Baratang Island is a gateway to North & Middle Andaman District of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. This District is quite unexplored from the tourism point of view. This is one of best part of your trip to Andaman Islands because of its virgin beauty and natural wonders. In Baratang Island you can see Mud Volcano, mangrove and tropical forests, Limestone Caves, Parrot Island and one nice deserted beach at Baludera. Other offbeat beaches are also accessible from Baratang such as Merk Bay Beach in North Passage Island, Lalaji Bay Beach etc. Inaccessible to many travellers and many people of the Andaman Islands, Baratang once used to be one of most feared destination. Attacks by the native Jarawa Tribes were common allowing nobody to ponder around there place. The Jarawa Tribe Reserve, today stands as a reserve for the Jarawa Tribes members. Efforts were made by the Government to help the native tribes and to gain trust.
It is about 90 km away from Port Blair. Regular bus services are available from STS Bus Terminal, Aberdeen Bazar. Journey takes about 2 hrs and 30 minutes from Port Blair to Middle Strait and the fare is for the government bus is Rs 80. The journey is in 2 phases - P.Blair to Jirkatang (40 kms, 1 hr 15 mins) and then Jirkatang to Baratang (49 kms, 1 hr 15 mins, no overtake zone through Jarwa Reserve Forest). From Nilambur Jetty at middle strait ferry services are available for Baratang Island. Ferry takes about 15 minutes to reach Baratang from Nilambur Jetty. Apart from Government operated bus services for local islanders private AC Coaches to Baratang Island are available. Once you start from Port Blair early morning at around 4 am, the first halt is at Jirkatang (40 kms from Port Blair on road). At Jirkatang you will get a forest/police check post. Just opposite to the check post on the other side of the road is a temple (just for a landmark ). From here starts a stretch of 49kms forest (Jarwah Reserve Forest), where you cannot halt your vehicle or walk on foot or take snaps/video. On the other end of the Jarwah Reserve forest is Middle strait jetty. The jetty will take you to the other side of the strait in about 15 minutes. Here you have reached Baratang islands. This is one of the most exciting part of journey, where you will see the tribes (Jarwah). (This is a shocking example of the human safaris that take place in the Andamans, where tourists drive through the Jarawa's forest trying to 'spot' them, like animals in a safari park. The Jarawa are a self-sufficient hunter-gatherer people, who show no sign of wanting to join the mainstream. The vehicles have to leave in convoys. There are 4 convoys throughout the day from Jirkatang (6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 2.30 pm). Interacting with the Jarawa risks passing on diseases to which the tribe may have no immunity and is strictly prohibited, as is taking their snaps.
The Baratang island trip brings forward the tropical side of the Andaman islands. Dense Forest, Tribes, Mangroves, Dongi rides, beaches, birds , caves and trekking. Well, Baratang has all of these to offer. Avail a trip to this island and become a part of the tropical side of the Andaman Islands. At Baratang you can see Mud Volcano which is about 4 km away from the jetty. To reach there you can hire a shared taxi @ Rs. 400/- per one jeep to and from. From Baratang, regular boat services are available for Limestone Caves. These ancient caves are located about 30 minutes (by beautiful sea channel) away from Baratang Jetty. Boats are starting at 8am. The fare of boat is Rs. 300/- per head for both ways. It includes speed boat fare also which is required to reach Limestone Caves. The boat journey through the heart of dense mangrove forest is simply breathtaking. The boat ride here is a lifetime experience for some. Its something you get to see only in channels like NatGeo or Discovery otherwise. At the limestone caves remember to carry a torchlight, its very dark inside. Another must-see attraction is Parrot Island. The experience at Parrot Island at sunset, when all the parrots are returning home is indeed a mesmerizing experience. For this a night's stay is required at Baratang. Boats to Parrot Island start after 4pm and cost 1500-1800 per boat so do find a company to share.