The Malaysian travel has been in my mind for quite some time now, However it is not materialising, all thanks to the lack of the right organiser… While most of my friends and acquaintances have visited this small yet beautiful country, I’m not quite convinced with the places they have visited in their bland agent made itinerary covering the usual and the expected spots of Malaysia. Come on..!! This place has LOT MORE to offer.. lot more to explore.. So here goes the top 5 must do things I choose which wants me to go there…
1. A day out exploring the rainforests of Sabah with the endangered Orangutans at the Sepilok Sanctuary: – The orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extant great apes. These primates are only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
2. Cave exploring at the Mulu Caves National Park: This place is home to world’s largest cave chamber and one of the longest networks of caves in the world which is capable of accommodating forty Boeing 747 airplanes. The world’s longest canopy walk and seeing the cave swiftlets swarming out into the jungle in great clouds every evening would surely be an experience of a lifetime.
3. Scuba diving the World war II shipwreck sites at Pulau Redang Island: This place is home to about 31 finest dive sites including 2 ship wreck sites and a black coral garden..
4. Waving a ‘Hai’ to the toothless 130-year-old croc at the Teluk Sengat Crocodile farm: This place is a home to over 1000 salt water crocodiles and a nice place to study the habitat of these reptiles.
5. The colourful Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon fiesta: Over 21 countries participating in this event makes it even more special and the name hot air balloon itself gives me goosebumps in excitement….
So now, for the adventure traveller… go there and explore… there is much more that this little island country has to offer.. I choose to re-quote from the contest website: Celebrate, Explore, get Inspired and Escape into a Truly Asian Paradise!
This should be an easy guide to anyone who wants to visit the Andamans.. I would say: please don’t plan your trip if it is not atleast a week’s holiday you are aiming at..
10.20.a.m- Depart from Chennai; 12.45.p.m- Check-in @ Port Blair
2.45.p.m- Quick walk through the Science Centre and proceed to Corbyn’s Cove beach
4.00.p.m- Leave for the Cellular jail. Walk around the historic memorial of brave martyrs- the backbone for Indian freedom movement
6.00.p.m- Sound & music show at the Cellular jail
07.30.p.m – A brisk walk through the Gandhi park
08.00.p.m- Water scooter ride @ Rajiv Gandhi sports complex, a speedy walk through the Traffic police park in the same premises
8.30.a.m- Board the ferry @Rajiv Gandhi sports complex jetty for 3 island tour with a seven harbour view
10.30.a.m- Alight for delight @ Ross island– the place of erstwhile British settlement which is now a live museum.
11.30.a.m- Off to Viper island with the gallows of imprisonment established before the cellular jail.
12.30.p.m- Arrive at North Bay island– go snorkelling, walk upto the light house and go SEA WALKING..!!
05.00.p.m- Reach Port Blair
06.00.p.m- Freshen up and leave for shopping at Aberdeen bazaar– the local market.
08.30.a.m- Arrive at Phoenix bay jetty
09.00.a.m- Aboard Makruzz(a Catamaran) to Havelock islands
11.00.a.m- Off to Radhanagar beach– Asia’s no.7 best beach.
12.00.p.m- Catch the ferry to Elephanta beach: one of the best dive sites in Andamans and home to world’s only snorkeling elephant- Rajan 🙂
02.00.p.m- Begin the explorations deep in the beds of the sea- SCUBA DIVING
04.00.p.m- Onboard Baratang- the government ferry from Havelock
07.30.a.m- Leave the confines of our nest for the day’s work- We’ve got lots to explore
09.00.a.m- Registration for the convoy at the forest checkpost. This is a must for anyone travelling on the Grand Trunk road through the Jarawa tribal reserve. Jarawas are one of the aboriginal tribal group out of the 6 tribes inhabiting in the island groups.
11.30.a.m- Aboard the govt. ferry at Middle Strait
11.45.a.m- Alight at Baratang island
12.00.p.m- Cruising on a motor boat through one of the best mangrove creeks I have ever been to.
12.30.p.m- End of the jungle trek- reaching the destiny. One of the 46 limestone caves in the Islands. A spellbinding experience..!!
1.00.p.m- An 8kms flight(read it jeep ride) to see the mud volcano
02.00.p.m- Back at Baratang jetty, ferry ride back to Middle strait.
06.00.p.m- Walk around Port Blair.
07.30.a.m- Sippighat horticultural farm visit.
08.00.am.- A quick turn-up at Wandoor beach
08.30.a.m- Walk around the Mahatma Gandhi museum
09.00.a.m- Off for a ride- An un-expressible journey to the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
11.00.a.m.- Glass bottom boat ride, sun-bathing & SNORKELING in the crystal clear waters of Jolly Buoy island
01.00.p.m- A spicy walk through the Mongluton rubber & spices plantation. ‘Coconut Malai Sharbat’ is a must try drink there.
03.30.p.m- A super drive through a very different part of the Andamans- took us to ChidiyaTapu. We were the last people for the day to get entry into the mini zoo there.
04.00.p.m- I’m on one of the best beaches hitherto- backwaters of the tsunami affected area.. We did not even realise that we had walked over a kilometer deep into the sea- and the water level had not risen beyond our ankles.
04.30.p.m- Exploring the Chidiyatapu hills. An AMAZING place for the landscape photographers
05.00.p.m.- Sunset point – by far the BEST sunset I have witnessed on a seashore.
06.30.p.m- We are at Sagarika– the govt. emporium for shopping for souvenirs
09.00.a.m- Chawtham island– Asia’s biggest timber saw mill and forest museum
10.15.a.m- Samudrika– A museum maintained by the Indian Navy
11.00.a.m- Anthropological museum visit
12.00.p.m- Check out and arrive at Veer Savarkar airport.
This is the maximum number of places anyone could squeeze into the list for a Sunday to Sunday trip.. The islands has so much to explore that only a month long vacation can do justice 🙂 I’d suggest you take a 2hr motor boat ride from Havelock to South button island- the smallest national park in India for scuba diving known for its shallow waters Tropical coral reefs. You could add Mt. Harriet, Niel island, Cinque island, Barren island, Diglipur, Mayabunder, Rangat, Ross & smith island, Saddle peak etc. among the important places of Andamans. However, a trip to Nicobar islands has to be planned separately as it is special in its own way..
Words of caution:
1. Please adhere to your time schedule strictly because every ferry ride, every museum, every zoo runs/remains open only on a specified time frame.
2. The city remains awake only between 8.00.a.m and 08.00.p.m. Plan your entertainment well to keep yourself occupied.
3. If you are planning to eat out or take a coffee walk, it has to be before 7.00.p.m. All shops shut down after that.
getting lost in traveling through places and time…