Baratang Island is a gateway to North & Middle Andaman District of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This District is quite unexplored from the tourism point of view. This is one of best part of your trip to Andaman Islands because of its virgin beauty and natural wonders. In Baratang Island you can see Mud Volcano, mangrove and tropical forests, Limestone Caves, Parrot Island and one nice deserted beach at Baludera. Other offbeat beaches are also accessible from Baratang such as Merk Bay Beach in North Passage Island, Lalaji Bay Beach etc.
Get inIt is about 90 km away from Port Blair. Regular bus services are available from STS Bus Terminal, Aberdeen Bazar. Journey takes about 2 hrs and 30 minutes from Port Blair to Middle Strait and the fare is for the government bus is Rs 80. The journey is in 2 phases - P.Blair to Jirkatang (40 kms, 1 hr 15 mins) and then Jirkatang to Baratang (49 kms, 1 hr 15 mins, no overtake zone through Jarwa Reserve Forest). From Nilambur Jetty at middle strait ferry
Apart from Government operated bus services for local islanders private AC Coaches to Baratang Island are available. This comes inclusive of lunch. These buses picks you up from respective hotels and resorts. Note that these buses does not provide pick from far away hotels such as Fortune Resort Bay Island, Peerless Sarovar Portico, Sea Princess resort, Rose valley resort and many more. The bus takes it route from Goalghar->Delanipur->Phoenix bay->Aberdeen Bazaar->MG Road->Goal Ghar->Junglighat->Dairy Farm->Lambaline->School Line. If your hotel does not fall close to this locality then you will need to reach the bus by yourself. Depending upon the number of travelers sometimes the bus operators provide pick up even from far localities. Bus tickets in AC coaches can be booked online through local operators at . These buses comes inclusive of Mangrove boat rides and all necessary entry tickets. Experience Andamans is one local operator who provide travel assistance for such trips. The third way to reach Baratang Island is to hire a private cab for yourself. Depending upon the number of travelers visiting Baratang island you can opt for either shared bus service or private vehicles.It is advisable to take a conducted tour of the Baratang islands, if you want to return on the same day. In that case you will miss seeing Parrot Islands. Once you start from Port Blair early morning at around 4 am, the first halt is at Jirkatang (40 kms from Port Blair on road). At Jirkatang you will get a forest/police check post.
This is one of the most exciting part of journey, where you will see the tribes (Jarwah). They are short height, black in complexion, with reddish eyes. They feed on roasted pig meat mainly. Fish and fruits being the other part of their diet. Civilization has not yet touched this part of the world, and the Government of India has taken every steps to ensure that no one interferes with their freedom. Offering food items to Zarawah is strictly prohibited, once when they were offered food (generally fried and spicy as we normally eat), some of the people in the tribe started dying. Forest department (Andaman Adi Janjati Samiti) also provides them with clothes. On your way to Middle strait jetty you might still find a lot of people among the tribes particular young men asking for food. Please do not pay any heed. Always speak to your driver before doing anything.
Interacting with the Jarwahs is strictly prohibited as is taking their snaps. There are stories as well as facts of tribes attacking tourists/convoy with bows and arrows and harassing trespassers. So please keep away from them and enjoy the experience.
The vehicles have to leave in convoys. There are 4 convoys throughout the day from Jirkatang (6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 2.30 pm). So please take care of the timings. You cannot cross the forest unless you are in one of the convoys. At Jirkatang check post there is a toilet/bathroom with all facilities. So if you have left from you hotel/lodge at around 4am you will reach there by 5.15 am and you can get fresh and alight your bus/vehicle by 6.30 am before the 1st convoy leaves for Baratang. In the convoy 2 wheelers/bicycles are not allowed. Only 4 wheelers are allowed. The 1st vehicle in the convoy is always a bus, with 1-2 gunned policemen. And the Jarwahs do fear the forest police. Police though does not have shoot order from government of India. Once again if you are an Indian tourist, you will find enough reasons to be proud to be so. Its is simply amazing to see how two worlds (civilized and uncivilized) coexist in this reserve forest with some amount of discipline. Hats off to the Andaman Adi Janjati Samiti.This is the only road connecting to North Andaman to places like Kadamtala (28 kms from Baratang jetty), Rangat (71 kms from Baratang jetty), Mayabunder (141 kms from Baratang jetty), Diglipur (203 kms from Baratang jetty). Here it is interesting to see how buses/vehicles alight the jetty to reach either side of the middle strait.
SeeAt Baratang you can see Mud Volcano
Another must-see attraction is Parrot Island. The experience at Parrot Island at sunset, when all the parrots are returning home is indeed a mesmerizing experience. For this a night's stay is required at Baratang. Boats to Parrot Island start after 4pm and cost 1500-1800 per boat so do find a company to share.
Some points to note :
At the same time visiting Baratang can be more memorable if the trip is taken with a night stay at Baratang. The early morning journey which generally starts at 3:40AM in the morning can easily be avoided. The main reason for any tourist opting for the early morning hectic trip is only because of improper guidance from the Port Blair tour operators. There are regular bus services to Baratang. Book your seat in any bus with your convenient timings and visit Baratang Island. APWD guest House, Forest guest House and Panchayat Guest house are some of the places for the night halt. The only good private property at Baratang is Dew Dale Resorts. By doing so you can also add Parrot Island trip at Baratang in your itinerary, which is really a breathtaking experience. Do visit Baratang Island which is one of the most beautiful parts of Andaman & Nicobar Islands but only with a night halt to avoid the hectic 3:40AM trips.
Please carry your food items. At Baratang jetty there are 2-3 restaurants, food is okay. You will get fish fry (Mackarel fish) mostly here.
There is one bar and restaurant at Baratang jetty.
The Middle strait jetty is infested with salt water crocodiles. The boat guards will say, not to put hands underwater during your boat ride to the starting point of the trek to Baratang Island Limestone Caves. Though any incidence of crocodile attacks in Baratang has not been heard, however its advisable to go as per local guide suggestions.
Other places where you can visit in North & Middle Andaman District -