Known for its magnificent biodiversity, unexplored coral reefs, white sandy beaches, and tropical woodlands, Neil Island is perfect for a peaceful time off. This Island has an area of 13.7 square kilometers only. Given the flat landscape and the small area, Neil can be bicycled around with minimal effort. With its laid-back vibe, and lucid charm the island is soothingly different from its neighboring Havelock.
Neil Island is best suited for those who want to spend a relaxed time among long deserted beaches. With little bustle, few activities to take up, and few resorts, this island is best for those who want to explore the island’s villages. Spend quality time at the named after mythological characters from the Ramayana, or indulge in water sports in the crystal clear water – Neil Island is Andaman’s rustic masterpiece.
- Neil is a tiny but beautiful island located 37 km south of Port Blair.
- Neil Island is also known as the vegetable bowl of Andaman Islands; thanks to its climatic conditions the land is ideal for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
- Neil is connected to both Port Blair (1.5 hours) and Havelock (45 minutes) by private ferries and to Port Blair, Havelock, and Rangat by Government ferries.
- The Internet is mostly unavailable in Neil. If lucky, one can find patchy BSNL data network on phone.
- Weather: Neil mainly has three main seasons: summer, winter, and monsoon. Owing to its location in the Bay of Bengal, it experiences heavy winds during the monsoon and a tropical climate otherwise. Early November until mid-May sees the best weather in the islands.
- Currency: Like the rest of the island in Andaman, the Indian Rupee is the currency used. Neil has only two ATMs, (As on 20/4/2020) both at the bazaar – Syndicate Bank and Cooperative Bank.
- Communication and Internet: No broadband connection is available in Neil Island. Data network is available on phone sometimes but is patchy. BSNL is the network with the best connectivity.
THINGS TO DO IN NEIL ISLAND
- Neil Island 3 Point Tour: This tour takes you to 3 of the Neil Island’s natural wonders. A trip to Bharatpur Beach, Sitapur beach and Laxmanpur is commonly called the 3 point tour. One starts with visiting either the natural rock formation or the Bharatpur beach, moves on to the next point and then ends the day with a view of the sun dipping down at the gorgeous Lakshmanpur beach.This is commonly perfect for those who are spending a day in Neil Island. This is sometimes combined with the sunrise beach aka the Sitapur Beach.
- Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Neil Island has exquisite coral and marine life. There are small lagoons in Ramnagar and Laxmanpur beaches perfect for snorkeling. Most resorts in Neil rent snorkeling gear.There are only three dive centers that operate in Neil Island but many times they are not operational. Indian Scuba Explorers, Dive India, and Scuba Lov can be reached for this. If you are lucky you can spot a Dugong (Sea cow), the state animal of Andaman Islands.
- Glass Bottom Boat Ride: This activity is designed for those who do not wish to go underwater. There are many operators at the Jetty who operate these rides and are priced anywhere between Rs. 400 to Rs. 600 per person for a 20 minute ride.
- Go Trekking: Neil Island has some tropical dense cover to explore. Take a hike through a quaint village into the jungle and out to a breathtaking view of the beach. Hiring a guide for this activity is highly recommended as it is easy to get lost in the jungle.
- Lazy Beach time: Life in Neil feels slower and more relaxed, especially when all you are doing is spending time sunbathing, reading, or just lying on the beach. Bharatpur beach and Ramnagar beach are perfect spots for this.
- Explore Neil on a 2 wheeler or Bicycle: Roads in Neil are pretty easy to ride on (no sharp curves or elevations) and the island is navigation friendly, hence cycling or riding through Neil can be quite an adventure. Moped rentals are available right at the jetty and many resorts have their own cycles and motorbikes available for rent.
HOW LONG TO STAY IN NEIL ISLAND :
It is hard to specify a timeline for a place like Neil Island. But people with little time on their hands come here for a day on their way back to Port Blair from Havelock. Backpackers often come to Neil for longer periods and stay for weeks at a time soaking it the laid-back vibe of the island.