Andaman And Nicobar Tourism and Travel Guide

If the burgeoning Andaman and Nicobar tourism is anything to go by, you’ll understand why the archipelago has been luring in people. If you’re looking to indulge in the beauty of sun-kissed beaches and cerulean water then Andaman and Nicobar Islands is where you should be. The cluster of 572 pristine islands are replete with a wealth of tranquil beaches, pristine turquoise waters, lush green tropical rainforests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, sandy white beaches, water sports as well as sunsets which drip with rich colours. All of Andaman and Nicobar Islands destinations have something unique to offer. Only 36 islands are inhabited and fewer still are open to tourists. Even so, Andaman and Nicobar tourism is picking up rapidly with the government easing up on permits since 2018. The islands are home to a number of tribes who have no contact with the outside world. It’s important to prevent too much rampant tourism in order to preserve their habitats.
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Best Places To Visit In Andaman And Nicobar

Best Time To Visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands

There is no set best season to visit Andaman and Nicobar islands since it is a year-round tourist destination. Temperature here stays more or less constant and the weather is perpetually pleasant. The flourishing Andaman and Nicobar tourism owes much to the archipelago’s pleasant weather.

 

The best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar is from November to May. Monsoons, however,  are usually avoided due to high tidal waves, constant rain and gusty winds which make indulging in water sports impossible. 

 

Here’s a list of the weather during different months of the year, to aid your Andaman travel:

 

April-June

Temperature during summer ranges from 24 degrees Celsius to 37 degrees Celsius. The summers are a good time for Andaman and Nicobar tourism owing to the weather being mildly warm. The season is perfect for scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, paragliding, banana boat ride and trekking so that you never run out of activities to do.

 

July-September

Probably not the best time for an Andaman Nicobar trip – the region receives heavy rainfall towards the end of the season which leads to heaving, risky waves. Water sports are generally cancelled because of the high tides. Temperature during this season ranges between 22 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius. However, Andaman and Nicobar tourism still sees tranquillity seekers coming in during this season.

 

October-March

Winter is the best time for your Andaman holidays. There’s no such thing as chilly weather in the cluster of islands. You can bask in the warm sunshine here while the rest of the country chatters in the cold. The temperature ranges from 20 degrees Celsius to 30 degrees Celsius, during the winter season. Andaman and Nicobar tourism sees a lot of traffic during the winter season.

Visa Information for Andaman and Nicobar

Indian tourists do not need a permit to visit the Andaman and Nicobar islands. If you want to visit untouched tribal areas, such as Nicobar Islands, you’ll need a special permit from the Deputy Commissioner in Port Blair.

Permits are also required if you’re a foreign national. The government has allowed travellers from Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives (for up to 90 days) to travel to India without a visa to augment Andaman and Nicobar tourism.

In recent times, Andaman and Nicobar tourism has made getting a permit easy. Foreign nationals receive their permits on arrival at Port Blair’s airport.

 

Budget for Andaman and Nicobar Islands

It’s best to take an early morning flight from Delhi, Kolkata or Chennai as they are direct and cheap. Also, if you land in the morning you’ll have more time to settle in, study an Andaman and Nicobar Islands map and set off.

Prices depend on the kind of accommodation you choose. Luxury stays at resorts will cost you upwards of ₹6,000 for a day. Places like Taj Exotica charge up to ₹25,000 per night.

Budget travellers can stay at hotels whose fares range from ₹1,500 to ₹2,000 per day.

Delhi to Andaman flights cost about ₹5,000 if you book a month in advance. They’re cheaper still if you book early on.

Kolkata to Andaman flights range from ₹3,000 to ₹4,000.

Chennai to Andaman flights range from ₹3,000 to ₹4,000.

 

Top Places to See In Andaman Nicobar Islands

The many attractions of the archipelago present tourists with plenty of places to see in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Delve deep into rare limestone caves or go to Chidiya Tapu to hear the chorus of birds chirping. If you’re more of a water baby, Andaman and Nicobar Tourism has a bevy of water sports to keep you happy like a fish in the water. Attune your senses with nature while you kick back and relax on the soft white sand with roaring waves washing over your feet.

 

Baratang Island

 

Baratang Island is one of the major islands of the Great Andaman group set in the Bay of Bengal. Baratang’s attractions are manifold. There are rare limestone caves, conserved by Andaman and Nicobar tourism, which you can explore with their wealth of stalactite and stalagmite formations. You can take a ride on a speedboat from Baratang Jetty to get to these caves. Before that, remember to get a permit from the Forest Department at Baratang to visit the caves. 

 

Another attraction on Batarang Island is the mud volcano. Mud volcanoes squirt out mud owing to natural gases which push the mud upwards. The mud oozes out to harden and form a mound.

 

The Jarwa tribe lives in the area. Since Andaman and Nicobar Tourism is steering towards sustainable tourism, measures have been taken to safeguard indigenous tribes on the islands.

 

The Barren Island volcano is the only active volcano in Southeast Asia. You can also check out the Narcondum Volcano which is also supposed to be potentially active.

 

Head to Parrot Island which is another attraction of Andaman and Nicobar tourism. Parrot Island is a secluded uninhabited island near Baratang Jetty which is home to a variety of parrots. The island is boisterous with the calls of colourful parrots. During sunset the parrots come home for the night, making it a vision you cannot miss. 

 

Cellular Jail National Memorial

 

A dark reminder of our colonial past, the Cellular Jail popularly known as Kaala Pani stands today as a memorial to mark the sacrifice of our freedom fighters. Political prisoners were exiled to this jail which offered no escape. Prisoners were forced to work in construction which went into building colonial infrastructure and underwent tortures the likes of which will send shivers down our spines. The Cellular Jail was so called because of the 693 cells on the premises, each of which housed an inmate in solitary confinement to discourage communication. Parts of it have been destroyed by the Japanese but it stands today as a mark of respect for the incredible sacrifice of our forefathers. Do attend the sound and light show, an initiative of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, which narrates the ordeal of prisoners and the history of the place.

Entry fee: ₹30 per person.

Timings – Visiting hours are between 9am and 5pm. The jails remains closed on Monday and on national holidays.

 

Corbyn’s Cove Beach

Port Blair’s only beach, the Corbyn's Cove has inviting blue water and a soft sandy beach. Lush green coconut trees wave overhead and the roaring sea evokes a sense of calm. Lie back on the soft sand or take a dip in its pristine water. The beach is known for its glass-bottomed cruises, scuba diving and snorkelling, activities which Andaman and Nicobar tourism has been extensively promoting.

There are pill boxes and bunkers on the beach, remnants of the Japanese occupation of Corbyn’s Cove. Sadly, a large part of the beach was washed away by the tsunami of 2004. You can head to Snake Island which is just across the beach to scuba dive into the depths of the sea. There are a number of hotels, restaurants and bars where you can unwind and relax with some fine food and drink. The cove is a gem of Andaman and Nicobar tourism.

 

Jolly Buoy

An hour’s ferry ride away from Wandoor, Jolly Buoy is an uninhabited island, protected by Andamana and Nicobar tourism. Underwater activities and sports are discouraged to preserve the island’s precious ecosystem. There are, however, glass-bottomed boat rides which will offer you sweeping views of corals and beautiful marine residents scuttling across the sea. Sit down on the sand to watch the waves rush in or simply take a swim in the island’s crystal clear waters.

Radhanagar Beach

This beach is renowned as Asia’s best and the world’s seventh best beach with good reason. Found on every Andaman and Nicobar tourism itinerary, the sand on this beach is white and incredibly fine while the water is a bright sapphire. Located on the south coast of Havelock Island, there are a host of lush trees framing the scenic island. Wait around for the sunset here; you won’t be able to take your eyes off the mesmerising play of colours that the sun leaves behind in its trail. You’d expect this beach to be crowded but it’s surprisingly secluded and serene. You can reach Havelock Island via ferries or private cruises. There are also helicopter services for you to arrive in style, thanks to the support of Andaman and Nicobar tourism. The island offers boating services from 6am to 2pm so make sure to get here early.

Cost of a boat ride – ₹500 (adult)

 

Havelock Island

Andaman and Nicobar tourism’s Havelock Island has a host of beautiful beaches such as Radhanagar Beach, Elephant Beach, Kalapathar Beach and Vijaynagar Beach. If scuba diving and snorkelling is on your travel itinerary, then Havelock is where you need to be. The best scuba diving and snorkelling happens here. Elephant Island has some of the best coral reefs since they’re closer to the shore. This makes snorkelling a real treat on the Andaman travel guide.

Another feather in Andaman and Nicobar tourism’s hat is the Sea Walk that has been introduced recently. You can enjoy this unique attraction at Elephant Beach in Havelock. Visitors can walk on the sea bed which is about 6-7m deep and gape at the vibrant marine life in the sea. The sea walk is completely safe and can be done by anyone regardless of age.

 

Havelock earns its accolades through its pristine beaches, its turquoise waters and dive sites. Spend time unwinding over food and drinks at Havelock’s many cafes, walk on its sandy white beaches or indulge in water sports to keep your adrenaline pumping. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has made wonderful provisions for tourists to relax and have a good time.

 

Ross Island

Just 3km away from Port Blair is the beautiful Ross Island which will enchant you. The ruins of a jail which preceded the Cellular Jail Andaman still stand. Many Indian political prisoners were brought here as evidenced by the gallows which still stand. The tropical beauty was left in ruins after an earthquake in 1941. Bungalows there still wear the opulence of colonial architecture. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has tour information for Ross Island on their website.

The island abounds in natural beauty as well. Peacocks and deer roam around freely and do enjoy the occasional treat while the crocodiles in the water of the island’s beach sullenly stay put and would probably not be very friendly. There is a lighthouse to complete the picturesque look. It is no wonder then that Ross Island is considered one of the most beautiful islands in Andaman and Nicobar.

 

Neil Island

Neil Island is a visual delight – think colourful fishing boats against sandy white shores. The coral reefs here are a sight to see which makes it the perfect snorkelling spot. Neil Island is a great place to unwind at with its serene beaches and lush greenery. You can simply get a hammock and a good book and spend a few lazy hours here. There is an array of water activities here to keep people happy, courtesy of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, who support organisations dabbling in water sports. Hire glass-bottom boats to peer at exquisite fish and other marine creatures. Scuba dive to stare at the coral reefs up close or if you prefer something faster, get a jet ski. The water is warm and perfect for a nice swim. Neil Island is also the place to buy your souvenirs.

 

Chidiya Tapu

Covered in lush green mangroves and scenic islands, Chidiya Tapu is a small village on the southernmost tip of the South Andaman Island. One of the major attractions of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, Chidiya Tapu is known for bird watching, mesmerising sunsets, beautiful vistas and the sparkling ocean. A haunt for a myriad variety of birds such as drongos, hanging parrot, scarlet minivet, emerald dove, long-tailed and red-breasted parakeets and white-bellied sea eagles, the place is full of the twittering of birds.

 

The Sunset Point at Chidiya Tapu will enable you to gaze upon one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life. There is also a Chidiya Tapu Biological Park which conserves and studies endemic and endangered species on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There is a variety of flora and fauna to be found in the park. It is to the credit of Andaman and Nicobar tourism that they have succeeded in preserving natural wonders on Andaman beautifully.

 

Adventure lovers will also take to Chidiya Tapu because of its trekking trail which goes through dense forests and a stunning coastline to end at Munda Pahad (Black Mountain). Andaman and Nicobar tourism truly has a lot to offer.

 

Activities and Things to Do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

What makes Andaman and Nicobar tourism so attractive is the variety of activities available for both nature lovers and adventure junkies. There’s something for everyone, be it sightseeing on the Andaman and Nicobar islands destinations, high-octane parasailing, scuba diving or simply watching the sun paint the horizon. Here are some of the activities you can indulge in to make some lasting memories.

 

Snorkelling 

You can’t visit Andaman and Nicobar and not go snorkelling. Dive into the inviting blue water of the ocean and spy on colourful fish swimming in front of your eyes and marvel at precious corals on North Bay Island and Elephant Beach in Havelock Island. The water at Havelock is clear and will be your best bet when it comes to visibility and marine whilst snorkelling.

Cost - ₹500 to 1000 and upwards

 

Boating and kayaking 

Take a boat ride enveloped by the twinkling stars in the inky black darkness of the night sky and the glimmering bioluminescent water of Havelock Island. Row through the glittering blue water of Havelock and bask under the starlight in the night sky to the soothing rhythm of the boat gliding through the ocean. This magical experience is only possible on dark, no-moon nights. Kayaking can be arranged for easily. Just ask the local guides to direct you to kayak tour experts. Andaman and Nicobar tourism will not disappoint.

 

Dreamy evening strolls

This is something most  Andaman itineraries won’t tell you. If you have a few hours to spare on a glorious evening, go for an evening stroll towards Marina Park. The scenic stretch of road by the ocean is akin to Marine Drive just without the usual gaggle of people and vendors. Feel the salty ocean wind caress your hair and body while you look over the gleaming expanse of water.

 

Scuba diving

Scuba dive to delve into the turquoise subterraneous world on Andaman and Nicobar islands. If the inability to swim is holding you back, you should know that scuba does not require you to be a swimmer. One of the popular activities in Andaman and Nicobar tourism; dive in to watch many-hued shoals of fish scurry past you and hover over gorgeous corals scattered around the ocean floor. If you want to scuba dive like a pro and tread the open waters, then swimming expertise is mandatory. Before you opt for a dive, make sure your scuba diving instructor follows Andaman and Nicobar tourism’s safety guidelines.

 

If you fancy learning how to dive then DIVEIndia is a good place to start. The PADI 5-star Dive Centre offers an array of scuba certification courses starting from the beginner level all the way up to the instructor level. They offer guided dives from their centres in Havelock and Neil to help you revel in the stunning marine biodiversity. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has done a commendable job in ensuring all dive organisations follow proper guidelines.

 

Cost - A half-day introductory Discover Scuba Diving session which includes in-water training, one guided dive with an instructor, dive log and registration with PADI will set you back by ₹4,500

 

You can also opt for a half-day boat ride and a Discover Scuba Diving session which includes in-water training, one guided dive with an instructor, dive log and registration with PADI, which will set you back by ₹6,500.

 

Banana boating 

If you’re looking for an offbeat and thrilling activity, you just have to get on a banana boat. A banana-shaped boat, which can effectively hold up to six people, is tied behind a speedboat for some hair-raising high-speed twists and turns. You’ll have a life jacket on and it’s a perfectly safe activity. The kids will love this one!

Cost - ₹620 per person which includes an instructor, a banana boat and a life jacket.

 

Bird watching 

Another natural wonder of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, nature lovers can rejoice at Chidiya Tapu. The tiny island village is about 25km away from Port Blair. The island has a myriad variety of birds such as sea eagles, parakeets, emerald doves and more. Don’t forget your binoculars as you try to pinpoint different bird calls and identify brightly-coloured birds.

 

Glass bottom boat rides

If you like your feet warm and toasty but still want to marvel over the gorgeous underwater world full of marine life and coral reefs then this ride is for you. One of the recent attractions which have been adding numbers to Andaman and Nicobar tourism, the boat glides over the sea giving you a peek at the wondrous world below through the glass bottom. This is a safe option for those who are hesitant about diving. These new glass bottom boats are a great addition to the list of activities part of Andaman and Nicobar tourism. You’ll find these boats plying between the Water Sports Complex and North Bay Coral Island and between Port Blair and Jolly Buoy Island.

 

Cost –  A Coral Safari Semi Submarine is for  ₹1850 per person.

 

Sailing 

If you’re a hard-core junkie who needs to feel the adrenaline pumping through their veins, then parasailing should be on your to-do list. You’ll be harnessed to a parachute and tied behind a motorboat which picks up speed and leaves you trailing behind it. Feel the wind in your hair and the spray of water as you sail through the air. It’s completely safe and as per Andaman and Nicobar tourism safety guidelines.

 

Cost – Charges differ according to season and location

 

Limestone cave exploration 

The limestone caves of Baratang Island are adorned inside with fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. Delve deeper into the darkness of the caves to chance upon more features of the caves. You can get to the caves in a speed boat and look out over the sides to witness dense mangrove trees on the banks. A bus ride from Port Blair to Baratang takes about 2 hours 30 minutes. Ferries from Nilambur Jetty to Baratang take about 15 minutes. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has left no stone unturned to create ease of transport.

Swimming with an elephant

Andaman and Nicobar tourism really pulls out all the stops when it comes to keeping visitors happy. You can swim with an extremely friendly elephant called Rajan who is around 60 years old. Frolic around with Rajan or link hand to trunk and become BFFs. Rajan is highly sought after so book your tickets in advance.

 

Take off in a sea plane at Port Blair

You can either take a two-hour ride by ferry from Port Blair to Havelock or vice versa or you can ride in style on a seaplane, courtesy of Andaman and Nicobar tourism. Running on the Port Blair-Havelock route, the seaplane affords you with breathtaking views of islands studded amidst the cerulean blue waters and will take you all of 15 minutes. Seaplanes can only carry nine people at a time and is certainly something to experience.

Cost - ₹2000 for a one-way ride

 

Sightseeing 

If you don’t want to miss out on any of the major attractions of Andaman and Nicobar then it’s probably best that you sign up for a sightseeing tour. Take island tours of Neil Island, Havelock Island, Port Blair, and Ross & Smith Island. Other must-visit places are the mud volcanoes of Baratang, an active volcano at Barren Island, Chidiya Tapu, Cellular Jail and Radhanagar beach on Havelock among many others. You can find brochures on the Andaman and Nicobar tourism website.

Cost - ₹1,200 onwards

 

See a light and sound show

The popular Kaala Pani Jail in Port Blair has a tragic and bloody history. The place was used to exile political Indian prisoners by the British. Atrocities were inflicted on the prisoners mainly comprising of our freedom fighters. The sound and light show, an initiative of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, narrates the heart-wrenching tale of these prisoners using Om Puri’s rich baritone which will make the toughest amongst the group shed a few tears.

Cost - ₹50 for one show

 

Trekking 

If you’re not a beach bum and are happiest trekking for hours whilst whistling a cheery tune then Andaman won’t disappoint. Trek from Mt. Harriet – the third highest peak in the archipelago – to Madhuban. The trail is full of lush green forests, preserved by Andaman and Nicobar tourism, which are alive with a variety of beautiful flora and an awe-striking variety of animals and birds.

 

Watch dolphins

These adorable creatures can bring a smile to the surliest of faces. Get on a boat to reach a turquoise patch of ocean and watch these bubbly mammals splash and swim around. You’ll insist on spending a few more minutes every time someone gets you to leave. North Passage or Lalji Bay are places you can head to for dolphin watching.

Cost - ₹600 onwards

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Andaman and Nicobar Islands Tourism

Why is there such a stringent need for permits in Andaman and Nicobar?

There are aboriginal tribes living on these islands, which have been home to these tribes since their inception. In order to protect these tribes and keep them away from human interference so they can continue to thrive, some islands are restricted. 

The group of islands are also important to India from a strategic military viewpoint.

Poaching, littering and improper Andaman and Nicobar tourism is destroying the island’s precious flora and fauna. Strict immigration rules exist to keep the islands pristine and for sustainable tourism to thrive.

 

Where are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands located?

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, a group of 572 islands are located in the Bay of Bengal. It is about 1,000 miles away from the Indian mainland.

 

How long does it take to reach Andaman?

With the influx of Andaman and Nicobar tourism, there are a lot of avenues open to reach Port Blair. A flight from Kolkata/Chennai takes two hours, while one from Delhi takes around five hours. Ships take as long as 50 hours (3-4 days roughly).

 

Can I take a piece of coral reef home?

Andaman and Nicobar Tourism is based on sustainable tourism and as such the coral reef is very precious. You cannot stand or damage a coral reef in any way while snorkelling, scuba diving or swimming. Collection of pieces of corals, dead or alive, is a punishable offence.

 

What is the best time to holiday in the Andaman Islands?

Andaman and Nicobar tourism is active throughout the year owing to pleasant weather on all islands. It does not get chilly during winter either. Tourists flock to Andaman and Nicobar Islands from October to May.

 

What festivals do the people in Andaman celebrate?

The Andaman Islands have a mix of different religions and so, almost all festivals celebrated in mainland India including Christmas, New Year, Diwali, Eid and Easter are celebrated here. The biggest festival here is the Durga Puja due to the number of Bengalis on the islands.

 

What is a RAP?

A RAP or Restricted Area Permit is required by every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who wants to stay in a protected or restricted area. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has taken steps to ease the RAP obtaining process. Hence, RAP can easily be obtained on arrival at Port Blair. The process is free of cost and available for all foreign nationals.

 

Can I extend my visa in Andaman?

Yes. Andaman and Nicobar tourism has attempted to make procedures as smooth as possible. Most foreigners are given a 30 day permit in Port Blair. If you wish to stay for longer, you’ll have to get your visa extended at least three days prior to its expiry at the police station in Havelock or at the Immigration Office in Port Blair. Extensions are normally given for 15 more days on producing a confirmed return ticket.

 

Is vegetarian food available in Andaman?

Since the staple here is mostly seafood it might be a little tricky to find pure vegetarian restaurants. However, thanks to Andaman and Nicobar tourism there are more vegetarian options coming up. Some restaurants serve vegetarian food.

 

Are ATMs and money changers commonly available in Andaman and Nicobar Islands? Can I use credit and debit cards on the Islands?

Port Blair has several ATMs and Havelock has two ATMs. Other islands do not have any ATMs. It is advisable to carry cash with you to pay your bills. Andaman and Nicobar tourism believes in sustainable tourism and too much commercialisation is not good for the archipelago.

Written by Neeti Chopra, an in-house Tripoto writer. Cat lady who loves curling up in corners with a book. Neeti is a writer at Tripoto. Follow her to ignite your wanderlust.

 

 

 


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