One of the most offbeat locations in the archipelago, Long Island in the Andaman Islands is yet not fully discovered by many who know about this union territory. There are so many reasons for that. The remote locality of Long Island and the poor connectivity of this destination is the foremost reason for many. Along with that, there are very limited accommodation facilities available on Long Island. This place had decent popularity among foreign nationals until 2019. The majority of the Indian travellers don’t include this island in their itinerary as a trip to this point of attraction requires a total of ten or more days’ stay in the Andaman Islands.
This enchanting island is home to a stunning beach at Lalaji Bay six kilometers north from Long Island jetty. It is popular for its beautiful forest cover and coconut plantations. It can also be considered as the gateway to many hidden and unexplored spots like the Guitar Island and the Merk Bay Beach at North Passage Island. Here, you can have the best of both worlds- the exotic and untouched virgin beaches as well as the lush green tropical forests. Long Island is a golden feather in the crown of the Andaman Islands. It is a paradise for bird lovers if you visit it during the right season. The island has a unique marine eco-system as well.
Until the arrival of settlers in the 1970s, the island was inhabited. A plywood factory was set up near the jetty that is closed now. There is a small village nearby the jetty which is populated by settlers and factory workers from various parts of the country.
In this blog, we will let you know how you can plan a visit to the gorgeous Long Island.
What to expect while visit Long Island?
Long Island is a small rural settlement that is not connected by any road network to any of the islands. There is no blacktop road on the island. Different parts of the area are connected by a concrete footpath only. A mud road leads towards the wood. If you are a nature enthusiast, then you would love the Casuarina trees (popularly known as the Jhau tree or she-oak) alongside the footpaths that make it an adoring natural walkway. As the island is amidst the open sea, these trees also act as windbreaks for it. In Long Island, all movements are on foot. This island is the best example of eco-tourism as there are no vehicles available. While entering this island, tourists should not expect any luxury. You have to stay in eco stay accommodations.
There is a serene trek that goes through the main village, plantations, fields, regenerated forest and primary rainforest. If you love hiking, then you should definitely include this in your travel plans. This six-kilometer trail begins at the jetty and ends at Lalaji Bay. There is one more trail that runs north from Lalaji bay, which leads to a secret cove with calm water, corals and a white sandy beach. So if you want to snorkel or sunbathe in complete privacy, you know where to go!
Things to do in Long Island
On this island, you can spend your time experiencing its beauty and serenity. You can enjoy quality time swimming, lazing around in the beaches, island hopping in a private chartered boat, taking nature walks, trekking, viewing a splendid sunset from the island, indulging in nature photography, and a lot more. You can soak yourself in the essence of being in the lap of nature.
Also, there are diving centres of Havelock Island offering safari trips to explore the dive sites of Long Island. Snorkeling is quite popular here owing to good underwater visibility.
Attractions in and around Long Island
It is a gorgeous, sandy beach on the west coast of Long Island. You have to take a fiber boat from the Long Island jetty to reach this serene and picturesque beach. The route from Long Island to Lalaji Bay Beach is in the midst of the open sea and is indeed an enthralling experience. On the way, the boat will cross through beautiful and unique mangrove creeks. The journey is made even more memorable with the picture-perfect scenic view. The beach has white silky sand and crystal clear water. To give a treat to your mind, body, and soul, just bask in the sun or get immersed in the clean water.
It is a marvelous island near Long Island. The island has derived its name from its appearance. You should be beware of the photoshopped photos that promote the myth that Guitar Island looks like a guitar having a hole in between depicting the soundhole. But in reality, the depiction of this island as a guitar is that the island is adjacent to the small guitar island. Thus this Small Guitar Island (which looks like the headstock of a guitar) and the Guitar Island (which looks like the body of the guitar) are joined by a sand bar (which acts like the fret-board). Hence, giving it a structure similar to a guitar.
Newlyweds want to go to such a place that doesn’t have crowds and has immense beauty. The tropical weather and vibes of this island make it a perfect romantic spot. You can spend quality time here amidst the splendor of this destination.
Merk Bay Beach
This beach is a pristine beach accessible from Long Island. It is located on North Passage Island. North Passage Island is very close to Strait Island that hosts the primitive Ongi tribe people. Dense mangrove forest covers one side of the North Passage Island. This is the part of the island where the boat stops. It anchors itself near a wooden jetty here. One has to walk through this narrow wooden jetty and walk for few kilometers through the mangrove forest that opens up to the beautiful Merk Bay Beach. The water of this beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It is a paradise for snorkeling lovers. Just carry your snorkeling gears and experience the best rich marine life there. Merk Bay Beach offers an experience very similar or even better than Radhanagar beach located in Havelock Island.
This place can be visited at any time of the year as it has a moderate climate. But the best time to plan a vacation is between October and May. During this time, the weather is extremely pleasant there thus making it the best time to enjoy water sports at the beaches. The sky is clear and the temperature is pleasing.
How to reach Long Island?
Over 80 kilometers from Port Blair and 35 kilometers north of Havelock Island, Long Island is connected by ferry from Port Blair, Neil Island and Havelock Island. It is connected by road from Diglipur and Port Blair.
How to reach Long Island from Rangat?
By bus- The most affordable option to reach Long Island from Port Blair is to first reach Rangat and from there, you can take a government ferry to Long Island. From the capital city, you can reach Rangat via a government-operated bus 4:30 AM. It will take nearly eight hours to reach there. The bus will pass through Andaman Grand Trunk Road to reach Yeratta Jetty in Rangat. You will have to board a government-operated boat to Long Island from the jetty. It normally takes one hour from Rangat to Reach Long Island in a boat. You should note that the ferry doesn’t sail on a daily basis from Rangat to Long Island. It operates on alternative days, usually Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday at 9 AM and at 4 PM. It is subject to weather conditions as well. However, this schedule can change anytime without any prior notice. Also, you cannot book the tickets in advance.
By private cab- You can also reach Rangat in a personal vehicle from Port Blair. Based upon the availability, the driver may help you in getting the tickets for the government ferry. As an alternative to the government ferry that goes from Rangat to Long Island, there is also a chartered speed boat service to move from Rangat to Long Island. As Long Island is still not completely wireless, the online suggestions or bookings don’t work at all for it. Thus, you need to contact a local person for making the arrangements to visit there.
How to Reach Long Island from Port Blair?
You can reach Long Island from the capital city by hiring a private chartered boat. This will be exciting along with a bit expensive. If you are a group of around eight to ten people, then the tour will be fun and the cost will get divided as well. This option can be considered and you can sail through the archipelago of the islands before reaching Long Island. Fishing enthusiasts can consider game fishing during the journey. In case you are interested in game fishing, then you should inform your vendor in advance so that they get the boat equipped with fishing gear. This way, your journey will be more adventurous.
Another way is to take a government ferry to move directly from Port Blair to Long Island. However, this voyage would be an entire day-long journey. The ferry will follow this route- Port Blair - Neil Island - Havelock Island - Rangat - Long Island. You should know in advance that the sailing is not scheduled daily and the ticket opens only on the day of departure. Thus, if you are in the Andaman Islands for a longer time, then you can consider this potion. But if you have planned a vacation for nearly a week, then visiting Long Island could be difficult for you as there is a lot to do there and you will not be having enough time. However, if you are a repeated visitor to the Andaman Islands and have seen everything else, then you can consider this option.
How to reach Long Island from Havelock Islands and Neil Island?
You will be required to take a government ferry from Havelock Island to Long Island. The ferry is operational on alternate days. This is the same ferry that sails from Port Blair to Long Island. It takes a pit stop in Neil Island, Havelock Island, and Rangat Islands before moving to Long Island. The same applies to visit Long Island from Neil Island. The government ferry also takes a pit stop in Neil Island. Therefore, from Neil Island also, you need to take the same boat to Long Island.
Where to stay in Long Island?
There is a government accommodation known as Surmai Resort and a private property named Blue Planet in Long Island. You can stay at any one of these properties. Surmai Resort has more facilities and is recommended for Indian travellers visiting this island or for any traveler who has planned this trip as a family holiday. On the other hand, Blue Planet is more of an eco hut of thatched roofing and walls. It has only low lying mattresses and mosquito nets as their major amenities. Thus, backpackers can consider this option.
As online things won’t work properly for Long Island, you will be requiring assistance for local companies to get your accommodation booked. When in Long Island, do not expect any luxurious or modern accommodation. The facilities are very basic and kind of eco-stays.
Have you made bookings for hotels and now looking for a reliable vehicle for harbour transfers? Be absolutely relaxed! Andaman Island Travels is the one-stop destination to book a car for your harbour transfers or sightseeing on the island. The pre-arranged transportation will be provided to you between the port and your desired destination, whether it is a hotel, cruise port, or another local point of interest. You can also book the transfer at the end of your trip when you have to head back to Port Blair to catch the flight to return home.