Andaman and Nicobar Countries India Travel Travel tips

Things to know before visiting Andaman Islands

The beauty of the Andaman and Nicobar islands is second to none when it comes to beach destinations in India. The fact that it also holds a very significant place in Indian history further fuels the curiosity of many Indians and foreigners alike who want to see and experience the chain of islands — which in many ways, is much different from the India as we know — first hand. However, the fact that there’s not as much clarity about visiting the island chain as there is about most other parts of India makes it slightly tougher (and confusing) for many. I have been asked many a times, questions about visiting the Andaman Islands few of which, and their answers, I share below.

Things to know before visiting Andaman Islands

things to know before visiting Andaman islands
Pristine Beaches of Andaman – Radhanagar Beach, Havelock

Do I need a VISA to visit Andaman and Nicobar Island?

Believe it or not but I have been asked this question by my fellow countrymen, much to my surprise. The Andaman & Nicobar Islands is an integral part of India and hence, no visa is required if you are an Indian National. Foreigners, however, require a RAP – Restricted Area Permit to visit the island(s). The RAP can be easily obtained from the Port Blair airport or the port.

How to reach Andaman Nicobar Islands?

Port-Blair is connected to many cities of India by air. There are flights from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, most of the connecting flights. Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata have non-stop flights to Port-Blair, the entry-point to the Island chain. You can also take one of the five ships that operate from Chennai, Vishakapatnam and Kolkata to Port-Blair which run on tentative schedules and get cancelled depending on the weather. Also worth mentioning is the fact that these ships have basic facilities and are no luxury cruise-liners as we would have wanted them to be.

When is the best time to visit Andaman Nicobar Islands?

Clear skies just before monsoons - Andaman Islands
Clear skies just before monsoons – Andaman Islands

The season, the best time that is, is from October through May. The weather remains perfect during this time. This also means that everywhere you go in the islands, in all probability, you will find the places crowded. This also means that the accommodation (if you were lucky to manage one) would be at their highest. My suggestion would be to go just before the season starts and you will be able to enjoy the place comparatively free of the crowd.

How many days are required for visiting the Andaman Islands?

That will very much depend on what actually you want to see or indulge in. But if you want to at-least do the things everyone does, anything less than a week on the islands will mean not even getting to see the place properly. My suggestion would be to at-least spend 10-12 days.

Where to stay in Havelock, Andaman Islands?

Cottage in Havelock wild orchid resort
Cottage in Havelock

During the season, this can get a little tricky. Even though Port-Blair is a capital city, it is hardly like any other in the country. It has limited infrastructure. There are just enough number of hotels, small and big. So if you are planning to visit during the peak season, you better book them a month or two in advance. Even before if you are planning to stay in one of the smaller islands (which you should) of Havelock and Neil. Port-Blair has accommodation for every budget, however, that is not the case with the other two. Havelock has just one budget accommodation.

How to reach Havelock Islands and Neil Islands?

Ferry from Port Blair to havelock
Ferry from Port Blair to Havelock

Govt. ferry service exists from Port Blair to Havelock and Neil Islands. Except for days when the weather turns nasty, govt. ferries operate regularly. Their tickets, however, are available only from the counter and no online booking system exists. So, in order to book your tickets, you will have to take the help from your hotel who would happily do that for a nominal charge. During the season, a couple of private boats also operate the tickets of which can be booked online. I, however, would suggest to opt for the govt. ferries. Basking on the deck with the cool breeze kissing your face definitely sounds more fun than sitting in a box and waiting to reach the other end, isn’t it?

Must do things in the Andaman Islands

Scuba Diving In Havelock
Scuba Diving In Havelock

Apart from the standard fare, the things I would strongly suggest to try the seafood there. The local dishes are mouth-watering as well. Sample as many as you can. Stay at least a couple of nights at Havelock Islands and Neil Islands. Try the food at the many cafes in Havelock (different food from what you get in Port Blair). Don’t, I repeat DON’T miss the oil-fried pomfrets at the dinghy shops at the gate of the Radhanagar beachScuba diving in Andaman is one more thing you should not miss, give it a try and you will come out a changed person.

Bonus tip

Doesn’t matter if you ever web check-in into the flights you take or no, this is one flight where you must. And be sure to choose a window seat on the left side of the aircraft. Hope for clear skies as you land, look out of the window-shield (don’t forget to use your camera) and yes, you can thank me later once you get back ;).

Is there something, in particular, you would like to know? Do leave me your question below and I will respond at the earliest.

26 thoughts on “Things to know before visiting Andaman Islands”

  1. Rajiv… I have one news to dedicate to you… but I can’t attach it here… its about a tiger who is a star in Bandipur… maybe I will find a link and paste it here… or email you the news clipping… that tiger is named Prince and well is a unshy tiger won’t get afraid if vehicles or humans go to its area… calm tiger… and there is another tiger famous in another reserve it is called Charger… anyway…goodday… I remembered you could not see tiger when you went there that’s why the dedication… but can’t attach news clipping or smiley here as well):

  2. I’m petrified of the sea and this is one of those trips that I’m making to face my fears of the beautiful ocean.., any safety tips ??

    1. You will be perfectly fine, don’t worry! The only tip I would give is, don’t think much and concentrateon thr other wonderful things around. The people in charge of taking you from one place to another are trained professionals and have been doing it day in & day out.

      So, just relax and run joy the wonderful place.

      Cheers!
      Rajiv

  3. Hey Rajiv- Great post and very informative. We are planning to visit Andaman in the month of Mar (last week) – April (first week) with family. We have 3 kids with us. Any suggestion/comments related to kids would be helpful. Also is the govt. operated ferry’s are easily available or we should book private ferry’s online considering the fact that we have kids with us. Any precaution we need to take related to weather? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Arijit.

      Thank you, glad that you liked the post. To answer queries, April will be quite hot and humid so make sure the kids and the adults are hydrated alike. Carry sunscreen.

      About the govt ferry, I would say the govt ferry is a better experience than the private ones. But you cannot book it online so, ask you hotel guys to do that for you. They will be able to help you with it for a small fee.

      Have a great trip.

      Cheers,
      Rajiv

    1. I guess I have already mentioned the same in the post above. Just to say it again, if I remember right, you need to book the left side seats of your aircraft on order to have wonderful views while landing at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  4. Hey rajiv…

    We are planning our honeymoon in feb 2018, already booked hotels ( 1 night-PB, 2N – havelock, 1N- Neil, 1N-PB ) wild orchid resort in havelock and holiday inn resort in neil .
    Do i need to book package for cab/taxi with ferry for islands. ? They are asking for atleast 20k for the transportation for the same..
    is it ok to go without prebooking of taxi to andman and managing the same after reaching there ?
    I checked online that ferry charges are somehow around 1000-1200 per person so it would be around 7-7.5k for ferried and they are taking 13-14k for cab…
    I am planning to explore havelock on two wheeler only…will it be ok to take two wheeler from jetty to hotel to trip to jetty back for two days..? And how much will be taxi charge for full day visit in PB for cellular jail and museums and ross island…,please suggest

    Thanks in advance..

    1. Hi Anuj,

      I don’t see any reason to pre-book vehicle. More so, when you intend to roam around on a scooter. I would suggest you land there and then do a mix and match of scootering around and booking a vehicle as required. People are generally very honest in Andamans so don’t worry much about being overcharged.

      Have a great trip!

  5. A neat and informative post! A well explained post on things to remember before leaving to Andaman. I have ever read till now. Thank you for sharing it with us

  6. Hi
    Very informative post, cleared many doubts but some still exist.
    1- left side of the aircraft isn’t clear to me somehow, we have a direct flight from Delhi to Port Blair.
    Suppose we are facing the cockpit, then the seat should be on our left or right?

    2- we plan to go like this-
    1st day- land then explore PB, night stay
    2nd day- PB to 3 island day visit, night stay at PB
    3rd day- PB to jolly buoy, marine national park etc, night stay at PB
    4th day- PB to baratang, night stay at PB
    5th day- head to havelock, stay at HV or neil
    6th day explore havelock or neil more, night stay at PB
    7th day explore more of PB, relax shop or adjust some other reference place to visit
    8th day check out and fly back in the morning.

    Now I want hotel suggestions and contact numbers of any of the if you have..it’d be of great help, we are looking for budget AC hotel with some level of facilities, not extravagant 4-5 star ones, but decent ones at least.

    thank you in advance though.

    1. Thank you Ketaki. I guess I should have been a bit more particular.

      So while landing in Port Blair, the best views are from the left side window. So, choose seats on the left side.

      While flying out of Port Blair, it is best to choose to right side seats to get nice views of the islands below from the flight.

      Hope this helps.

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