Andaman Travel guide- A Beach seeker’s Paradise
Travel Guide to Andaman Islands: A beach seeker’s paradise
The advent of the internet has made it easier to share our travel experiences with the world. A quick Google search of travel destinations in India returns a long list of several websites mentioning places for vacations, sharing details such as where to stay, where to eat, what to do and so on. Amongst this plethora of suggestions, Andaman is one of those destinations that stands out. Its unparalleled scenic views and well-preserved eco-charm highlight this exotic holiday destination. Its natural beauty is unrivaled and can leave most world travel destinations blushing in its wake.
Andaman stole my heart, made me weak in the knees and left me in awe for infinite reasons. To make my trip even more dreamy, I had the best company to explore this gorgeous destination, my better half. Yes, we chose Andaman as our honeymoon destination over other beautiful places.
Andaman and Nicobar Island: In the middle of Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, lies a tropical paradise where pristine white sand beaches, sparkling blue waters, dramatic skies, stunning sunsets, lush mangroves and scrumptious sea food awaits you. Andaman is home to over 300 islands but just a handful of them are accessible to tourists. And it is those islands that are sure to mesmerize you on this Indian archipelago.
How to reach Andaman:
The most straightforward way to reach Andaman is via flight to Port Blair. There are direct flights available from major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore to Port Blair. There are connecting flights as well from other cities.
Alternatively, one could also opt to travel to Port Blair by sea. It would take close to 3 days to reach Port Blair starting from Kolkata/ Chennai. However, the sea voyage is far more expensive compared to a flight.
A word of caution: Port Blair airport shares its base with the military, so photography is strictly prohibited.
Best time to visit:
Andaman has a tropical climate throughout the year. The temperatures range from 30-35 degrees during the day to a much pleasant 27 after sunset. November to March is the recommended time to visit. However, the weather here is unpredictable at best and it can rain in almost any month of the year. We visited during the first week of October when the weather is generally supposed to be pleasant, but a sudden appearance of thunderstorms left us caved in our hotel rooms for almost two days. Christmas and New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and just like any tourist destination, this place will be brimming with vacationers.
It is easier to get attractive packages during the Monsoon months, but the risk of uncertainty is also the highest; pouring rains, delayed flights & cruise cancellations between islands are common.
How to move around:
Local buses and cabs are a popular choice of travel in Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island. The Cab rates are standard for all tourists unless you are good at negotiating or travelling in a large group. You can also rent a two-wheeler / bike or hire a self-driven car to explore the island. Hiring the services of a driver over a period of days is convenient, cheaper and avoids the hassle of negotiating prices daily.
Best places to explore in Andaman:
The capital of Andaman is located among the South Andaman Islands. It is considered as a gateway to visit Havelock Island. Although, tourists spend less time here, it is recommended to spend at least two days to explore Port Blair and live the history, culture and vibes of this little town. The town still retains most of its original charm. The dreadful history of Kala Paani preserved in the well-maintained Cellular Jail built to suppress political freedom fighters pre-independence, delicious Banana fritters & water sports at Corbyn’s Cove beach and the canvas inspiring sunsets at Chidiya Tapu are some of the more interesting things on the island. Learn more about Port Blair here.
Such is the popularity of Havelock Island that no write-up on Andaman is complete without a mention of this beautiful island. However, Andaman is blessed with many more beautiful islands which are less famed but still rival any foreign destination with their beauty.
Havelock, without a doubt, has some of the best beaches in all of Andaman. Radhanagar, Elephant Beach & Kalapathar Beach, each one of these beaches are beautiful beyond imagination and yet have their own distinct scenic views. I have listed down a complete guide to Havelock island including Best Beaches and things to do in Havelock.
If you’re looking for a quieter side of Andaman, this beautiful island is the place to be. This quaint little island is generally planned as a day trip, but it has a lot to offer with its peacefulness. The serene beaches with clear azure waters are lazily stretched out over miles, dotted with Mangroves along the shores. Read more about Neil Island – the tiny island of Andaman you must not miss.
Unravel the unexplored parts of Andaman:
- Witness Turtle Nesting at Diglipur (December to Jan end is the best time as turtles go through a gestation period, roaming on the beaches of Ramnagar at Diglipur).
- Head over to Maya Bunder for a mangrove boat ride. Away from the tourist radar, Karamatang and Avis Beach are the best beaches to enjoy mangrove boat rides.
- Visit Barren Island Plateau that bears witness to the remains of volcanic eruptions in the recent past making it a scenic landscape to visit.
- Baratang and Cinque island are other two isolated islands and rarely explored.
How to plan your trip to Andaman:
Planning a trip to Andaman is very important as it is one of those destinations that requires a bit of research and confirmations on bookings before packing your bags. Due to network connectivity issues and pre-booking in peak seasons, you will find it difficult to get a hotel adhoc as per your needs. Hence, it is advisable to plan your trip well in advance. You can either book on your own or opt for a lucrative package tour.
Being a solo traveller for years and sometimes travelling with my travel partner & now husband, Cyril, I have always loved planning my trip right from scratch. Booking tickets, hotels, where to eat and places to see, I draw up a rough itinerary with an addition of things we would like to explore while on the go.
We had picked Andaman as our honeymoon destination and since both, me & Cyril were busy with wedding preparations, I decided to pick a travel option that would ease our travel woes. Post a short research and several reviews, I got a glimpse of Fabandaman. After skimming through their travel packages, I connected with Krishna, the enthusiastic, smart mind behind Fabandaman. A few conversational threads later we zeroed down on a customised package choosing the places to visit, stay options, mode of travel etc.
The hotels, cruise tickets and cars were booked ahead of time ensuring we had a hassle-free time in Andaman. From the time we landed in Port Blair and returned to the airport on the last day of our trip, the entire vacation was well organised. A few recommendations by Krishna about things to do in Havelock Island were quite helpful.
The drivers that accompanied us on the different islands could speak English & Hindi and were local expert guides. They were aware of the local restaurants (our local Zomato guide 😊), popular places to see and even had knowledge of secluded spots away from the densely populated tourist areas.
The only hiccup we had was during our stay in Port Blair where the room was not booked as agreed but was changed the next day upon feedback. This was my first time booking a trip through a travel company & TWS highly recommends checking their website to find a suitable package according to needs.
Top Things to Do in Andaman:
- Sea-Walking: Andaman, the only place where you can walk under the sea, just do it.
- Snorkelling & Scuba Diving: The clearest water upto a depth of 80 ft, the corals and the flora & fauna is a treat to watch.
- Go Swimming at RadhaNagar, Asia’s best beach
- Glass boat rides: If you are a hydrophobic or have kids with you, go for a Glass bottom boat ride and experience the underwater life without even diving in.
- Shopping at Aberdeen Bazaar: Shop for handicrafts & sea shells
- Sip gallons of coconut water: Fuel yourself and stay hydrated on this tropical island by sipping on cocos.
Travelling Tips for Andaman:
- Andaman has come into the limelight recently and has been seeing a lot of tourists lately. However, there are some areas which are uninhabited, hence before exploring such areas seek permission from the authorities or consult with a travel agent or with the locals.
- The sun sets by 5 pm and due to high tide, most of the beaches are closed in the evening. It is advisable not to wander too far on the beaches.
- Andaman has a tropical climate and it gets scorching hot during the day. Carry a good sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the blazing sun.
- Pack light, comfortable clothing and don’t forget to throw in your colorful swimsuits.
- There are connectivity issues with Airtel being the only available network with intermittent services on islands. This lack of technological connectivity makes for a digital detox trip.