S and I were toying around with the idea of going to Andaman for the past 1.5 years. My sister went there for her honeymoon and came back with amazing pictures and reviews of the place. After multiple bookings and cancellations in the past we finally stuck with our plan this time,. The idea was to have a beach anniversary since the last one was at the hills..So Thailand and Andaman were the only two plausible options. After having a series of discussions with various tour operators, friends , posting in various forums it was decided that Andaman would be a better bet during October end.
I kind of had an idea that Andaman was beautiful place since a few of my friends had been there and posted their pictures in Facebook. My sister, like I said was extremely satisfied with her vacation as well. But what I experienced there is beyond words. I would love to go back to Andaman once, twice and many more times.
If you are visiting this blog for the first time and reading this post, then chances are that you are planning to go to Andaman as well..If yes, please do it right away. You will surely not regret it..
So I have decided to document the whole trip here. I hope it gives some insight to people who are planning a vacation in breathtaking Andamans.
The initial planning :-
I am a big believer of self managed trips and I feel if you have the time and energy to do the required research one can come up with beautiful trips. Most of our vacations in the past were planned by me and they worked perfect for us. With that motivation in mind I started my initial research about all important places in Andamans. I spoke to a lot of people who had been there in the past and gathered information about some ‘must visit’ places and some trashy ones that can be skipped. The date was more or less fixed since it was supposed to be during our anniversary. With a 2 page report about the rough itinerary I started calling up various hotels. That is when I found that most hotels were already booked or blocked by various travel agents. After repeated rejections from the selected hotels I could see the fizz going down.. Office work took a toll on the planning and the whole thing took a pause for a while. Finally, I decided to take help from the travel operators since I was sure they would have the hotels I wanted, I called up various tour operators and got all of their itineraries. Most of them had the group tours which meant we would have to travel with a group of people everywhere. The advantage here was that food was completely taken care of. Most of these travel sites has all 3 meals or atleast the breakfast and dinner included in their plan. But somehow the idea of going with group did not excite me.
Then I started looking for travel sites and agents who would just book hotels for us and the tickets and sightseeing would be done by us. With that plan I started negotiating the hotels. But the problem here was the ferry tickets. Most of the travel in Andaman is done by ferry and some of them did not have proper information about their booking procedures. The Government ferry tickets could not be pre-booked and some other ferry tickets bookings were not open yet. Finally I gave up the idea of self managing the trip.
After talking to both local tour agents and the ones from Andaman itself I found the latter to be more informative and efficient for obvious reasons.
I spoke to a lot of travel agents in Andaman, got all their itinerary and negotiated the cost. In the end I decided that Andaman Excursion was the best. The guy, Ganesh (for those who are interested) with whom I spoke was very polite and he gave me multiple options considering my interests and options. The price was reasonable and they had packages at every price range based on the hotel we select. After multiple rounds of calls, discussions and back to back itinerary change we came up with the final plan. It was at this stage that I told S about the trip and later booked our flight tickets, For Oct 26 there was Jet Konnect, Air India and one other flight from Delhi to Port Blair. Air India was an early morning flight so I booked it thinking it would give us enough time to roam about on Day 1.
The return trip was via Chennai since we wanted to celebrate Diwali with grandparents and my parents in Chennai. The return from Port Blair to Chennai was booked in Spice Jet. The flight was at 1 o clock in the afternoon and it reached Chennai at 3 PM.
Thus we bid goodbye to Andaman with heart full of memories.
All subsequent posts will have a day to day account of our Andaman vacation..