• Akshay Sasidharan

Why Andaman and Nicobar deserves a spot in your Travel Bucket-List.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the archipelago consisting of 572 islands, located on the

Bay of Bengal, to the south-east of the Indian Peninsular sub-continent. These Islands

have a rich and flourishing ecosystem which includes white-sand beaches, mangroves,

and tropical rainforests. The Islands are much closer to Myanmar and Indonesia than

mainland India to which it is a part. Many parts of the Islands are still to be explored due

to the sheer distance (1200 km) and the lack of accessibility that it poses. This adds to

the overall charm of the Islands as it is a perfect spot for a week of Digital Detox, a trip

with friends or even soloing it for a few days of peace and serenity. This archipelago

serves as a perfect spot for conventional tourists but it’s an experiential traveller’s

paradise. Here we’ll see a few tips on how to make your trip to the Islands different

from that of a run-off-the-mill tourist.

Trekking and Backpacking

Use your time at Andaman and Nicobar Islands to wander where the wifi is weak, to

really understand that nature is not just a place that you visit, but is your home. The

Islands have on offer many locations that are perfect for a day’s trek. The thriving

ecosystem in these spots adds to the adventure and travellers can experience the

soul-enriching feeling you get when you are lost in the right direction.

Mount Harriet National Park

The Mt. Harriet National Park has some of the largest and highest peaks in

the Andaman archipelago and is easily accessible from Port Blair, the

capital city and the main point of entry to the Islands from the mainland.

The park is covered with beautiful thick forests and is an epitome of

natural beauty. The park also boasts a collection of rare birds like the

Andaman Wood-pigeon and the Nicobar Megapode, which you can keep

an eye out for as you trek through a canopy of huge trees. The nature trail

of approximately 16kms leads to the beautiful Madhuban Beach. Most

Indians have seen a picture of this beautiful beach as it was printed on the

old 20 rupee note.

How to get there:​The park is accessible from Port Blair via Bambooflat.

From Port Blair by ferry service or by road journey

Chidiya Tapu

When a place boasts that it has the best sunset in all of Andaman and

Nicobar Islands, where there are a huge number of beaches, you can be

sure that the sunset is going to be legendary. Trekking enthusiasts are in

luck as Chidiya Tapu Beach is the starting point of the trek to

Mundapahad, where there is a very high, black cliff which looks out to the

open sea. The view from this point is exquisite and is totally worthy of the

13km trek to get there. There is a lot of flora and fauna to look for as you

trek across.

How to get there: Located 30km from Port Blair, there are many ways to

get to Chidiya Tapu including Public transport and rent-a-cars.

How to get there​:Chidia Tapu is roughly 30 kilometres from the city of Port Blair. Most travellers rent a car or bike to reach Chidiya Tapu from Port Blair. Travellers can take the winding road, through the forest and hills, which also passes through the rugged Kalapathar Beach

Mud Volcano Hiking in Baratang Island

The only active volcano in India is on Barren Island, one of the southern

islands of the archipelago. But landing on this Island is strictly prohibited.

The next best thing Andaman and Nicobar have to offer is the chance to

hike over Mud Volcanoes on Baratang Island. This peculiar natural

phenomenon is something to behold as you’d be walking across thousands

of years of Geography. The famous limestone caves of Baratang are also

close by. To find more about trekking locations in Andaman click here

How to get there​: The Government Bus from Port Blair is the most

cost-effective and reliable way to get through the 4-hour journey.

A journey through time

For a group of Islands that has such limited access from the mainland, the Andaman and

Nicobar Islands sure have a lot of history in them. Some of the Islands were used as

out-stations by the British East India Company and there are a handful of museums in

the Islands that would thrill any history buff.

Cellular Jail

This colonial prison, constructed by the Britishers, for the primary purpose

of incarcerating Indian Political Prisoners, is an embodiment of the darkest

chapters of the country's struggle for freedom. The prison also features a

Light and Sound Show in the evenings once the jail tours are done. That

eerie feeling you get when you understand the things that freedom

fighters had to go through to get us the freedom that we sometimes take

for granted, forces you to do some soul searching.

How to get there: It’s within the city limits and a private cab can be taken

from the airport which is just 4km away.

Ross Island

First occupied in 1782, the Ross Island (currently known as Netaji Subash

Chandra Bose Dweep) was turned into an administrative Headquarters in

1857 and was used for 85 years. There are ruins of old offices made by

Indian prisoners and the ageing on these ruins creates an overall tranquil

ambience. A calm and peaceful lunch soaking in all the history associated

with it is an excellent plan on those who plan to visit Ross Island.

How to get there: Getting a bus to Aberdeen Jetty, from where a ferry can

be hired to get to Ross Island. There is also an option of heli-taxi service

albeit it is quite expensive.

Museums in Port Blair

There are three different museums within a 10KM radius of the Port Blair

Airport namely The Samudrika Marine Museum, The Forests museum and

The Zonal Anthropological Museum. The marine museum has exhibits that

showcase the thriving aquatic life around the Island Group. The one of a

kind Forest museum lets the visitors have a glance at the variety of wildlife

found on the Island and the Anthropological Museum is particularly

unique as it features the lifestyle and culture of the four tribes found in

the islands. More information on locations in the Islands are available here

How to get there​: It is advisable to hire a private cab and visit all three

museums in a single day stretch. The museums are within city limits and

easily accessible

Exploring the Vivid Culture

Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to four Negrito Tribes namely Sentinelese,

Greater Andamanese, Onge and Jarwas, and two Mongoloid tribes- Shompens and the

Nicobarese. These tribes are estimated to have arrived at the Islands over 60,000 years

ago and their lifestyle holds cement over this fact as they are primitive hunter-gatherers

and remain isolated from the mainstream population. The Government has strict

regulations when it comes to visiting these tribes although it is possible if you can

acquire government-certified RAP( Restricted Area Permits). The Jarawa tribes found in

Baratang Island is the most accessible tribal visit of the lot. These tribes can be seen

living their peaceful simple lives in the midst of the virgin green forests. You can get a

glimpse of their lives while riding along the Jarwa creek, on the way to the Limestone

caves. Care should be taken so that you are not scammed into illegal “human safaris” as

the Government has strict rules in place to keep the interaction with the tribes to a

minimum. It is good that we are aware of the existence of such a lifestyle in a fast-paced

world but their protection should also be our responsibility. To learn more about the rich culture within the Islands, click here

How to get there​: Access the ATR(Andaman Trunk Road), which cuts through the Jarawa

dwelling area, on your way to Baratang

Obviously, The Beaches

The shallow depth, vivid flora and fauna, flourishing marine ecosystem, minimal

pollution, crystal clear water, and beautiful white sand makes the beaches in Andaman

and Nicobar perfect. These beaches can give you everything you wish for while at a

coastal vacation. Needless to be said, the beautiful beaches are the main selling point of

the Island’s tourism. You can’t go wrong while choosing among the exquisite beaches of

Andaman and Nicobar, nevertheless, these are the top three.

Wandoor Beach

​Perfectly serene and Beautiful, the Wandoor Beach located 25km from

Port Blair is a Photographer’s paradise. This beach comes under the Mahatma

Gandhi National Marine Park making it a perfect location to spot a variety

of Flora and Fauna. Scuba Diving under professional guidance and Rides on

Glass bottom boats over coral reefs are a speciality of Wandoor Beach.

Snorkelling can also be easily done due to the shallow depth and wide


How to get there: ​The beach is 25km from the airport and public

transport, rickshaws or cabs can be taken to get to the beach

Merk Bay Beach

This pristine beach located on the North Passage Island is fairly less

frequented by tourists than the other beaches because of the dense

mangrove forests surrounding the beach that bars ships and boats to get

too close. This adds to the overall beauty of the Beach and it is one of the

most remote and beautiful beaches you can visit in Andaman. The water is

perfect for snorkelling and also keep an eye out for Dolphins while

you are at it.

How to get there: ​Boats are regularly available from ​Port Blair​ to Long

Island three times a week or you can choose to take a bus from Port Blair

to reach Rangat and then take a boat from Yeratta to Long Island. Once

you reach Long Island, a boat safari can be taken to get to Merk Bay. The one

hour journey can be made more fun by booking the glass-bottom boat.

Radhanagar Beach

Radhanagar Beach located on Swaraj Dweep (Havelock Island) is quite

easily the most famous beach in the archipelago. Its beauty is so highly

regarded by its visitors that it was named the Best Beach in Asia and 7th

best in the world by Time Magazine. The panoramic view of the turquoise

water meeting the long stretch of white sand is a frame, worthy of

praise even from the Heavens. The soft waves and clear water makes you

want to go for a swim almost immediately. More information on other beaches and

locations in the Island cluster can be found here

How to get there​: Public and private buses, Rental Cabs and jeeps are

available from Havelock Boat Jetty to the beach, which is 10.5km away.

There is also an option of renting scooters

Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the most underrated tourist spots in India. The

place is perfect for Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways, for a digital detox or just

some fun time with your family. It deserves to be in your travelling bucket list. The

beaches in Andaman can easily hold a candle to the ones in Hawaii and Barbados. But

there’s much more to these Islands than just the Beaches. Go on adventurous treks, do

some watersports, Dive into the rich culture and the extensive seafood cuisine. So make

sure that Andaman and Nicobar Islands is one of the options for your next vacation

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