Baratang Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located between the Middle and South Andaman Islands. Approximately, 110 km from Port Blair, Baratang Island is another major attraction for most of the tourist visiting the islands. The Baratang Island trip is considered to be an adventurous trip due to its long distance from the capital town of Port Blair and the journey that starts at 3 Hours pass 1200 Hours. You’ll read more about the way towards Baratang in our section of “How to reach Baratang”.
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While Andamans being a beach destination brings thought of Blues and sands coming in your album with your trip memories, here adding Baratang to the travel itinerary can come out to be very fascinating for travelers who want to see the greener version of Andamans. Baratang is the home to the Jarawa tribes who are the major inhabitants of this island following the few Ranchi settlers.
The major attractions at Baratang are The Limestone Caves and Mud Volcano. There is another delightful place to see in Baratang that is Parrot Island. But one has to stay back for the night at Baratang to visit Parrot Island. We’ll show more detailing on getting to this place in our coming sections of the article.
What to Expect while visiting Baratang Island at the Andaman Islands?
What would you expect when you visit a tropical island? Dense Forest, Tribal inhabitants, Mangroves, boat rides through the mangroves, beaches, birds, caves, trekking, volcano; Baratang is a platter serving all of this on your visit.
Even though Baratang is now growing briskly popular as a tourist destination, still it is considered a remote location. The telecom networks are not very good and there are very limited options for restaurants and hotels.
Government restrooms are available and these are the only option (yet hygienic) while traveling to Baratang.
On your way to or from Baratang, falls the area of Jirkatang to Middle Strait, here you will pass through the Jarawa Tribe reserve. The reserve is controlled and operated by the government for the protection of the Jarawas against diseases from which they do not have natural immunity. The government also provides medical aid to these indigenous tribes. This is the area where you might get an opportunity of seeing the Jarawa tribes by the roadside. But remember, this is not a part of your sightseeing. So do not fall prey to the myth that you’ll be taken to visit the Jarawas. It is recommended not to offer any food or take pictures of these tribes during this time. Interacting with them, giving them food or clicking their pictures is strictly prohibited and is a punishable offense.
What is the Journey to Baratang like?
If you are planning to cover the Limestone Caves & Mud Volcano during your trip to Baratang, we recommend you to start around 0300 to 0330 hours so that you can reach timely and see the sights and get enough gap of time before you return or proceed further from Baratang. The distance of Baratang from Port Blair can be 120kms approximately. And it takes 3 to 3.5 hours to cover this distance each way. So one can assume the total travel duration can be about 6 hours. There is a speed restriction of 40kmph for all the vehicles while crossing the tribal reserve area. The day trip to Baratang is n a full day trip. If you want to visit Baratang from Port Blair, then you should be staying at Port Blair for the previous night as well as the night after completing the day trip to Baratang. Or this day you can also move towards North Andaman for an overnight stay. However, make sure to plan this before you arrive in the Andamans for better execution and the best experience.
After you have traveled about 45-60 minutes from Port Blair, soon you would leave the city behind and pass through scarcely populated areas. The jungle along both sides during your travel would be a treat to watch. On your way you would pass through Jirkatang, a couple of decades ago people feared staying or pass through these places because of attacks by the native tribes who usually used to come to these places in search of food. Until recently, the government has made efforts to help and protect these tribes after which the attacks on people staying or passing through these places were reduced and now almost diminished.
After reaching the Jirkatang check post, the vehicles would take a pit stop. You can get down for some refreshments here. From here when the vehicle proceeds further to cross the check post, the vehicles will be allowed to go in a group of 7-10 vehicles at a time. A couple of security personnel will board the front and back vehicles (with rifles) for the safety of both travelers and the tribes. You would now pass through the Jarawa Tribe reserve, the driver may ask you to switch off your mobiles and cameras at this point of time, which is again due to the restrictions of taking pictures in the reserved areas (as mentioned earlier in this article- it is a punishable offense).
After passing through the tribal reserve you would reach Nilambur Jetty. You would then be transferred to a vehicle ferry, which would take you to Baratang Island. These ferries can accommodate buses, trucks, cars & bikes and the passengers too, to cross the waters between Nilambur Jetty at Middle Strait and Baratang.
Upon reaching Baratang you can visit the Limestone Caves & Mud Volcano. We’ll give more details on visiting these destinations in our next section.
Accommodation at Baratang Island
There is a lone resort in Baratang that is the Dew Dale Resort which was not into operations for the last 2-3 travel seasons due to government restrictions and imposing of several Protection Acts for Tribes (PAT). Now in 2019, the Dew Dale resort has started the operations this season from 2019 and expected to operate for stays. However, pre-booking is mandatory during the high seasons to ensure you have a reservation and don’t get stuck with your plans. There are some departmental guest houses/ lodges also which have to be checked to be availed on the spot only. The next best option to stay back after the trip at Baratang is to move to Rangat and stay for that night, then start for Port Blair on the next morning.
What are the food Options at Baratang Island?
On the way to Baratang, you can have snacks or water when the vehicle takes pit stops. Upon reaching Baratang you will get options of major meals and regular menu for Lunch. However, since Baratang is still developing as a tourist destination, do not expect star-category AC restaurants during this trip. But you will get Dhaba style eateries which are hygienic and served good food to treat your hunger amidst the adventures.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) when traveling to Baratang Island
How much time is required to visit Baratang Island as a day trip?
You need to start early in the morning at around 3:00 am and this entire trip will take about 10 hours to go from Port Blair, do the sightseeing and come back to Port Blair again.
Is Baratang a must-visit destination?
For people who are enthusiastic to experience the tropical forests, should opt for Baratang in their itinerary.
Who should avoid going to Baratang?
People having a knee or back ailment should avoid planning for this trip as the road toward Baratang is long and bumpy at times. The trek inside the cave and the walk towards the Mud Volcano have to be considered while planning for senior citizens having difficulty in walking.
What should we carry for this trip?
A hat, sun-glasses, some bites of snacks, a bottle of water, and maybe a mosquito repellent cream is some of the pre-requisites to make your trip comfortable. Even though there are no restrictions on your wardrobe, still a suggestion would say, go for closed shoes or Flip flops as the best footwear for this trip.