer during this time with some heavy rainfall. If you’re someone who’s in it for the long haul this shouldn’t bother you, because you’ll see a good number of sunny days with the rainy ones.
If you’re someone looking to go for a week or less, we’d recommend going during June when the weather is slightly drier than the other months. During this time of the year, for most metro cities, you can expect flight tickets to be less than Rs. 10,000 both ways.
If you’re keen on travelling during the season that lasts between October to April and want to save money on flights, one way to do it is to book flight tickets at-least 2-3 months in advance.
The Andamans get very busy during the high and peak seasons that can lead to huge hikes in ticket prices. Even though, at times, last-minute deals do come through, we don’t recommend booking tickets at the last minute for a budget trip.
Cheapest Ferry Tickets for Inter-Island Travel
The cheapest way to get from one island to another will have to be government ferries. The ticket costs are usually half that of private ferries and it has an open deck, something not common in private ferries. While they’re definitely an economical option, they’re also pretty basic and some may find it unclean and uncomfortable. Also, the travel times tend to be longer than that of private ferries and you’ll have to secure your tickets directly at the government ferry office, which can be a hassle if you want everything planned well in advance. You can expect to pay Rs. 1500 both ways, while for a private ferry the average will be Rs. 3000 both ways.
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Budget-Friendly Stays on Port Blair
Most B&Bs, guesthouses and budget accommodations in Port Blair are concrete buildings built in the style of town hotels and accommodations. Even on a budget, you can find plenty of stays that have sea-facing rooms. We highly recommend staying somewhere with a seaview.
Here are a few:
A bed & breakfast with clean and utilitarian rooms, their sea-facing rooms are a treat.
Their rooms are priced at INR. 2,500 to INR. 3,500 per room night.
Sitting in a quiet residential area, this homestay gives you a partial view of Port Blair Harbour.
You can expect to pay anywhere between INR. 2000 to INR. 2200 per night for their rooms.
True to its name, this guest house overlooks the sea and has neat, comfortable rooms.
They’re priced upto INR. 3000 per room night.
Andaman Bay View
This is a Co-living and Co-working space. They are a travel startup based out of the Islands. They have one spare bedroom and we run it as a BnB. It’s a basic, clean and comfortable space with a gorgeous sea view. You can chill with them (Bangalore startup lingo works natively here). They have high-speed internet and some good coffee too.
You can expect to pay anywhere between INR.1500 to INR. 2000 per night for their room.
Budget-Friendly Stays on Havelock
Most B&Bs, guesthouses and budget accommodations in Havelock are cottage-style buildings built in the style of island resorts. We recommend either staying on the beach or at a maximum of 5-minute walking distance from the beach.
These are your top choices for Havelock:
Located in a secluded, quiet part of Havelock, surrounded by a thick rainforest and rice fields, this eco-resort is only a 2-3 minute walking distance from Kalapathar Beach. With sustainable bamboo interiors, this place truly embodies everything Havelock.
They’re priced between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3000 per night.
Lemongrass Beach Resort
Location sure is everything and this resort boasts of a terrific beach-front property, making for a wonderful workation spot. Located right on the Vijay Nagar Beach, Lemon Grass has simple, concrete cottages with A/C and non-A/C options.
Their rooms are priced between Rs. 2000 and Rs. 5000 per night.
With a young, fresh vibe and a cute little cafe called Cafe Salt Water, Outback resorts is a great budget place for the young-at-heart. Part of the room interiors are made of recycled plastic bottles giving it an edgy, sustainable feel.
Their rooms are priced between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000.
Budget-Friendly Stays on Neil
Most B&Bs, guesthouses and budget accommodations in Neil Island are cottage-style buildings built in the style of island resorts. The options in Neil are limited compared to Havelock because it’s not as popular as Havelock. So, it’s ideal for people looking for a serene, island-village experience. We recommend either staying on the beach or at a maximum of 5-minute walking distance from the beach.
Here are the top choices at Neil Island:
A quaint eco-resort, Gecko is at a 2-minute walking distance from Sitapur beach which is known for its picturesque sunrise. It’s a lovely place for nature-lovers looking for a quieter experience. The rooms feature bamboo interiors and thatched roofing.
The price ranges from Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3000 per night.
With basic bungalows that are best for backpackers, Blue Sea has comfortable access to Beach No. 3 which is great for a swim. They also have a shack-y restaurant popular for its seafood and shell decor.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of options for the budget traveller in terms of eateries. You’ll find that most restaurants serve Indian and Indo-chinese food with some international options. In most of the restaurants we’ve listed below, you can do a meal for around Rs. 500/person.
Bang in the middle of Aberdeen Bazaar, this local joint serves some quality South-Indian food and makes for a great budget breakfast place.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 250
Opening Hours: 6.30 am to 9.00 pm
Food Trucks, Marina Park
If you want to experience something off-beat on a budget, head to the food trucks located at the end of Marina Park. Perfect for a casual dinner with sea-side, plastic-chair seating and fuss-free food, you’ll find a large variety of dishes here ranging from noodles to barbeques, ice-cream to pizzas.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 700
Opening Hours: 4:30 pm to 10 pm
Started over 52 years ago by a local tamil family, this one’s a humble island-favourite with unlimited veg & non-veg thalis. They’re known for their warm and welcoming hospitality: so don’t hesitate to ask for more food! You can expect a basic, frills-free ambience – tin shed, community tables and steel cutlery.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 500
Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 9:30 am, 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Full Moon Cafe
Full Moon Cafe is the place to visit when you want to spend a day lazing around, doing absolutely nothing. It is located right by the beach and you’ll even find a couple of hammocks you can use for an afternoon siesta. With laidback, shack vibes, Full Moon Cafe does fresh juices (a rarity on Havelock), an amazing dip platter and perfectly-cooked seafood.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 1200
Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 10:30 pm
Anju Coco Resto
Anju Coco is an island favourite for a reason: they do consistently great food, they have a vast menu, they are reasonably priced, their ambience is neat & friendly and they’re located in a highly accessible location. We’d recommend going with any of their meal platters which have generous portions and are great value for money.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 1200
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 10:30 pm
Restaurants in the Main Havelock Market like Squid Restaurant
If you want to do it like the locals, head to the main market at Havelock to any of the smaller restaurants and order their thalis. You’ll also find some yummy Bengali food in the shops here.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 800
Opening Hours: Depends from shop-to-shop, most shops are shut on Sundays
Cafe Bohemian Grove
Brightly painted wall-paintings, mandalas and upcycled furniture will greet you at Bohemian Grove which is located close to Sitapur Beach. It can be a little difficult to find, but is well worth the search. They serve generic Cafe food with Indian and international options. If you want something specific made like lobsters, crabs or squid, you can let them know in advance, so it’s purchased fresh from the market.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 1400
Opening Hours: 8:00 am to 10:30 pm
Blue Sea Restaurant
Head here for reasonably priced seafood and cute interiors with hand-made shell hangings. The only flipside is waiting times can be a bit much here. But, it’s located at Beach no. 3, so you can place your order, head for a little swim and come back to a scrumptious meal. Nothing quite like a post-swim meal.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 1000
Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 11:00 pm
Food Stalls at Lakshmanpur Beach
Popular for its pretty sunsets, Lakshmanpur Beach has a lot of small eateries serving everything from evening munchables to full-fledged meals. This is one of the better places to end your evenings at Neil Island.
Avg. meal for 2: ₹ 600
Opening Hours: Evenings before sunset
Getting around the Islands on a Budget
The most economical way to get around Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Islands is on a two-wheeler. It also happens to be the best way to experience the islands, giving you access to less-explored parts of the islands while also allowing you the flexibility to move around without waiting for a cab. A two-wheeler will cost you anywhere between Rs. 400 to Rs. 450 per day exclusive of fuel costs. Cabs are expensive and will usually cost you a minimum of Rs. 1200 per day. Public transport is infrequent and unreliable, so it’s best not to rely on this as an option.
Activities on a Budget
If you’re planning to travel during the off-season, you can expect that some of the activities will be non-functional. But those that are functioning will generally be discounted by 25-30% and also, will tend to be less crowded. There are also plenty of things to do that don’t cost any money like going on a trek, visiting some popular beaches and snorkeling. Yay to that!
Here’s a list of some things you can do that cost little to nothing:
Munda Pahad Trek, Chidiya Tapu
Starting close to the Chidiya Tapu Beach, this is a beginner-friendly trek that takes all of 25 minutes to finish. It’s one of the prettiest views you’ll see in your time on the islands and you won’t regret doing it, that’s a guarantee. Once you reach the top, you’ll see a connecting rock formation that takes you to the smaller rock. It can be dangerous to cross over and go to the other side once you’ve reached the peak (you’ll see what we mean when you get there), so we’d recommend giving that a skip.
Elephant Beach Trek, Havelock
A popular trek that takes about an hour and a half, this one takes you straight to Elephant Beach through thick, beautiful rainforests.
Visit Radhanagar Beach
It costs nothing to visit the prettiest beach in the Andamans! We know, we know. It costs nothing to visit most beaches in the world but we’re saying we’d pay to go to Radhanagar, it’s THAT pretty. It’s good to know that the best things in life really are free.
Visit Cellular Jail, Port Blair
If you’re big on history, you can consider visiting Cellular Jail which was where the English held political prisoners from the Mainland during the Raj. You’ll need entry tickets for this that cost Rs. 30/person.
Free Candlelight Dinner @ Lakshmanpur Beach, Neil Island
Lakshmanpur Beach at Neil Island is known for its stunning sunsets and every evening, you’ll see a bunch of people who’ve come to see it. This beach is also lined with little food stalls, and one of these puts out makeshift seating and tables with candles. It’s a whole vibe is what we’re saying and one that is very enjoyable with a partner (or not).
Insider Tips for the Budget Traveller
We’ve put together some tips for the budget traveller based on our own travels and that of friends who’ve travelled on a budget recently. These are just little things that’ll help you cut costs along the way. Here they are
Visit off-beat islands like Long Island & Little Andaman
By virtue of being under-explored, these places are not yet commercial and as a budget traveller, you’ll find that most things cost very little. Everything from stay to food to activities is inexpensive and they’re also great for long-term, secluded stays. On the other hand, options are limited, so you can’t be too picky about accommodation or food.
Eat where the locals eat
Generally, places that are tourism-centric will tend to be pricier than smaller locals-frequented restaurants. The main markets on all islands are a great place to look for local-friendly restaurants.
Use Public Transport & Government Ferries
Given that the Andamans is a small place, public transport is fairly frequent. Government ferries and buses are quite regular on certain routes and you can take advantage of that. Having said that, it can make for some discomfort because they’re not the cleanest and schedules can be erratic.
So, we’ve seen a bunch of things that people on a budget can see and do on the islands. If you’re looking for a LONG stay, we’d recommend reaching out to the budget places individually for the best prices. Most places will give you a pretty good deal for a long stay, especially if you travel around the off-season. If you’d like to know more about this or if you have any questions, write to us and we’ll be super happy to help in any way we can!
Hi there! I’m a local from the Andamans; born, bred and raised, like they say. I’ve been happily travelling around here for the last 29 years of my life and have been to off-beat locations like Little Andaman, Long Island, Rutland, Barren Island and Ross & Smith. It may seem like a small place, but I feel like I still have so much to see! I’ve also been ridiculously in love with reading and writing for as long as I can remember. Put two and two together and it gives you this blog post.