Travel to Andaman Islands
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands form an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal
between India and Myanmar. Most part of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is a
Union Territory of India, while a small part in the north of the archipelago,
including the Coco Islands, belongs to Myanmar. Port Blair is the capital town
and the tourist hub in Andaman Islands. Andamans are one of the popular
destinations for beach lovers, water sports and honeymoon tours.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands stretch over a length of more than 800 km from
North to South. It consists of about 572 islands out of which only around 36
islands are inhabited. Of these, only 9 islands in the Andaman Islands are open
for tourists while the Nicobar Islands are inaccessible to tourists. Non-Indian
nationals need special permit to visit Andaman Islands.
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been inhabited for several thousand years.
The original inhabitants of the islands are many tribal groups like Great
Andamanese, Jarawa, Onge and Sentinelese people, who have had no contact
with any other people. The Marathas annexed the islands in the late 17th century
AD. In the early 18th century, the islands were the naval bases of Maratha
admiral Kanhoji Angre. The British finally annexed Andaman & Nicobar Islands
in the 19th century who used it as the prison for Indian freedom fighters. During
British Raj, the islands were referred to as Kalapani for their notorious penal
However, the parts that can be visited offer a dreamy combination of wild jungle,
immaculate beaches, a kaleidoscope of coral, and flaming sunsets.
There's something for everyone from intrepid travelers to luxury tourists, and
adventure enthusiasts to solitude-seekers. Find out more in this guide to the
The Andaman Islands are divided into South, Middle and North Andaman. The
islands are important for their unique ecosystem and are known for their
evergreen tropical rainforests, pristine beaches, gorgeous corals, fascinating
marine life, and adventurous water sports. The Cellular Jail, Chatham Saw Mill,
Mount Harriet, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Radhanagar Beach in
Havelock Island, Neil Island, Long Island, Baratang, and North Bay Island are the
important tourist attractions of Andamans.
The sea around the Andaman Islands offers excellent scope for water sports.
Andaman Water Sports Complex offers water surfing, skiing, water scooters,
snorkeling, scuba diving, etc. These Islands are also famous for adventure
tourism like trekking and camping.
Travel to Andaman Islands : Best Season
November to March is Best Season to Visit Andamans
The climate of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands is tropical and humid throughout
the year. However, Winter from November to March is the best time to visit
Andaman & Nicobar Islands as the weather stays cool and quite pleasant. This is
the best season to participate in beach activities like jetski, scuba diving,
underwater sea walk, Sunbathing, swimming and water sports like sail boats,
parasailing, water scooters, rowing boats, kayaks, paddle boats, and water skiing,
etc. Winter season is also famous for its annual tourism festival that takes place
in the month of January.
Peak Season in Andamans
December to February is Peak Season in Andamans
New Year and Island Tourism Festival time the peak seasons in Andaman &
Nicobar Islands. New Year holiday season attracts a large number of tourists to
celebrate their New Year's eve on this Island. Hotels are usually very expensive
during this season due to large influx of travelers. The 15 Day long Island
Tourism Festival is held in every year January and is a famous festival that must
not be missed while exploring the islands in winter.
Travel to Andaman Islands : Weather
Winter Season :
Winters start in December and end in February, is the most pleasant season to
visit Andaman Island. The temperature remains around 22°C in winters..
December and January is the peak time to visit the Andaman Islands when the
cost of almost everything goes high because of the huge inflow of travelers to the
Andaman. Dussehra is the biggest festival of the Bengalis and in Andaman, there
are a lot of Bengali population both in Port Blair and Havelock Island. This
festival brings a lot of enthusiastic crowd to Andaman. Christmas and New year
holiday seasons attract considerable number of tourists and hotels are usually
expensive during this season.
Summer Season :
Summer temperature in Andaman is usually around 37°C and though pleasant,
summers in Andaman are mildly warm. This is also one of the best season to visit
Andman Islands and you must visit Port Blair, Long Island, Havelock Island,
Clique Islands, Smith and Ross Islands, Little Andaman, Diglipur etc. There are
several accommodation options available in Andaman Islands ranging from
budget to luxury hotels and it is recommended to plan a hassle free summer
Monsoon Season :
Monsoon season receives heavy rain with strong winds around late May and
lasts until mid September. By the end of the season, there could be heavy rains,
leading to unpredictability of sea waves and inaccessibility of water sports
activities. So, Monsoon is probably the least-recommended time to visit the
Getting Around: Most islands can only be reached by passenger ferries. The
main group of islands—North, Middle and South Andaman—is connected by the
Andaman Trunk Road (ATR), with ferry crossings and bridges. Depending on the
place, various types of local transport may be available including auto rickshaws,
taxis, shared jeeps and public buses. Costly seaplane and helicopter services
operate between a few islands such as Port Blair and Havelock Island. On the
islands, it's convenient to hire a scooter or bicycle.
Travel Tips: Expect to go on a digital detox because Internet connectivity is
generally poor. Credit cards are widely accepted in Port Blair at upmarket hotels
and restaurants. You'll most likely need to pay with cash in other places. Stock up
on cash in Port Blair because it may not be possible to get money elsewhere.
There are a couple of ATMs on Havelock Island and Neil Island but they don't
always work. Book ferry tickets in advance using a local travel agent to avoid a
lot of hassle or missing out in peak season. Experience Andamans is most
Getting There : Travel to Andaman Islands
Port Blair, on South Andaman, is the capital and entry point to the Andaman
Islands. It's only accessible via the Indian mainland. There are regular non-stop
direct flights from Kolkata in West Bengal and Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Direct
flights are also possible on various days from Delhi, Vishakapatnam in Andhra
Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, Bangalore in Karnataka, and Hyderabad in
Where to Go
Tourists can now visit the following parts of the Andaman Islands without a
Restricted Area Permit: East Island, North Andaman, Smith Island, Curfew Island,
Stewart Island, Land Fall Island, Ayes Island, Middle Andaman, Long Island, Strait
Island, North Passage, Baratang Island, South Andaman, Havelock Island
(renamed Swaraj Dweep), Neil Island (renamed Shaheed Dweep), Flat Bay, North
Sentinel Island, Little Andaman, Narcondam Island, Interview island and Viper
It's not possible to spend the night on all of the islands. In addition, permits are
still required to visit forests, wildlife and marine sanctuaries, and tribal reserves
within the islands (such as North Sentinel Island) because they're protected
areas. The cost of the permits can be prohibitive for foreigners. You can expect to
pay 1,000 rupees for a permit to visit Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
near Port Blair, or Ross and Smith Islands near Diglipur on North Andaman.
(Indians only pay 75 rupees.)
Tourism in the Andaman Islands mostly takes place in Port Blair, the islands
around South Andaman, and Havelock Island to the north. Apart from Port
Blair, Havelock Island is the only island with fully developed tourist
infrastructure. Infrastructure is quickly catching up on Neil Island, its nearby
neighbor, though. This island is less commercialized but still comfortable.
For those who want to get off-the-beaten-track:
Baratang Island, between South and Middle Andaman islands, has mud
volcanoes, limestone caves, mangrove creeks, and a spot where
thousands of parrots flock to roost every evening.
Long Island, off the coast of Middle Andaman Island, is ideal for those
looking for a slow pace of life and local community atmosphere.
Diglipur is the major town on far North Andaman Island but nearby
Kalipur Beach is more pleasant. Saddle Peak (the highest point in the
Andaman Islands at 732 meters above sea level), Smith and Ross Islands
marine sanctuary, and tiny Craggy Island are other places to visit in the
Little Andaman Island is as far south as you can go. This area was badly
damaged by the 2004 tsunami but has slowly recovered. There's no
tourist infrastructure there, apart from simple guesthouses and huts on
the beach. It's best known as a surfing destination.
Things to Do
All notable historical attractions are located in and around Port Blair. The
Andaman Islands are rated among the best scuba diving sites in the world
though snorkeling is a popular alternative. Other activities include various
watersports, island hopping, jungle treks, fishing, bird watching, undersea
walking, and surfing. And, of course, chilling by the beach!
The top things to do in the Andaman Islands are:
City tour of Port Blair including British-era colonial buildings, museums,
World War II bunkers, Corbyn's Cove, and the notorious Cellular
Jail (there's an evening sound and light show).
Harbor Cruise around Port Blair, North Bay Island, Ross Island and Viper
Day trip to Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park in Wandoor, including
Jolly Buoy and Red Skin islands.
Nature walk through the biological park and sunset at Chidya Tapu.
Scuba diving and snorkeling around Chidya Tapu, Havelock Island (the
main area) and Neil Island.
Watersports at the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex in Port Blair, and
Elephant Beach and Nemo Reef opposite the helipad on Havelock Island.
Undersea walk at North Bay Island.
Offbeat things to do in the Andaman Islands include:
From Baratand Island, take a boat through the dense mangrove
jungle and go on the Mangrove Canopy Walk to a massive limestone cave.
Trek or take a boat from Long Island to secluded Lalaji Bay.
Take a boat from Long Island through North Passage to Merk Bay and go
Witness turtle nesting at Dhaninallah beach, Karmatang beach, Cutbert
Bay, Kalipur beach, or pristine Ramnagar beach (Middle and North
Trek through Mount Harriet National Park near Port Blair, or to Saddle
See the only active volcano in India on Barren Island.
Watch Smith and Ross Islands become two separate islands when the tide
Culture and Customs
Hinduism is the main religion in the Andaman Islands. As many people are
Bengalis, Durga Puja is the biggest festival celebrated. There's also a large
minority of Christians. Muslims are a small minority. Indigenous tribes make up
about 10 percent of the population and most follow their own distinct
shamanistic religion. They believe in spirits of the dead, which are associated
with the sky, sea, and forest. They also believe it's possible to communicate with
the spirits through dreams. The two most important ones are Puluga (also
known as Biliku) and Tarai, connected to the monsoon winds and storms.
The Andaman Islands has a conservative culture. While revealing swimwear is
fine for the beach, make sure you cover up in other local areas such as village
markets and jetties.