Ross and Smith Islands
Ross and Smith Islands, often collectively referred to as “Ross and Smith Islands,” are two small, quaint islands situated in the middle of the ocean as a part of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, far out into the Bay of Bengal. These islands are known for their stunning natural beauty and are popular among tourists who love to enjoy a tranquil and picturesque vacation.
Ross and Smith Islands are located in the North Andaman administrative district as a part of the Ritchie’s Archipelago and are relatively remote. The two islands are connected by a natural sandbar, which is the most unique feature of these islands and can be seen only during low tide. This sandbar allows visitors to walk from one island to the other, and you feel as if you are treading across the ocean floor which makes it a distinct and memorable experience.
Ross Island is the larger of the two and features lush tropical vegetation, clear blue waters and a gorgeous beach. It is known for its scenic views and is ideal for beachcombing and sunbathing. The island is actually uninhabited but was the home to mankind in the historic past. It still carries the remnants of British colonial structures. Smith Island is smaller than Ross Island and offers similar natural beauty and white sandy beaches. Visitors can relax, swim or take leisurely strolls on the beach. Smith Island is also less frequented by tourists, providing a quieter and more secluded experience.
The islands are known to harbour rich coral reefs. The waters around Ross and Smith Islands are thus home to diverse marine life. This makes the island coasts perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. Explore the underwater world and watch in awe the vibrant marine ecosystems. The islands are also blessed with a unique flora and fauna that includes lush tropical forests and are home to various bird species and other wildlife. Nature lovers would love to explore the rich biodiversity and find adventure in it too.
Places to visit
Ross Island harbours a beautiful beach where you can relax, sunbathe, swim, and enjoy the scenic views of the Andaman Sea. The clear blue waters and soft sands will make you feel relaxed as you absorb the tranquillity of the environment.
Smith Island also offers an equally pristine beach that is even quieter and less frequented. Enjoy an even more secluded experience which is ideal for honeymoon couples. The natural beauty and serenity of the Smith Island beach are the major attractions.
The natural sandbar that connects the two islands is a unique and memorable feature of Ross and Smith Islands and is worth taking a walk across. During low tide, you can easily walk from one island to the other, which is not to be missed. The activity offers breath-taking views and great angles for photography.
Comb the waters around Ross and Smith Islands that are home to vibrant coral reefs and harbour a variety of marine life. Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular activities that allow you to explore the mysterious and fascinating underwater world and observe the colourful and enchanting marine ecosystem from up close.
How to reach
To reach Ross and Smith Island, you have to reach Diglipur which is in itself is quite remote and visited only by the extremely nature freaks. You can reach Diglipur Island via Andaman Trunk Road from Port Blair or by a ten-hour long journey by ferries or seaplanes.
Port Blair is the capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands and to reach the archipelago, you need to reach the Veer Savarkar Airport.
By air or flight – Veer Savarkar Airport is an international airport that is located in the capital town of Port Blair and is connected with all major national airports from the prominent cities such as Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi. Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air, and SpiceJet airlines run regular flights to Port Blair.
By train – No train facility is available for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as it is located in the middle of Bay of Bengal remotely from the mainland of the Indian subcontinent.
By road – Diglipur enjoys regular bus services from Port Blair. Government and private bus services, both are available for reaching Diglipur via ATR.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Ross and Smith Islands is between the months of October and mid-June. The weather remains pleasant and exploring the beaches and participating in the water sports gets really enjoyable.
The nearest stay option of Ross and Smith Island is majorly Diglipur. There are more than forty odd guesthouses, hotels and stay options in Diglipur. But these hotels all have simply the basic amenities and not luxurious or fancy facilities. For better stay options, choose the high-end resorts located in Kalipur, which is another twenty kilometres away from Diglipur. Budget bamboo hut stay options are also available. The properties get booked well in advance during the peak tourist seasons. Ensure that you pre-book well in advance as soon as your itinerary is made and flight tickets to Andaman are booked.
Turtle Resort – Well maintained Government Resort with clean rooms and good services
Pristine Beach Resort – Clean and pretty rooms with Ac, TV and hot water
Saddle Peak View Resort – Clean, quiet and comfortable rooms with helpful staff
Hotel Landfall – Value for money with Ariel Bay within walking distance
Jagannath Hotel – Budget stay option
Titlee Guest House – Decent decorated accommodation at a fair price in Port Blair, with well-designed hotel rooms having classy furniture and gracious woodwork
Hotel BD – Nice accommodation with modern designs offering comfortable rooms having pristine white walls accentuated with extensive woodwork
Things to do
Water activities will include the fun of snorkelling, sea walking, scuba diving or simply swimming.
Leisurely long nature walks along the secluded pristine, white, sandy, long beaches can be immensely rejuvenating
- Long nature walks, along the scenic nature trails in Smith’s tropical forests is an experience that is one of its kind
- Get camera ready. The pristine landscapes and serene atmosphere make Ross an Smith Islands and ideal destination for nature photography. click the enigmatic sandbar, the crystal-clear waters, or the lush greenery, you’ll find ample intriguing subjects for your hungry lens.
Walk leisurely during low tide across the natural sandbar connecting the two islands. It is extremely thrilling as you think of the sandbar getting submerged underwater at every high tide.
Unwind on the beaches, read a book or simply soak in the serenity of the surroundings.
Ross and Smith Islands is known for catering to picnic enthusiasts on the beaches. Carry packed food and drinks and enjoy a relaxing day on the beach by the seaside, surrounded by the peace and solitude of nature.
Tourists need to obtain permits to visit Ross and Smith Islands from the Forest Office at Diglipur.
The islands have limited facilities and visitors should note that facilities on the islands are basic, so it’s essential to carry essentials like food, water and other requirements while stepping into the island for ocean fun.
The necessary items that you should carry include light clothing, beachwear, sunscreen, food and drinks, water, snacks, slippers and hats/caps.
For Indian tourists, the permission requires a price of Rs. 50 and for foreign tourists, the price is Rs. 500. It can be obtained on all days of the week, except on Sundays, between 6 am and 2 pm.
There is boat service from the Ariel Bay Jetty in Diglipur Island to reach Ross & Smith Islands. The journey takes approximately half an hour.
Ross and Smith Islands are famous for their pristine natural beauty, clear waters have a unique charm on account of the sandbar that connects the two islands. The quiet and serene beauty make the island a perfect destination for those who desire to escape the humdrum of city life and immerse themselves in the peace of ravishing beaches and lush landscapes. These islands offer a blissful and tranquil getaway for travellers who wish to connect with nature and enjoy a peaceful, unspoiled environment.