The capital city of the Andaman Islands, Port Blair is your entryway to the rich expanse of beauty and serenity that the islands have to offer. Explore its many museums, discover the flora and fauna and the rich marine life or simply take a stroll at the Marina Park to enjoy the sweet sea breeze. Walk past the Japanese bunkers, indulge in water sports, discover the island’s high peaks, and get familiarized with the land’s rich culture and diversity. Port Blair is the best introduction to the Andaman Islands that one could hope for.
- Andaman’s only commercial airport (Veer Savarkar International Airport) is in Port Blair, thus making it your only entry and exit point into the islands.
- Port Blair is connected to all islands by ferries The Phoenix Bay Jetty and the Haddo wharf, are the most reliable harbours.
- Port Blair is connected to North Andaman (Diglipur, Baratang, Rangat, and Mayabundar) by road. See all day trips to the North here.
- Internet is easily available in Port Blair, albeit slow.
- Port Blair is your one-stop destination to know about the culture and heritage of the islands. With only one beach in town, there isn’t much of a seascape to enjoy. So, if you are looking for beaches exclusively, catch an early flight and then take the afternoon ferry to Havelock or Neil.
When to visit Port Blair
The tourist season falls between November and mid-May and the peak season is between December- March. Monsoon season is between June and September. One should always expect light rains even during other seasons since its a tropical island.
How to get there?
Port Blair is home to the only commercial airport of the islands – the Veer Savarkar International Airport. Direct flights to/fro Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Bangalore are available
Port Blair can be reached in two ways – By air or by sea. Flights are certainly faster which take about 2.5-3 hours to reach mainland India, more comfortable and therefore the preferred option. Ships, although seem cheaper, are general passenger ships and are more troublesome than they might seem. However, we recommend a journey on a ship for the experience of a voyage on the sea; it’s an unusual adventure in itself.
Related articles: Transfers in Port Blair, Ship trip to Andaman, Best Time to travel
Getting around in Port Blair
Local transport in Port Blair is convenient. Roads are well built and It is almost impossible to get lost as everything is just by the road and the locals are all very helpful. Please carry a map or an offline map since the internet doesn’t work well here. These are a few options we recommend:
- Tourist taxis: Tourist taxis can be rented from anywhere in Port Blair, there will be drivers waiting at the jetty, it is advisable that you fix the prices before starting the journey. If you are part of a package tour, is usually included in the package. Please click here to book taxis
- Bike rentals: You can hire bikes in Port Blair on a daily basis at approximately INR 500 per day. Fuel Stations shut by 9 pm. Avoid during monsoons as roads can get slippery.
- Auto rickshaws: Auto rickshaws are also available and cost around INR 50 to 200 for short rides & around INR 200-250 for long rides.
- Public transport: Public Buses ply in Port Blair and budget travellers prefer this. However, it can get quite tiresome and is not advised as the best mode of transport.
- Airport pick up and drop: Taxis are conveniently available to/from the airport to/from the Phoenix Bay Jetty, the Haddo wharf and hotels. Taxis cost INR 450-500 and it takes around 15-20 minutes from the airport to get to the private jetty. Book airport taxis here
Port Blair is connected to all other islands through Land and by the sea that can be visited by tourists.
Transfers between islands are possible in four ways:
- Private ferries: They connect only Port Blair, Havelock, Baratang and Neil island. A one-way trip takes about 60 minutes to 90 minutes to reach the respective islands. Though expensive, ferries are the most convenient and preferred modes of transport in Andamans. The kinds of cruises available are Makruzz, Coastal Cruise, Green Ocean, Sea link, ITT majestic, Bhagya express and Makruzz Gold. These ferries run on a daily basis providing easy accessibility to the islands. Book ferries here.
- Government Ferries: These connect Port Blair to Havelock, Neil, Little Andaman, Diglipur and Nicobar (not accessible to tourists). Everything about Ferry Services from Port Blair here.
- Helicopter: Pavan Hans operates from Port Blair to Havelock, Diglipur, Hutbay in Little Andaman and Neil Island, this service is mainly for Govt official travel and medical emergencies. Only on very rare occasions, travellers are allowed to fly.
- By Road: Only North Andaman that consists of Baratang, Rangat, Mayabundar, and Diglipur are connected by the road. There is a national highway which connects Port Blair to Diglipur. Regular buses, Taxis also operate. This was the only way to travel to Baratang until recently when ferry services started to Baratang. Book your day tour to Baratang here.
Top things to do in Port Blair
Although most travellers visit Port Blair as a port of transit to other islands, this capital city of Andamans has so much more to offer than it has been credited for. Right from Historical museums to Water sports, this place has it all.
1. Cellular Jail
It has been an important historical part of Port Blair. Notable freedom fighters such as Veer Savarkar, Yogendra Shukla, Batukeshwar Dutt, and Babarao Savarkar were some of the inmates here. Don’t miss the light and sound show(Monday, Wednesday and Friday) when you visit Cellular jail.
- Cost of Admission: Rs 30, Photo Camera: Rs 25, Video Camera: Rs 100
- Timings: 9 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM to 4 PM
- Light and sound show: Rs 50
- Timings: 5.15 PM, 6.20 PM, 7.25 PM AND 8.30 PM.
2. Corbyn’s Cove
Surrounded by lush green palms, this happens to be one of the busier beaches in the Andamans. It’s located right outside of Port Blair about 8 km. The drive there itself is a scenic treat to the eyes. Many entertainment options like jetski and other water activities make it a popular destination amongst tourists. Enjoy a relaxing drink with your friends at the beach facing the cafe when you are here. The blue benches lining the area make for a great seat to enjoy the view. You will also find clean and well-maintained bathrooms and changing rooms at your convenience.
3. Samudrika Naval marine museum
This museum is a perfect blend of historical and modern Andaman. A massive blue whale, in its skeletal form, of course, greets you as you enter the museum. There is also an aquarium with fish of all shapes and sizes, from a parrotfish to the rare and venomous species of stonefish and corals. Do stop by the gift shop on your way back to get some souvenirs back home for your loved ones.
4. Dinner cruise
TSG Bella Bay hosts a beautiful and luxurious dinner cruise which departs every evening from the Junglighat jetty. If you are looking for a fun evening with some live music and a DJ with your loved ones or a special someone, we recommend this to be one of the best things in Port Blair. Cool evening sea breeze greets you while you listen to the Nicobar band play live music, right under the stars. The buffet dinner costs around 2999 per person and you take away memories of a lifetime. Click here to book.
5. Unwind at the Qua spa
Port Blair’s luxurious spa offers a wide range of services and one of the best ways to unwind from the daily hustle of life. If you are looking to relax and unwind, we recommend this spa. A little birdie tells us not to miss their Balinese massage. The spa operates from 11 AM – 9 PM, please plan accordingly.
6. Souvenir Shopping
Shopping in Andaman is often limited to Port Blair. Small shops dot the main roads in several areas, offering trinkets made of bamboo, seashells and the local mahua wood. Sagarika is the largest government-run handicraft store in Andaman.
7. Water sports and boat rides
Go parasailing at Water sports complex, organized by Coral Safari between 11 AM-4 PM. Cost per person is around 3000 and the duration is 30 minutes(3 minutes airborne). Port Blair also offers Glass Bottom Boat Ride by Andaman Dolphin which is a luxury speed boat, especially for families. This ride lets you come face-to-face with the marine world without having to enter the water at all. Click here to book
8. Hire a candid Photographer
Gone are those days when we said best moments can’t be captured. 10 Degrees photography in Port Blair offers a candid photoshoot for you and your loved ones. Found a location you think is best for a photoshoot? These guys have got you covered. Book here.
9. Yoga studio
For all the yoga fans out there, Myoho yoga studio offers some amazing sessions with experienced yoga instructors on a rooftop amidst nature. Enjoy some refreshing tea and healthy snacks post the session.
Where to stay in Port Blair
Accommodation in Port Blair has something to cater to all budgets ranging from a low budget, mid and premium accommodation. However, fares vary between peak and low depending on the tourist seasons. During peak season, prices can shoot up and the best places fill up fast. It is advisable to book ahead. Camping is not permitted on public land or beaches.
- Low Budget: INR 500- 3000
- Mid-range: INR 4000- 8000
- Premium stays: INR 9000- 12000
Here are some places we recommend you to stay
- Lalaji BayView: It is a budget hotel for backpackers and a hostel-like vibe, this hotel offers clean, cosy and comfortable rooms with a hippie rooftop bar to end an amazing day in Port Blair. People travelling on a budget can opt for this place. Minimum Tariff: Rs 800.
- Sinclairs Bayview: Sinclairs Bayview is one of the luxury resorts of the Sinclairs group. They have many properties around India. Made to provide maximum comfort and luxury, this hotel is equipped with a spa, swimming pool, billiard table and first-class rooms and service. The food at the restaurant is famous and the buffet – lavish. Minimum Tariff: Rs 9500.
- Seashell Hotel: Seashell is a luxurious resort in the Andamans. Tastefully catered for luxury travellers and families. It is equipped with beautiful rooms, a great seafood restaurant, a charming rooftop lounge bar and a splendid view of the sea. The rooms are tastefully designed with comfortable beds, big TV, AC and clean en-suite bathroom. The deluxe rooms have small balconies overlooking the sea for relaxing after a busy day of sightseeing. Minimum Tariff: Rs 9000.
- Aashiana Residency: Run by a family, this place is best suited for budget travellers and backpackers, this place offers basic, clean and comfortable rooms and a very good price. Located very close to Phoenix bay, makes the commute easy for people travelling to other islands. Minimum Tariff: Rs 1000.
- Megapode Nest: A beautiful hotel located on top of the hill, facing the sea is an amazing place for a vacation. It’s Nicobari cottages comes with the sea view making it one of the best places to stay in Port Blair. Minimum Tariff: Rs 4500.
- Wildgrass Resort: Surrounded by lush green coconut trees, this place gives one a true sense of peace and tranquillity. And ideal for people looking for some quiet and relaxing stay in Chidiyatapu, Port Blair just a 25 min drive from the city centre. Away from the hustle of the busy city.Most suited for Luxury travellers and nature lovers. Minimum Tariff: Rs 4500.
- SeaView Residency: Sea View Residency offers a spectacular view of the sea that keeps its guests amazed. It is known for its spotless accommodation and great service. The hosts are known to be friendly and pay heaps of attention to customer satisfaction. Minimum Tariff: Rs 3000.
- Shompen: Named after an indigenous tribe of Nicobar, this place happens to be one of the oldest stays in Andaman, one can call it an affordable luxury stay. Best suited for families and couples, this place also has an in house lounge called “love garden” and is strongly recommended. Minimum Tariff: Rs 5,499.
- TSG Grand: This 3 – star business hotel is a symbol of elegance and top-class hospitality. Located just 10 minutes away from the airport, they are popularly known for their service and the scrumptious food made by their in house chefs. Minimum Tariff: Rs 4000.
- J Hotel: Located at the centre of Aberdeen bazaar and a 5-minute walk from Marina Park, this place is best suited for both leisure and business travellers. Known for its elegant rooms and amazing service, comes at a very reasonable price making it best suited for budget travellers who are looking for some luxury and some peaceful time away from all the action. Minimum Tariff: Rs 3000.
Where to eat in Port Blair
- Golden Dragon: This Chinese restaurant run by a family is famous among divers and locals. The food here is authentic and made to order, the service staff is friendly and will indulge you in stories from the past. Average meal for two costs around Rs 800.
- Annapurna Restaurant: It is a pure vegetarian south Indian restaurant and one of the most popular places to eat in Port Blair, although priced at a higher side it’s one of the most preferred restaurants in Port Blair.
- Amaya: This place is considered as one of the best rooftop lounges in Port Blair overlooking the Ocean. Head to this place if you are looking for a romantic candlelight dinner with your loved one or just a luxurious restaurant to hang out with family or friends. Also best known for their seafood and exotic beverages Average meal for two costs around Rs 1500.
- New Lighthouse Restaurant: Best known for their fish, crab and lobster, this place is an open-air restaurant where one can enjoy cool evening breeze with a view of the ocean. Its located a little ahead of Marina Park. Average meal for two costs around Rs 1000.
- Icy Spicy: A vegetarian’s paradise, this place is best known for their sweets, chaats and north Indian cuisine. Hidden in a basement, this place is absolutely loved by both locals and tourists, making it one of the best places to eat in Port Blair. Average meal for two costs around Rs 500.
- Happy Belly: This is Andamans first food truck, offering delicious and hygienic continental food. Head here for some lip-smacking food while you groove to the Punjabi music played on the food truck. Average meal for two costs around Rs 500.
Here is a list of places we also recommend as places to eat in Port Blair:
- The love garden
- Nico Bar
- Pronto Bistro
- Weather: Port Blair mainly has three main seasons: summer(24-37 degrees, tropical winter(22-30 degrees), and monsoon. Owing to its location in the Bay of Bengal, it experiences heavy winds during the monsoon and a tropical climate otherwise. Early November until mid-May sees the best weather in the islands. Port Blair being situated at a slightly elevated area, experiences a slightly lower temperature (by a degree or so) as compared to the other islands.
- Currency: Like the rest of the island in Andaman, the Indian Rupee is the currency used. Port Blair has the most number of ATM’s and institutions (Banks and private companies). Exchanging currency and withdrawing money is thus most convenient in Port Blair.
Centres for currency exchange:
- State Bank Of India – Fill up a form and show your passport. The currency exchange rates are decided by the RBI
- Island Tours and Travels – 5% above the exchange rate is charged. The advantage is you get to skip the queue.
- Communication and Internet: Satellite broadband powers Internet connections in Port Blair. Since Optical fibre cables have not arrived here yet, the Internet is a slow and expensive luxury in the islands. Many cafes, restaurants, and hotels do provide WiFi facility but this is often disrupted or extremely slow. As phone connectivity, BSNL and Vodafone are the two most reliable service providers. If you are looking to invest in a local number, buy a BSNL sim card (available in Port Blair and Havelock mostly)
- Healthcare: Government Hospitals in the Andaman Islands provide free healthcare for all. Head to the G. B. Pant Hospital (03192 0 232102) for any treatment and medicines. Port Blair also has a couple of private medical centres that are often less crowded and best for speciality care, Apollo Clinic (03192 – 233550) and Chakroborty Hospital (9932084868) are best known in the island.
- Safety: The Andaman and Nicobar Police is the law enforcement agency for the union territory of Andaman and they take care of the discipline department is an efficient one and in a case of emergency you can get in touch with them on the following numbers:
- Police: 100 (24×7) Toll-Free
- Fire Control: 101 Toll-Free
- Women in Distress: 1091, 1144
- Supermarkets and Bazaars: Port Blair has the maximum and most developed markets and bazaars. Though not very fancy, all necessary items are available:
- Fruits and vegetables: The Sunday market (5 am to 12 pm) that lines the junglighat jetty is the best place to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables. Else, fruit and vegetable shops are situated on the Gandhi Market. They are open on all days.
- Hardware, electronics, groceries, and spices: The Ratnam market is a cluster of small wholesale and retail shops.
- Large departmental stores: These are the most comfortable and modern way of shopping in Port Blair. You will find everything from cosmetics to medicines and packed food to milk, bread and other daily necessities here. Mubarak hypermarket (03192 244 245) is the best-known supermarket.
- Clothing and apparels: Most clothing shops are owned by the locals in Port Blair; Goenkas (9734482382) being the most famous of the lot. Some branded clothing shops like FabIndia and Raymonds have also now opened outlets in Port Blair.
- Language: Port Blair is the melting pot of many religions, cultures, and linguistic groups and like the rest of the country Hindi, Bengali and Tamil are the most commonly spoken languages here. English comes next in line. If you know either English or Hindi – getting around in Port Blair should not be a problem.
- Airport and Port Facilities: Port Blair is home to the only airport of the islands – the Veer Savarkar International Airport (03192 – 235619). Direct flights to/fro Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bhubaneswar, and Bangalore (on and off) are available.Port Blair has 3 main Ports aka jetties:
- Phoenix Bay Jetty (03192 – 245555) – connects Port Blair to Havelock, Neil, and Rangat. All private ferries leave from here.
- Aberdeen Jetty connects Port Blair to Ross Island, North Bay beach, and Viper Island.
- Haddo Jetty connects Port Blair to long-distance islands like little Andaman and Nicobar.
FAQ’ about Port Blair
- Is Port Blair worth visiting?
Ans. Simply put, the answer is yes. Port Blair, is the capital and your entryway into Andaman and Nicobar islands. It is known for its historical significance in India’s freedom struggle (read kalapani) and is a good place to catch a glimpse of Andaman’s unique culture (Port Blair is also called mini India for its diversity). Visit cellular jail, Ross island, kalapani/samudrika museum, Corbyn’s cove beach, jolly buoy, Chidiyatapu amongst others.
- What is the best time to visit Port Blair?
Ans. The best time to visit Andaman weather-wise, is the dry season, between October to May, i.e., the winter and summer months. The weather around this time is cooler and suitable for water sports and outdoor activities. June to September is the rainy season and the offseason in Andaman. This period witnesses plenty of heavy rainfall, and tours have often been cancelled due to cyclonic weather or strong winds.
- How can I go to Port Blair?
Ans. Port Blair can be reached in 2 ways – by air and by sea.
Flights are the fastest and most convenient mode of travel. Direct flights are available form Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Vizag and Hyderabad as on March 2020. It take between 2 to 3.5 hours based on your departure location. Ships (basic and take about 3-4 days) ply from Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag and are not popular with tourists.