How to Go to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands in the Bengal Sea between India and Malaysia are some of the most scenic and relaxing beaches in the world. Figuring out how to travel to the islands can be confusing due to the remote location, but many people visit the islands every year. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax on the beach easily by scheduling a flight or cruise and arranging your sleeping accommodations!
To go to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, book a flight to Port Blair through an Indian city such as Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, or Bhubaneswar. Then, check your passport to ensure that it is valid for 6 months after your arrival, and apply for the necessary visas through the Indian government. Be sure to book your lodging accommodations 6 months in advance. While on the islands, visit Port Blair, Neil Island, and Ross Island to take in the beautiful scenery and beaches.For tips on selecting a place to stay and planning activities during your trip, read on!
Getting to the Islands
Book a flight to the capital city of Port Blair.All flights to the islands arrive at the Veer Savarkar Airport in the capital city. When you’re picking a flight, you will likely have to select a flight that has a layover in an Indian city such as Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, or Bhubaneswar before continuing on to the island.
- Look for flights through Air India, Jet Airways, Jetlite, Go Air, or Spicejet airlines for the most direct and reasonably priced flights. Flights from foreign countries can be more expensive due to fees from the Indian government for landing at the airport.
Take a passenger ship from a port city if you’re in India.A passenger ship departs 3-4 times per month from Chennai, Kolkata, or Visakhapatnam to the islands. If you’re traveling in India or live there, it may be cheaper to travel one of these cities and take the ship from the port. The trip takes 50-60 hours in good weather, but can take longer if there are storms.
- To book tickets to depart from Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, contact the Shipping Corporation of India in that city.
- To book tickets to depart from Chennai or return from Port Blair, contact the Director of Shipping Services for Andaman and Nicobar Administration in that city.
- Like many cruises, the price for the trip will vary depending on the class of travel that you select. Tickets range from 2,000-10,000 Rupees.
Ensure that you have a valid passport and travel visas.In order to book your travel, you will need to have a valid passport and visa to travel to India if you are entering from a foreign country. In most cases, travelers are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months after their date of arrival.
- To apply online for a travel visa to enter India, visit and follow the prompts. Remember to pay the fee for your visa, which can vary depending on the duration and type of visa.
Apply for a Restricted Access Permit upon arriving in Port Blair.The Restricted Access Permit (RAP) allows tourists to visit the islands in certain areas, such as Andaman, Havelock Island, Neil Island, and many more. The permit also outlines areas that are off limits, such as tribal areas, and mostly all of the Nicobar Islands.
- Some areas are specifically off limits at night time, including South Cinque, Mount Harriet, Ross Island, Jolly Buoy and more.
- In most cases, the airline or border control in Port Blair will provide the permit forms for you to fill out on your flight. Alternatively, you can fill out the form before your trip at . Once you arrive, you will receive the permit and should carry it with you throughout your trip.
Travel between islands via ferry or helicopter.Once you’re on the island, you can visit other areas of the island via ferries or helicopters, which depart from the Phoenix Bay Jetty and Port Blair. Ferry rides between islands can take an hour or more, depending on how far away they are. Helicopters depart every 20-45 minutes to a variety of destinations.
- Check the ferry times posted in the Daily Telegram or by calling the Directorate of Shipping Services at +91-3192-231794.
- Helicopter tickets can cost between 1000-4000 Rupees, depending on the destination.
Selecting Your Lodging
Consider purchasing an all-inclusive resort package.These resorts are a great option for travellers who don’t want to worry about the cost of meals, drinks, and activities. Instead, you will pay for most aspects of the vacation upfront. Many of the highest-rated hotels on the islands offer packages. If you’re interested, ask about all-inclusive options when you book.
- All-inclusive packages tend to be more expensive upfront, but can work out to be the least expensive option when you account for the cost of food, drinks, and activities. Often, hotels will offer a discount if you pay upfront.
Make advance reservations at a hotel to secure a room.Hotels on the islands are available at most price points, from very inexpensive to very expensive. However, there tend to be more hotels available at higher costs. If you’re planning to stay at a less expensive hotel, book 6-9 months in advance to secure your room.
- For more expensive hotels, plan to book 3-6 months in advance, especially if you are traveling during the peak months between December and March. During these months, even the most expensive hotels can be completely full.
for a cheaper and more authentic trip.Many locals rent out rooms on AirBnb in the more popular areas, including Port Blair and Havelock Island. The average price for an AirBnb on the islands is per night, which can be considerably cheaper than booking a hotel.
Enjoying the Islands
Exchange some money into Rupees for spending on the trip.The Andaman Islands are part of India, and use the Rupee. At your local AAA office or at a bank, exchange some money into Rupees 3-4 weeks before you arrive. Most people suggest bringing only around 10,000 Rupees in various denominations, which can last for 5-7 days of moderate spending.
- For safety purposes, keep around 0 in your home currency in case of emergency.
- Most hotels and resorts accept major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard.
Visit the Cellular Jail National Memorial in Port Blair.The Cellular Jail is a memorial to the political dissidents that were once held there. Tickets are 30 Rupees for general admission, and guided tours are available for booking Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 200 Rupees.
- The museum opens at 8:45 A.M. and closes at 4:15 P.M. They are closed between 12:30 and 1:30 P.M. for the lunch hour.
Relax on the beach at Havelock island.If you’re looking forward to relaxing on a scenic beach, make a trip to Havelock island. Here, you can visit Radhanagar, one of the prettiest and most famous beaches in India. Some visitors choose to spend their entire vacation on this island!
- For more privacy, venture away from the main entrance of the beaches, and visit during the late afternoon.
- If you’re interested in exploring the local forest which makes up most of the island, sign up for a jungle trek or birdwatching walk offered by one of the resorts.
Go snorkeling or diving at one of the beaches of Neil Island.Neil Island is surrounded by beautiful, and often unexplored coral reefs. Snorkeling and scuba expeditions cost around 200-400 Rupees for gear rental. If you’ve never been snorkeling, sign up for a lesson from an experienced guide at the guesthouse.
- If you aren’t interested in exploring the reefs, you can take a scenic bike ride or walk through the village and main bazaar.
Explore the Victorian English city ruins at Ross Island.The Ross Island was partially destroyed during World War II, but you can still see the ruins of the city and visit the museum on the island. The island also offers a relaxing sound and light show every night except Wednesdays.
- The light show costs 275 Rupees per person and tickets can be bought at the tourist office in Port Blair. The price covers the ferry trip to and from Port Blair, as well as the cost of admission.
- While on the island, try to remain on the landscaped paths unless you’re with a guide, and keep an eye out for the local spotted deer population!
Take an official tour of the islands from the Indian government.Due to a recent push for tourism in the area, the government offers official tours that range in duration from a half-day to 6 days. Book these tours by calling the Directorate of Tourism for Andaman and Nicobar Islands at +91-03192-232694.
- Tours are also available for specific sections of the islands, such as South Andaman, and North & Middle Andaman.
- The cost of the tours range between 2,000-15,000 Rupees depending on the length of the tour.
- Always keep your Restricted Access Permit with you throughout your trip and be sure to only visit the areas that you are permitted to visit.
- Be prepared for some slight cultural differences when traveling between western countries and India.
Video: Trip to ANDAMAN
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