Andaman and Nicobar Islands | India
Here you’ll find all of the information, content and tools you need to plan your holidays in India, including itineraries, accommodation and suggestions to make your holidays come alive.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

About Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a large group of nearly 600 islands in the Bay of Bengal. Although part of India politically, they are closer to Indonesia and Myanmar than to the Indian mainland. They were just north of the epicentre of the earthquake on 26 December 2004, and were the site of dozens of aftershocks. The Nicobars were badly hit by the resulting tsunami, while the Andamans escaped with a few bruises. With the exception of Little Andaman Island and the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, the rest of the tourist destinations are operating normally again.

Places in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Find More  

Information

Find More  

About

Aberdeen Bazar, Port Blair G.B.Pant Hospital, Port Blair 1,400 km from mainland India and 1,000 km from Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are one of the most remote spots on the planet. The original inhabitants are various aboriginal tribes who exist more or less out of the mainstream. There are some tribes who have had no contact whatsoever with the rest of the world. Of nearly 600 islands, only 9 are open to foreign tourists, and all of these are in the Andamans. The islands exist in India's popular consciousness mainly because they were used as a penal colony during British rule to imprison rebels and freedom fighters, in addition to hardened criminals. The majority of people living on the islands are descendants of migrants from the mainland. Some of them descended from the prisoners. During World War II, the Andamans were the only part of India that was, briefly, occupied by the Japanese. While notionally handed over to Subhash Chandra Bose's Free India, in practice the Japanese held the reins of power. The territory was run brutally — suspected resistance members were tortured and executed, and when food started to run out towards the end of the war, people were deported to uninhabited islands to fend for themselves. Climate @media all and (max-width:720px){body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .climate-table{float:none!important;clear:none!important;margin-right:0!important}body.skin-minerva .mw-parser-output .climate-table .infobox .infobox{}} Mid-January to mid-May has the best weather, and often the best diving conditions. The days are mostly sunny at this time of year, and the sea is sometimes flat enough to reflect the clouds. The monsoon usually hits around late May and lasts until the end of July. This is probably the worst time to visit the islands as there are strong winds, frequent rain and low visibility underwater. From August to November there are some occasional showers and slightly rougher seas but diving can still be great during this period of the year. The weather often takes a turn for the worse from the month of December to early January. Geography Map of Andaman & Nicobar The Andaman and Nicobar Islands stretch out almost 500 km in length, with the Andamans in the north and the Nicobars in the south. The main island, aptly known as Great Andaman, is divided into three parts - North Andaman, Middle Andaman and South Andaman. The capital Port Blair is on South Andaman.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Planning a Trip

Port Blair airport Non-Indians need a Restricted Area Permit to visit the islands, but these are now issued on arrival at the Port Blair airport. If you plan to arrive by sea, you'll need to arrange your permit before arrival, either in Chennai or when applying for your Indian visa. Visitors usually receive a 30-day permit, although some travellers arriving without a confirmed flight back have only received a 15-day permit. Ask for 30 days on your application; if you write in your return flight date, your permit will be issued to end on that date, which will cause unnecessary pain if you choose to extend your stay or, worse yet, get unexpectedly delayed by weather. Permits can be extended by 15 days in Port Blair, for a maximum single stay of 45 days, although this extension is granted only in, to quote the local police guidelines, "deserving cases". You must then leave the islands and can return after 72 hours. The permit is checked when arriving at most islands, checking into hotels and booking ferries, and must be surrendered when you leave the islands, so don't lose it. The permit allows overnight stays in the following locations: South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island (except tribal reserves), Neil Island, Havelock Island, Long Island, Diglipur, Baratang, North Passage and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (excluding Boat Hobday Island, Twin Island, Tarmugli Island, Malay Island and Pluto Island). Overnight stays in the park are with permission only. The permit allows for day-trips to: South Cinque Island, Ross Island, Narcondam Island, Interview Island, Brother Island, Sister Island and Barren Island which can be visited on board vessels only with landing possible. Indian nationals do not require a permit to visit the Andamans. However, permits are required to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are rarely given. Application on an official form should be addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Andaman District, Port Blair. By plane For now the only way to reach the Andamans by air is from the Indian mainland to Port Blair. There are talks of opening up flights from Bangkok, which could drastically change the situation in the islands, but as of 2009 these remain just plans. Flights can fill up in peak season and immigration doesn't look kindly on people arriving without confirmed flights back, so book a return ticket and change the flight date if you decide to stay longer. The main airport of the islands, Veer Savarkar International Airport (IXZ IATA) in Port Blair, is probably one of the most quaint and idyllic airports in India. There is a scenic view point where the whole airport can be seen. There are no night flights as the airport is handed over to the Indian Air Force after 15:00. In recent years, a lot of new flights have started to the airport, making it much easier to access the islands. Air India flies from Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam. They charge a much higher rate for foreigners than Indian residents. Go Air now flies daily from Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. IndiGo flies from Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Jet Airways flies from Chennai, although this service is set to end 30 June. Spicejet offers flights direct from Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, and Kolkata. Vistara flies from Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata. Flights to Port Blair are not really "low-cost" compared to the same airlines' mainland India flights, but are still cheaper than other ways to get to the islands. Price varies significantly with date, so if your travel dates aren't fixed, you can save significantly by being flexible. Advance booking at least several days before trip is recommended. By boat It's possible to take a ship from Kolkata (c. 60 hr), Chennai or Visakhapatnam (almost 4 days) to Port Blair. It is less expensive at only ₹1961 (as of November 2011). Facilities are basic, though and many prefer to sleep on the deck rather than in the cramped bunks. The ferries can take up to five days to arrive depending on weather and various other variables. This can be quite frustrating for many. The Bay of Bengal is not calm, and those who get seasickness easily should consider flying, instead.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Getting Around

Barataang, Andamans Between islands Science Centre, Port Blair The Andaman and Nicobar is a vast archipelago, and aside from some erratic, infrequent and expensive helicopter shuttles and a pricey seaplane service to Havelock Island, passenger ferries are the only way to move between the islands. All passenger transport in the islands is handled by the government-run Directorate of Shipping Services (DSS), which also runs the ferries back to the mainland. The DSS operates two kinds of vessels: small "tourist" ferries, and larger "local" ferries. Despite the names, fares are more or less identical on both, at ₹150-200 one way from Port Blair to Havelock Island. Tourist ferries seat about 100 people in padded bucket seats in a notionally air-conditioned cabin (which can still get sweltering hot). While you can access the top deck, there are no seats, shade or shelter outside. These boats are faster and seaworthy, but top-heavy, and sway quite a bit in high seas. There is no canteen on board, so bring snacks or at least drinks. Local ferries are considerably larger, seating up to 400 in two levels: padded "bunk" or "luxury" seating upstairs, and plain old benches on the "deck" downstairs. Neither class is air-conditioned, but ocean breezes keep temperatures tolerable, and a canteen dishes out chai, samosas and bottled water. Due to their larger size, they are more stable in heavy seas, but take about twice as long as tourist ferries to get anywhere. An air-con catamaran ferry from Port Blair to Havelock is also available. Tickets are ₹650, 750 or 1000, with the latter being for a leather seat and individual TV. They can be purchased from a dedicated ticket booking window at Port Blair, thus avoiding the queue barging, and through guesthouses on Havelock. During the high season demand often exceeds supply, so book your tickets at least one day in advance, either through a travel agent or directly at Port Blair's harbour. The ferry ticket booking system has become computerised. This means you can book any ferry from any jetty - i.e. Rangat to Havelock from the Diglipur ferry jetty. Services may be changed or cancelled at short notice due to inclement weather, notably cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. Within the islands Auto-rickshaws are available in Port Blair and on Havelock Island. Taxis are available in Port Blair. They are usually the rather vintage Ambassador cars and often not very well maintained. They are slightly more expensive than the auto-rickshaws, but a more comfortable way to get around the island. Scooters and motorcycles used to be available for rent in Port Blair, however, its not very easy to get one now. Auto-rickshaws may be the best way to move around the city. However, in Havelock Island they are the best option to enjoy a ride to the Radhanagar beach or around. It may cost ₹150-250 per day with a security deposit of ₹750-1000.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands