Things to do in Neil Island

Located about 30 kms. south of the Andaman Islands, Neil Island is famous for its untouched coral reefs, amazing biodiversity, powder white beaches and bountiful greenery. A tourism hotspot, Neil Island is so tiny that you can actually walk around the entire island in just 2 hours. While you do that, you’ll notice that the natives of the island have named its beaches after characters from the historical epic Ramayana. So visiting Bharatpur, Laxmanpur, Sitapur, Ramanagar and other quaintly named spots will certainly strike a chord!

Despite its small size, there are plenty of places to visit and things to do in Neil Island.

Beaches dominate the topography, so as you’d expect, water-based activities and water sports rank high among the interesting things to do here. Sunbathing, catching up on your reading or watching the waves are good options for those seeking a restful vacation. For the more active, here are more adventurous activities.

Other water sports

Make your way to Bharatpur beach between 9 am and 4 pm, and indulge your wild side on the jet skis. Or enjoy the pleasures of ocean life from a glass-bottomed boat ride. No prior booking is required; you can just get onto the beach and pay for your ride on the spot. Sea walking is another water sport designed to make the best of the clear, tranquil waters of Neil Island. Besides, a water sports complex nearby offers a variety of activities like speed boat rides, banana boat rides and more.

Viewing natural rock formations

One of Neil Island’s famous attractions is a naturally shaped bridge-like rock formation. Two living corals form this shape, making it a true natural wonder. Early Bengali settlers on Neil Island first called this natural bridge the Rabindra Sethu, and now refer to it as the Howrah Bridge.  You need to check tide timings and visit this natural wonder only during low tide, as you won’t be able to access it during high tide. Apart from the unique formation, you can also see sea urchins, sea cucumbers, star fish and even colourful corals slowly growing. Do watch your step when you walk over the rocks – they can get slippery and some of the rocks are sharp. Also, the place can get crowded towards late afternoon, as this is the last spot tourists stop at, before heading to Neil Island’s sunset point.

Attending cultural festivals

Many tourists visit Neil Island only to participate in the Island Tourism Festival, a 10-day event held during the winter. Locals dress in traditional attire, cook traditional food and interact warmly with visitors, making this a wonderful way to experience the native culture and heritage. The Subhash Mela is another cultural festival held In January. It is a tribute to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and the local Andamanese organize several cultural activities and programs in his honour. Book Andaman tour packages with SOTC and get ready for a unique travel experience.

The sea around Neil Island is the perfect breeding ground for many species of fish, making the island the go-to destination for fishing enthusiasts. Game or sports fishing is also an interesting way to meet and mingle with the local population, as these activities are organised by the locals themselves. The local groups provide all the fishing equipment you need, sturdy boats and also expert guides, who know the waters well and can lead you to the best fishing spots. Check with your resort and explore these natural attractions of Neil Island, while you make friends with the pleasant and good-natured locals.

The shallow clear waters of Neil Island invite both adults and kids to enjoy a vigorous swim, or to simply float and let the mind relax. If you’d like to venture into deeper waters, do hire floaters from the local salesmen, and enjoy your swim in safety.

Plunge into the warm, clear waters and spend time observing the vibrant marine life that inhabits the seas around Neil Island. Deep sea scuba diving is a must-do activity on an Andamans holiday, and the availability of oxygen cylinders and well-trained guides makes it an activity everyone can enjoy. The helpful guides also point out the finest sites to view and explore the aquatic world.

You can go scuba diving or even earn your stripes as a certified PADI/SSI Open Water Diver on the island, if you’d like to take your fascination with the ocean even deeper.

One of the best things to do in Neil Island is to rent snorkelling gear and venture into a world of underwater exploration. A slightly expensive activity, snorkelling is nevertheless an experience you can enjoy even as a first timer, with trained professionals on hand to accompany you. Discover the enchanting coral reefs and variety of marine life in the shimmering waters of Neil Island. For those on a budget, Bharatpur beach offers affordable options in snorkelling.

Cycling is a wonderful way to explore the varied terrain of Neil Island, which is flatter than that of the other islands in the Andamans, and therefore perfect for a cycling trek. Of course, time spent on your cycle is also a great way to exercise even while on holiday! Over the years, cycling has become popular as an eco-friendly way of getting around as well as a form of recreation. With the farms, beaches, natural vegetation and crops, and swaying palm trees that make Neil Island beautiful, viewing it on a cycle is certainly an enjoyable excursion.

Groups of knowledgeable locals offer interesting treks through the natural vegetation and forests of Neil Island, for those keen to explore adventurous things to do in Neil Island.

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