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). (This is a shocking example of the human safaris that take place in the Andamans, where tourists drive through the Jarawa's forest trying to 'spot' them, like animals in a safari park. It is illegal to advertise these safaris, but they still go on every day. India's supreme court ordered the road through the Jarawa's reserve (the Andaman Trunk Road) to be closed in 2002. Sadly it remains open and the human safaris still continue.) The Jarawa are a self sufficient hunter-gatherer people, who show no sign of wanting to join the mainstream.
Interacting with the Jarawa risks passing on diseases to which the tribe may have no immunity and is strictly prohibited, as is taking their snaps.
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 policemen.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.
Baratang island is a full day tour that starts in the morning usually around 4 AM and ends by 5 PM. A full day is required for a visit to this island and can be visited from Port Blair itself. In case you are visiting Diglipur in North Andaman then you can visit this destination enroute Diglipur. Baratang bring forward the other side of Andaman mainly the thick forest and the jungle side of Andaman. The limestone Caves and the mangrove ride is a unique attraction in the island. Mud Volcano in Baratang is not much liked by travellers because of not so clear visibility of the volcano. Though people who are interested can visit Mud Volcano as well.
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 -