Andaman Islands getting around by bus
Both intercity and suburban buses ply those narrow Andaman roads. Intercity busses run from Port Blair along Andaman Trunk Road, via Rangat and Mayabunder all the way to Diglipur. Suburban busses connect administrative centers such as Rangat, Mayabunder and Diglipur, with their adjacent villages. Of course, local public transport buses criss-cross Port Blair municipality and connect the capital with its closest surroundings.
Intercity buses can be divided into long distance "express" buses (well the expression "express" is huge exaggeration) and long distance local buses. The main difference is that local intercity bus services serve two cities and villages between them and will stop to any passengers along the route. Such a bus can easily take you 2 km to the nearest village or market. The long distance buses rush to or from Port Blair, thus "express" may, but more often it may not stop, if you try to catch it somewhere between administrative centers.
Forget online ticketing, there is nothing like that. Tickets can be bought when boarding the bus and long-distance buses offer a possibility of booking tickets in advance. We would say: it makes sense to book ahead. On the Port Blair - Diglipur route there are only 4 buses running daily. So if you want to sit in the front of the bus, do buy your tickets in advance. A few times we bought tickets, it was 2-4 days in advance and front half of the bus was always already taken.
Private companies do not have any branches or branches where tickets would be sold. Private bus tickets are sold in Port Blair, across the road from a state bus station, by a guy sitting on a plastic chair. Seriously. In Digipur and other towns, private bus companies sell ticket via kiosks, selling sweets and water. To find a ticket seller, just ask around. The local crowd knows and will point you to the right place. When you book bus taking you thru Jarawa reserve, make sure you have the copy of your permit. The guy on that plastic chair will ask for it.
There are 4 Buses daily crossing Andaman Islands from Port Blair, heading north to Mayabunder and Diglipur. These run at 4:15, 7:00, 10:00 and last at 12:45. Departure times are scheduled according to times when the convoy crossing thru the Jarawa Forest Reserve is scheduled.
When the bus is labeled "Super deluxe" do not expect luxury. None of the busses we have seen were air-conditioned and the ultimate luxury here means, that its seats are a bit more comfortable than in those on a state run bus.
It seems that 13 hours journey along Andaman Trunk Road must be tiring, however the journey across the islands is beautiful. Track through Jarawa's natural reserve is one of the most beautiful scenic journeys on the planet Earth. Narrow asphalt road winds under the trees of untouched jungle. And yes, you can see here the original inhabitants, the Jarawa tribe.
There are several interesting places along Port Blair - Diglipur track. Thus you do not have to suffer those 13 hours in one shot. We recommend you to split the journey and spend few days visiting the natural beauty along the way. Inspiration can be our blog: places to visit on Andaman Islands.
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