Port Blair, the capital city is a bustling overgrown town of immense historical importance. Travellers usually visit the main historical attractions, some of which are in the city and some as day trips keeping Port Blair as the base.
The famous Cellular Jail (that housed Indian freedom fighters during the struggle for independence) draws hundreds on visitors and is perhaps the most visited monument in the Andamans. Travellers following the typical tourist route also visit Chatam Sawmill (one of the oldest & largest in Asia), Forest Museum, Anthropological Museum, Fisheries (Marine) Museum, Naval Marine Museum (Samudrika) and the Cottage Industries Emporium (Sagarika) to indulge in a bit of shopping. Souvenirs available here are very popular buys.
Easy day trips from Port Blair make it possible to explore close by islands like Mount Harriet (The highest peak in South Andamans and the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj), Viper Island (where the gallows and ruins of the jail can be seen), Ross Island (the erstwhile capital of Port Blair during the British regime), Jolly Buoy and Red Skin Island (for great beaches and lovely snorkeling)
Day trips to the beautiful beaches of Wandoor and excursions to the Mahatma Gandhi National Park are also a popular choice for travellers.
The Anthropological museum in Port Blair started in the year 1975-76, is an ethnographic museum. It showcases the four Negrito Tribes of the Andaman viz. the Jarawas, Sentinelese, Great Andamanese and the Onges and two Mongoloid Tribes of the Nicobar viz. the Nicobarese and the Shompens.
This museum is situated adjacent to the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sport Complex, Port Blair, which exhibits species of marine life endemic to the islands and found in the Indo-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal.
Samudrika (Naval Marine Museum)
Situated opposite Andaman Teal House, Delanipur, Port Blair, this museum create awareness on various aspects of oceanic environment and houses a vast collection of cells, corals and a few species of colourful fishes of the sea around the islands.
Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex
This water sports complex is the first of its kind in India that offers all possible aqua-sports facilities including safe water sports and Adventure water sports within one water sports complex. In the safe water sports complex paddle-boats, row-boats, glass-bottom and bumper boats are available. In the adventure sport front, Jet Ski, parasailing, banana boats, speed boats are offered. The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex houses a memorial of the 'Battle of Aberdeen' fought between the Britishers and the Andamanese aboriginals in 1859.
Chatham Saw Mill
The Chatham saw mill is one of the oldest saw mills in Asia. It is built on a tiny island and connected to Port Blair by a bridge. It is a store house of timber varieties like, Padauk, Gurjan, Marble, Satin wood etc. The Chatham Island has the second largest wharf of these islands where island-mainland ships can berth. Within the saw mill compound is a museum showcasing the various timber wealth of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The museum offers an insight in to forest activities through scale models and display decorative pieces made of Padauk, Marble, Peauma, Gurjan, Satin wood etc. Closed on Sundays and Industrial Holidays.
Sagarika – Cottage Industries Emporium
This Emporium exhibits a spectrum of artefacts made of mother pearl, sea shells, coconut shells and local wood products. Miniatures of Nicobari canoes, palm mats for floors, tables, furniture etc. are exhibited which are also for sale. It is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
The Science Centre, situated five kms from Port Blair town, has an 'Andaman and Nicobar Islands Gallery' with interactive exhibits depicting genesis of the islands, volcanic activities, science of oceans, Fun Science gallery, modern technology gallery, Taramandal (Portable planetarium), and an in-house butterfly pen. It is closed on all Mondays and Public Holidays.
This beautiful park at Port Blair has facilities like amusement rides, safe water sports and nature trail around the lake, garden, restaurant and historic remains like Japanese temple as well as a bunker. The erstwhile Diltaman tank, which was the only source of drinking water for Port Blair and the area around has been developed as Gandhi Park in an unbelievably short time of 13 days. It is open on all days.
Mount Harriet, 55 Kms by road/ 15 Kms by ferry and trek was the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj. This place is ideal for fascinating overview of the nearby islands and the sea. It is the highest peak in the South Andamans (365 mts. high). At Mount Harriet, there is a Forest Guest House where tourists can take rest and refresh themselves.
One can visit Madhuban from Mount Harriet by trekking through the jungle approximately covering 16 Kms. Exotic endemic birds, butterflies are interesting sights of this wilderness trek. Incidentally, the three points i.e. Mount Harriet and North Bay on the north of Port Blair and Ross Island on the east of Port Blair is the natural gateway for ships entering to berth at the Haddo and Chatham Wharf and Phoenix Bay Jetty.
Sippighat Agricultural Farm
This Govt. agricultural farm is located 14 kms west of Port Blair covering over an area of 80 acres, cultivate spices like clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, coconut etc
Cellular jail –National Memorial
The Cellular jail, declared a National Memorial, is located at Port Blair which had stood as a mute witness to the most brutal and barbaric atrocities meted out to national freedom fighters, who were incarcerated in this jail. The jail, completed in the year 1906 acquired the name 'Cellular' because it was entirely made up of individual cells for solitary confinement. It originally was a seven-block structure with three stories and a central tower acting as its fulcrum comprising of honeycomb like corridors. This jail, now a place of pilgrimage for all freedom-loving people draws everyone down memory lane to the years of freedom struggle.
Son-et-lumiere (Sound and Light show)
The Sound and Light show in the Cellular Jail narrates the saga of the Indian freedom struggle, brought alive through sound and light effect of the brutal and barbaric atrocities piled on the freedom fighters deported to these islands and incarcerated in the small cells of this jail. This show is very popular among the tourists visiting these islands.
This small island, less than a square kilometer stands right across Port Blair. This island served as the capital to the Britishers from 1858 to 1941 when the Japanese occupied it and converted it to a 'POW site'. This island homes the ruins of the church, Chief Commissioner's house, the Cathedral and graveyard of the Britishers and few other important landmarks which today is hugged by wild wines and huge roots and trunks of century old trees which are very evocative of the ruins and remains. To reach Ross Island, private ferries are available from Aberdeen Jetty except on Wednesday.
This island derives its name from the vessel 'Viper' in which Lt. Archibald Blair came to these islands in 1768 with the purpose of establishing a penal settlement. The vessel, it is believed, met with an accident and its wreckage was abandoned near the island. Gallows built on the top of the hillock, visible to all prisoners in the island, signified death. The jail at Viper, where prisoners deported from the mainland and confined, was built by the Britishers under the supervision of Major Fort.
Beaches in Portblair
Carbyn's Cove Beach
Corbyn's Cove beach- the coconut-palm fringed beach, six kilometers away from Port Blair town is ideal for swimming and sun-basking. Facilities like hotel, restaurant, bar, changing room, adventure water-sports are available here. Historical remains like Japanese Bunkers can be seen on the way to this beach. The Snake Island situated just across the beach is popular for scuba diving. The Waves Restaurant & Beer Bar run by Tourism department provides delightful cuisine at reasonable rates in a soothing ambience on the beach.
North Bay Beach
North Bay beach which is north of Port Blair provides snorkelling opportunities around its fringing coral reefs. Private ferry service takes one from Aberdeen Jetty across North Bay and brings back after a three hour stay. The corals at North Bay are spread over a large area. During snorkeling one can spot many species of fish, often lobsters and even clams on the coral reef. Sea walk is the latest addition of facilities there to watch under water life.
About 29 Kms. west of Port Blair is the famous Wandoor beach known for scenic beauty and is very popular amongst tourists. The range of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is just across Wandoor Beach. To visit the Marine National Park, boats are available from Wandoor Jetty.
JOLLY BUOY ISLAND
Jolly Buoy Island, in Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park offers breath taking corals and amazing marine life. It is an ideal place for snorkeling and for basking on the sun kissed beach and getting that fabulous tan. Regular day trips ply from Port Blair to this island at present, however no night stays or camping is allowed here
RED SKIN ISLAND
Red Skin Island is also located in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park has a nice beach and offers spectacular view of corals and marine life. Popular with snorkelers, this island is a great day trip from Port Blair for those looking for a fun day at the beach. Night stays are not permitted here.
MundaPahar Beach, Chidiyatappu
MundaPahar beach is 2.75 Kms from Chidiyatappu bus stop and is preferred for swimming. Frequent bus services are available from Port Blair bus terminus to Chidiyatappu- the southernmost tip of South Andaman Island. It is situated at a distance of 28 Kms from Port Blair Bus stand. It is famous for bird watching, sunset view, panoramic scenic beauties, and many colours of oceanic view. The biological park at Chidiyatappu is the added attraction.