Quick Links to Port Blair
About Port Blair
Port Blair is the capital city of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a union territory located in the Bay of Bengal, India. The islands have gained popularity among the folks of India and of International nationality. Tourism and its related activities are there only in Andamans. Nicobar is part of these islands but it is a tribal restricted area and hence is not allowed for Tourist visits. Port Blair is the only entry point to the Andaman Islands. The only commercial airport in Andaman is located in Port Blair.
In this article we have brought to you an introduction and detailing on the capital town of A & N Islands - the Port Blair. Port Blair is the gateway to the entire island and Port Blair can be accessed by air and sea.
How to reach Port Blair?
The capital city of the Andaman Islands, Port Blair can be reached by air and sea. There are flights and ships available from different points in mainland India.
For travelers visiting for a fixed duration/on a planned holiday, flights are the only suggested option to reach these islands. An approximate distance of 1300 Kms from Mainland India to the island by air, in a non-stop flight, is covered in 2.5 Hrs maximum.
Airlines such as Air India, Spicejet, Vistara, Go Air, and Indigo fly to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and will land in Port Blair. Currently, Port Blair has the only commercial airport. Direct flights are operating from Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, and Kolkata. Flights from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad are operational during the season time by Go Air/Indigo. Please check the official website of the airlines to know more about the flights to Port Blair (IXZ)
Currently, there are no evening flights available that are post-sunset, the first flight takes off at around 7 AM and the last flight of the day around 4 PM.
Andaman Islands can be reached by sea as well; some ships are available to the islands. The major ports have ships that sail to Andamans from Chennai, Kolkata, and Vizag. There are government-operated ship services that can be availed. The tickets for the ships can be booked through the Directorate of Shipping/ Shipping Corporation of the concerned ports. If the weather is clear the journey usually takes up to 2.5-3 days to reach the Andaman Islands. The frequency of sailing to and fro from Kolkata is usually once or twice in a month, in Chennai and Vizag it is just a single sailing per month. (And all the journeys depend on the weather conditions.). Schedule of the latest sailing can be referred at Ship schedule to Port Blair
We always recommend the tourists to take flights to Andaman Islands as it is time-saving and convenient. Ships can also be taken to the islands if the tourists are coming on a long vacation it will be a different experience to sail, we usually do not suggest ship journeys due to the long journey and weather conditions that might become an issue during the journey.
Are there any entry formalities to enter Port Blair?
No entry formality has to be followed to enter the Andaman Islands for Indian Nationals.
All the foreign nationals/ NRIs / OCI Card Holders have to mandatorily produce their original passport copies at the immigration counter on reaching the Port Blair airport or Sea Port for verification. All the foreign nationals require a permit (RAP - Restricted Area Permit) to visit the Andaman Islands, which is easily available on arrival at Port Blair by flight or ship from the Immigration Authorities for 30 days subject to availability of valid visa. Currently, the compulsion of RAP has been removed from 30 Islands. Details of the same can be referred to on the official website of Andaman Tourism entry for foreigners.
A visa is not required for Indian Nationals to visit Andamans. A valid ID proof issued by competent authorities is required. PAN Card is not accepted as an ID proof. No specific permit is required for the Indian Nationals to visit these islands, however, entering the tribal areas that are restricted are strictly prohibited. To enter the areas occupied by Defense/ Paramilitary forces and any other sensitive areas require proper permissions from the authorized agencies.
Andaman islands is a strategic location, entry formalities to the islands may change at very rare occasions. In such cases reach us to understand any recent changes to the entry formalities and fees while entering Port Blair.
Places to Visit in Port Blair
Port Blair has a lot of places to visit, if you compare all the islands with Port Blair then Port Blair actually has the most number of places to visit in Andaman. From historical places to beaches, Port has a lot to explore and experience. Below is the list of places to visit :
1) Visit the Historical Cellular Jail and the Light and Sound Show
Cellular Jail is one of the best places to visit on Day 1 of your tour plan in Andaman. This place can be visited both during the day and evening. In the evening, only the light and sound show will be operational and the Jail visit is closed.
2) Visit the Coral Island of Port Blair, North Bay Island
North Bay Island is one of the best places for water sports activities in the Andaman Islands. All kinds of activities are available here for water sports lovers. From Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Sea Walking, Parasailing and Glass bottom boat rides all activities are available here at this place.
3) Ross Island a.k.a Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island
Ross Island was the first administrative settlement of the British in the islands. If you are looking for a historical experience at Port Blair then this is another must-visit place in Port Blair. A ferry ride from the water sports complex has to be taken to reach this place.
4) Corbyns Cove Beach
Corbyns Cove beach is one of the closest beach to the capital city Port Blair. This beach can easily be reached via cab. Activities such as Jet Ski Ride, Sea Kart, Boat Ride and Parasailing is available at this beach. The road to reach this beach is beautiful.
Sunset at Chidiatapu is one of the most visited places in Port Blair. Evening at Chidiatapu is something people love to experience. Around 30 kms from the main city Port Blair, Chidiatapu provides a very calming experience. You can also trek to Mundapahad from Chidiatapu.
6) Baratang Island
Now, from Port Blair, you can travel to the middle Andaman Islands easily. Baratang Island in the middle Andaman is one of the places that offers a very unique experience to travelers. From tribal reserver, limestone caves, mangrove boat ride to mud volcano you can experience all of these in one single place.
7) Jolly Bouy Island
Jolly Bouy Island under the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National reserve is another amazing place to visit. The rich marine life at Jolly Bouy Island cannot be compared to any other locations around Port Blair. Permits have to be procured to visit this location in Port Blair.
7) Museums and Parks
Port Blair also has various museums and parks that can be visited during the day.
8) Flag Point
Flag point is a historic place where Netaji Subhash Chandra bose hoisted a tricolor flag on Indian soil for the first time in 1943. This place has become a major tourist place where people come and spend their time.
Weather in Port Blair, Andaman Islands
The climate in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a warm tropical climate which is why the weather is pleasant most of the time. Port Blair has humid weather and no winter season, the monsoon lasts up to 120 days and the rainfall varies from medium to heavy. The Monsoon sets in towards the end of May. There is no fury of hot summer or the chilling winter, nor water clogging or traffic jams due to monsoon. For those who want to enjoy nature, beaches, sightseeing and a pleasant holiday, throughout the year it’s a good season for vacation. The mean temperature ranges from 25-27°C.
Weather plays a critical role for travellers visiting Andaman Islands. The weather on the island is difficult to predict. Though for the latest weather information refer https://www.accuweather.com/en/in/port-blair/70/weather-forecast/70
Brief History of Port Blair
“Port Blair” got its name from the Bombay Marine lieutenant Archibald Blair who discovered this place. The city does not have all the facilities that are available in mainland India, but still, Port Blair is the lifeline of the entire group of islands. People from all the corners in this island are dependent on the capital town for the urban facilities - at least for the reason that the services or commodities brought in as imports from mainland India, is easily available here.
The famous Battle of Aberdeen took place in Port Blair that was fought between the native Andamanese and the British. The islands were captured by the Marathas and the Cholas for a while before the British took control over the islands and exercised their rule on the islands until independence. The Japanese too has occupied the island forcefully during World War II and moved out later. In 1943 the first flag hosting took place in Port Blair. This same location now has been developed and tourists can see the flag point when they visit.
The rich history of Port Blair is still preserved at various places in the islands. When you visit the islands you can take a tour to the top historical places in Port Blair and get deep insights into the history of Port Blair.
Is Port Blair tourist-friendly?
The city offers great amenities for tourists. Tourist-friendly accommodations are located near Phoenix Bay and restaurants, local food joints and hotels near the Aberdeen Bazaar and Junglighat. People from all cultures and traditions from around mainland India live in Port Blair making it a ‘Mini India’. Cuisines of all kinds are available here, Port Blair has a wide variety of choices for restaurants and all of which are situated in and around the major locations of the city. Some of the prime locations to stay at Port Blair can be referred to select which locations are best to stay in Port Blair.
Port Blair is the lifeline of the Andaman Islands because it is the most prominent city which is connected to all the other islands in the territory. The major drawback the city has is the lack of super-fast internet, as of now, 3G is the only fastest connection that is available that too only in certain hotspot areas. As of 2021, Internet connectivity in the islands has improved.
Port Blair has several attractions for tourists such as museum visits, historical tours, adventurous water sports, extraordinary boat rides, strolls at parks and shopping.
How to reach other islands from Port Blair?
Port Blair is the only point from where all the other islands in Andamans can be accessed and there are various ferries, boats, and available cruises. Transfers from Port Blair to Havelock Island and the other islands are possible through the following ways:
Regular government ferry services are available from Port Blair to almost all the major islands. The sailing schedule for these ferries is published in the Administration's News Paper i.e. The Daily Telegrams and Dweep Samachar or on the official website. But the ticket booking has to be done offline at the STARS counters in the Phoenix Bay harbor or from the government authorized Common Service Centers nearby. The tickets have to be booked three days before departure or on the day of sailing due to the high demand.
There are private luxurious cruises that carry out from Port Blair’s Phoenix Bay Harbor & Haddo Wharf for Swaraj Dweep (Havelock) & Shaheed Dweep (Neil) daily. These cruises mention their sailing schedules and offer pre-booking facilities of tickets on their respective websites which makes the transfers definite well in advance. The cruise operators to these islands are Makruzz, Sea Link Cruise, Green Ocean Cruise, and ITT Majestic. All ferry bookings to Andaman can be done online.
Only the Middle and North part of Andaman can be visited from Port Blair by road. The islands in the North Andamans are halfway connected via road and private car rentals are available for hire in Port Blair. You can visit Diglipur, Mayabunder, Rangat and Baratang from Port Blair via road way.
Best Locations & Hotels to Stay in Port Blair
Port Blair has a wide range of accommodation options located at various locations and corners. But it is always suggested that you choose to stay close to the prime locations of the city such as Phoenix Bay, Junglighat, Foreshore Road, Marina Park and Aberdeen Bazaar. Numerous properties are offering great accommodation at Port Blair with good services. The hotels and resorts in Port Blair fall under different categories for all kinds of tourists, whether it is a luxury hotel or a pocket-friendly hotel you can find properties as per your budget in this city.
Without a doubt when you are choosing our Island experts for suggesting the properties to suit you, stay assured that they understand what suits your budget and requirements and provides you with the handpicked experience. All the properties offering accommodations in Port Blair have the basic amenities and services for the tourists. From simple elegant rooms to big luxury rooms all are available in Port Blair.
The properties are all located in and around the prime locations of the city, and also some properties are closer to the airport. While planning for Andamans, you cannot expect Star certified hotels/ resorts. As of date, except Taj Exotica, no other property has a star certification. They are categorized based on the cost, the services they provide and the interiors and amenities they have. Namely, the categories we offer are Economy, Standard, Premium and so on. In this section, we are giving you some details on the categories we provide.
Room services are available for all the categories except for the economic category. Most of the hotels have restaurants inside the properties itself and the guests can have a meal there if they prefer. The ambiance of the property differs based on the location the property is situated. The different categories of hotels that are available in Port Blair are:
Budget: These categories of rooms are for people who want comfortable rooms at a lesser price. The economy hotels are best for backpackers or any traveler who want to just spend the nights in a hygienic and average room after full day tours. These kinds of rooms usually have one large bed or two separate beds, and these rooms are light on the pockets.
Recommended Hotels in this category include Hotel Adarsh, Hotel Vedant or Similar. Even some homestays can be considered around this budget.
Standard: These hotel rooms provide the required comfort and service that one may need after a tiring day of sightseeing. They are mostly considered to be 2-star facility properties. The rooms are slightly bigger and wider compared to the economy rooms. Find the best places to stay in the Andaman Islands.
Recommended Hotels in this category include Hotel Shreesh, Hotel Aparupa, Da Bay Inn or Similar. These hotels are located at the heart of the city and can be considered.
Premium: Premium properties are those properties that offer quite big rooms with certain options such as larger rooms, rooms with better views, attached balcony, sea-facing, and corner rooms, etc. They are a little expensive compared to the above categories.
Recommended Hotels in this category include Hotel Bay Walk which is located very close to the sea, Hotel Grand Paradise, Hotel J or similar. All these properties are located at the prime location in Port Blair.
Deluxe: The deluxe category in Port Blair offers spacious rooms with good furniture, high ceilings, and modern amenities. The cots are available in large sizes and the bathroom has separate spaces for shower and toilet. Guests who are willing to spend a little more out of the budget for better comfort can opt for the deluxe category. We have recently come up with an upgrading option for the Deluxe range customers- The Deluxe Plus.
Recommended hotels in this category include Amigrace, Shompen, Hotel Aries grand or similar. These are proper 3-star properties and located at good locations.
Deluxe Delight: The deluxe delight category is more expensive than the Deluxe ones, yet offers great services; all the modern amenities are available. These properties are usually bigger and located by the beach or sea for a great view. The bathrooms are very spacious and there are toiletries provided also in certain properties one can get the luxury amenities like bathtubs, swimming pools, etc. The rooms are very comfortable and spacious and people with a slightly expandable budget can go for this category of rooms.
Recommended hotels in this category include Megapode, Hornbill, SR Castle or similar 3-star properties that offer much better experience.
Luxury and Elite: These are the highest category of hotels and resorts available for our customers who prefer 4-star facilities and these properties are relatively expensive than the general 4-star properties you’d find in mainland India. Some of these range of properties are located near the sea for the sea view and offer all the modern amenities, swimming pools are also available. The rooms and bathrooms have luxury interiors, polished furniture, and large comfortable beds, in some of the properties, the balconies provide a soothing experience to the guests. Based on one’s taste, travelers can opt for these properties for a luxurious experience. Refer to all the luxury properties in the Andaman Islands.
Among the best hotels in Port Blair comes Sinclairs Bay View, Fortune Hotel ITC, Symphony Samudra, Munjoh Island House, Mansha Regency, Peerless Sarovar, Sea Shell, Sentinel or similar. These properties offers some of the best experience in Port Blair.
Things of interest to purchase: Cane products, Miniature Nicobari Canoes, Palm Floor, and other artifacts/ handicrafts made from Shells, wood, Mirror & Pearl, etc. These are handcrafted items made by the artisans of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are sold in the shops.
Best places to pick from
1) Sagarika Emporium is a government cottage industry that sells handcrafted items made from shells and coconuts etc. It is a perfect place to pick some souvenirs from Andamans. It is open from 08:45 AM to 06:45 PM and is closed on Sundays.
2) Craft shopping at Junglighat is another option. It is open from 8.30 AM to 7.30 PM and is open every day.
3) Shell Craft showroom at Middle Point is a place where you can purchase handmade shell accessories, jewelry, and other items. The shop is opened from 8.30 AM to 7.30 PM and is open every day.
Food Options in Port Blair
Port Blair offers all types of cuisines. You will not face much difficulty in finding food to your liking. Pure Vegetarian, Multi-Cuisine, Seafood, Chinese, Fast Food, Bengali and South Indian Cuisine are all available in Port Blair.