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Andaman Islands : “Whens”, “Hows” & “Whats”

Andaman Islands : “Whens”, “Hows” & “Whats”

A short travel guide to the beautiful Andaman Islands

The trip to Andaman Islands with my family was a major highlight of last year. The untouched natural beauty, endless blue sea & stunning marine life will surprise and mesmerize you at every step.
We really had a great time over the 9 days trip to Port Blair, Havelock Island and Neil Island. But no trip can be perfect, though not major but there were things we liked and disliked. So I am putting down the most important things as per my experience, answering the questions of “When, how & whats”..

When to travel :

We traveled in October during the Diwali holidays of 2017.

  • October – November is start of the tourist season, where you will get cloudy skies with occasional rain. Ships & ferries will operate normally until there is a very stormy rainy day.
  • The sea looks a thousand times more beautiful in the rain. Although, you will not be able to enjoy the sunsets and sunrise as horizons will be cloudy.
  • The most preferable time would be December to February when its winter. Its the perfect weather on the islands.
  • The time from March to September would be strict NO, as it gets very hot and uncomfortable. Also as heavy rains come in, the sea becomes rough and most of the ships & ferries stop operation.
  • Ships and ferries between islands are hugely affected by rain.
  • Check the weather before you go at World Weather Online

How many days :

We had a 9 days plan. The detailed itinerary & our experience is up on the website here.

  • Plan for at-least 7-10 days trip to cover and experience Andaman, you can even stretch longer if you want to explore North Andaman and Little Andaman.
  • There are some great diving schools in Havelock Island, so if you can add a few days and you can get that experience of a lifetime. We missed it and we regret it.

Should you get hold of an agent :

We traveled with Swarajdeep Travels, but won’t suggest because their accommodations are not good. However, the owner is one of the oldest and well known in the business. You can sign up for day trips & road trips from Port Blair – like Wandoor, Diglipur, North Andaman etc.

  • Getting the ship & ferry tickets between the islands is a mammoth task. Because of local reservations in government ships (80% islander quota) and heavy competition for tickets between all online travel agents (makemytrip, yatra etc ) and local agents. In between all this, getting a tourist ticket by yourself would be almost impossible.
  • Other factors are manageable, hotels booking and flight booking can be easily managed through all the online sites (makemytrip, yatra etc)
  • Internal sightseeing can be managed by your hotel. They can easily get you cabs on some additional charge. 

How to reach :

All public & legal routes follow a single point of entry – Port Blair. However there are two mode of transportation – sea & air. Staying in Bangalore, we took a train to Chennai and took a flight from there.

  • Ships sail from Chennai, Kolkata & Visakhapatnam. Click here for more info… However, they will take time, anywhere between 2(1/2) days to 3 days. We rejected the ship solely for the time it takes.
  • Flights are available from multiple cities. Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Visakhapatnam all have direct flights to Port Blair. Kolkata & Chennai are the traditional gateways, so more flights will be available from these locations. Other locations have just started operations, so as of now there are mostly 1 direct flight to Port Blair. So that also should give you an idea that prices would be more competitive from Kolkata & Chennai.
  • Andaman is pure tourist location so do your research & plan atleast 90 days in advance for best prices.

What to carry :

In general, everything you carry needs to be waterproof…

  • Cash :This place is still to get the latest communication technology. So it is mostly a cash based market, specially the islands. So if your accommodations and transport are not pre-paid carry ample cash. Also carry them in some kind of water proof cover or case.
  • Sun protection : Don’t forget a sun screen, not even in winter. Additionally if possible carry an umbrella, sun glasses and a hat too for sun and rain.
  • Raincoat : If you planning to visit during the rainy season, carry a raincoat. Because rains here are often accompanied with strong wind, so an umbrella won’t be enough.
  • Quick dry clothes : Andaman is humid, even in winter. So you will sweat and have to change everyday. Carry quick dry clothes that you can just wash at night and by next morning they will be ready for use. They also take less space and are easy to manage. Also carry lot of shorts and skirt, long bottoms will not be a good idea, as the lower parts (below knee) will wet and become difficult to manage.
  • Swim suit & a bag to carry wet clothes : You will get wet almost every day. So carry your swimming suit  and an additional set of clothes. More importantly a separate bag to carry back the wet clothes.
  • Medicines : Andaman gets limited supply, so if you or your family members take some regular medicines, don’t forget to carry them. There are very high chances that you will not get the same medicine on the islands. Also make sure to carry medicines for sea-sickness and some general first-aid like band-aids as you are expected to be part of sports and activities.
  • Footwear : Most of the sights will be sea-shores and beaches so carry suitable footwear which can survive sea water & dry off quickly. You won’t be hiking or walking for long stretch, so 1 pair of walking shoe should be enough.
  • Water-proof mobile cover & power bank : something that I don’t think needs explanation after all the above.
  • Water-proof camera : If you want to capture the best moments from your travel to Andaman.

I have shared my complete experience and itinerary here

These are few of my pictures

For the complete album click here

 

Don’t forget to ready my 2018 – Things to do to know about my focus for this year.

 


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