I get so many emails and messages that ask the same question – how to reach Diglipur/Mayabunder/Rangat from Port Blair/Havelock.
Today’s post would answer all your questions.
To understand the routes, you must first take a look at the map of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Below is a rough idea to tell you the distribution of the main places.
As you can see above, Neil Island and Havelock Island are connected to Port Blair only either by sea or air. There is no road leading to or from Neil and Havelock. Diglipur/Mayabunder/Rangat are on the other hand well connected with Port Blair by road. This road that connects Port Blair (South Andaman) to Rangat (Middle Andaman) and Diglipur (North Andaman) is called ATR (Andaman Trunk Road). You would often see ATR mentioned on the blog.
How to reach Neil and Havelock
Like I said, there is no road to Neil or to Havelock, you have only two modes of transport – ship and seaplane.
Regular government ferries connect Havelock and Neil to Port Blair. Apart from the government ferries, catamarans also run between the islands. Makkruzz runs between Havelock and Port Blair and in the peak season makes two rounds a day. Coastal Cruise, on the other hand connects Neil with Port Blair and Havelock.
Makkruzz and Coastal Cruise are both very comfortable, faster and smoother in ride than the government ferries. Their ticket is ofcourse many times higher than that of the government ferries but considering the pros and cons, travelling by these catamarans is anytime wiser than travelling with government ferries.
How to reach Diglipur, Mayabunder and Rangat
Before I go on, I suggest you go through the map below.
In Andaman group of islands, Diglipur is the northernmost district. There is one single road that starts from Port Blair and ends at Diglipur. It is this same road that passes by Baratang, Rangat and Mayabunder on its way to reach Diglipur.
So, precisely, when you start from PB (Port Blair), you first cross Baratang, then Rangat followed by Mayabunder and finally Diglipur. Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, is in South Andaman Island.
On this ATR, there are two creeks to be crossed on the way to Diglipur. Creeks are the water streams that you need to cross in vehicle ferries to get onto the road again. These two creeks are – Middle Strait and Humphrey Strait.
When you start from Port Blair, you reach Middle Strait Creek that is about 70 kms away. Now, every creek has two jettys – one on the each end.
From Port Blair –(Jirkatang)–> Middle Strait Jetty —-> Strait (Creek) —-> Neelambur Jetty (this jetty is part of Baratang Island and may also be called Baratang jetty)
So you see, when you come from Port Blair to Baratang, you need to cross a strait or a creek, as it is locally called.
Now you are in Baratang Island and on your way to Diglipur but before I take you further, I need to explain a bit about Jharwa reserve.
To protect Jharwas, A&N administration has passed a rule under which all the vehicles cross Jharwa reserve in a convoy. This area is called Jirkatang.
Jirkatang is the place from where all the vehicles running on the ATR need to move in a convoy. Jirkatang is about 1 hr drive away from Port Blair. There are fixed times when the vehicles can cross this place. The timings are shown below:
You can reach Baratang in the above mentioned convoy slots only, which means you cannot leave or enter Baratang after 3/3:30 pm.
Once you are in Baratang, you again have to travel for about 20 kms to get back to ATR. There is another strait (creek) waiting to be crossed.
You reach Gandhi Ghat jetty, cross the Humphrey Strait and reach Uttara Jetty. Now you are on ATR and there is no more vehicle ferry crossing required.
From Uttara jetty, it takes about an hour or an hour and a half to reach Rangat. FRom Rangat, Mayabunder is about 2 hrs drive away and from Mayabunder, Diglipur is another 2 hrs drive away.
This is how you reach Diglipur, Mayabunder, Rangat or Baratang from Port Blair by road!
There are two more ways to travel – by ship and by air!
By air, I mean Seaplane. Note: Seaplane operates only during the peak season and tickets are conveniently available. But ship – NO!
Getting ship tickets is a big problem. There are multiple reasons for this – most of the islanders i.e. the residents of Andaman travel by ship and hence they are given preference while issuing the tickets. Second, tickets are issued either at the DSS office or at the jetty and are issues 3 days in advance of the ship’s departure. Third, these ships are normal passenger ships and not cruises so mainlanders i.e. people who do not live in Andaman and come from outside Andaman may find it difficult to travel by ship when they have to spend about 8 hrs at the basement of the ship in a chair!
So, the ideal way, according to me to travel to Diglipur or North & Middle Andaman is to travel either by sea plane or by hiring a cab or travelling by private AC buses.
Again, hiring a cab may blow a small hole in your pocket but it comes with its own advantages.
2. Since the roads are curvy motion sickness is quite common during the drive. Having your own can helps in taking rest whenever and wherever possible.
Having said that, State Transport as well as the private AC buses are also quite good. Not like mainland and the people are humble, simple and kind – not like mainlanders. So, if you do not wish to spend that huge amount of money, you can anytime take a bus.
Alternate route to travel to Rangat/ Mayabunder or Diglipur from Havelock/Neil
This is my favorite route to travel to North and Middle Andaman. I agree travelling from PB to N&M Andaman can be very tiring. It is indeed exhausting and also time consuming. If you are in Havelock or in Neil and you directly want to come to N&M Andaman, then you can do so! You do not have to travel back to Port Blair to come to N&M Andaman.
There is a government boat that connects Rangat from Havelock/Neil and vice versa. This boat, as on today, runs four days a week – Friday, saturday, Monday and Wednesday. The ship schedule is subjective to change so it is advisable to confirm it before planning your trip.
How to reach Long Island
Long Island is also again, just like Havelock and Neil Island, not connected by road. Since seaplane does not run to Long island, the only way to travel to Long Island is by boat.
There is a regular boat from Rangat that goes to Long Island daily (not sure about Sunday). This boat ride takes about 1 hr to reach Long Island since it passes through a creek, the journey is quite enjoyable and comfortable.
Else, the boat that connects Rangat with Havelock and Neil also touches Long Island. So if you wish to come to Long Island directly from Havelock or Neil Island, you can do so by boarding a government boat that touches Long Island on its way. But again, before planning, kindly confirm as ship schedules are likely to change depending upon the weather and the no. of travellers.
I hope I have answered many questions in this post today. Hope you all readers have a lovely time in Andaman. Bon Voyage!