The Andaman Islands is cluster of island located 1400 kms from eastern coast of India in the Bay of Bengal. These clusters of island are surrounded by rich marine wealth, coral reefs, tropical forests, long sandy shallow beaches, towards the north of an island is an only active volcano in southeast Asia.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a great destination to spend your vacation in a serene location far away from the city’s rushes and pollution. Andamans stole our hearts with its prodigious beauty, clear crystal beaches, fascinating nature trails, spectacular sunsets, and extravagant history. It is an ideal place for honeymooners, families and people who are looking for water sports, adventure and solace.
Here’s our step by step travel guide to plan your ideal holiday to this best kept secret destination in India.
Andamans island could be reached by Air and Sea.
- By Sea: There are ships from Chennai and Kolkata & Vishakhapatnam which would take a sail of almost 72+ hours. Though reaching by sea is cheaper but takes a lot of time & with basic facilities.
- By Air: There are flights operated by major airlines (Jet Airways & Air India are the major airlines) by Chennai and Kolkata and lots of different cities within the country connected by these 2 cities. Flights are operated only from the mainland and would take an approximate of 2 & ½ hours. The main airport is at Port Blair, the capital of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- Flights to Port Blair are not cheap comparing to the other mainland’s in the country, but could save you some money if booked in 5-6 months advance.
We recommend you keep the flight price alerts on if you don’t have fixed dates to travel to choose the best cheap deals for flights to Port Blair.
- November until mid-May sees the best weather.
- Avoid to travel in monsoons because of the high waves, ceaseless rains and sturdy winds.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP):
- Non – Indians tourists must have restricted area permit before entering to Andamans island. These permits now issued on arrival at the Port Blair.
- If you plan to arrive by sea, you’ll need to arrange your permit before arrival, either in Chennai or when applying for your Indian visa.
- The Restricted area permit is valid for 30 days, and will allow you to visit almost of the Andaman Islands.
- It is advisable to keep this permit with your passport as you will be asked to show it when you check-in at the hotels, while boarding the ferry for island hopping etc.
- Keep photocopies of your RAP with you, this could save you incase if you lose your original permit.
- The permit allows for day-trips to: South Cinque Island, Ross Island, Narcondum Island, Interview Island, Brother Island, Sister Island and Barren Island which can be visited on board vessels only with landing possible.
- Indian nationals do not require a permit to visit the Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are rarely given.
- Minimum of 4 days are required to visit Andamans. Plan to spend a day in Port Blair, one day in Neil island and 2 days in Havelock.
- If you have at least a week, great chances to see attractions of the southern andamans islands, including Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island. You can visit to Baratang Island for a Day trip from Port Blair or if you need more leisure time during your 8 days trip in Andamans, then you can extend a night in Havelock Island.
- if you have 10+ days, you can visit north Andamans island which hosts one of the most unique attractions in Andamans i.e. Ross & smith islands.
There are 3 major islands where you can plan to stay and rest you can visit as a day trips.
- Port Blair: Port Blair, being a capital of the island, has plenty of options for you to stay and find comfort. Starting for budgeted hotels to Luxury, Port Blair has it all. We chose our stay at Fortune Resort Bay land which turned out to be a good choice. The view from the resort is spectacular showcasing clear blue Bay of Bengal. There are some hotels/lodges which you can consider staying at the cheaper rates who are looking for a budgeted stay.
- Havelock Island: Stay here has limited options and bit expensive on the other hand than portblair. The cheapest rooms in any known resort are the NON AC Rooms, Eco Rooms or huts in Havelock Island. It is advisable to book stay here in advance. Recommended Places to stay: V Knot residency, Orient Legend Resort, Harmony Resort, Gold Star Beach resort
- Neal Island: we booked our stay at Tango Resort. This resort has all NON AC Rooms & are the best options currently available. Being the small island resort, all the huts type rooms are sea facing and gives you best experience of nature. You can plan to have dinner by the beach which will be arranged by the resort.
- Ships, ferries and boats are the main mode of transportation to travel from one island to another in Andaman and Nicobar and in quite a few cases, the only option available to reach outlying islands from Port Blair.
- The Government Ferry is the best option for budget travelers and for those who get motion sickness. Although they have no air-conditioning, there are fans and open windows that let a nice cool breeze inside. The price is much more affordable.
- The Government ferries allow you to step outside onto the deck to get some fresh air and the view of fascinating open sea. Sensible thing to do is to book the ferry tickets a day in advance to avoid the long queues at the boarding point.
- On the other hand, Makruzz is the most recommended private jetty operators in Andamans. Though they are roughly double the cost of the Government ferries. They are a little more comfortable, with air-conditioning, and allocated seating. They also have a TV that shows a safety briefing as well as beautiful videos from the Andaman Islands throughout the trip. Your luggage will also be loaded onto the ferry for you & handover to you upon reaching the destination.
- Once you are at these islands, you can explore the islands by scooters or bicycles. It will give you the freedom to explore the beaches as many times as you want. Just ride them the way you want.
- Seafood is the charm of Andamans. Basic Indian food (Veg) is also available at most of the islands. You would mostly get a mix of Bengali & South Indian dishes here. Don’t miss to have Fresh coconut water here. Chances are there to get Alcohol at Port Blair & Havelock.
- One thing you need to know , Andaman has very limited WI-FI or cellular data service available. Only BSNL, Airtel and Vodafone cards are active with low range. On the remote islands like Havelock or Neil, it is best to switch off your phones and indulge in the beauty of nature.
Here are the things to carry with you when you plan to travel to Andamans as resources are limited on islands.
- Water bottles
- Sun screen
- Sun glasses
- Underwater Camera
- Flip flops/ Flat wears
- Rain protection
- Medication (As you need)
- Beach Matt
- Scuba Diving at Havelock Island
- Sea Walk at North Bay Island.
- Snorkeling at Jolly Buoy and Elephant Beach. This can be done by anyone over the age of 7+ Years.
- Trekking to Limestone Caves – Baratang Island – A little tiring for elderly people and people with physical disabilities.
- Fishing Trips to Cinque Island
- Kayaking in Havelock Island.
- Andaman Dolphin Glass Boat Ride.
- Coral Safari – Semi Submarine – Recommended for Travelers with Kids.
Places to see in Andamans: Read it here – https://mapcameratravel.com/2017/08/10/15-stunning-things-you-shouldnt-miss-in-andamans/
Travel Tips :
- Mosquitoes are a nuisance, particularly at dusk and after rain, and the Andaman Islands are malarial. Use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and long trousers in the evening, and sleep under a mosquito net.
- Sandflies make a great problem while sunbathing. Occasionally they are in a larger number, so longer shirts and trousers will be recommended.
- If you plan to be out until sunset or beyond it’s a good idea to carry a flashlight (torch). It can get dark, especially if there’s no moon out, and the beaches are often backed by dense forest.
- If you want to take part in water activities then, avail the service of certified instructors of an international professional organization like PADI, CMAS, NAUI, BSAC or SSI for safe driving experience.
- Beware of jagged edges of Bleached Coral at Beaches #2, #3 and #5 as the shallow beachfront waters on the northern coast of Havelock (the backpacker strip) is covered with this.
- It is advisable to drink sufficient water to avoid dehydration.
The milestone of the Islands is of course it’s attractive beaches that are skirted by palm trees, however, Andaman & Nicobar islands are much more than just a beach getaway. GO & EXPLORE THE BEST KEPT SECRET OF INDIA.