Want to witness the beauty of a place transformed from one of the most feared destinations to one that is famous for natural wonders? From dense mangrove forests to eerie limestone caves, from fascinating mud volcanoes to tidal swamp forests, Baratang is an island that shows the tropical side of Andaman.
Baratang was once a feared location because of the attacks by the native Jarawa Tribes on travelers. However, today, the Jarawa Tribal Reserve has been formed by the Government in order to help and gain the trust of the natives, which has opened up this magnificent island for travelers to visit.
A day trip to Baratang
A trip to this island is quite an adventurous one. Baratang is approximately 110 kilometers from Port Blair and it’s best to start early in the morning by taking the government operated tourist buses. These buses usually pass through the Andaman Grand Trunk Road. The sights are wonderful as you see yourself leave the city behind and pass through sparsely populated areas. The dense forests on both sides are a treat to watch, and you will also come across Jirkatang, another place that was once not accessible to travelers.
Along the way, you might get to see the Jarawas. Keep in mind not to offer any food items or try to click their pictures since these activities are considered to be punishable offenses. The tourist bus will soon take you to the serene Nilambur Jetty, and from there you will be transferred to a vehicle ferry.
The attractions in Baratang
Baratang Island is an unconventional tourist spot and though not as popular as Havelock Island, is equally beautiful. A short boat trip from Baratang Jetty with dense mangroves on each side takes you to the mesmerizing Limestone Caves, one of the major attractions of this place. From December to March, the caves witness a big crowd. The walkways were made by cutting through large stones and dense forests, and once you step inside, there is a pleasant drop in temperature. The cave holds beautiful and unique formations of stalactites and stalagmites.
Once you get over the beauty of the Limestone Caves, you can also plan a short visit to other nearby tourist spots such as the Mud Volcano, Parrot Islands, and Rangat.
The Mud Volcano can be reached from Nilambur Jetty by road. A short walk from Jarawa Creek leads to the fascinating volcano, one of the prime tourist spots of Baratang.
To reach the Parrot Islands, you need to board a dunghi boat from Baratang Jetty and cross a creek. A well-trimmed mangrove forest with a unique appearance announces the entrance to the island, which has thousands of parrots flocking around every evening, making it an unforgettable sight.
Rangat Island lies about 210 kilometers from Port Blair and can be reached by personal vehicles or tourist buses. This island gives you a taste of quaint village life and has the beautiful Amkunj Bay Beach with its open sea, the Dhanni Nallah Mangrove Walkway, and the Panchavati Hills Waterfall. The rocky mountainous terrain of Moorys Dare is an ideal spot for trekking.
Returning to Port Blair
At the end of the day, you will find all the vehicles waiting at the check post of Baratang Jetty. Once all the vehicles reach the check post, the gates are opened for them to go in groups. The security officials accompany these groups with rifles to ensure complete safety of the travelers.
- Do not be taken in by everything that the locals or travel guides trumpet as covering each place takes a long time regardless of the transportation. Traveling to insignificant places can be both time and energy consuming.
- During the boat ride to the Limestone Caves do not immerse your hands in the water as it is said to be infested with salt-water crocodiles.
- Carry sufficient drinking water, umbrellas, and napkins to beat the heat and humidity.
- Wear comfortable shoes to avoid any slips and falls in the muddy areas.
Baratang Island is one of the most breathtaking islands in the Andamans, and it is safe to say that a trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not complete without a visit to Baratang. It is a place that has something for the nature lover, the adventurer, and the vagabond!
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