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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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