Neil Island lies at a distance of 40 kilometres from the capital city, Port Blair. On account of its location, Neil island is aloof from other islands via roads, and the only way to reach here is via sea route. The journey from Port Blair to Neil island takes about 2 hours. Travellers can choose between government/private ferries that run daily shifts.

  • Government Ferries - Government ferries are readily available to commute from Port Blair to Neil. Although they are more economical, locals get preference during bookings. The journey takes about 2 hours, and two boats make a round trip from the Phoenix Bay Jetty to Neil Island every day at 06:30 and 11:00 respectively.
  • Private Ferries/Cruises- Since government ferries are mostly opted by islanders, an easygoing commute to Neil Island is via cruise/private ferries. Cruises also traverse from Havelock (Swaraj Dweep) to reach Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep).
  • Helicopter - A government-run helicopter service called Pawan Hans is operational currently that flies roundtrip from Port Blair to Neil Island. To provide a faster and safer inter-island travel, it is now usually reserved for officials and medical emergencies.

What's noteworthy -

  1. Do not leave ferry bookings for the last moment.
  2. The timings are subject to change/cancellation due to weather conditions.
  3. Tickets for government ferries are available at the counters while one can book tickets for cruises/private cruises online.
  4. Some of the prominent cruise operators are Sea Link Cruise, Makruzz, Green Ocean Cruise and ITT Majestic.

Getting Around

Getting around Neil Island, to say the least is delightful. The island is about 7 km from one corner to another. The roads are well built and pretty easy to steer. When unsure of yourself, feel free to ask for directions to friendly locals. When in Neil Island, one can avail a few options for inbound transfers. Walking, however, is the best way to go about discovering the beauty of this quaint island.

  • Cabs: One of the most convenient and comfortable means to travel within Neil Island, chauffeured cars are readily available for hire. Best suited for families and group travellers, cabs give you the freedom to take your time and explore the sight at your own pace.
  • Two Wheelers: What can make the experience of a quaint island even better? Traversing its streets on a moped/cycle/bike sounds pretty close. While bicycles are budget and eco-friendly, the roads are scooter and bike-friendly. One can find vendors for the same near the jetty and throughout the island.
  • Auto-rickshaws: Readily available, tuk-tuks or auto-rickshaws are another means to travel within the island. One can hail them at the jetty and marketplace.
  • Buses: There is one government bus on the island. The route commences from the main bazaar and goes till Sitapur Beach. While one can choose to travel via bus, it primarily runs for the locals.

What's Noteworthy -

  1. A valid license is a prerequisite to rent a vehicle.
  2. Rickshaws are apt for short trips as the driver charges additional money for waiting time.
  • About

    About

    Neil island is romance taken neat. The changing colours of the endless horizon and turquoise waters stretching beyond one’s gaze; Neil island offers detachment from the chaos of the real world and invites you into the romance of being nowhere. This must be why this island finds its way into most itineraries in Andamans. With its laid-back temper and coherent charm, Neil island is soothingly different from its neighbour, Havelock. How to Reach Neil Island from Port Blair? The island expands over an area of 13.7 square kilometres and lies blissfully in South Andamans nearly at a distance of 40 kilometres. Given the extent and nature of the sightseeing spots in Neil Island, Neil can be bicycled around with minimal effort. Prime Minister renamed Neil Island to Shaheed Dweep as a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in 2018.

    Best known for its unparalleled biodiversity, magnificent coral reefs, the unexplored span of dense tropical forests. Banana plantations, paddy fields and a medley of vegetable yields encircle the roads on the journey to the island, also earning it the title of the vegetable bowl of Andaman. Agriculture is the primary line of business for the islanders, and the production of fruits and vegetables is in generous quantities. Due to its abundant yield, Neil island then supplies vegetables to the rest of Andamans.

    Uninhabited until the 1960s, followed by the arrival of native Indians and refugees from Bangladesh, Neil island is the rustic masterpiece of Andamans. With a population of 2675, Neil island is a world of complete serenity where the locals lead quite a simple life. One can tour the entire island in about an hour or two. With its carefree vibe, desolate beaches and little bustle, Neil island is where travellers arrive to have a laid-back vacation in Andaman. Most of the hotels and resorts here dwell near the beaches or in the jungles, further compliment the ambience of the island.

    A ride through winding and twisting village roads as the sun comes up is one of the best to experience in the island, and the morning view of the beach gets even better! Not a single soul for miles, and no swarm of beach shacks! Cycling around the island has become both a means of getting around as well as a form of recreation. Tourist Attractions in Neil Island? Considering that Neil island is all about beaches, to make the most of it, tourists can indulge in water sports such as diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing, and glass-bottom boat rides at Bharatpur beach.

    If you’re looking for a quiet holiday or a secluded but idyllic getaway, this is the place for you. With its gorgeous vistas, stunning sea and an array of water sports, places to visit in Neil Island are more than enough to whisk you away for a vacation. Certainly one of the most commercially unexploited and serene beaches in Andamans, Neil Island has luxurious coral reefs, this hidden gem is a perfect place for beach-bums as well. Havelock island often overshadows the allure of Neil island, and it gets limited to being a one-day trip destination on the itinerary. Pack your bathing suits and smear that suntan lotion, Neil island awaits your presence!

  • FAQs

    How do I get to the island?

    It lies 40 kilometres from the capital city, Port Blair. You can only reach here via sea route choosing either economical government ferries or traveller-friendly private ferries. Cruises are also a comfortable alternative. All these run on daily shifts. The journey would only take 2 hours. Due to the island being aloof from other islands, roads are not an option.

    When should I visit the island?

    The months from October to May would work the best for you thanks to the delightful tropical weather the island boasts of then. The period from December to January remains the peak tourist season. If you are there during this period, you would be in luck to witness the ten-day Island Tourism Festival hosted annually. Avoid the monsoons as the island experiences heavy winds then.

    What are the highlights of the island?

    Better known as the Coral Kingdom of Andamans, the white-sand Bharatpur Beach joins the picturesque Laxmanpur Beach and the Sitapur Beach also called the Sunrise Beach, along with the Natural Bridge locally known as Howrah Bridge, on the perfect list of your must-visit spots of the island.

    How long should I ideally stay?

    It entirely depends on you. If you are visiting with very little time on your hands, then you could tour for a day, possibly on your way back to Port Blair from Havelock Island. However, if you plan to backpack through this trip, then you would have weeks at a time to soak the island vibes.

    Do I need a permit to visit the island?

    A Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is not a requirement for outsiders anymore, given the recent decision of the Indian government to improve the state of tourism in both 11 uninhabited and 29 inhabited islands in the Andamans.

    What should I do in case of a medical emergency?

    You can either go to one of the two medical care facilities on the island, the Local Hospital located near the Neil Kendra or the Primary Healthcare Center- Ayurveda Dispensary. Them being government-run medical care units, all services here can be availed free of cost. If in need of any speciality healthcare, you must travel to Port Blair. Over there, G.B. Pant Hospital is an affordable and reputed hospital at your service, which is an outcome of modernization in medical services.

    Primary Health Center & Ambulance Service: 03192-282627

    How are the cellular networks on the island?

    The network issues may cut you off from the outside world. The cellular networks on the island are more patchy than existent. Best to not rely on the carriers except for BSNL. It is the one with the best connectivity. Frequent call drops, download-upload errors and limited mobile data usage are a common thing. Though no Internet is available on the island yet the lack of it provides you with a rare chance at digital detox.

    Are there ATMs on the island?

    Only three ATMs run by Syndicate Bank, Axis Bank, and Cooperative Bank are there on the island. Not many hotels or vendors here accept card payment. Furthermore, ATMs can run out of money rather suddenly in peak tourist season, which is why we urge you to keep enough cash with you.

  • Do's & Don'ts

    Do's :

    1. Take a copy of your tickets and permits with you at all times.
    2. Check the certification of the tour operator before booking.
    3. Carry sunscreen because the tropical sea wind along with sun is harmful to the skin.
    4. Carry a waterproof bag to keep important documents.
    5. Contact Tourist information centres in the islands for any assistance.
    6. While driving, Carry legal documents like driving license, permit, passport and follow traffic rules.
    7. Do wear a helmet while riding two-wheeler motor vehicles.
    8. Swim in safe areas only. And Consult lifeguards at the coast before entering the sea.
    9. Remember to carry all the necessary items like sunscreen lotion, comfortable footwear, camera and sunglasses.
    10. If you want to capture a photo/video in any tourist attraction, then obtain permission. All the tourist attractions spots will carry notice boards about approval.
    11. Use the dustbins for disposing of garbage. Help keep the Andaman Islands litter-free, please do not throw waste in parks, on beaches, into the sea or public places.
    12. Carry essential documents like permits and driving license with you at all times while travelling in the Andaman Islands.
    13. Get necessary permits from the authorities for visiting National Parks of the island.
    14. Be sensitive to the privacy and lifestyle of the local tribes.
    15. Avail the service of qualified Instructors having certification of international organizations (PADI, CMAS, NAUI) for a safe scuba diving session.
    16. Inform authorities if you notice any illegal/undesirable activity on the island.
    17. Foreign nationals must keep their restricted area permit with them at all times.

    Don'ts :

    1. Do not smoke in public areas.
    2. Plastic carry-bags are prohibited in the Andaman Islands, kindly consider jute/ recycled bags for your comfort.
    3. The island is renowned for its flora and fauna - Do not hunt birds and animals both on land and on the sea.
    4. Travelling to tribal reserves without a special pass is prohibited.
    5. Overnight Stays in forest areas or beaches are not allowed. We advise you to return before the sunset.
    6. Unless permitted, Camping on the islands and lighting bonfires in beaches or forests is a punishable offence.
    7. Breaking and touching a live coral is prohibited. Visitors are advised not to collect any dead coral as well.
    8. Please do not take pictures of the aboriginal tribes of Andaman or record their activities. It is a punishable crime under the Indian Penal Code.
    9. Do not swim when drunk, it is not safe, and there are massive repercussions against the offender.
    10. Nudity is not acceptable on all Andaman beaches and public areas.
    11. Do not overstay at the islands past your permit time.
    12. Be very careful when visiting specific beaches where the crocodile sign is up. There have been some instances of people who ignored it and ended up getting attacked by the crocodile.
    13. Do not ride a bike or scooter without a helmet. The authorities in Andaman are strict about Road safety - both the rider and pillion must wear a helmet.
    14. Do not go for snorkelling by yourself, especially at prohibited areas of the beaches in Andaman island.