Andaman and Nicobar islands are one of the most alluring tourist destinations in India. Due to its remote location, the place has retained all the natural qualities. It is a paradise for explorers who seek to escape amidst pearl white beaches, extensive shoreline, rich biodiversity and exciting chores like shopping and water sport activities. In short, if you want an enchanting vacation, then Andaman and Nicobar islands are your perfect getaway. There are a host of places that will make you want to visit the marine archipelago time and again. Neil island is definitely one amongst them and hence, it forms an indefinite part of most Andaman packages.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO NEIL ISLAND (SHAHEED DWEEP)
Neil island, officially named Shaheed Dweep, belongs to the Ritchie’s Archipelago. It is located 16-17 kms southwest of Havelock and falls under the administration of South Andaman. The island is named after James Neil who played a major role in suppressing the 1857 Mutiny. An interesting fact is that the villages of the island – Ram Nagar, Sitapur, Lakshmanpur, and Bharatpur, are named after characters from the Hindu Mythological tale of Ramayana. The island is frequented by tourists mainly due to its small size and scanty population. A massive portion of Neil island is devoted to cultivation which makes it the main supplier of vegetables to Port Blair. Owing to its small size, the island can be covered in a single walk or by rental bikes and bicycles.
TOP PICKS OF NEIL ISLAND (SHAHEED DWEEP)
Neil island is a hidden gem that offers some of the most breathtaking tourist destinations. It is not as commercialized as Havelock but it certainly is more peaceful. If you want to surf through the majestic coral reefs and indulge in the slow and romantic vibes then this is your place to be.
• SITAPUR BEACH (SUNRISE POINT): Also known as Beach No. 5 or Sunrise Beach, Sitapur beach is located towards the East. The beach is famous mainly for its mesmerizing sunrise views. The golden beach against the azure blue water creates a heavenly abode for photographers. You may while away your time by gaping at the natural wonders of the place or treat yourself to delicacies from the vendors. The backdrop is a formation of tall trees, mangroves, and limestone that adds a soothing touch to the scenario. The entire setting is an unparalleled art of nature. Hence, Sitapur beach is one of a kind place to visit.
• BHARATPUR BEACH: Bharatpur beach is reputed for its cleanliness and turquoise clear water. Alike Sitapur, this beach too is very less crowded and famous for water sport activities. The shallow water allows non-swimmers to take a dip in it. Along with this, the beach is also an ideal location for water sport activities like snorkeling, glass-bottom boat rides, scuba diving, and jet-skiing. All these activities will definitely give you a peek into the exotic marine lives. The tourists can also relax in the shady patches on the beach created by the tall palm and coconut trees. The beach is a soul-soother and a perfect destination to break the monotony of a journey.
• LAKSHMANPUR BEACH (SUNSET POINT): Lakshmanpur beach on Neil Island is famous for its enchanting sunset views, making it apt for people who love to dwell in effortless beauty. Due to the natural contrast of colors between the beach and the sea this place paints a romantic image. On one end of the beach is located the Natural bridge or Howrah bridge. It is one of the most marvelous arts of Nature created by natural coral reefs. The splashing waves, the clear sky and lip-smacking snacks available at the shops on the beach are reasons why tourists flock to this place. Also, Lakshmanpur beach holds the reputation of being the best snorkeling point in Andaman.
FUN ACTIVITIES TO UNDERTAKE ON NEIL ISLAND
• WATER SPORT ACTIVITIES: The crystal clear water surrounding Neil island is well suited for various water sport activities like snorkeling, sea walking, and scuba diving. The abundance of underwater lives can be viewed by a majestic glass-bottom boat ride. Bharatpur beach especially is recognized for this amazing activity. The colorful coral formation and exotic sea creatures paint a magnificent picture. In conclusion, it can be said that Bharatpur beach has been divinely crafted for marine life enthusiasts.
• TREKKING: The path that leads towards the Natural bridge or Howrah bridge has to be covered by trekking. Thousands of adrenaline junkies flock towards this place with the sole reason to tread through the artificial gardens and muddy paths. Visitors will get a glimpse of dead corals and rocks on their way to this beauty. So if you are one such adventure buff do not miss this wonderful destination. However, the rugged terrain of this place doesn’t make it ideal for senior citizens or children.
BEST HOTELS AND RESORTS ON NEIL ISLAND
Accommodation facilities on Neil island are extremely generous for the tourists as they will be exposed to both budget hotels as well as luxury resorts. Some of the most recommended resorts and hotels are as follows:
• SILVERSAND BEACH RESORT: This is one of the best-rated resorts which is set along the Neil Kendra beach. The resort is a mixture of urban and rural features that impart elegance and comfort to the guests. The resort is set within an area of 19 sq. kms and surrounded by gardens and the turquoise sea. Property amenities include security services, 24 hours front desk, free parking, complimentary breakfast and toiletries, pool, taxi services and a business center with internet access.
• SEA SHELL SAMSSARA: With a rating of 4.5 stars, this resort is designed to provide premium hospitality services to the guests. Property amenities include a gym center, a garden, bar, beach and a pool. The guest rooms contain a seating area and the entire space is connected by public Wi-Fi.
• SYMPHONY SUMMER SANDS BEACH RESORT: This resort is located about 40 kms away from Port Blair and comprises 5 villages. It offers 62 well-equipped rooms and suites. The place is attended by a group of warm and trained staff. There are several facilities like free parking, bicycle rental, complimentary breakfast, BBQ facilities and a banquet room. The rooms are well-conditioned consisting of complimentary toiletries, minibars and coffee and tea makers.
• PEARL PARK BEACH RESORT: This property is very close to Laxmanpur beach. Pearl Park offers good hospitality and a stay full of indulgence and relaxation. Property amenities include a swimming pool, children play area and personalized services
• HOLIDAY INN BEACH RESORT: Holiday Inn Beach Resort is a luxury resort on Neil island. The rooms come under four different categories namely Neil Plaza, Paradise, Lagoon Vista and Crane Sea Villa. All the rooms are well furnished with modern amenities. The entire property is secured by a free Wi-Fi facility. You may also personalize your services and at a special request candlelight dinner may also be arranged.
HOW TO REACH NEIL ISLAND
Neil island or Shaheed Dweep is well connected to Port Blair and Havelock island with a chain of inter-island ferry services. You may avail the government ferries but it is mainly for the locals and not highly recommended. Private ferries are the ideal mode of transportation as it is cleaner, safer and more comfortable. The best options available are Makruzz and Green Ocean. Most Andaman tour packages offer you the facility of prior booking the tickets to ensure a seamless holiday.
If you are amongst those people who love to weave memories, then Neil island will transform your dream into reality. With some of the most appealing tourist destinations, Neil island will make you want to revisit this place time and again. Do check the Andaman Love website (www.andamanlove.com) to avail some of the most popular and customized Andaman tour packages which are crafted to cater to your needs. Their proficient services and skills are guaranteed to impart you a soul-soothing holiday