One of the seven Union Territories of India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, is regarded as the Indian Paradise.
Located at the juncture of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, Andaman & Nicobar Islands is divided into two major islands:
- Andaman – the northern islands
- Nicobar – the southern islands
Andaman and Nicobar
These Indian islands preserve both untouched landscapes and tribal culture. On the Islands, there is an overdose of white sandy beaches. These beaches act as a beautiful backdrop to the colonial architecture which remains from the British colonization.
How To Get Here
Overseas visitors need a Restricted Area Permit to enter the islands. One can get the permit at the time of arrival at Port Blair airport which is the only airport here.
Indian nationals does not require permit to visit Andamans. However, for visiting Nicobar islands and some tribal areas, permit is required which is granted by the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District.
If you fancy a voyage to these islands, take a ship from Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, or Chennai which can take upto 4-5 days.
Things To Do In Andaman and Nicobar
Andaman & Nicobar is famous for it water sports. The pristine blue waters of surrounding the island along with pearl white beaches, can provide inner peace to one’s soul. There are plenty of opportunities for tourists who enjoys water sports like Scuba diving, Snorkeling, and Kayaking.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands forms a collection of 600 islands. Most popular ones are:
The capital of Andaman & Nicobar Island, Port Blair is the gateway to this pristine Union Territory. Main tourists place include Central Jail aka Kaala Pani, National Gandhi Marine National Park, sunset at Chidiya Tappu.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park has many activities like surfing and scuba diving to offer tourists.
Havelock is the most visited island in Andamans. Government ferries sail between Port Blair and Havelock Island which takes upto 2-3 hours depending upon the weather.
Once you reach Havelock Island, you can hire two wheelers to tour the island or can avail facility of local tour operators.
Watersports lovers, beach seekers, eco-tourists, and culture tourists have a handful of things to do here. On the Havelock Islands water sports are immensely popular.
There are plenty of water sports for tourists like Scuba Diving which comes as the main activity in Havelock Island, trekking being organised by many resorts in Havelock like Barefoot Brasserie, Wild Orchid Resort and Emeral Gecko Resort.
You can also enjoy the night Kayaking and if can experience the famous Bio-luminescence if weather is favourable.
Although journey to Diglipur Island takes up a whole day and is tiresome. But why not bump up the excitement by taking a ride around the island to seek out the mysterious Jarawas Tribe.
Lying at a distance of Diglipur Island is two identical island Ross and Smith Island. These islands are joined by a sand bar.
Since, it takes approx 12 hours to reach from Port Blair, many tourist does not prefer to visit these island which makes it all the more attractive as you will find less tourists there.
Around 150 Km North of Port Blair lies an island with Mud Volcano and Limestone Caves. Baratang Island comes in the midway from Port Blair to Diglipur and one should not miss the trek to Limestone Caves.
Located at 138 Km of Port Blair is the only active volcano in India at Barren Island. As the name suggests, its a no-man island and one needs to take special permit from Forest Department. Private charter has to be hired to visit Barren Island, on your way to Barren Island you can get indulge in Sports fishing activity. In addition, snorkeling can also be done during the trip. Some advanced Scuba Divers also go to Barren island for diving.
Little Andaman Island
For people who love to explore the unexplored places, Little Andaman Island is the perfect place for them. Located at southern part of Andaman Island, one can reach Little Andamans via government ferries which takes upto 6-8 hours of journey.
Another quick option for reaching Little Andaman is traveling via helicopter. This is pricier, the seats are limited, locals or government officials are favored and luggage is restricted. However if you manage all the above, you are guaranteed to have a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.
The entire island is filled with pearl white beaches covered with palm trees all around and lot of surf.
Best Time To Visit Andaman Islands
Avoid visiting during the monsoon season. Beaches are no good when the rain pours, and the sun does not shine. February through April and October through November are suitable times for a trip to the Andaman Islands.
The summer months (May and June) are harsh in the tropics and the monsoons that come after, make the islands gloomy.
Andaman & Nicobar Island does not have their specific Andamese cuisine. Their cuisine is mostly influenced by the cuisine of the people inhabiting there.
Tourists will find wide variety of Sea-Food, Thai, Indian and Chinese foods. For people wanting to give their tongue a treat of Sea – food, Andaman is the place for them. One should definitely try its Tandoori dishes.
The sea food Andaman and Nicobar Islands is usually found in the most unlikely of places. The restaurants at the various hotels are expensive and unless you are staying there it doesn’t make sense to eat at these places.
The best bet is to ask the locals and figure out a cheap place to eat. Most of the shacks along the beach offer fresh catch.
Tandoori Fish is a must have if you have craving for Sea- foods. Every local joint will serve this dish, however, the best of it can be found in Lighthouse House Residency, Port Blair.
Fresh fishes are covered in variety of spices and cooked in an open Tandoor. The fine blend of spices with flame of Tandoor gives it a right flavour giving one desires for Sea-food.
Alcohol is restricted in Nicobar islands and few parts of Andamans also to save the interest of Tribal people.
Though the tourist places like Port Blair and Havelock has permit to consume alcohol, you will not find any good pubs in Havelock island.
In case you have to consume alcohol, its better to purchase at Port Blair and carry to Havelock and other islands.
Since the pubs and bars are poorly lit and one might not find chilled beer in all the places, you may opt for coconut water instead. In many of the resorts, fresh coconut waters are served as complimentary welcome drinks.
Port Blair is the only entry gate to these islands. Once you enter the island, you can either use the public transport for sight seeing, or hire a tour operator for local travel.
The most common mode of travel for local people are Vehicle Ferries (as the name suggests, it carries heavy vehicles like Bus and truck from one island to another) and Bus.
Tourists can also hire a two-wheeler to travel within the islands of Port Blair and Havelock. Tourists have to either hire a car or travel by bus due to heavy restrictions being implied on the Middle and North of Andaman Island.
A relaxing holiday on the sunny islands sounds exciting. There are many tour companies and travel websites that give you a complete tour of the Andaman Islands.
It is better to book with a reliable tour company like ExperienceAndamans so that you do not face problem.
Things to carry
While visiting Andamans, you should definitely carry following items to make your trip more wonderful and memorable:
- Torch as Sun sets too early and it gets complete dark after that
- Stick in case you are out on a walking spree and catch some dogs on street
- Sunscreen lotion, Head wear, goggles, flip flops
- Water Bottle to keep yourself hydrated during long journey between island
Tourism being one of the main industry of Andaman & Nicobar Island, you will find plenty of hotels and resorts to stay ranging in all kind of budget. However, it is advisable to pre-book the hotels in advance if you are visiting in peak season.
How Safe is Andamans & Nicobar Islands
These islands are as safe as beautiful it is. It is an ideal destination for solo female traveler. Being a non political place, its free from political riots and the crime rate is also negligible.
However, it is highly recommended to follow certain rules while on your visit to these islands like not to access the beach after sunset.
Since these islands are home to crocodiles, who in very rare situations come to the shore, it is advisable to stay away from the shores of Mangroves tree.
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December 16, 2017 1:01 am