The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the best tourist destinations in India. And I will tell you why! For one, islands of any kind arouse a sense of isolation and solitude that we all crave for once in a while. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the most beautiful archipelagos of islands. A look at the map of Andaman Islands and you will see how the long trail of islands are fraught with natural features that are hard to find anywhere else. The absolute pristine beauty stuns you and let me remind you that the effect only the pictures of the island have on you is no lesser than ‘wow’. The white sand beaches, the limestone caves, the creeks and crevasses for boating and the blue clear foamy waters will melt the hearts of even the most hardened non traveler. Just reading and researching about the Andaman Islands will make you want to plan a trip as soon as possible. If not, it will definitely be on the list of places to visit in the ‘before I die’, list that we all keep in our hearts if not in our diaries.
Photo by zoxcleb
There is so much to write about the Andaman and Nicobar islands, that it is just not possible to do so in one single article. So, let’s just for now concentrate on the Andaman Islands, which too honestly, is going to get real long. So fasten your seat belts, and join me on a long fun filled ride of the virtual land and waters of the Andaman Islands. Before I launch myself into a full-fledged itenary of places to visit and things to do, just a continuation of where we left off earlier is necessary. You see, the Andaman Islands are a fascination not only because of its beauty but also for the number of activities that can be carried out, such as, snorkeling, surfing, boating and paddling and so on. It also has a rich past and history in terms of its architecture and monuments and also houses the Jarawa tribes in its heart, a rare piece of accomplishment considering that tribes in India are now fast fading with rapid urbanization. The Andaman Islands, therefore are a complete mix of best of all worlds, and that is what works wonders for its tourism.
Below, is a list of some of the islands and tourist spots that are a must visit if (and I hope you do), plan a trip to the Andaman Islands.
Havelock Island – One of the more populated islands, Havelock is popular for just about everything. Sandy beaches, snorkeling and the most famed scuba diving are regular features on this island. The Radhanagar and Elephant Beach are most visited and loved. You can avail of an elephant ride and watch elephants swim and train up close and personal on the Elephant beach.
Photo by mOTHrEPUBLIC
Long Island – An island with no roads and no cars, this is the place to visit if you just want to walk or cycle. Visit the Lalaji Bay beach some 5 kms away.
Baratang Island – Famous for the absolute splendid limestone caves Baratang is a must visit. The mud volcano, mangroves and beaches of course are not too far behind in their splendor and richness of beauty. A mention of Parrot Island is noteworthy, because at sunset all parrots return to this home, a heart-warming sight to see.
Photo by Ankur P
Neil Island – Known as the ‘vegetable bowl’ of the Andaman, this island is a small pretty getaway which is famous for its eco-tourism. Covered in lush greenery and rich in bio diversity, its other added advantages are its coral reefs, white sand beaches, snorkeling and fishing. Visit the beaches of Sitapur, Bharatpur and Lakshmanpur.
Cinque Island – Probably the best island for diving, Cinque is a must visit site if you are a lover of marine life. The visibility inside the waters is extremely high and you can view the amazing magnificence of underwater life from here.
Chidiyatapu – Located in South Andaman this forested area is an abode to a number of birds. Try the Munda Pahar beach for some quiet fun time. The guest house has some excellent views of the adjoining islands and beaches too.
Rutland Island – Close to Chidiyatapu, there are boating and fishing trips organized to Rutland Island. A very back to basic kind of an island, and quite so considering it has opened up only in the last decade and houses the tribal population in its interiors, the Rutland islands with the wooden huts and saltwater crocodiles will remind you of how simple life can be.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park – For marine and bio diversity lovers this is a great experience. The Park is filled with varied birds and marine life.
Ross Island – The capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the British time, Ross Island is as rich in history as in beauty. Visit the church, the Chief Commissioner’s residence and the museum Samudrika.
Viper Island – Famous for its jail before the ‘Kala Pani’ or Cellular Jail took over the coveted spot, the Viper Island bears the ruins of the erstwhile jail.
Photo by Snap®
Mount Harriet – One of the highest points, the mount is great for picnics and hikes.
Little Andaman – Located south of the South Andaman Island, Little Andaman is celebrated for its alluring beaches, waterfalls, boating in the creeks, elephant rides and much more. Surfing is one the best things to do in the Butler Bay Beach.
Diglipur – Located in the North Andaman Island, Diglipur is known for its eco oriented tourism. Famous for the marine life, rice and oranges, the Kalpong river flows through Diglipur. One must visit Saddle Peak for amazing views.
Barren Island – As the name suggests, the island is uninhabited and is home to one of the only active volcanoes in India.
Alright, so this was a short summary of some of the more popular islands, places and beaches that you could visit whilst in Andaman, besides of course Port Blair. Port Blair is the place you would start your journey, visit all surrounding islands and then back to Port Blair again on the end of your eventful trip. What all can you see and do in Port Blair! Well, for that I will need some more time. Stay tuned!