Andaman Islands getting around by boat

Andaman Islands getting around by boat and ferry

The waters of the Andaman Sea, between the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, are sailed by tens of state owned and by some private vessels.

Transport by private ships - only three Andaman islands are served

There are three private companies, Makruzz, ITT Majestic and Green Ocean, which ferry tourists between the capital city of Port Blair and two most touristy islands, Havelock and Neil. Private companies are 4 times more expensive on this route than state-owned ships, but they are still enjoying the habit of tourists. They can be bought online and booked in advance, which is a significant advantage when planning a short quick visit. The ticket cost start from 15 Euro in one direction. At the time of our survey, each company had two ships sailing from Port Blair twice a day to Havelock, once a day on Neil, and once a day between Havelock and Neil. We tried all sorts of transport available, government owned as well as both private companies. Markruzz is a little bit more expensive than Green Ocean and has somewhat more modern looking vessels than the Green Ocean.

Port Blair to Baratang Island

In addition to Havelock and Neil, Makruzz now connects Port Blair with Baratang Island as well.

Haddo Wharf vs. Phoenix Bay Jetty.

As of February 2020, all private operators, e.g. Green Ocean, Makruzz and ITT Majestic depart from Haddo Wharf. Earlier private operators departed from Phoenix Bay Jetty. This is a substantial change and a slightly negative one.  Hadoo Wharf is some 4 km away from the centre of Port Blair, meaning higher taxi or tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) cost to get to and from the Haddo Wharf.

How much is a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw) from Port Blair to Haddo Wharf?

From Port Blair city centre to Haddo Wharf you will pay Rs. 100 for a tuk-tuk and 150 for a taxi. The real trouble is getting back. Haddo wharf is at the end of a peninsula with no traffic passing by. Taxi and tuk-tuk drivers asking price starts at Rs. 400, which you will be wise to reject. Walk out from the wharf's gates, tuk-tuks outside are much cheaper. Only if you are patient and persistent, you will be able to get back to town for the same RS. 100 as you got to Haddo Wharf.

In any case, if you have the chance, go travel by a government ship, do so. They are significantly cheaper and the difference in quality is not that big. The journey to Neil takes an hour and half to Havelock for two to 2.5 hours. Private companies are a bit faster than the national carrier.

State ships go everywhere

Government owned boats and ferries connect almost all inhabited islands with Port Blair, the capital. Their primary role is not to do business, but to ensure the connection of even the farthest corners of the archipelago with the capital. Tickets are cheap, but the state management of ticketing is in one simple word: tragic. Tickets can be purchased only 3-4 days in advance, making it impossible to plan any longer trips. During high season, the tickets to and from Havelock sell quickly and become a rare comodity. Wake up early, arrive to the Phoenix Bay Jetty by six in the morning, stay in the line and hope. As of 2020 situation with Havelock tickes improved. With 4-5 state ships scheduled daily between Port Blair and Havelock, the capacity is adequate and ticket easier to get than in the past.

Smaller boats, sailing to nearby islands, offer tickets with seat number. On larger ferries, that are available for longer distances, it is possible to take a cabin and sleep comfortably. Whether you are going to sleep with or without cockroaches will be depending on the vessel you are traveling on. We travel both: the cockroaches infested Bharat Seema vessel and perfectly clean Coral Queen. If you have the opportunity to travel to the Coral Queen, certainly do so. It's the cleanest ship in India that I've ever seen.

State ferries to Rangat, Havelock and Neil depart from Phoenix Bay Jetty and long distance, deep water ships to Diglipur, Little Andaman or Great Nicobar depart from Haddo wharf.

Buying a boat tickets on Andaman Islands is pretty complex topic, to which we commit a separate chapter. Click the link below to get more info: Buying ship tickets on Andaman Islands

How much are Andaman ferry ticket prices from Port Blair?

Government ferry ticket from Port Blair to various destinations are (as of September 2019) in Indian Rupees:
Havelock, Neil - 485
Long Island - 660
Rangat - from 525 (deck) to 1260 (de-luxe)
Mayabunder - from 630 (deck) to 1365 (de-luxe)
Diglipur - from 630 (deck) to 1470 (de-luxe)
Hut Bay - from 525 (deck) to 1575 (de-luxe)

Listed prices are for non-islanders. Ship prices depend on the kind of ticket you buy as well as on which ship you travel. In general Andaman ship tickets are very affordable.

Where can I see Andaman ship schedule?

Following link worked for a while: however is often not up to date.

Please subscribe for updates via comment section below. Until further notice the answer to "where can I see ship schedule" is "in the local newspaper" .. sorry. This is analog Andaman world, not digital.


Sea Sickness

There is no way to avoid sailing while on Andamans, thus take motion sickness pills from home country or buy them in India. (Drugs are ten times cheaper in India then in Europe.) Me and my wife, we suffer from motion sickness easily and we can honestly say, that sailing in Andamans was quite bad, but we survived. When the ship begins to swing, assume horizontal position quickly.

Boat journey to the south, to Little Andaman, takes about 10 hours. Similarly to the north, to Mayabunder or Diglipur journey take 10-13 hours. Boats ply these routes take 3-4 times a week, alternating night and day sailing.

The Port Blair - Neil - Havelock - Strait Island - Long Island - Rangat route is very practical for island hopping. The boat sails on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday towards Port Blair and returns on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday towards Rangat. The journey lasts all day, ie 8-9 hours. 

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