It has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog. I was busy writing my first book ‘Around the World under 30’ and promoting it. Since that is done and dusted, I have taken a trip to one of the fascinating Union Territories of India ‘Andaman & Nicobar island’. As we all know that due to Covid-19 Pandemic, we have so many restrictions on International travel and for me, that removes the fun of being spontaneous and travelling freely.
So I and my wife decided to fly to Andaman and Nicobar and try to manage our remote jobs from this state. However, the news around Andaman is that it has very weak internet and work from Andaman won’t be much possible. But we made it Happen! Read more to know how you can too visit Andaman and work remotely!
However, we started a few hotels in Port Blair(Main island of Andaman) and we finally got a decent place to stay with a 100mbps fibre Airtel Internet connection. Rest is history and here we are from almost 20 days working remotely from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This post will help you plan the trip to see all the main attractions and also work remotely from the Islands.
Before Traveling to Andaman & Nicobar Islands
The internet is not reliable in some parts of the Islands here, so it would be great if you come to the islands with a BSNL Sim card or Airtel Simcard as only these two networks are currently supported here. If you do trading or any banking activities frequently, please be prepared that you might not get your OTPs as there won’t be any signal for other network providers.
Reaching Andaman & Nicobar Islands[Covid Restrictions, Travel Mode]
To reach this beautiful place, the only way is via Flight. The cheapest flight would be from Bangalore or Chennai as they are nearest to this place. If you are coming from other places in India, mostly your flights will be routed from these two cities. Offseason fares for flights range under 10,000 INR Single Side. You can find the best deals on skyscanner.co.in
Only you reach Port Blair Airport, the only thing they would check is your Govt ID and Vaccine Certificate. You should be fully vaccinated [2 doses] and complete 15 days before coming to Port Blair. Once your ID and Vaccine are checked, they will stamp your hand with a Vaccinated tag.
There are prepaid taxi counters but if you go outside the airport, you will get many drivers ready to take you to your location for much cheaper prices. We got a private AC taxi from Airport to Dugnabad area(Around 5 KMs) for just 50 INR. We got lucky, usually it range from 150-250 INR.
Different Islands to Explore in Andaman & Nicobar
There are 37 Islands where people can visit but most famously people visit the main Island[Port Blair] because only this island has an airport. The second most visited Island is Havelock, it’s a beautiful little island with resorts and water sports. Third, the most visited Island is Neil Island. It is a very tiny island to make a day visit and check the beaches. There are multiple cruise line companies which help you to navigate between these islands. You can check different types of ferries and book online. We found Nautika and Makruzz the most efficient for us. So the first Island we visited and worked remotely was Port Blair as we landed on this island.
Working from Port Blair/Attraction Points
The internet is fairly new here, it came just 6-7 months ago [November 2021] and hence, not every hotel or resort will have an internet connection like metro cities. You have to be very choosy to picking a hotel for working remotely. Also, the electricity outage is huge in Andaman, it can vary from 3-4 hours to 8 hours of outage daily. So you have to be prepared for that in advance.
This is a generic plan anyone can follow:
Day 1: Land in Port Blair and Check-In to Your Hotel. Same Day Visit Cellular Jail Light and Sound Show [Must Visit]. Tickets can be booked online from here [Ticket is for 300 INR/ per person]
Day 2: Check out Cellular Jail, Visit the Jail cells and gain more insight about this place and then Catch a Ferry to Havelock Island in the late afternoon. The prices for ferries vary in the range of 1200-1800 per person one side.
P.S – You should watch the light and sound show before you actually visit the cellular jail. That will help you connect all dots quicker.
We stayed in Port Blair for a week and worked remotely. We stayed in a place called ‘Sandhya Residency‘, it’s a homestay with good internet and a silent location. The tariff we paid per night was around 1200 as we stayed in off season [June].
If you want to explore Port Blair and all its attractions in one day, you can also catch a Go-Go Bus for just 150 INR per head. You can find more information on this here
Working from Havelock Island/Attraction Points
We took a Nautika Ferry from Haddo Jetty, Port Blair to Havelock with a trip time of around 1.5-2 hours. The experience of these ferries is great as they have a fully Air Conditioned ferry with the option to buy food and beverages inside.
Before reaching Havelock, we had already booked our two-wheeler so we can move around the island easily. The two-wheeler was delivered to us on the Jetty itself, so we just came out of the ferry and started our ride towards our resort. The rates for scooty on the islands are 600/per day, but due to off-season, we got it for 400/per day excluding petrol.
There are many different resorts on Havelock Island catering to different gentry. For us, we loved the Havelock Farms resort, because it is the only resort in this range that provides excellent 100mbps wifi in all rooms. The check-in process and everything from staff to the cleanliness of the room was perfect. The rates for this resort in the off-season are around 2200-2500 including breakfast. We came to this resort for 2-3 days and ended up staying for 18 nights. Its that beautiful.
There are different places on Havelock Island which are beautiful and must-visit.
- Kala Pathar Beach [One of the most beautiful white-sand beaches I have ever seen in my life]
- Radha Nagar Beach
- Matsya Cafe4 [One of the most uniquely designed cafes I have ever seen]
- Elephant Beach [One of the best and most messy treks I have done to reach a beach by crossing the dense forest and also one of the cleanest beaches to do water sports and spot corals and Nemo fish]
For working remotely from Havelock, Airtel has great coverage with 60-70 Mbps speed in most parts of the island, and you can rely on Havelock farms’ BSNL fibre for most days.
Here are a few phone numbers of respective people for different activities:
- Sandhya Residency Home Stay in Port Blair – Rishabh – +91-9940541915
- Havelock Farms, Havelock Resort – Adam – +91-9476084139
- Aakash – Guide for Water sports and Trek to Elephant Beach – +91-7695039519
- Gopal Bike Rent in Havelock Island – +91- 9933268322
Travelling from Port Blair to Diglipur
Before the information, let us know a bit more about Diglipur. Diglipur (sometimes spelled Diglipore) is the largest town on North Andaman Island, in the Andaman Archipelago, India. To travel to Diglipur, there are few options, but the best option is a private bus which runs between Port Blair to Diglipur only in season and charges around 1000 INR. However, in the off-season, there are two bus companies which run between these two cities, one is govt bus and the other is anand bus. There are others as well, but they don’t have online booking. It takes around 14 hours as the road is terrible and you have to be ready for an extreme ride.
They have 3 bus options. 4 am, 7 am and 10 am. We took the 7 am bus, but our suggestion is to take 4 am bus as it takes almost 12-14 hours to reach Diglipur.
So to book the ticket for the govt bus (Fare is 335 INR), you can visit https://ants.andaman.gov.in/ and to book the Anand Bus(A bit more deluxe and comfortable but Non AC as Govt buses), you can visit https://apnaseat.in/ (Fare is 500ish INR).
So we took the Makruzzz ferry from Havelock to Port Blair and found a nice hotel near the bus stop. The hotel’s name is Hotel Blue Bridge Homes, we got a cheap deal of around 1500 including breakfast.
The next day, we left in the morning 7 am bus for Diglipur from Port Blair(You have to reach the main STS Bus stand to get your vaccine certificate verified) and due to road conditions, we reached Diglipur around 9 pm (14 hours of the extreme ride). There would be a few hours of travel from Jarawas Tribe Reserve Forest where you cannot click pictures or videos.
We had already booked two-wheelers from Bus Stop, so it was fine, but if you are relying on the bus or public transport, then please take the 4 am bus to reach on time.
Stay in Diglipur [Working from Diglipur is extremely hard and almost impossible because there is no network, let alone internet connections]
There are very few options in Diglipur for stay. There is one hotel called Hotel Adhi, which is in the market where the bus drops you, but then you have to travel at least 20km to get to the beach or Saddle Peak.
There is another option, a resort called ‘Turtle Resort’ run by govt with a fixed price of 1000 INR per night including taxes. This charge is for a beautiful AC room with Balcony and it can be booked from here. However, this is 17 KM away from the main bus stand and the road to the driver here is pathetic. You need to be really good at riding a bike if you plan to travel this road [This is not recommended for those who are beginners or do not have good practice with two-wheelers]
For us, we took the bike from the Bus stand around 9 pm and Drove to Turtle Resort and it took around 1.5 hours from the main bus stand.
We stayed there for 2 nights and explored the nearby Lamai Beach and Saddle Peak Trek. We had bike for 2 days, so it was easy to move around. If you rely on Auto, then please make sure there is communication as it will take a lot more time to commute.
Two days later, we took the same govt bus to come back to Port Blair and stayed in the same hotel Blue Bridge Homes and took a flight the next day back home to Mumbai.
Few more numbers
Krishna Auto Driver in Port Blair [He is a nice guy and helps you to commute between Airport and Hotel or anywhere in Port Blair]: +91-9679524405
Two Wheeler Rent Shop Kumar in Diglipur [If you are reaching late, please ask him to buy a few litres of petrol as the petrol pump there close at 7 pm]: +91-9474279866