A travel guide to ensure a fun trip…
Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the most beautiful places in the Maritime Southeast Asia. The summer heat is scorching hot but the fall seems to be a great time to visit. From the moment you land on Port Blair, all you will see is the blue ocean and the azure sky.
Here are 20 reasons you should visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands this fall:
1. Weather and Ambience
It is mostly sunny and occasionally drizzles. The weather could be called the “Goldilocks” weather as you will never need a blanket at night or an air conditioner during the day. Andaman is a life-changing experience filled with beauty in little things starting from shell-collecting to watching the diverse flora and fauna of the ocean while snorkelling.
2. You Never Run Out of Things to Do
You can lay on the beach as the rhythm of the waves soothes or you could give yourself an adrenaline rush by trying out the several adventure sports there. The adventure sports range from parasailing and snorkeling to sea walking and scuba diving. If you’re not a fan of dangerous thrill and prefer chilling out, you can visit one of the numerous beaches and just lay there or walk around for hours on end without feeling bored at all.
3. Adventure Sports
Other places don’t seem to match up to the level of Andaman when ‘adrenaline junkie’ is your middle name. You can go parasailing at speeds of 40-70 mph against the strong winds or you could walk on the sea bed, strolling around fishes and turtles or you could go kayaking amongst the mangroves, get on a banana boat or the clichéd but classic, jet skiing in the ocean.
4. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving as an adventure sport is highly recommended. The trainers will train you properly before you go for your dive, like learning how to communicate under water. You will be taken amongst the coral reefs and you’ll see organisms of every possible color in the spectrum – creatures you have only seen on National Geographic. After coming out of the water, I guarantee you’ll have a tough time coming back to reality.
5. Visit to Elephant Island
An amazing place to go with your family or a gang of friends, who finally made it to the trip, is the Elephant Island. It is one of the few islands that allows swimming, with supervision of the lifeguards, of course. It also harbours activities like snorkelling, sea walking and speed boating.
- Carry a fresh towel and a swimsuit to this island.
- Carry some snacks as there are very few food stalls there.
6. Raadhanagar Beach
This is one of the most astounding beaches you will see in your lifetime. It is the cleanest beach in Asia and if you go during sunrise or sunset, you will see many hues in the sky and ocean. The waves are so high that you can try to jump over them. There are several food stalls nearby, so be sure to have some of the local snacks.
Don’t go too far into the ocean as the receding waves are pretty strong.
7. North Bay & Neil Island
2 favourite tourist hotspots which not only have adventure sports but also good places to shop at everywhere are the North Bay & Neil Island. Beautiful sun dresses, bikinis and swimsuits as cheap as 200 INR can be bought, so goodbye Vero Moda!
8. Baratang Island
Batarang Island holds several surprises, one of which is the Limestone caves. You will have to go through a salt water stream on a boat with mangroves on both sides of you. Once you reach the cave, you will see crystalline, luminescent limestones all around you shining like emeralds and rubies.
9. Havelock Island
Possibly one of the most famous islands of the several hundred islands of Andaman. You can stay in one of the cottage hotels with different rooms for separate parts of your travel gang. Havelock is famous for its flora and fauna, and you get to go for scuba diving too, and the seafood at Havelock is mouth-watering.
Make sure you carry a book or a magazine because there is no signal and no Wi-Fi.
The food at Andaman is not what you’d expect. It is not predominantly seafood, there is more to it. Since Andaman is a place of several cultures, all kinds of food are available starting from Bengali preparation of fish and the South Indian Dosato Rajasthan’s Dal Bati Churma to Kashmiri tea. However, the mussels and squid are to die for and seafood lovers will find solace in Andaman.
11. Jarawa Tribes
The Jarawas are an aboriginal tribe and one of the very few that exist on the face of this earth. The Jarawas still do not know the current modern civilization and reside in South and Middle Andaman where, if you go for a trip, you will be amazed to see how the Jarawas live – by hunting and gathering primitive forms of clothing., It will amaze you to see a part of history in front of you.
Do not try to interact with Jarawas if and when you see them; they will react aggressively.
12. Journey to the Jarawas
About 350-400 cars line up in a convoy to go and see the Jarawas in the jungle, in their natural habitat. The journey usually starts early morning and ends by late evening. When you spot a Jarawa, you’re not supposed to react or stop the cars or take pictures.
- Do not try to take a picture of the Jarawas. It is a punishable offence and risks the loss of the tribe as it exists.
- The journey is usually 9-12 hours, starting from 3 AM, so be sure to carry a few magazines and books.
13. The Cellular Jail Tour
Get a local guide to explain to you what the cellular jail signifies. The cellular jail is a great part of Indian history as the British constructed the jail in Andaman so that prisoners, who were freedom fighters, could not escape as there is water surrounding Andaman in all directions. The gallows, nearly 500 cells and the salt chamber is a site that will make tears roll down your cheeks.
14. The Cellular Jail Light Show
If you have the privilege to visit the cellular jail in the evening, you should definitely get tickets for this show. It is narrated by the late Om Puri as he narrates the experiences of the prisoners throughout the struggle for independence, the sacrifice and the torture that went on before independence. It will send shivers down your spine to experience this live.
Don’t try to record the experience. Just focus and listen.
One wouldn’t associate trekking with Andaman but there is a lush green forest called Madhuvan, where you get to walk through bridges and see wildlife all around you.
Be sure to carry a back-pack with medicine, snacks, mosquito repellant and lots of water.
Image credit: Ana Raquel S. Hernandes
16. Glass Boating
If you’re one who loves to experience the marine world, you should definitely go for glass boating. It is a boat with a glass floor and you can see the fish, corals and other creatures as you move through the water. It is a one-of-a-kind experience where you are travelling with the members of the ocean.
17. Bird Watching
Bird watching seems like a thing that doesn’t really happen much anymore and is a nerdy habit but Andaman is a hub of diversity, and with that, come beautiful birds, starting from kingfisher to cormorants, song birds and the majestic Megapode bird, after which many hotels are named. If you’re an early-riser, go through the grasslands and the beaches and see these amazing creatures roaming about.
18. Little Things you Could Do All the Time!
Go for a casual stroll by the shore, simply watch the sunset with your loved one or curl up on a hammock and read that book you have been longing to at the banks of the never-ending ocean. Lather up your sunscreen and go swimming or ditch the sun tan bottle and lie like a lobster all day. You can go shell collecting and you might even get lucky and find the prettiest ones there are. Many tourists find pearl oysters too! Indulge in activities like shell ornament and jewellery designing if it interests you at the North Bay and Havelock Island.
19. Dolphin Watching
Did I mention you never run out of things to do? You can go cruising on a journey near the trenches where dolphins move in packs and if you get lucky, you can stop and pet them too. Dolphin watching is one of the most fun-filled activities you could do there.
20. Swimming with Elephants
On Elephant Island and Havelock Island, you get to meet the friendly elephant, Rajan who is 60+ and still young. You could even go swimming with him as he loves his regular splashes. But since he’s a celebrity, you’ll have to book an appointment in advance. This again depends on whether you like the idea of indulging in such an activity or think of it otherwise. We leave this to your discretion.
Image credit: Aravindan Ganesan
We hope this list of things to do helps you have a fabulous time at the islands. Do share your experiences with us. Come back here and comment. We’re always ready to hear your stories. 🙂
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