Planning a Trip
A beach side resort on Kadmat Island
Everybody, Indian or otherwise, requires a special permit to visit Lakshadweep. By far the easiest way to obtain it is to book a package tour through the government's tour operator, the Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), or arrange a hotel to sort it out for you; in fact, for foreigners, accommodation booked in advance is a precondition for being allowed to visit.
Foreigners are restricted to the islands of Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat, plus transit only (maximum of 12 hours) in Kavaratti. Indians may visit the other islands as well, but accommodation is very limited (see Sleep).
Nearly everybody going to Lakshadweep has to pass through Kochi, from where you can continue by plane or ship.
Air India normally flies thrice-weekly from Kochi to the airstrip at Agatti, the only one on the islands. It is the sole airline serving Lakshadweep. However, the service is irregular and mostly season dependent. You need to cross check with Air India whether they are operating the service or not before planning to come here. Even if there is a regular service, flights get cancelled at the last moment as Agatti has a very basic and small airstrip on which only turbo-props can land and it doesn't have night operations capability. So, it is advisable that you keep a minimum of one day to account for any cancellations.
The MV Tipu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi, MV Minicoy, MV LakshadweepSea, MV ArabianSea and MV Kavaratti operate between Kochi in Kerala and various islands in Lakshadweep. The trip takes 14-18 hours depending on the destination island. The first four are basic 1960s-era ferries but fairly well maintained and tolerably comfortable and provides a comfortable journey. The Tipu Sultan stopped its service. The newly built MV LakshadweepSea and MV Arabian Sea are provided with three classes of accommodation (air-con cabin, air-conreclining seats and deck) plus a cafeteria, snack bar and upper deck promenade. Return fares are around ₹3800 in air-con seats, which is the cheapest class available for packages. The MV Kavaratti is used mainly for operating "Samudram Cruise Package" by Society for promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), a body under the Lakshadweep Administration, though the ship also transports passengers from Kochi to various islands and between islands. The ship is centrally airconditioned and has cabin class accomodation mainly for tourists. In addition it has bunk bed accomodation for passengers. The tourists stay on the ship for four nights and five days and visit one island per day for water sports and other activities.
All published sailing schedules are subject to sudden changes; not only can they be delayed, but it's not unknown for a boat to arrive and leave a day early.
There are also occasional cruises directly from Mumbai.
The southernmost island of Minicoy in the Lakshadweep island group is now a permitted entry point.