Welcome back to my blog. I am yet again writing about Neemrana and the fun things you can do while you stay at the palace hotel. I have made a list of all the activities you can do to occupy yourselves during your stay. We did all of them except the first one.
ZIPPING – One of the main and most interesting activity available at Neemrana Fort Palace is Zipping. But unfortunately we could not experience it as it was closed for the month of June.
CAMEL RIDE – At just Rs. 250 per person, the camel ride can be enjoyed from the hotel to the Step-Well which is approx. 1 km away. The step-well itself is a sight-seeing venue. It takes about one hour to finish the whole camel ride which includes going to the step well, spending some time there, pictures and return. 🙂
VINTAGE CAR RIDE – The sight of the vintage car itself is beautiful and takes you to the old times. Though, the car is a replica of Morgan cars and seats 3 people. My husband was quick enough to tell me that it was a replica (He is a cars & bike freak). They give you a chauffeur driven ride around the Neemrana village and stop for sometime so the pictures can be taken (a must). It costs Rs. 1200 for 2 people.
THE POOLS -There are two pools at different levels of the palace and they are beautiful! They actually play a crucial role in adding to the beauty of the palace. The balcony of our room opened towards the pool and was a great sight. My husband went for the swim but I did not as it had rained so heavily and the water was pretty chill! *grin*
THE JHAROKHA MAHAL – You can also call it the TV room since there are no TVs in the rooms and if you can’t stay away from TV, then this room is for you. The Jharokha Mahal also has a Table Tennis and a Carrom, we played both. 😉
MUSICAL NIGHT – There is a musical night everyday from 7 to 8 in the evening where the musicians sing and play the Rajasthani folk music near the Hawa Mahal and the bar area where you can just sit back and relax and call it a day enjoying the music and your drinks!
Enough of my tales of what we did in Andamans, I thought to pen down a list of Good & Not-so-Good things about Andaman Islands that we generally do not find from people’s experience. We tend to always talk about the beauty, weather, basically trip related things and often forget to know about REAL deals about a destination. So here are my thoughts. Lets begin with the GOOD 🙂
- Andaman Islands is a beautiful group of islands with very beautiful clean beaches, great for holidays especially honeymoons and romantic getaways. Majority of tourists were couples, half of them being newly married.
- Hub for most water sports like snorkelling, scuba diving, sea walk, speed boat rides, jet ski, glass bottom boats, banana rides etc.
- Zero to no fear of theft/loss of belongings. Andaman people are honest, helpful and very friendly. Also, this place has less traffic and people take traffic rules very seriously.
- to my biggest surprise, the food was really good; whether it is South Indian, North Indian or Sea food, its simply yumm… even at street restaurants.
- Andamans is an experience of a different world especially if you belong to busy cities like Delhi, Mumbai etc. The islands are very calm and slow paced. Nobody disturbs anyone there. You get close to the nature and can barely miss the opportunity of listening to the sea waves, chirping of birds and the rain drops.
Well, now the Not-so-Good things –
- Limited phone network connectivity. Mainly BSNL works in Andaman Islands. Airtel works too but its connectivity is very limited. Nope, no JIO there as yet, Sorry! 😀
- No internet/Wi-Fi in the hotel rooms. No to barely there access to the internet. The internet works only in the hotel lobby or may be a few restaurants outside; only if you are lucky!
- No five star brand hotels or resorts. Yes; they do have some great resorts but its a gamble based on luck to pick the right one just by seeing pictures through online booking. Thus, no good hotels as per the city standards.
- Monopoly of transportation especially on smaller islands.
- Connectivity problem. One can reach Andaman Islands only through flights and ferries that too only via Kolkatta or Chennai. No direct flight from Delhi.
After our first day at Port Blair, we headed towards the main tourist islands in Andamans. These islands are known for their white sands and numerous water sports like Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Sea Walk, Jet Ski, Speed Boat, Banana Boats etc. Our first destination was Havelock Island which is about an hour and a half away from Port Blair in a ferry.
We took Makaruzz Gold which is a private ferry; there are government run ferries as well but you can differentiate comfort with the names 😉 Private ferries tickets cost twice to thrice the price of government run. Upon arrival at Havelock island, our resort was just 10 minutes away from the jetty. The resort was beautiful; sea facing with a private beach.
These islands are relatively small and people generally hire scooty to explore around the island, visit beaches and restaurants. We did too! We hired a scooty for a day for about ₹600. Oh! talking about restaurant, they are really very tiny dhaba style but the food is simply amazing. The menu is vast from South Indian cusine to North Indian, sea food and Isreali food. And yes, its affordable too. As you read in my first post about the internet problems, to my surprise these small restaurants were offering complementary Wi-Fi (faster than hotel), isn’t that a surprise? I think the restaurant deal was the best – good food + good internet = good mood 😀
We spent two nights at Havelock island and we, especially my husband loved it, he had a hard time letting off that ‘scooty’. He was enjoying being able to explore the island with all freedom and hassle-free journey by not waiting for cabs or autos to take us anywhere.
Our next stop and last destination was Neil Island for which we again took a Makruzz ferry for about half an hour to forty minutes. Neil Island is even smaller. Its a tiny island with tourists coming for only a day generally. We covered all the activities in a day itself and it was more than enough. We did snorkelling and this was my or rather say first time doing it and none of us is a swimmer. Imagine being dumped into the middle of an ocean with snorkelling equipments with a boat rider who is basically a stranger, dude! I had some serious trust issues. But once we were in the water, it was fun, literally. I and my husband were peeking at each other beneath water.. hehe. It was fun though, we really wanted to do scuba diving which costs Rs. 3500 per person in which you get a 30 minutes under water experience with two instructors along with pictures & videos and a certification of your participation. Isn’t that cute? A memoir of our visit.
What can be more fun than celebrating your first wedding anniversary at a beautiful, serene & romantic place like a beach side. I & my husband celebrated our first anniversary holidaying for four nights and five days at the beautiful Andaman Islands; starting with the capital city, Port Blair.
I and my husband initially decided to take honeymoon package for our trip. But we are too moody to follow timely rules and regulations that come along when traveling in groups. So we dropped the idea and decided to go ahead by ourselves.
We took an early morning flight from Delhi and via Kolkata, we reached Port Blair at around 10:30 am. This is where my first and biggest shock came along. My JIO sim had no network. My husband’s Airtel was working just fine. I felt cheated and betrayed by Reliance. 😀 I kept thinking of buying a new SIM all the way to the hotel but kept it inside me. No; I didn’t share it with my husband thinking I will accommodate with Wi-Fi internet connection at the hotel (after all we were there on vacations). I convinced myself by by questioning who would I want to call when I have my better half with me?!
We reached our hotel and within 15 minutes upon arrival in Andamans my heart broke twice. This time all my plans of accessing Wi-Fi were crushed as there is no internet access in the rooms. One has to go in the hotel lobby to connect to the poor, tired Wi-Fi with almost 2G-like speed being shared by internet craved souls sitting in the lobby waiting for internet to connect.
I was also upset with all the bloggers whose posts I had read about the beautiful Andamans and all the amazing things to do here. Nobody wrote about this internet problem. Why? Why would you do that? Come on.. we all need internet to update Instagram stories and Whatsapp statuses, don’t we? Jokes apart, my husband faced serious issues accessing his important emails. Now, that’s important stuff.
Anyways, enough of my disappointing story. Upon my husband’s encouraging words and my determination to stay phone-free till our trip. I accepted the challenge and began our vacations with Day 1 at Port Blair with Cellular Jail being our first stop along with a little bit of sight-seeing through the city.
Top & Sunglasses – Forever21
Denims – Zara
Blazer – H&M
Sneakers – Dorothy Perkins