Don’t get me wrong! Andaman and Nicobar islands have around 38 inhabited islands and visitors are allowed for a few of these islands. I do love all the islands I visited in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, including the North Bay island. The last time I was in Andaman islands, I had a chance to visit the North Bay island for few hours. When compared to the other islands I visited, I really did not like the North Bay Island that much and I felt there were better alternatives to spend the day.
Are you visiting Andaman and Nicobar islands for the first time? Then read the one week itinerary in Andaman and Nicobar islands.
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Where is North Bay Island?
The North Bay island is one of the islands in the South Andaman district. It is closer to Port Blair, the capital city, that it can easily be visited as part of a one day trip from Port Blair. Famous for its coral reefs around the island and the warm blue waters, it is a popular destination for many water sport activities such as sea walk, scuba diving and glass bottom boat rides.
The North Bay island is very popular for tourism also because one, it is easily accessible from Port Blair and two, most tourists who visit Port Blair want to explore islands as one day trips. And three, as mentioned earlier, the island provides tourists with many water sport activities that does not require any experience to participate.
A few of the activities that one can do on the North Bay island are:
- The sea walk is conducted at a depth of 7 metres where one can walk on the sea bed. Helmets are worn by the participants that are in turn connected to the air for breathing. The cost for the sea walk is around INR 4500 per person. The sea walk is also conducted at Elephant beach on Havelock island, I advise doing this activity when you get to Havelock island.
- There are many scuba dive centres that conduct scuba diving for beginners, especially for people who are trying for the first time. It is a shore dive and the dive lasts about 15 to 20 minutes costing INR 3500 per person for introductory dives. Since I am a certified diver, the recreational dive cost me INR 2500. For scuba diving, I highly recommend scuba diving in Neil island.
- The glass bottom boat is a cool way of seeing the underwater world without actually going down into the water and getting wet. Visitors are taken in a boat that has glass bottom floor and they can see the fishes and other marine life while the boat goes around the island. The cost for glass bottom boat with lunch is around INR 800 per person. Jolly Buoy island is the better alternative to take the glass bottom boat ride.
3 reasons why I think it is not worth visiting North Bay Island
Note: Just because I am listing the reasons as to why I feel that the North Bay island is not visiting, does not mean that I did not enjoy the scuba dive on the island. The island and the water is undoubtedly appealing.
The island is over crowded with tourists
As the North Bay island is a very popular island among the tour agencies and tourists, the island is over crowded with people. The island is just filled with visitors everywhere and there is not just one place where one can enjoy the serenity of an island and nature. I did not enjoy competing with such large crowd even to take just one picture.
The underwater world was is very crowded
Underwater is crowded with divers and sea bed walkers. The North Bay island offers many water sport activities and hence there is just too many people opting for underwater sports like scuba diving. There are many beginner scuba divers attempting to dive and because they are new to diving and most of them are trying for the first time, they are not aware of how to protect the reefs while diving. It was just too disappointing to see the corals and other marine life being harmed (mostly unintentionally). Also, there was not enough space to move around freely underwater.
In spite of all the problems caused by too many people underwater, I still feel that the dive was great as the water was warm and divine, especially because my dive buddy and I went a little further than where the new divers were diving. The marine life was stunning and very pretty. I saw lots of lion fishes and the clown fish colonies.
And the island was dirty
When there is over tourism, the place eventually gets dirty. In fact, very dirty. Even though there were dedicated bins around the island, the people were throwing garbage everywhere and dirtying the place. It was disheartening to see one of the most beautiful islands being dirtied and spoilt because of humans.
Humble request to all tourists and travelers, please do not throw garbage anywhere you feel like. Take your rubbish with you or throw them only in the bins.
How can you get to North Bay island?
The North Bay island is around 40 kilometres from Port Blair and is usually visited along with the Ross island. Ross island is a perfect mid stop before heading to the North Bay island. The ferry journey between North Bay and Ross islands is just 30 minutes. Ferry departs from Aberdeen jetty at Port Blair and the tickets for the day trip can be purchased at Aberdeen jetty ticket centre. The cost for the ferry return ride was around INR 850 per person.
Andaman islands have many beautiful islands that are not crowded and have people around who care for nature. Havelock and Neil islands are definitely worth the visit and I really recommend them to be included as part of your travels. In my opinion, feel free to skip the North Bay island unless you really have spare days and want to cover most islands as possible.
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