Visit Rangat - Middle Andaman Island, India - The Andaman Odyssey
Rangat is a town on the Middle Andaman Island known for its stunning beaches. As you travel north from Port Blair to Rangat, you can see the changing colors of sea from brown to the beautiful shade of turquoise. We believe that’s why the town is named Rangat. In the Hindi language, ‘Rangat’ means ‘color’. Such a perfect name! We wrote a detailed travel guide to Baratang Island in our last blog. Due to the lack of decent accommodation facilities in Baratang, tourists generally travel up to Rangat for a night's stay.
Where is Rangat?
Rangat is a coastal town located about 60 kilometers away from the Baratang Island in the Middle Andamans. The approximate distance from Port Blair by road is 180 kilometers and 50 nautical miles (approx. 90 kilometers) by sea.
How to reach Rangat?
As we have mentioned in our previous blogs on Andamans, you have to start your journey from Port Blair to reach anywhere in the Andamans. Here’s how to get to Rangat from Port Blair:
It takes around 7-8 hours to reach Rangat from Port Blair via road.
Port Blair (part of South Andaman Island) is connected with Rangat (part of Middle Andaman Island) by the Andaman Trunk Road (ATR). This road passes through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, where all the vehicles queue at the starting point, i.e., Jirkatang Check Post, and the entire convoy is preceded and succeeded by Forest Department vans. Hence the route is:
Port Blair – Jirkatang Check Post – Jarawa Tribal Reserve – Baratang Island – Rangat
Jirkatang Check Post is located about 42 kilometers away (1 to 1.5 hours) from Port Blair. The check post opens only at specified times of the day – (6 AM to 6:30 AM; 9 AM to 9:30 AM; 12 PM to 12:30PM; and 3 PM to 3:30 PM). Hence, you will have to reach Jirkatang before these time slots.
Read more about our experience reaching the North and Middle Andaman Islands in our previous blog on Baratang Island.
An hour of journey on the ATR (Andaman Truck Road) through Jarawa Tribal Reserve will take you to the Middle Strait Jetty point (where the tribal reserve ends). Here, you will have to board a 15-minute-long government ferry (along with your vehicle). After another 72 kilometers of road journey and crossing a state-of-art 1.18-kilometre creek bridge over Humphrey Strait, you will reach Rangat. Note that the road condition is not good especially as you go further away from Port Blair towards Diglipur.
Government buses to Rangat run early from Aberdeen Bazaar bus station in Port Blair. You can opt to travel in them if you are on a budget. You can also book yourself a private AC or Non-AC bus through several reservation offices spread across Port Blair town. There’s hardly any bus service operator through whom you can book online; hence, reaching Port Blair a day earlier and making physical bookings is recommended.
It takes around 6 hours to reach Rangat from Port Blair via a ferry.
Only government ferries operate from Port Blair to Rangat (and back). The ferry runs only on alternate days and may take pitstops at Neil Island, Havelock Island, Long Island, and Kadamtala before reaching Rangat. The bookings open only 1 or 2 days before the departure, and tickets are issued from the STAR ticket counters in Port Blair. The return tickets need to be booked from Rangat itself.
What is the best time to visit Rangat?
The best time to visit Rangat is from October to March. The weather is pleasant during these months and is ideal for sightseeing. It starts becoming quite hot from March and April. May to June is the peak summertime, whereas the monsoon may start from the end of June. Visiting Rangat is not recommended in the peak monsoon months from July to September because of incessant rainfall and strong weather winds.
The Andaman Trunk Road to Rangat, which passes through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, closes down intermittently in monsoon due to tree falls. Even the government ferries stop operating due to high tidal waves and rough sea conditions.
What are the places to visit in Rangat?
1. Yerrata walkway and Mangrove Interpretation Centre
Yerrata is the jetty point in Rangat from where you can catch ferries to Port Blair and the other Andaman Islands and the point where the ferries arrive from these islands. The harbor lies about 9 kilometers away from the Rangat town towards the southern end of the district. Quite close to the Yerrata jetty is the Yerrata Mangrove Interpretation Centre, which offers valuable information about the mangrove plantations around the region.
The mangrove view watchtower in Yerrata provides a magnificent view of the adjacent mangrove plantation and tropical forests. You can reach this one of its kind 13-metre-tall watchtower via a walkway that is beautiful in itself.
2. Amkunj Beach
Amkunj Beach is located barely 100 meters from the Andaman Truck Road and is easily accessible. The beach is very nicely developed and maintained by the government who has installed innovative infrastructure for the tourist that includes eco-friendly log sofas, sit-outs, tables, and huts made out of fallen trees. You will also find toilet facilities at the beach.
Amkunj beach’s shoreline is sandy and receives low tides. However, we did not find it ideal for swimming, owing to the sharp coral rocks and small pebbles. We had the entire beach to ourselves on our visit barring a few locals with their coconut selling outlet. The beach is the perfect pitstop to relax on the way to Diglipur from Port Blair.
3. Moricedera Beach
Moricedera Beach is another gorgeous beach located right on Andaman Trunk Road. It is located 5 kilometers south of Amkunj beach. However, unlike Amkunj Beach, Moricedera beach has a black rocky shoreline that seems to be formed from volcanic eruptions. Small eco-friendly sit-outs installed alongside the beach make this place an ideal spot to spend time with nature.
We specifically loved the splendid swing overlooking the sea and hung precariously on iron hooks under a tree. A wooden walkway is built between two substantial natural rock formations, which leads to an eye-catching horizon viewpoint. Towards the end of the walkway, small benches are placed to sit and admire the vast blue open sea. We found it to be an excellent place for photography.
4. Cuthbert Bay Beach
Cuthbert Bay Beach lies near the Hawksbill Nest Resort, a tourist department run accommodation in Rangat. This lesser-known sandy beach with a vast shoreline is a part of a wildlife sanctuary and is famous for turtle nesting. Every year, between December to March, the mother turtles visit Cuthbert Bay Beach to lay eggs. The marine conservationists transfer these eggs to a hatchery, and once the turtle hatchlings are born, they release them into the sea. If you are lucky, you will be able to witness one of these events (if you visit during the season).
5. Dhaninallah Mangrove Walk and Beach
Dhaninallah Mangrove Walk is a 700-800 meter of one of its kind wooden walkway in Rangat (in fact, India) that leads to Dhaninallah beach. We have only seen such a beautiful walkway in Singapore before! The Dhaninallah Mangrove walkway is the longest constructed raised platform walkway in India. It lies adjoining the Andaman Trunk Road and has a big parking area.
The walkway snakes through a mangrove forest system where you will find several different types of mangrove plantations surrounding you. Many are labelled along with a bit of scientific explanation. You will also find cozy sit-out areas and eco-gazebos built at intervals after several hundred meters on the walkway, where you can relax and admire the ecosystem. It takes around 15-20 minutes to reach the beach.
The Dhaninallah mangrove walkway opens up to a stunning sandy beach with kilometers and kilometers of shoreline. The Dhaninallah beach is known for Olive Ridley Turtle nesting. We visited this beach twice, once while driving towards Diglipur and again while returning to Port Blair. And, we were super lucky to witness the hatchling of a few newly born turtles that were released into the sea by the forest officials. The sight of these baby turtles scrambling towards the sea is pure magic. This happens only during the turtle breeding season (November to March).
We also visited the turtle hatchery where the forest officials preserve the turtle eggs till they hatch. The Dhaninallah beach is a beauty in itself. It receives shallow waves and hence is ideal for swimming. Some eco-friendly beach facilities like treetop huts, toilets, changing rooms, log-sofas add to the convenience of the visitors.
6. Long Island
Long Island is a remote island located close to Rangat than any other island in the Andamans. It is reachable by a government ferry from Yerrata jetty in Rangat. The island is known for its pristine white sandy beaches (Merck Bay beach and Lalaji Bay beach) and the lush green tropical forests. The island is devoid of concrete roads and motor vehicles. Cemented footpaths connect the different parts of the island, and walking or renting a bicycle (if available) is the only way to explore the island.
It is advisable to spend a night at Long Island. It has 3 government and 1 private accommodation option. You can swim, snorkel, and relax at the emerald beaches of the island. Trekking through the jungle paths is also an activity you can enjoy while staying at Long Island.
How many nights should one stay in Rangat?
All the sightseeing places or the places to visit in Rangat can be covered at ease if you stay for a night in Rangat. On Day 1, you can start from Port Blair, visit Baratang Island on the way, reach Rangat, explore its stunning beaches, and spend a night in the town. On Day 2, you can cover all the remaining places of interest in Rangat and move further towards Diglipur. People, however, visit Rangat as a pitstop on the way to Diglipur from Port Blair or while returning from Diglipur.
Where to stay in Rangat?
You'll find several basic lodge options in the main town area of Rangat that you could book for a night's stay. The best option is, however, the government guesthouse named 'Hawksbill Nest' located very close to the Cuthbert Bay beach. You can book your stay in this online from the UT Tourism's website.
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Hope this travel guide of Rangat in Andamans helps you plan your own trip. If you think we have missed out on any other place to visit in Rangat, hit us up in the comments section. Also, if you face any difficulties in trip planning or have any doubts, reach out to us via e-mail or use the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help.