Thursday, 14 June 2012

A Holiday at Andaman - A Review - Day 0

Hi All,

This is an extensive review of our honeymoon holiday at Andaman. This includes all DOs, DONTs, Costs, Tips, and Suggestions... I have covered as much as I could... If there are more queries, please feel free to email me! All times mentioned here are in IST (Indian Standard Time) and all prices in INR (Indian Rupees). 

If all you are looking for is a summary [and do not want to read the whole thing ;)] then just go to the last post by clicking here!

Day 0: 14 June, 2012 

Post-wedding, we have been hunting for honeymoon locations. The basic idea was to travel within India under the belief that "When there are amazing places in India, why go abroad?" After a lot of discussions, we decided on Andaman (Rajasthan came in a close second) and set out hunting for great packages. In short, we were not disappointed. 

Tour Operator:
Like every Indian out there, we started with Make My Trip. Their package included a night's stay at Chennai as the flight for Port Blair starts at 04:00AM from Chennai. This shot up the budget a bit more than we wanted it to. And then we found Andaman Island Travels Pvt. Ltd. (henceforth referred to as AITPL) through Holiday IQ. The thing we liked most about this was that they do not arrange the flight bookings - this suited us, but not necessarily a good call for everyone. Ms.Neha gave us details for all the different packages via email and gave us enough time to think through rather than repeatedly calling and forcing us to make a booking - this is really appreciated, thank you Neha.

There are all kinda packages for all kinda people - from Individuals to Family. The basic thing starts around Rs.14,000 and does not include a night at Havelock Island. Tip - If you are planning to go to Andaman - make sure that you spend a night at Havelock Island.We finally decided to go for the Standard Honeymoon Package for 4 Nights and 5 Days (with 1 night at Havelock) - this would cost us Rs.28,000 inclusive of all taxes and a load of other things mentioned below:

  • Airport Pick up and Drop. 
  • Accommodation on twin sharing in hotels details provided as per packages in Port Blair. 
  • Accommodation on twin sharing in hotels details provided as per packages in Havelock Island. 
  • Daily breakfast at hotel restaurant. 
  • 01 A/C Private Car with chauffeur cum guide will be provided for the whole trip. 
  • All sightseeing according to the sightseeing programme. 
  • Daily 2 Bottles of Mineral water & tissue papers will be present in the car while sightseeing. 
  • 02 Flower bouquets on the day of arrival at the airport. 
  • Fruit basket in the room on the 01 day of arrival. 
  • Flower basket in the room on the 01 day of arrival. 
  • Rose petals decoration on bed in the room on the day of arrival. 
  • 01 candle light dinner with honeymoon cake & 01 bottle of wine in a Sea / Beach side restaurant at Port Blair. 
  • One session of Snorkeling for 01 couple in Coral Island – North Bay at Port Blair is inclusive. 
  • One session of Jet Ski ride for 01 couple at Coral Island – North Bay at Port Blair is inclusive. 
  • Entry ticket & ferry ticket to visit all the places of sightseeing is inclusive in the package cost. 
Note: Neha later called and gave us a free upgrade to the Deluxe package - this just means that we get better hotels to stay. Yes, there are a couple of hotels under each package out of which you can chose which one you want.

Package Booking:
You have to pay 50% of the package value to AITPL before hand so that they can make necessary bookings at Port Blair and Havelock. So I made a payment of Rs.14,000 via online transfer to their accounts.

Flight Tickets:
Booked from Make My Trip for Kingfisher Airlines. If you book both the to and return with the same airlines, you have a discount of Rs.1,000-3,000. Air India was cheaper, but you never know when those guys decide to go on strike. It cost around Rs.24,000 for 2 people to and fro.

Bus Tickets:
Travel via bus (booked at Red Bus) from Bangalore to Chennai. Reach Chennai around midnight. Spend the night at the Airport and board the flight to Port Blair. Get back down at Chennai and come to Bangalore again by Bus. Bus tickets in Volvo A/C buses cost around Rs.1,000 per head per trip. But this saved us a lot of time and one day's loss-of-pay at work as we started from Bangalore on 14 June 2012 by bus in the evening as opposed to by flight in the morning.

Day 0 Begins:
Started from Madiwala, Bangalore at 04:30PM and reached Koyambedu Bus Stand, Chennai around midnight. We had booked a cab with Bharathi Call Taxi to go from Bus Stand to Airport. That cost us around Rs.500.

Just outside the Chennai Domestic terminal there is one Cafe Coffee Day (stale food - not recommended) and one veg. restaurant open through the night. The rates are exorbitant but does ease your growling stomach. If you are a smoker, need not worry, even the cops are found smoking just outside the terminal - probably cos it is so late in the night. We spent the night at Chennai Airport. 

Andaman - Above the clouds
Tip: The free wifi there does not work, it is always out of range!

After the Check-In and Security Check - There are 3 systems available that provide decent free internet usage for 10 minutes per user (in case you want to update your FB status!) and also one smoking lounge - both on the ground floor.

At around 03:30AM we boarded the flight - it takes 2 hours for you to reach Port Blair.
We took off at sharp 04:00AM. Chennai at night from the air is a spectacular sight - so ask for a window seat while checking-in!

And the journey began...

Tip: Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise of 572 islands in all among which about 5 or 6 are worth visiting. Nicobar is totally out-of-bounds to tourists as it is inhabited only by the Indian Navy and Nicobarites (who are tribals)! 

Read Part II of this review here --> Day 1
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...