All You Need To Know Before Heading Out To Andaman And Nicobar

From permits to flights and essentials to pack, find out all you need to know before you fly out to the pristine Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar
Havelock Island, Andaman and NicobarShutterstock

In recent times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vacation photos from the Lakshadweep Islands ignited a political disagreement between India and the Maldives. Maldivians urged a boycott of Indian tourists, which led Indian travellers, celebrities, and patriotic citizens to focus on domestic destinations such as the Lakshadweep Islands and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Consequently, social media was flooded with nostalgic posts and promises to visit these scenic locations on future vacations, leading to a significant increase in tourism to the islands. For those planning a trip to the lush Andaman and Nicobar Islands, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to ensure a memorable experience. Check out our detailed dos and don'ts before embarking on your Andaman adventure, which will serve as your essential trip-planning companion.

Permits

A visa for Indian travel
A visa for Indian travelShutterstock

Before visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it is crucial to obtain the necessary permits, especially if you are a foreign national. Most areas do not require permits for Indian citizens, but certain restricted areas like tribal reserves demand permits. You can obtain these permits through local authorities or online portals. However, the requirement of a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) has been removed from 30 islands. Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China, as well as foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, need prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs to visit the islands. You can find more details on the official Andaman Tourism website. Please note that some islands, such as Jolly Buoy, South Cinque, Red Skin, Mount Harriet, Ross Island, and Barren Island, are restricted to visits only on board vessels.

Flights And Tickets

Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar
Port Blair, Andaman and NicobarShutterstock

Major airlines offer flights to Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman Islands, from various Indian cities such as Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. It is advisable to book your flights well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to get the best deals. A round trip from New Delhi can cost around INR 20,000. The best time to visit the islands is considered to be between October and May, as the weather is pleasant for sightseeing, water sports, and beach excursions. It is not recommended to visit during the monsoon season (July to September) due to high tidal waves, incessant rainfall, and strong winds.

Things To Carry

A bag packed for the beaches
A bag packed for the beachesShutterstock

When packing for your trip, it's crucial to prioritise essential items. Remember to bring all the necessary travel documents, such as your identification, permits, and tickets. Protect yourself from the tropical elements by packing sunscreen and mosquito repellent to safeguard your skin. It's also recommended to pack lightweight and breathable clothing that is suitable for the humid climate. Use a waterproof bag to keep your belongings safe, especially during water activities or unexpected rains. Bringing basic medications and a first-aid kit is important, as some remote areas may have limited access to medical facilities. If you plan on snorkelling, consider bringing your own gear to save on rental costs.

Cost Estimation

The cost of a trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can vary depending on various factors such as accommodation, activities, and duration of stay. According to surveys, a tour package for two people can range from INR 10,000 to INR 50,000 per person. Budget travellers can opt for a three-night and four-day package that includes sightseeing, stay, breakfast, and transfers for INR 14,000. Alternatively, there are packages that cost around INR 54,000 to INR 61,000 for six days and five nights, including sightseeing, activities, and stay. The cost of water activities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands varies depending on the indulgences. For instance, while a sea walk may cost INR 3500 per person, scuba diving can go up to INR 5000. A jet ski ride and a banana ride cost around INR 600. Opting for a semi-submarine ride will cost INR 1,850, while a glass-bottom boat ride costs INR 700.

Clothes To Carry

When travelling to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, it's best to wear light and breathable clothing made of cotton or linen to stay comfortable in the tropical climate. If you're planning to hit the beach, don't forget to pack your swimwear, flip-flops, a hat, and sunglasses. For cooler evenings, it's a good idea to bring a light jacket or shawl.

Weather

Ross Island, Andaman and Nicobar
Ross Island, Andaman and NicobarShutterstock

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a tropical climate all year round, with temperatures ranging from 23 degrees to 31 degrees. The best time to visit is between November and April, when the weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities. The monsoon season, which lasts from May to September, brings heavy rainfall and rough seas, making it less favourable for tourism.

Local Culture And Language

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are home to indigenous tribes that have a unique cultural heritage. It's essential to respect their customs and traditions while interacting with them. The primary languages spoken by the tribes are Bengali, Hindi, Tamil, and Nicobarese. English is also widely understood, especially in tourist areas.

Eco-Sensitivity

The Andaman Islands are ecologically rich and fragile, thus requiring a careful and considerate approach to travel arrangements. The island's ecosystem is delicately balanced, and this calls for a responsible approach to tourism that minimises impact on the environment and indigenous wildlife. As a result, travellers are urged to be mindful and cautious in their itinerary planning, selecting sustainable practices that preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region. By prioritising eco-friendly accommodations, supporting local conservation efforts, and adhering to designated trails and regulations, visitors can contribute to the long-term preservation of this serene paradise, ensuring its beauty will be enjoyed by future generations.

How To Reach

Air: To reach the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, you can book a flight to the Veer Savarkar Airport, an International Airport is located in the capital town of Port Blair, the gateway to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Water: Regular passenger ship services are available to Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam and back. There are three to four sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa.

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