This itinerary is designed for you to have a taste the of the cultural fragrance of India and to have a real adventure into the uncontaminated Andaman islands. It is an inedited itinerary which combines the dynamism of Kolkata, the wildlife of the Sundarbans and the remote turquoise waters of the Andaman Islands. It is an itinerary ideal for those wanting unique, off the beaten track experiences. The tour will start from the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, which is, in our opinion, the most fascinating Indian city. Calcutta or Kolkata, known also as the city of joy, has long been known for its literary, artistic and revolutionary heritage. As the former capital of India, Kolkata was the birthplace of modern Indian literary, artistic and scholastic thought. The people of Kolkata tends to have a special appreciation for art and literature; its tradition of welcoming new talent has made it a city of furious creative energy. For these reasons, Kolkata has often been dubbed as the Cultural Capital of India or the Literary Capital of India. The state of West Bengal is also known for its wildlife, in particular the Sundarbans, the largest delta and mangrove forest in the world. Here you will be host in eco-village camp from where you can interact with local people and discover the wildlife, like the famous tiger of Bengal, in country boat. Finally, your journey takes you down to the remote Andaman Islands for a real Robinson Crusoe style exploration. The Islands like Ross & Smith Island and havelock Island are still the ideal place to get away from it all. Its lovely opaque emerald waters are surrounded by primeval jungle and mangrove forest, and snow-white beaches that melt under flame-and-purple sunsets in Havelock island.
Registration can be requested for group travel or for self-travel. For group travel, registration is not binding. Upon reaching the minimum number of members necessary for the formation of the group, usually 4 or 6 people, you will be asked for confirmation of booking and payment of a deposit.
1° Day: arrival at Kolkata
Arrival at Kolkata International Airport and check in at the Hotel. Kolkata, is the capital of the state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the main commercial, cultural and educational center of East India, and its port is the oldest in the country and the only river port. Calcutta was the capital during British colonialism, for this reason preserves in many buildings the architectural style of that period, which contrasts sharply with the degradation of some urban areas and with the more recent and dynamic suburbs and with the inevitable air-conditioned shopping centers. After a short rest, you will have the opportunity to visit the fairtrade cooperative Altromercato, Silence. The main objective of the cooperative is to allow people with disabilities (mainly people with deafness) to obtain technical training, in order to support themselves. You will visit the main workshop in Kolkata and the production of candles, incense and postcards. The guide will briefly explain the sign language and in this way if you want you can communicate with the deaf craftsmen. Lunch will be included in the program. At the end of this visit, you will see the production phase of the jewelry.
Overnight in Kolkata (L)
2° Day: transfer to the Sundarbans
After an early morning breakfast set out for an unforgettable adventure to Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, the largest delta of the world inhabited by man and the legendary swimming tigers. This World Heritage Site is already threatened by climate change caused by global warming and melting glaciers in the Himalayas..After three hours of road you will reach Godkhali, you will cross over to the island of Gosaba, which is the biggest market for hundreds of villages around and you will reach the eco village abode on the island of Satjelia. Check in in the lodge and have lunch. After lunch have a walk through the beautiful paddy fields and the village of honey collectors and fishermen, looking out for local rituals and beliefs. Later, with a country boat ride for bird watching, during two to three hours, spotting seven types of kingfisher, egret, Brahmani eagles, pond heron, black cormorants, magpie robin, green bee eaters and above all getting introduced to the lovely mangroves, with surreal creatures like fiddler crabs, mud skipper fish etc. Return to the hotel, just after the sunset. In the evening you will enjoy with the local musicians with their musical instruments. Overnight at Sunderbans eco-village (B/L/D).
3° Day: boat safari Sundarbans
Early morning depart for a full day boat safari in Tiger Reserve. You will be accompanied by a local guide, a ranger from the forest department and the efficient boat crew. The boat cruise will last till sunset and you will visit 3 watch towers.Cruising in the small channels and creeks you will try to spot different wildlife, spotted deer, wild boars, civet cat, monitor lizard, crocodiles, dolphins and hopfully the Royal bengal tigers…
Breakfast, lunch and other refreshments will be cooked and served on the boat.
In the late afternoon return to camp and enjoy a sun downer, having free time to sit on the banks of the river in front of the eco village watching the gorgeous sunset or take a walk in the eco village under the sky filled with stars, enjoying the silence and the pollution free air of this village, or go to pay a visit to the families of honey collectors and fishermen, or make bonfire. Overnight at Sunderbans eco-village (B/L/D).
4° DAY: EXPLORE NORTH KOLKATA
Sundarbans – Kolkata
Early morning leave for Kolkata. Enjoy a local breakfast in a small restaurant followed by a 3 hours North Calcutta heritage walk which includes visit to the erstwhile palaces and mansions of kings and nobles, potters’ village in Kumartuli, the colourful local shops and the meandering lanes and narrow backstreets from the where the city evolved over a few centuries. Return to hotel for lunch and resting up. Afternoon visit to Indian museum, Victoria memorial hall, St. John’s Church, The day concludes with a short rickshaw ride in New Market. Overnight in Kolkata. (B)
5° Day: transfer to Andaman islands
Kolkata – Port Blair – Diglipur
Early morning transfer by flight to Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Transfer to Diglipur. The journey involves crossing a creek by vehicle ferry and takes approximately 6 hours to reach. Reach Diglipur and check in to the Pristine Resort. Spend rest of the day either in Kalipur Beach or Lamia Bay. Located half -an-hour ahead of Diglipur, the marvelous Kalipur beach. is an ideal Turtle Nesting Ground and is the only beach in the world, where four species of Sea Turtles, Olive Ridley, Leather Back, Hawks Bill and Green Turtles call their home.
Overnight in Diglipur (B/L/D).
6° Day: SNORKELLING ROSS & SMITH ISLAND
Diglipur – Ross & Smith Island
Should start from the resort by 07:00 hours and it takes 30 minutes by road and 30 minutes by boat to reach Ross & Smith Island. Spend your time enjoying the scenic beauty, snorkeling and trekking. If you would like to just visit, swim and snorkel then you can start by 0930 hours. If you wish to trek then star by 0700 hours. If you wish we can start early morning from the resort for moderate trekking in Ross Island for 1.30 to 2 hours. While circling you will be taken to the oldest British light house, which was meant to navigate ships. Ross Island is the island in the world which has got the maximum count of the green feathered birds in a square meter area. Like green feathered pigeon, emerald green pigeon, parrots, nicobari green pigeon. The lighthouse is not operational because of the reason that trees have covered the view of the light house. While trekking one can see spotted deer, monitor lizard and various species of fruit eating birds who reside in the island. You can discover a lot of variety of fishes parrot fish, napoleon rass, sea anemone, staghorn corals, zebra fish, angels fish and many more. Lunch will be cooked at a villagers house and brought to Ross & Smith Island and served to the guests.
Overnight stay at Diglipur (B/L/D)
7° DAY: TREKKING TO MUD VOLCANO
Around 08:30 hours proceed to visit Mud Volcano inside a rain forest. It involves a road travel for about an hour and then a trek of about 30 minutes. It will be interesting to see a school inside the reserve forest with just 30 students. Trail through a thick rain forest. You could witness a chain of mud volcanoes from where continuous mud is being pored out on a liquid form which is cold and this also releases gas which is flammable. Total drive time will be 2.30 hours and trek time will be 1.30 hours for the whole trip. (Lunch will be organized at a Villagers house). Overnight stay in Diglipur. (B/L/D)
8° DAY: TRANSFER PORT BLAIR
Diglipur – Port blair
Start from Diglipur to Port Blair 7 hrs. Overnight stay at Port Blair. (B)
9° DAY: TRASFER TO HAVELOCK ISLAND
Early morning transfer by speed boat to Havelock island. Perfect for swimming and snorkeling, this beach is recommended for all adventure junkies. The island is a long, sprawling white sandy beach with clear water. One can easily bask in the sun or get immersed in the clean water to give a treat to mind and body. Overnight stay at Havelock. (B)
10° DAY: RELAX ON HAVELOCK BEACH
Spend your last two days in Andaman island relaxing or snorkel on the beach. Overnight in havelock (B)
11° DAY: RELAX ON HAVELOCK BEACH
Spend your last two days in Andaman island relaxing or snorkel on the beach. Overnight in havelock (B)
12° DAY: TRANSFER TO PORT BLAIR
Havelock – Port Blair
In the morning transfer by speed boat to Port Blair and transfer to the airport to Kolkata.
Overnight in Kolkata (B)
13° DAY: DEPART FROM KOLKATA
Tranfer to the airport and departure with international flight.
All the itinerary has been designed in order to promote direct or indirect benefits for local communities, environment and cultural heritages. When possible we have selected traditional accommodations sensible to social and environmental issues, following general principles and practices of responsible tourism.
In Kolkata we have arranged for a short rickshaw ride to benefit this community to sustain their livelihood. The Sunderbans wetlands provide a hostile living environment with its vast tidal eco-system. The Sunderbans’ fragile mangrove eco-system is threatened by biotic pressure, and man-animal conflicts regularly occur. The villagers have adapted a way of life that allows them to earn a livelihood from the sea and use the land to sustain crops that would otherwise succumb to the saline waters. They live among swamps and gather forest products under the vigilance of tigers, snakes and crocodiles. Despite the challenging environment, the people have settled here for at least half a century. To support conservation efforts and create alternative livelihood measures a tourism model project named Sunderbans Jungle Camp was initiated, as an eco-lodge for tourists to experience the region and to directly support initiatives that improve the quality of livelihood in the village.
Moreover, your contribution of 50 euros will support development projects in favour of the most marginalized rural villages located in Andaman rain forest as to enable communities to backyard livestock farming and generate income for their families.
This itinerary promises to be a memorable experience, offering opportunities for cultural exchange, adventure, hiking, relaxation, snorkelling, swimming, birding and wildlife spotting. However
it is not fit for everyone, requiring long distance travel by private vehicles and train, and trekking into the rain forest of Andamans. Rainforests can be hot and humid, are often difficult to reach and insect-ridden, and have wildlife that is relatively hard to see. Check with your physician to confirm that you are healthy to travel. Inform your doctor where you are going to see if there are any special concerns. Because of the climate and general lack of medical facilities, you should be reasonably fit before setting off the Andaman tropical rainforest. Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos. There are no rest room and restaurant facilities available enroute from Port Blair to Baratang, from Baratang to Diglipur and from Diglipur to Rangat.
Kolkata, The Sundarbans, Shantinikethan and the Andaman islands are not the most common tourist destination in India,. Therefore, it is advised that you following carefully a code conduct which respects local culture to avoid any hassles or unwanted troubles along your journey. In particular, avoid to show affection in public places, such as hugging, kissing etc., as this behaviour is not appreciated by local people.
You are also advised to follow a certain dress code. There are basically two reasons why it is recommended to be careful about what clothes you wear while traveling to India. The first reason is to prevent you from hurting the sentiments of the local people and second, to protect you from the varied weather conditions prevailing in seasons. Though it may be hot and humid, your best protection against insects and thorny plants and vines is long sleeves and pants. It is advised to keep your arms and legs covered because it provides protection (however, don’t forget to bring with you mosquito nets and repellents, especially for backwaters cruises and trekking in the forest). During trekking wear comfortable shoes. In the rainforest a small blister can easily get infected and turn into a festering wound.
Always ask your guide if it is safe to swim before jumping in the emerald Andaman sea!
It is advised that you get onto India’s time zone as soon as you leave home and try to eat and sleep on Indian time. Also, if you reach India early in the day, try to stay awake – this will help the body’s internal clock to reset.
Foreign nationals require permit (RAP – Restricted Area Permit) to visit the Andaman Nicobar Islands, which is easily available on arrival at Port Blair by flight or ship from the Immigration Authorities for 30 days subject to availability of valid visa.
The most common health problems for visitors are diarrhoea and sun-related problems. It’s important to drink a lot of bottled water (tap water isn’t safe to drink) and protect yourself from the sun.
In the Andaman islands credit cards are not accepted anywhere outside Port Blair, so be prepared!
We selected traditional heritages resorts with excellent facilities throughout the tour. In the Sunderbans we have selected an eco-village camp made by mud houses which is an adventurous experience; here facilities are basic and you need to adjust… (hot water will be provided in bucket and power supply will be avalaible 24 hour and the hut will have proper fan , light and charging points). In the Andamans we have selected beach resort on the beach and inside the lush and green tropical forests.
Private AC vehicles, mini coaches (Tempo Traveller), according to the number of participants, for transfers for the rest of the tour in India and Andamans. Country boat will be used on the Ganges in Kolkata and in the Sunderbans. Internal flights (not included in the tour prices) from Kolkata to Port Blair and return. Ferry from Port Blair Havelock island and return.
The climate in West Bengal and Andaman islands is essentially tropical and temperatures remain in the 22-32C bracket all year round. The best time to visit is from November to early May, when it’s dry and generally not too windy. But recently late April has also been unreliable. These months are usually the peak season. The annual monsoons brings heavy rain from mid-May to mid-September, making this period extremely unsuitable for beach holidays.