Visiting at least one island destination is always on everyone’s bucket list. However, there is only one mysteriously gorgeous archipelago that comes under the Indian constituency. And that is none other than the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They are named as one of the most gorgeous islands among the world’s famous island destinations. But why did we called it “mysterious”? You will know in a while.
Andaman archipelago consisting of about more than 300 islands is a combination of spectacular beauty along with some dark secrets too. It is unmatched in its vibrant coral reefs, exotic species of flora and fauna, mesmerizing beaches, scenes of swaying palm trees, tranquilizing nature and you name it. As if this weren’t enough, and to add a tinge of spice to it, this island is also home to an active volcano as well. And this is the only volcano of India and the only active one in South Asia, along with the group of volcanoes ranging from Sumatra to Myanmar.
Among these 300 islands, only a few of them are commercialized and have been adapted to tourism whereas many others are still unexplored and uninhabited. And a few are even home to indigenous tribes who even now are miles away from civilization and are known to be notoriously dangerous and extremely possessive about their territories.
With such a diverse nature, you can only expect what all you might get to see. Presently getting popularized for solo tourism, this is a destination that is also suitable for adventurous buddy trips, relaxed family vacations, and even romantic honeymoons.
In this Andaman Tour Guide, we have collated the most essential information that will be required for a vacation starting from the documentation required for the trip. So, what are you waiting for, let’s get exploring?
What permits are required to enter Andaman?
The first and most important step for any travel-related plans is to know what all documents and permits you will require to enter your destination. This is also one of the most tedious jobs that come with traveling. Being Indian citizens we need visas and valid passports to almost 90% of the destinations across the world. Here too you might be wondering about Andaman Visa requirements for Indians.
Well, we have relieving news! As Andaman is a Union Territory of India you need not have to apply for any permits. Even currency-wise, Indian Rupees are what is used there too. So, no need to worry; you can have a tension-free Andaman Trip this time!
However, to enter tribal settlements you need special permissions along with a detailed description of the reason for your visit. These kinds of permissions to visit tribal areas are granted only by the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District. Even the permanent residents of the Andaman Islands are restricted from entering into these tribal reserves.
How to reach Andaman?
You have two options for transit to Andaman. You can either fly or sail your way to the island nation.
Flights: You can book direct flights from all the major cities in India directly to Port Blair. It takes a max of 2 hours from airports like – Chennai and Kolkata. You can also book from the capital- Delhi, but it will take you about 5 hours and will anyways be routed through Chennai itself. Operators who run direct flights are – GoAir, Vistara, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Air India, and AirAsia India.
Ships: People who want to experience open ocean traveling can book ships. Though it is one of the most beautiful experiences and a must-have on the bucket list, it will take you almost two whole days to reach your destination. This is the only drawback of traveling on a ship to Andaman. Hence most of them prefer to save time and fly. If you want to explore sailing you will have to book your vessels from the ports of Chennai, Kolkata, or Vizag.
Trip Cost: On a whole, an Andaman trip cost from India for a person will vary depending on the tour packages and the operators you choose. It can start from approximately INR 15K and range up to INR 30K or more(excluding travel tickets).
Flight Tickets: A round trip flight may cost you not more than INR 9K if booked well in advance. And if you plan on traveling through a ship, it might cost you about INR 20K per person- for a round trip.
Where to stay in Andaman?
Deciding where to stay in an unknown destination is really a daunting task. You will need to really put pen to paper and do research on what are the places you want to visit, what are the activities you want to take part in and based on these you will have to choose the best among the available options.
You should also keep in mind the distance from your choice of stay to the Andaman airport, and also if there are shops or markets nearby just for the sake of any emergency.
Given that Andaman is a tourist destination that attracts thousands throughout the year and from across the globe, it houses all kinds of accommodation options. From budget hostels to luxurious villas, you can choose anything that suits you.
Keeping all the above pointers in mind, we have provided you with the top accommodation options categorized by budget and area. Given that not all the islands of Andaman are inhabited, we have lesser options for a safe stay. So, post a lot of research we have come up with this list of hotels along with their approximate prices per day (approx amount in INR) that have been classified accordingly.
3 Star Hotels:
- Havelock Island Beach Resort (5K to 6K)
- Munjoh Ocean Resort (9K to 15K)
- Wild Orchid Resort (5K to 6K)
4 Star Hotels:
- Barefoot at Havelock (10K to 15K)
- Silver Sand Beach Resort (10K to 30K)
3 Star Hotels:
- Coco-N-huts Beach Resort (3K to 6K)
- Seashell Neil (8K to 13K)
- Pearl Park Beach Resort (3K to 6K)
4 Star Hotels:
- Summer Sand Beach Resort (7K to 12K)
- Silver Sand Beach Resort (7K to 17K)
3 Star Hotels:
- Ross View Hotel & Resort (4K to 8K)
- Hotel De Marina (4K to 6.5K)
4 Star Hotel:
- Fortune Resorts Bay Island (Starting at 11K)
Best Time to Visit Andaman Islands:
The best time to visit Andaman is between October and May as the weather gets pleasant and you will be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
How to travel around Andaman Island?
Traveling in Andaman is not complex as it might seem. Public transport is easily available for tourists as well. They are fairly priced. You have options to choose from, taxis, government and private buses, auto-rickshaws, and also mini buses. You can also get bicycles for hire. This is a mode of transport that is catching up with the tourists as it is eco-friendly, economical and a healthy alternative too.
In order to travel between islands, Andaman provides various ferry services. There are different ferries for different purposes. We have listed a few of them that you can use for your transportation.
Tourist ferry: Though comparatively small in size, they can accommodate about over 100 people at once. There are two decks, upper and lower. Air-conditioned ferries are also available. However, here there is no canteen or snack counters and hence if you are taking a tourist ferry to make sure you pack what you need for your journey. However, one disadvantage here is that there is no seating available on the upper deck. You will be able to enjoy uninterrupted views of the great ocean on all your sides.
Local ferry: This ferry is larger in size and has seating arrangements in both the upper and lower decks. The upper deck/bunk is considered to be a luxury deck with good seating arrangements. Whereas the lower deck has just plain benches to sit on. They do not have air-conditioned compartments in them. There is a snack bar as well that provides tea, snacks, and water bottles. The only drawback being, given its size it takes twice the time taken by the tourist ferry.
Infiniti liveaboard: These are the most luxurious ships there are in Andaman. These ships are usually preferable for a tour cruise package. They offer in-house dining, diving experiences, and even sightseeing tours. Most of the foreign tourists choose these ships to get exquisite diving experiences.
Apart from these, they also provide local and luxury catamarans, seaplanes, and helicopter services. But since these burn a considerable size of the hole in your pockets majority of the tourists don’t prefer hiring them.
Best places to visit in Andaman:
Given that there are more than 500 islands in Andaman and most of them are still undiscovered and some even being restricted you will really have a tough job selecting Andaman tourist places. Andaman is an island nation that not only has gorgeous beaches and mesmerizing nature but is also fully loaded with culture and history.
The government is also working tirelessly towards preserving and protecting their heritage and hence you will have a truckload of tourist spots to choose from.
We have tried and collated the best places to visit in Andaman suitable for all kinds of travelers. There is something for each and every one of you visiting Andaman. This space is not enough for us to mention all the Andaman tourist places. So we have handpicked a few of the places that are never to be missed. To make it easier for you to navigate, we have segregated it according to the places they are situated in.
1. Radhanagar Beach:
One of Asia’s cleanest beaches with pearly white sand and glass-like water. Also voted as one of the best in the world, this beach is commonly referred to as Beach No.7. Surrounded by lush greenery, it is an ideal spot to relax and have an early morning or pleasant evening stroll. This beach is also ideal for swimming and watersports activities.
2. Mesmerizing bioluminescence:
On a moonless night on the beach of Havelock island, witness the water transform into a star-filled sky. This is due to the presence of abundant phytoplankton, a microorganism that moves in the sea and emits light which makes the sea glow during the night. This phenomenon is called Bioluminescence and a boat ride at night gives you a feeling of traversing the universe. Go on a night kayaking trip for a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you will be amidst blue-tinged water that resembles a starlit sky.
1. Cellular Jail:
A colonial time prison that is a solemn reminder of India’s freedom struggle. Cellular jail was used by the Britishers to imprison the Indian political prisoners and rebels who raised voice and fought for their rights against the British rule. Also known as Kala Pani or black water, it was surrounded by sea on all sides making it impossible for the prisoners to escape.
2. Chidiya Tapu:
Known as the Bird Island for the abundant resident and migratory birds, Chidiya Tapu with its lush tropical forest and mangroves is one of the must-see destinations on a tourist list. Apart from bird watching you can indulge in various water sport activities such as Scuba diving, Snorkeling, pearl hunting and relax on the beach with family and absorb the stunning sunset as the orange ball dips into the ocean.
3. Mahatma Gandhi Marine National park:
Also known as the Wandoor National Park, it is one of the most famous protected Marine parks in India, which protects and conserves the fringing coral reefs and nesting sea turtles. The park covers 15 uninhabited islands out of which only 2 are open for tourists. Do not miss the glass bottom boat ride along with the mangrove islands as it gives you an opportunity to watch underwater live corals, a shoal of colorful fishes, molluscs, starfish, crocodiles, and many more.
4. Mount Harriet National Park:
Home to the 3rd highest peak in Andaman, the Mount Harriet, Mount Harriet National park created out of the lush Evergreen and deciduous forest is rich in flora and fauna. The park houses over 400 species of plant species and is home to a variety of birds, reptiles, mammals, and moths some of which are endemic such as Andaman wood pigeon, Andaman serpent eagle, Andaman Treepie, Andaman cobra, nestling green sea turtles, olive ridley turtles, Andaman wild pigs to name a few. The park is also a hotspot for butterflies due to the various plant species.
1. Lakshmanpur Beach I and II:
Beach No.1, Lakshmanpur Beach at Lakshmanpur village in Neil Island is popular among tourists for its spectacular sunset views. The White sand, clear shallow water, corals, seashells, and dense forests lining the shores attract tourists to this triangular-shaped beach for a relaxed holiday. The tip of the triangle offers the best sunset view.
Beach no.2 is famous for its natural bridge which is actually a rock naturally eroded by the waves to form a huge bridge-like structure. You can reach the first bridge by walking over dead corals. There is a second natural bridge that can be approached by walking through slippery stones and water giving a feeling of walking through a natural aquarium since you can see live corals and fishes. One of the best instagrammable spots.
2. Bharatpur Beach:
One of the best beaches on Neil Island with clear shallow water, picturesque surroundings, white sand, and rich marine life. Also known as Beach no.4, Bharatpur beach is also famous for its stunning sunrise and sunset views. One of the most popular destinations with family and friends, the beach devoid of rock is ideal for swimming and water sports activities like banana boat rides, glass-bottom boat rides, and jet skiing.
Top 10 things to do in Andaman:
Being surrounded by a deep blue ocean and with wild and untamed nature on all sides waiting to be explored one can only imagine the varieties of activities they get to take part in. With so many options, you will never get a question like – What to do in Andaman? in your minds. It won’t be wrong in saying that Andaman is an adventure seeker’s paradise. You are about to know why!
Here are our top 10 things to do in Andaman;
1. Seaplane Riding:
Soar like an eagle and feel lightweight in this tiny plane that is bound to be one of your most memorable planes rides ever. Have a bird’s eye view of all the famous landmarks such as the cellular jail, Ross Island, Mount Harriet, and many more. Experience the beauty of Andaman island like never before. This plane is so small that it can also be easily landed at any feasible point of your will. And this can carry only up to 8 to 10 passengers at a time.
Per person cost: approx INR 4,000.
2. Sea Walking:
This is one of the most adventurous and out-of-the-box underwater sports in Andaman. This island is a whole package in terms of tourist satisfaction. From experiencing peace and calm to having an adrenaline rush, you will be able to experience it all. You will not only be able to enjoy a walk along the shores but you will be able to experience even walking on the sea bed. Just to add some seasoning to your normal walk in the park, you can as well choose to walk in the sea alongside school fishes, turtles, and mesmerizing corals, and many more such aquatic animals. Isn’t this extremely fascinating? No wonder this is one of the best things to do in Andaman.
Per person cost: approx INR 4,000.
3. Glass Bottom Boating:
Boat rides in the ocean are in themselves a charmer. Splashing through waves of water, gliding your fingers through their gushing currents is a feeling of freedom in itself. In addition to this if you can also see what happiness beneath you, how would you feel?
That would make for a great and unforgettable experience. Well, in Andaman you have boats that have glass floors so that you can also get to see the movements below you. This is a vision one needs to experience at least once in a lifetime. You could even be riding over a dolphin for all you know!
Per person cost: approx INR 2,000.
4. Cellular Jail’s Light and Sound Show:
Being one among the best places to visit in Andaman, the Cellular Jail or also known as the Kala Pani, is a renowned historical landmark of the islands. Declared as the National Memorial, it tells the tales of the struggles and sacrifices our forefathers made in order to earn our country’s freedom and independence. One among the most notorious jails, you will be able to grasp the magnum impact by attending the splendid sound and light show that takes place post-sunset. Do not miss it!
Per person cost: approx INR 40
Synonymous with watersports activities, snorkeling is one of the best and most stress-relieving activities you can ever participate in. Andaman’s snorkeling hotspots are world-famous for their terrific and vibrant coral reefs, aquatic flora, and fauna. PADI-certified professionals will accompany you. Hence there is no cause to fret. You will be provided sufficient training and instructions will be imparted before you take up your snorkeling activity. For this activity, you need not have to be an expert at swimming as well. With just a breathing apparatus and some flappers, you are good to go. When you get some time, do make a point to try this sport.
Per person cost: approx INR 1,500.
6. Scuba diving:
The one sport that is a mandate on every watersport activity is scuba diving. The thrill it imbibes in you is inexplicable. Diving into the depths of the ocean is not an easy task to muster. There is no requirement for a description regarding this activity. This is the postcard activity, or you can also call it the face of the underwater sports activities. Surround yourself with some of the most beautiful creatures in the world to understand the depths of this planet’s creation. However, you don’t need to worry about your safety, you will; at all times be accompanied by a guide who will assist you with anything and everything for the whole duration of this activity.
Per person cost: approx INR 3000.
Experience the serenity of nature by trekking the wilderness of Andaman islands. This island is equally rich in greens and blues. Surrounded by stunning oceanic floors and sweeping panoramic views, it is not hard to find trekking routes along the jungle trails or even along the beaches. Many tourists and sports enthusiasts prefer to at least take up one trekking expedition when in Andaman. Hiking through the thick forests and camping in unruly yet tranquil places is a never to miss the opportunity. Some of the most famous trails are- Havelock to Elephant Beach, Mount Harriet to Madhuban, Chidiya Tapu to Kala Pahaad, Saddle Peak, and Diglipur Island to Raman Caves.
Per person cost: approx starts from INR 1,000(depends on the trek)
8. Swim with Elephants:
As soon as you read this subtitle, you will definitely have some imagination in your mind. Let us assure you, your imagination is what you are bound to experience. A definitely one of its kind experience. You will literally be swimming alongside a humongous elephant rather than the usual fishes and turtles that you are bound to see in common. The Elephant Beach of Havelock Island is one of the most visited beaches of the Andaman Islands. The crystal clear waters of the beach and the golden sand itself are enough to allure you onto its shores. Being one of the top 10 things to do in Andaman make sure you do not miss this golden opportunity. However, be mindful of checking and booking your slots well in advance as this leisure activity is high in demand.
Per person cost: Depends on the operator, elephant, and the duration of your activities.
9. Kayak through the Mangroves:
The most peaceful activity of all- kayaking is a wonderful activity that will take you through the waters, along the magnificent sceneries in a small boat which can take a maximum of about two people. Glide through the solitude of the enchanting mangrove forests and discover some of the most mind-blowing mazes created by the roots of these plants. Kayak is the best mode of transport in order to enjoy the true beauty of nature.
Per person cost: approx INR 2,000
10. Take on a Volcanic Tour:
Volcanoes always attract curiosity. It is not easy to get to see a volcano, especially in India. And India’s only active volcano is on this wonderful island. And hence this criteria definitely makes it a mandatory thing to do in Andaman. Situated in Barren Island, about 138 km northeast of Port Blair, you will get to see this fascinating phenomenon right in the middle of a no-man’s island. This will definitely be your trip-of-a-lifetime.
Per person cost: Only transportation fees(depends on the type of boat you choose)
Procedures Regarding COVID-19 Traveling Issued by The Directorate of Tourism, Andaman and Nicobar Administration:
- Tourists will be tested at the airport, results will be given within 20 minutes at the airport itself 500 INR per person. And if they test positive they have to undergo institutional isolation till recovery from COVID-19.
- Alternatively, tourists can carry a Negative Test Report from an ICMR approved lab using RTCPR or True Nat Test, just before 48 before starting the journey.
- If in case tourists develop symptoms, they have to immediately report it to the nearest PHC/CHC and take necessary steps per the doctor’s advice.
- Traveling to the North and Middle Andaman Islands, is still not permitted for tourism purposes.
- If the tourist tests positive on arrival at the airport, they will have to undergo institutional isolation and the cost has to be borne by the tourist.
Things to Note:
- Public beaches will remain open only from 10 am to 5 pm
- The social distancing of a minimum of two meters distance is mandatory in public places.
- An only a limited number of tourists are allowed to the Cellular Jail and the tickets will be issued only through the internet.
- Though planning and booking everything well in advance is the best way to travel, we would advise you not to do so given the current circumstances.
- Masks are mandatory in public places.
- People above 65 years of age will not be allowed to travel
- Thermal checking and scanning are made available at every entry and exit point.
- No group photography is permitted in public places.
- A list of places and activities are still not open for tourism, so please do a thorough check and then proceed with your plans
General travel tips:
Though Andaman comes under the Indian territory, and the rules and regulations might be similar there are certain things you need to keep in mind and be cautious about them. Here are some of the most basic and nuanced tips for Andaman tour;
- Ancient monuments and National Parks are an integral part of our culture and heritage and the government is making all the needed efforts to restore them to their past glory. So, please abide by the rules and follow the directions provided.
- Tourist spots are the hub for fraudulent guide activities. Hence be very careful and only avail of the services of authorized tourist guides.
- Given it’s a hot spot for water sports activities you will find many self-proclaimed instructors. However, don’t fall into their traps and always seek the services of certified scuba instructors having certification from organizations like PADI, CMAS, NAUI, BSAC, or SSI.
- There are provisions to hire vehicles. However, you need to keep all your documents such as – driving license, permit, and passport handy while driving and follow the traffic rules to the “T”.
- Photography/videography of Airports, Government dockyard, defense establishments, Naval wharves, Dhanikhari Dam, and Tribal Reserve areas is prohibited.
- Consult lifeguards before entering the ocean.
- Throwing plastics and non-biodegradable waste into the sea is treated as an offense.
- Be careful while clicking photographs near corals. You are not allowed to stand on the reefs. And also collecting corals – dead or alive is a punishable offense.
- Carry traveler cheques and enough cash at all times. Credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, and Amex are also widely accepted in Andaman.
- There are strict prohibitions on nudity & alcohol consumption on beaches and public places.
- Always keep a copy of all your documents with you and give a copy to your people back home and keep one in your hotel room, just for emergencies.
- Do carry all your medications and prescriptions with you. Given you might be traveling through the sea most of the time, according to your itinerary, if you are prone to sea-sickness you will need all the respective medications.
- Last but not the least, always have emergency contacts handy.
a. Police – 100
b. Fire services – 101
c. Ambulance – 232102 / 233473
d. Women – 1091
e. Children – 1098
f. Coast guard – 155211
g. Disaster management – 1070 / 238881
Andaman packages by Dimaak:
We at Dimaak, aim to provide great vacation experiences to our customers by tailoring them to fit them exactly per their needs. From luxurious and romantic honeymoon packages to economical and relaxing family holiday packages, we offer them all.
Do visit our website or reach out to us anytime to Book your Andaman Packages Online.
The tourist spots mentioned here are just a glimpse into what Andaman can actually offer. These are the cream of the lot. There are a lot more places on this mesmerizing island. Hope this brief Andaman tour guide provided answers to all your queries. If you need any more details regarding your trip or any of the aspects of our Andaman trip packages, do drop in a comment. We would assist you in any way possible.