Little Andaman is an island in the Andaman Islands. Of the islands open to tourism it's one of the largest, yet it's remote location makes it the least visited. Those that do make the journey will stumble across pristine beaches, waterfalls, astonishingly cheap food, alcohol and accommodation, locals so friendly they feel like family, oil palm plantations and legendary waves that few surfers seem to make it to.
While most of the Andaman Islands escaped major damage from the 2004 tsunami, Little Andaman wasn't quite so lucky. Almost the entire island was ravaged, though it has since bounced back, and a few rudimentary hotels have been built.
Dugong Creek in the North and the South Bay area are tribal reserves for the Onge tribe and are off limits to tourists, although it's perfectly possible to enter the Nicobari reserves south of Hut Bay.
One of the least populated main islands, most of the inhabitants are Bengalis or Tamils in addition to a sizeable Nicobari overspill community to the south of Hut Bay.
Flora and fauna
Little Andaman is barely settled and most of the island is covered by thick jungle, fringed by stunning deserted beaches and reefs.
Warm and dry in winter. Hot, rainy and sticky in summer.
Since the sinking of a ferry in the Andamans in early 2014, ferry schedules to Little Andaman have changed from 2 ferries per day, to a system whereby the schedule is released seemingly without regularity from the main ferry office in Port Blair. Tenacity is required. It may also be possible to show up at the ferry terminal - a different one to the booking office and buy the ticket at the time of departure as a certain number of tickets are held back for last minute travellers - expect to pay a premium on these tickets.
As of March 2017 ferry ticketing was very well organised. Only government ferries operate from PB to Hut Bay. Day journey takes about 6-8 hours also depending on which vessels sail. Normal ticket price 75 p.P, Ordinary cabin (bunkbeads, aircon, private space) 275 p.P. Tickets have to be purchased at Phoenix Bay Jetty, while the ferry leaves at Haddo Wharf. Schedules (and fares) could be found in the past here and are updated only a few days before the sailing, but that link is not supported anymore.
As of September 2019 tickets to Hut Bay cost from 525 (deck) to 1575 (de-luxe). Advanced tickets are issued at Phoenix Bay Jetty and it is possible to just show up at Haddo Wharf prior to the departure and get your ticket there. (If there is a vacancy.) As permits were cancelled, foreigners should carry a few copies of passport and visa page when buying tickets.
Since August 2018 the Restricted Area Permit regime was cancelled and there is no permit needed to visit Little Andaman. You can move freely along the only road in Little Andaman, however, you are not allowed to visit tribal areas. For that a Tribal Permit would be needed and is it almost impossible to obtain.
Local fishing boats can take you to other parts of the island from Hut Bay, otherwise, aside of motorbikes or scooters, your feet are your best friends as most of the island is thick jungle.
You can rent motorbikes for 350 RS (fixed price) and bicycles, as standard, check the condition of the bikes before rental - Blue View have a good relationship with a scooter rental company.
Buses, Rickshaws and Jeeps get you around the island. Almost anyone will pick you up and give you a lift for little-to-no money. Bus service in the island is pretty good. You can catch a bus at Indira Bazaar to most places along the only major road on the island.
Things to see/do:
- White Surf Waterfalls (Also called little waterfall by the localites)- You can catch a bus from Indira Bazaar to this place. A 0.9 km walk from the bus stop leads to the waterfalls. The walk through the thick jungle with small plantations takes you to a checkpoint where you need to buy tickets. The place near the falls is well maintained with small bridges to cross the streams.
-Whisper Wave Waterfalls (Also called big waterfall by the localites)- This is a multi step waterfall in the middle of a thick jungle and can be reached only in the dry months of February and March. Reaching this waterfall involves 12.5 km motorcycle ride in the jungle and 2 km trek in the forest crossing 2 streams. To reach this waterfall you need to book a guide and rent a motorcycle (can be arranged by the hotel managers). Leave from Netaji Nagar by 8:00 am in the morning and drive for 4.5 km to reach Krishnanagar. This road passes through picturesque Palm Tree Plantations. From Krishnanagar follow the road through thick jungle for 8 km in the jungle. This narrow road passes through jungles infested with thorny plants that have thorns even on the leaves. Make sure that the leaves don't touch your skin or face while driving. The road is eroded by incessant rains in the forest and requires careful driving. A small path starts from the point where you can no longer drive the motorcycle from where a trek of 2 km takes you to the waterfall. During the trek two streams need to be crossed. Cross the streams at shallow region and watch out for crocodiles.
The 2 km trek takes you to the bottom most and largest waterfall. The pool formed below has crocodiles. Climb by the side of the waterfall to reach the next waterfall. You can walk along the devil's pool of the first waterfall. Pools of the waterfalls at the top don't have crocodiles and you can wade into the water. You can continue to climb almost 8-10 waterfalls. Water in the pools are very cool and care must be taken while swimming in them. Leave the waterfalls before 3:00 pm as it gets dark early in the forest.
- Lighthouse - Beaches / Surf - There's excellent surf here and a surf instructor bookable through the hotel owners will show you the ropes if you're looking to learn. The waves can be big though so it's advisable to stick to the sandy beach opposite Blue View at first. - Butlers Bay Lagoon - Follow the cave in the main rock face through to an excellent cliff jumping spot. - The Dam - Pretty wild area covered in flowers where a reservoir fills in summer.
The enveloped areas offer a range of goods and services including discounted air tickets at the second village, 30 mins due north of Hut Bay.
Aside of Palm Grove Restaurant, run by the A&N Forestry Commission and serving excellent biryianis etc., basic food is available in Hut Bay - outside of this you will need to bring your own food and something to cook it on. Every "resort" will provide you with meals 3x a day. Just order well ahead, so they can get relevant supplies. Most of the travellers just eat where they sleep.
There are about 5 "resorts" who offer accomodotaion for tourists. Price range between 500 to 800, except green rooms (1400). Most of the islands accommodation is focused on the main road in and out of Hut Bay starting at km 7.
Camping is prohibited on the islands beaches, although it is possible to sleep in the jungle fringe, especially around the far side of Butlers Bay if you have a good hammock and mosquito net.
Sandflies and mosquitos can be a problem on the island although reports of infestations in the usual guide books are exaggerated. There are signs warning of crocodiles in many places although they are rarely sighted in developed areas.
The sea can be rough and the rip-tides strong. Don't enter the water having consumed alcohol and keep a constant eye on the shoreline. Turn away for too long and you may find yourself much further from the shore than you imagined.
Ferries to Port Blair leave either in the morning (about 8 hours) or during the night (9p.m. to 7.00 a.m.). Tickets have to be booked in Hut bay at the ferry ticket counter. Opening hours 09:00 a.m. to 12.00, 14:00 to 17:00. No advance booking, only after last ferry left. Foreigners do not have to bring a copy of their permit anymore. Carry copy of passport and visa page instead. If internet is working, tickets for other destinations (such as pb to neil island) can be issued (government ferry only).