Port Blair Tourism
Port Blair is the capital and the largest city in the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Often Dubbed as the Veritable Garden of Eden," Port Blair boasts lazy beaches fringed with palms, lighthouse sprinkled, turquoise blue sea, pristine white sand beaches, exotic species of flora and fauna, mouth-watering sea food, adventure sports, water sports, outdoor activities and the tranquil atmosphere, making it one of the most sought after travel destinations in India and the world. The immaculate beauty of the islands hides a history that has a significant place in the Indian Freedom Struggle. In 1789, the first penal colony was established on the island and was called Port Cornwallis in honour of his commander, Admiral Sir William Cornwallis. In the year 1858, the first European settlement on the islands was established near the site of the old penal colony, and was named Port Blair in honour of Captain Blair. One of the most significant monuments on the island was the cellular jail or ‘Kaala Pani.’ The walls of the jail still tell tales of the torture of India's freedom fighters within its walls. The jail had 698 solitary cells to ensure that there was no contact between prisoners. Visiting the jail can be an emotional experience. The islands are also home to some of the oldest tribes in the world. Six recognized tribes inhabit the several islands including the Onges who in the past 30 years have progressed to wearing trousers and often visit the modern towns. The others like the ‘Jarawas’ are unfriendly, hostile and still preffer to live life in the raw. With such beautiful cultures, rusty monuments, scenic beauty and the tropical rainforests, Port Blair is a perfect exotic getaway destination.
Essential travel information and Port Blair tips for your visit
- Port Blair Time Zone – IST (Indian Standard Time) GMT+5:30
- Currency – The currency used in Port Blair is Indian Rupee.
- Electricity – India uses 230 Volts, 50 Hz alternating current as the power source. Plugs and sockets have grounded / earthed 3 Pin connections (Type D) or ungrounded 2 pin connections (Type C).
- Internet – 3G, Wi-Fi connections are available in almost all the hotels in the city.
- Languages – The dominant language spoken in Port Blair is Bengali, followed by Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
- Security – Police – 100, 232100, Ambulance – 102, 232102, Fire – 101, 232101
- Tipping - It’s not customary to tip in Port Blair as hotels and restaurants already charge service tax. You are not obliged to, but can tip a certain amount if you are pleased with the service and food.
- Do conserve the environment and don’t pollute the majestic blue waters.
- Do respect the local culture and traditions.
- Do not photograph or take videos of the tribes. It is a crime and is a punishable offence.
- Do not go into water of unknown depth and current.
- Be careful of snakes, as snake bites are common during monsoons.
- Tribal Areas should not be visited during the night.
- Nudity is strictly prohibited at the beaches.
- Do not go for a swim in the sea at night. You could potentially put your life in danger.
- All foreign nationals must obtain permit to stay in Andaman. The permit can be obtained from Indian missions abroad or on arrival at Port Blair from immigration authorities. Permission are also given by Foreigners' Registration office or immigration authorities at air ports at metro cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai). The permission is granted for a period of 30 days. It may be extended for another 15 days in exceptional cases.
- Tourists are not permitted to visit certain notified tribal reserves.
- Do not collect dead coral or touch/break live coral. Make sure to not stand on the coral reef while snorkelling or Scuba diving.