The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located off the coast of India in the Bay of Bengal are a union territory of the country and comprise of 572 islands, 32 of which are uninhabited and many of which are not open for visiting by tourists. For example, one of the most un-communicated with tribe in the world, the Sentinelese people live on these islands, an infamously unwelcoming tribe known to have not reached beyond Palaeolithic-era technology. Perhaps closer to Indonesia than India, the Andaman Islands, where most tourist activity is centred, are a melting pot of cultures from British times, Indian settlers, pan-Asian visitors, and more!
The best time to visit the islands is from the winter months of October to February. The summer months, owing to the Island being very close to the tropics, are almost unbearable and the turbulent waters of the monsoon period are sufficient to deter even the most daring tourists. Outside of October to February, many tourist locations, lodgings and restaurants are closed altogether. While access to the tourist locations of the Andaman islands is still sometimes inconvenient at the close and start of the tourist season, the trouble is definitely worth it.
The quickest way to reach the Andamans is via a flight from either Kolkatta, Bangaluru, or Chennai. While the flight time is not more than three hours, their schedule can sometimes be spaced out and inconvenient. Travel amongst the islands is best done via ferries that can be booked online in advance, or (towards the end of tourist season) on-the-spot. While some routes also feature private boats, the most popular means is via ferry, all of which have allotted space for luggage.
As you step off the jetty on one of the islands’ many ports, its shimmering waters, white sands and abundant greenery seem almost unreal. The quaint, hand-painted, wooden plaques dotted around passenger drop-off areas seem to almost want to reassurance you that you are, in fact, not dreaming the place up. The Andaman and Nicobar islands are an idyllic destination for those who truly love nature and adventure.
For most of the islands, it is recommended to stay in acetal major island, from where you can make day trios to its surrounding attractions. Here’s 48 places you must visit in the Andaman Islands:
- Jolly Buoy
- Neil Island
- Ross Island
- Corbyn’s Cove
- Rajiv Gandhi Water Park
- Chatham Saw MIll
- Barren Island
- North Bay
- Viper Island
- Cinque Island
- Rutland Island
- Chidiya Tapu
- Panchvati Waterfalls
- Long Island
- Lalaija Beach
- Guitar Island
- The Three Button Islands
- Kalapathar Beach
- Elephant Island
- Vijaynagar Beach
- Mount Harriet National Park
- Lamiya Bay
- Kalipur Island
- Ramnagar Beach
- Pathi Level
- Alfred Caves
- Mud Volcanoes
- Ross & Smith Islands
- Butler Bay
- Netaji Nagar
- Oil Palm Plantation
- Parrot Island
- Cuthbert Beach
- Avis Island
- Interview Island
- Stewart Island
If every other island in the Andamans had to be labelled under the umbrella of ‘serene’, Port Blair would stand out as a chaotic, crazy beauty like none other. Historically, Port Blair has been home to a very wide diversity of travellers who have become residents – Bengalis, Tamils, Telugus, Nicobese, Myanmarese – and its culture is a reflection of this. The city may look like your typical small-town, but every street, every turn is overflowing with character, stories, and activity. Once a very significant British-era stronghold and an important stopping point in trade routes, the entire city is rich with architecture, and remnants of English culture. If during the day Port Blair is busy, at night it transforms! The locals are proud and unapologetic about their excitement for life, as reflected in its happening social club scene, many night food markets, and slightly questionable underbelly.
Many tourists to the region use Port Blair merely as a jumping point – and why shouldn’t they with such a vast number of fascinating day trip available. But Port Blair itself has much to offer. A dedicated day to simply walk around and appreciate the town is a must visit. The island of Port. Blair itself features the old British cellular jail, Kala Pani. With a tragic history and an impending structure, this jail is truly one of a kind. On select evening, the jail also has a light and sound show (in Hindi and English) that shares the story of revolution and imprisonment behind this historical monument.
- Jolly Buoy:
A tiny island unlike all other, Jolly Buoy Island is almost like a postcard, brought to life. The white sand, contrasted with he dry tree trunks that little the island are a photographer’s delight, especially the the crystal clear blue skies and deep teal waters are taken into consideration. The corals that surround the island are so closely protected, that visiting them requires prior information. Since the island is very small, we recommend carrying your own food and refreshments from Port Blair.
- Neil Island:
A scenic paradise with breathtaking blue waters and many smaller offshoots of calm beaches, Neil is both abundant with small waterside shacks and eateries as well as exquisite corals, and wildlife. Uninhabited until the late 1960s, the island has always been somewhat geared towards hosting and hospitality. Besides snorkeling and scuba diving, the island is well known for its glass-bottom boats that give you beautiful views of the corals below. Neil Island has many humble rest homes and the best means of transportation is via cycle. A must-see is a cycle tour to Neil’s beautiful beach-side sunsets. The sunrises and sunsets at Neil are legendarily famous, and a must visit if you’re in the region.
- Ross Island:
One of the last vestiges of the rich British culture on the islands, Ross Island feels as if one if transported back to the times of the East India Company’s raj. The island is almost unreal in it’s setting, with flora encroaching upon every remaining building, peacocks and deer intermingling with tourists, and a panoramic view from the main light-house that you’ll never forget. Ross Island was named after the British Marine Surveyor, Sir Daniel Ross, and while some of tis buildings are rundown ruins, others have been pristinely maintained. While on the island, the half-hour walk to the light-house is something you must not miss. At the very top, the lighthouse’s grounds provide an almost 360 degree panoramic view of the waters that surround the island, a deeply humbling moment for all who visit.
- Corbyn’s Cove:
A secluded spot of unspoilt beauty, Corbyn’s Cove is a popular tourist destination that has been meticulously maintained. On one hand, visitors can glimpse war bunkers built by Japanese Army during the vicious World War II. On the other hand, the sandy shoreline is ideal spot to both relax or sunbathe and also to experience water sports and swimming in the sea. Speed boating and ket skies are popular activities here. Lined with coconut palms as far as the eye can see, the beach is an aesthetic marvel littered with colourful souvenir vendors, selling their so-called authentic wares. Just a short trip from Corbyn’s Cove is the dangerous Snake Island, which is true to its name in the most ominous ways. While known for its many deadly species of snakes, it is also known for its vibrant and colourful marine life such as fish and corals.
- Rajiv Gandhi Water Park:
Also known as the Andaman Water Sports complex, the area is a popular spot, especially for families, to enjoy water sports activities like parasailing, paddle boating, banana boat rides, rowing boats etc. Besides its fun activities, this giant man-made body of water is also of significant historical value, having the memorial for the Battle of Aberdeen that was fought between the aborigines of Andaman and the British in 1859. Open all 7 days of the week, the location is popular amongst both tourists and locals and is locate donly 20-30 minutes away from he city centres (by car).
- Chatham Saw Mill:
Established but the British in 1883, at the height of their rule in India, the Chatham Saw Mills is a late wood processing unit that is located on the Chatham Island, accessible only via a bridge. Now controlled yb the state government, it is one of the largest mills not only in India but in Asia. Known for its high-quality timber, the complex also has a museum within it, which exhibits work by photographers that focus on the environment. The museum also has exhibits displaying wares from local cottage industries and specimens of the regions finest wood craftsmanship. In 2009, the Pillar of the Planet was built, to commemorate the 125 years of Forestry on the islands. The complex also houses a bomb crater, left behind by the Japanese Ordnance after World War II.
- Barren Island:
Only suited for those who are okay with looking by not touching, Barren Island is the only active volcano on the entire ring from Sumatra to Myanmar, also making it the only active volcano in India. This site of great geographical significance receive many tourists every years, even though people are not allowed to step foot on it. One can rent a boat to take a serene ride all around it, and view the eerie lack of inhabitants on the island. True to its name, only a few goats and birds, and almost no vegetation manages to survive the islands inhospitable climate.
- North Bay Island:
Synonymous with the emotions evoked by summer, the island itself is as serene as its waters are boisterous. Known for wide stretch of corals, snorkelling, scuba diving, sea walking, glass boat rides are the primary ways that tourists witness these beautiful corals. Peeking out from amongst the abundant natural beauty of the island is its only lighthouse, a scene so aesthetic, its on the Indian 20 rupee note.
- Viper Island:
An island which is as traumatic a past as its overflowing beauty, Viper Island was once a camp where Indian freedom fighters received inhuman punishment and torture, during the British pre-independence era. As if to add insult to injury, the island derives its name from the tragic drowning of the M.S. Viper, Britisher Archibald Blair that had landed at Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1789. This is the location where brave martyrs were kept before the Cellular Jail was built. The historical stain on the island is contrasted by its breathtaking natural beauty and abundant green cover. After the last tsunami, the island, which was pretty badly hit, has fallen into disrepair, adding to the overall eeriness of its atmosphere.
- Cinque Island:
One of the less spoken about islands in the Andamans, Cinque Island is a colourful paradise, sequestered away from traditional tourist locations. A natural paradise of ombre oceans and white beaches, the uninhabited island also offers views of rocky isles and walks down scenic sand bars. The beach is as virgin as the clear waters that surround it, making it the perfect location for snorkelling, diving and fishing of large fish!
- Rutland Island:
Just 20 kilometres from Port Blair, Rutland Island is a largely tribally inhabited island, with beautiful beaches but more prominently known for its dense green jungle and mountain peaks. Besides these, the variegated coral reefs blessed with a rich variety of marine life attract divers, snorkelers, and scuba divers. It is also know for the more accessible open water diving.
- Chidiya Tapu:
As implied by the Island’s name, translating to “Bird Island,” Chidiya Tapu is the natural habitat of many species of endangered migratory birds, making it also an ideal place for bird watchers. Known also for it’s beautiful sunrises and sunsets, seen across its vast, panoramic horizon, the constant sound of myriad birds on this little island is almost like Mother Nature’s own jukebox.
- Panchvati Waterfalls:
As you take the little bridge and walk up to the falls, for a second, it takes the eyes to adjust to the beauty, size, and magnificence of the scene before them. This natural wonder of a waterfall tumbles down from above, leaving a dewy cast over all that visit. It is an ideal location for trekkers, and anyone who wishes to take a dip in the waters below the falls are welcome to do so, as long as they observe appropriate caution.
- Long Island:
Contrary to its name, Long Island is actually only about 18 kilometres large. A modern city amongst some of its more rural surrounding islands, Long Island has its own power house and wireless facilities. Some of the local attraction are its boat building yard, rice coral reefs, exclusive beaches, engulfing beautiful caves, lush greenery, mangroves and exploration outings through its deep dense forests.
- Lalaija Beach:
Located on Long Beach, Lalaji Beach is well known for its picturesque creeks and captivating sandy beach. Upon reaching Long Island, Lalaji Beach is just a short fibre boat ride away, and an ideal place for a swim, lazing on the beach, and relaxing as you refresh away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
- Guitar Island:
When we say this island looks like a guitar, we mean it. An uninhabited paradise, the island is peaceful and tranquil, ideal for a quick day trip due to its lack of overnight accommodation. Whether you wish to experience a long walk along its perimeter of a zipping speed boat ride from on shore to the other, this island is a unique, off-beat location for all
- The Three Button Islands:
South Button Island, North Button Island, and Middle Button Island make up this tropical paradise off the coast of South Andaman Islands and forms a part of Rani Jhansi Marine National Park. The islands are a great place to visit both vibrant sea life like snappers, sweetlips, lion fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, devil rays, manta rays, barracuda, octopuses, and shrimps and unique species of water side animals like dugongs, water lizards, sea turtles, dolphins and blue whales.
One of the most popular destination in the Andamans, sometimes even more so than Port Blair, Havelock is one of the larger islands, located to the North-East of Port Blair. Known for it’s largely still untouched beauty, the island is known equally for its luxurious accommodations as well as its down-to-earth diver shacks and schools. The deep, lush green of its palm are contrasted only by the clear waters, as blue as the white sand below and the blue sky above. Besides being a popular island itself, Havelock has some of the most popular beaches in the Andamans, and is a hot bed of scuba divers, deep-sea divers and snorkelling institutes. Havelock embodies sea-side culture, affordability, and young tourists who in fact do not indulge in the alcohol or party culture. Every part of the island reminds you just how much respect the locals have for the nature from whence they reap their livelihoods. And how could they not? One dip into the peacefulness of marine life, with coral and fish as your peers, and you too will develop a relationship with the environment that is otherwise unfathomable.
- Kalapathar Beach:
Said to be the best sunset in the Andaman Islands, Kalapathar is one of the most famous beaches on Havelock. Deriving its name from the black rocks on its shore, the white sands further emphasise their contrast from the norm. Lined with authentic food shacks and a very welcoming atmosphere to no-frills tourists, we recommend walking down the beach a bit to get away from the main swarms of tourists. It is also an ideal location for photography.
- Elephant Island:
An extremely happening location in Havelock. Elephant beach is ideal for viewing corals and vibrant underwater marine life. The beach is a popular hub for many water sports activities like scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, swimming, sea walking, bird-watching, trekking and kayaking. Just 20 minutes from the main Havelock jetty, Elephant Island is a must-visit day trip!
- Vijaynagar Beach:
Locally known as ‘Beach No. 5’, Vijaynagar is located at a distance from many of the more crowded beaches in the region, also making it more secluded and beautiful. It’s woody surroundings and the smell of warm Maggi coming from its few vendors creates an atmosphere ideal for relaxed enjoyment. The beach is also very popular as a romantic destination, with ample opportunities for privacy and photography.
- Mount Harriet National Park:
A location as beautiful as it is horrific, Mount Harriet Nation Park is home to the infamous Kalapather, the rock from which Indian prisoners under the British rule were pushed to their horrific death on the ravines is located around 2 kilometres away from the park. Till date, venturing close to the bloody rock is considered as a curse. Besides this unfortunate location, Mount Harriet is known for its pristine protected beaches, the tribal community that lives in its interiors, and a wide variety of birds that perch on its dense, evergreen vegetation.
Practically a place of reckoning for those who say they enjoy “long walks on the beach”, Diglipur is one fo the most calm and serene location in the Andaman Islands. From fragrant orange plantations, to endless paddy fields, Diglipur is both quaint and humbling. This dichotomous island is both a slice of rustic living while also being known as the site of the solo hydro-electric project in the Andamans. With both shallow lagoons where one can dip their town as well as the highest peak in the Andamans, Saddle peak, Diglipur is a must-visit you’d be remiss to not visit.
- Lamiya Bay:
At the foothills of Saddle Peak, Lamiya is one of the few darker sand beaches in the Andmans, littered with beautiful pebbles all through its shoreline. A peaceful retreat, the beaches pristine blue waters contrast beautifully with its shade cover and dark sand.
- Kalipur Island:
One fo the more popular beaches on Diglipur, during the months of December and January, the beach transforms into a nesting place for turtles. Protected by the Forest apartment, thousands of turtle hatchlings make the treacherous journey from the shores Ito the water, a view that you’ll never image in all its glory. The phenomenon makes the beach an ideal location for both peace-seekers and nature lovers.
- Ramnagar Beach:
Perfectly suited for a quick swim or a relaxing beach day, Ramnagar is one of the most eco-conscious locations in the Andamans, drawing thousands of naturalists every year. The shore is littered with eco-friendly beach facilities such as eco-huts, benches and seating arrangements, and the general culture of the region is one of environmental respect. From November to April, the beach is also the location of turtle hatchings, a beautiful sight to witness.
- Pathi Level:
A hidden gem amongst the rest, Pathi Level Beach’s beauty can rival any of the popular tourist beaches, but its secluded nature makes it a great escape away from the bustle of the city. To reach Pathi Level Beach, enjoy a scenic walk from Ramnagar Beach or take a fibre boat from Kishorinagar.
- Alfred Caves:
Stalagmites and stalactites are tapering columns rising from the floor of a cave (‘mites) or ceiling (‘times), formed by the constant depositing of calcium salts deposited by dripping water, a process that takes thousands of years. Alfred Cave is one such cave int he Andamans. The white-beige rock of the caves’ inside is a sharp contrast to the lush green that surrounds it, making it a truly unique experience to visit them.
- Mud Volcanoes:
A huge crowd puller int he region, the Mud Volcanoes of Diglipur may not be unique to this island, but are definitely the coolest ones in the Andamans, no pun intended. Made of large deposits of de-pressurized pore water and some natural gases such as methane, the 25 tiny volcanoes are scattered around the island, with greyish mud oozing or bubbling out of deep inside the earth.
- Ross & Smith Islands:
These twin islands are a must-see for any nature lover. The sand bar that connects the two islands disappears and reappears depending on the tide, and the clear water’s blue ombre makes it a popular photography location in the region. The island is also known to be the home of Olive Ridley Turtles.
Truly, the region derives its name from the fact that it has something to offer for everyone. For travellers looking for a little bit of chill and a little bit of adventure, Little Andaman is the perfect balanced vacation spot. Every activity on the island is both unique, and affordable, making it the ideal destination or a wide range of tourists. Recently, the region has become popular for sea surfings activities, being one of the the one places in India one can do so safely and without fear. The region features many surfing schools and has also been mentioned in the “The Stormrider Surf Guide, Indonesia and the Indian Ocean”.
- Butler Bay:
A pristine street of beach, surrounded by tall ush greenery, Butler Bay beach is a peaceful coast and a popular tourist attraction. The bay shape and calm waters of the beach make it an ideal spot for tourists and surfers, one of the best location in India for the same.
- Netaji Nagar Beach:
A sandy beach best suited for sunbathing and a relaxing day on the beach, this extremely tourist friendly beach is. Great day trip in Little Andaman. With a very limited number of visitors, people can enjoy almost complete privacy here. One or two basic options for accommodation are also available here.
- White Surf and Whisper Wave Waterfalls:
Deep in the interiors of the dense, tropical rain fort that covers much of Little Andaman, these huge waterfalls cast their spray as a welcome to anyone who visits. Originating from a tall cliff, these rumbling waters can be heard much before their visual spender is revealed to you.
- Oil Palm Plantation:
Run by ANIFPDCL (Andaman & Nicobar Islands Forest and Plantation Development Corporation), the Red Oil Palm Plantation expands over 1,593 hectares. This huge expanse is the site to a plantation and the factory to observe the interesting process of watching the different stages of oil palm fruit production and oil extraction. The scenic endless rows of palms attract many tourists every year.
Famous for its secluded, untouched beaches and dense green cover of mangrove creeks, Baratang is ideal for travellers who seek adventure at a palatable pace – literally. The local cuisine and culture is vibrant yet serene, a perfect reflection of its atmosphere. The journey itself to the Baratang Islands reminds one of the vast diversity of the Andamans island that is yet to be fully comprehended, and as you travel through the Andamans’ tribally inhabited islands, you truly understand how untouched Baratang island is. The island is notorious even for stories of hostile tribals attacking tourists. One reaches the island via the Nilambur Jetty, but further boats to Nayadera Jetty are required in order to reach the regions best hidden gems. The island is an opportunity to live life as its primitive inhabitants must have, living in harmony with nature and its wonders.
- Limestone Caves:
Home to a very peculiar natural wonder, the Limestone caves at Diglipur attract swims of geologists, naturalists, and nature lovers every year. Having crossed the dense forests that surround it, the Limestone Caves are seated under a dense canopy of green, and carry an aura of mystery and adventure. The stalagmites and stalactites that adorn its dark interior are are made of limestone, and are bulbous and domineering in the low hanging space. The salt water crocodiles wait to show up and thrill the boat riders.
- Parrot Island:
True to its name, this island of lush greenery is the abode of thousands of parrots, through out the year. A haven for bird watchers and nature lovers, the vegetation on the island is so thick, it seems to over flow from the land, and loom over the surrounding waters. This uninhabited island is covered in a warm glow in the evening, making the hovering parrots and even more surreal visual treat.
Located in Middle Andamans, Rangat is a a large island abundant in resources, flora, and fauna. It’s pristine white beaches, lush green vista, and unique terrain draw in avid travellers hoping to travel the road less taken. The native population is sparse, mainly comprising of immigrants from Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India, and focused on fishing and cultivation.
- Aamkunj Beach:
Just 8 kilometres from Rangat, Aamkuj beach is a magnificent stretch of broad shoreline that is ideal for both relaxation and sun bathing. This mostly unvisited hidden gem is very eco-conscious, with many sustainable huts lining its shoreline. The region is also home to many groves of casurina, jamun and pandanus. Besides tourists, the beach is also well-regarded of by the locals.
- Dhaninallah Mangrove Nature Walkway:
Not often do you see a place famous and highly-visited purely for the leisurely walk through its mangroves. So spectacular is the beauty of Dhaninallah Mangrove Nature Walkway, that its popularity is well-deserved. Accesible via the the Andaman Trunk road after crossing the famous tourist destinations of Rangat and Amkunj Beach, this walkway is the first of its kind in India. The iconic red walkway sits in glorious contrast to the deep green mangroves that surround it. An ecological experience like none other, the walkway leads straight to Dhaninallah Beach, which is famous for being a turtle nesting ground. The fresh, clean air, sounds of chirping birds and the 360 degree green canopy gives people the opportunity to explore the otherwise less understood concept of mangrove forests.
- Cuthbert Beach:
Cuthbert Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Middle Andaman Islands, and is an ideal place to see coastal village life in its most authentic, un-commercialised version. The greenery that fringes the beach is often dotted with curious wildlife that peeks out towards the water and every step around the region remind you of the sheer amount of flora and fauna this island has to offer. While the creek is stocked with reptiles like the Salt Water Crocodile and water Monitor Lizards, the sanctuary itself is protected land for title nesting, one of the most important in the Andamans. A true specimen of nature conservation at its best, Cuthbert is a must-visit!
Located towards the Northern face of the Middle Andamans, Mayabunder is best reached from Rangat instead of Port Blair, and while the journey to the island may be a little tedious, the trip is definitely worth it. The perfect location for. Beach vacation full of solitude and beauty, Mayabunder is an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. From pristine open beaches to dense engulfing mangroves, this island has it all! An erstwhile hub for logging labourers for the British, the town still has a lot of architecture from the times.
- Avis Island:
Barely a significant land mass in itself, Avis Island is a powdery beach surrounded by shallow crystal clear water and mangroves that crop up even far off the coast. A perfect picnic or photography spot, Avis is sometimes so secluded, that we recommend carrying your own water and food. Walking through the waters, even knee deep, feels like being one with the underwater marine life.
- Interview Island:
Whether you’re seeking mystery or greenery, Interview Island is the place for you! Once a major location for the British Timber company, the island is now a pristine uninhabited region with dark green skin, tall hardwood trees, ad herd of wild yet calm elephants. What’s unique about the island are its seemingly random burst of fresh water sources, like a famous perennial freshwater pool in the low cave. It is said that this pool of water is the a bottomless, unfathomable source of water and is also a known nesting place for white-bellied swifts. The eastern coast is inhabited by salt water crocodiles while some advice from the local wardens (in protection from poachers) can help you view the elephant herd left on the island after the fall of the timber companies on land.
- Stewart Island:
The ultimate feeling of seclusion and sea-watching, the beach at Stewart Island is the ideal escape from the rush of modern civilisation. The isolated and uninhabited island is calm and carefree though sans accommodation. We recommend leaving for the beach early in the morning, and returning before sunset, without fail.
- Karmatang Beach:
One of the primary attractions of Mayabunder, this tourist-friendly beach is full of miniature huts to take a rest and wide expanses of sand for peaceful walks. The beach is perfect for all kinds of activities – from sandy parties to calm evenings with a book. The hammocks that line the area further emphasise the chilled out experience one is sure to have here. Karmatang Beach is also secluded and supports protected and monitors turtle nesting. While the waters are a little more turbulent than some other beaches, the general atmosphere of the region and its very hospitable people makes Karmatang a must-visit!
Clear blue waters, pristine white sand, and palm trees bowing over to create the most surreal beauty your eyes will ever witness. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the perfect beach paradise that you never knew you needed. One trip is never enough, not just for the vast number of things to do here, but also for the addiction of the islands’ smiling people, amazing seafood cuisine and the unparalleled feeling of being one with the marine life.
The Andaman Islands are an isolated beauty that’s the perfect combination of comfort and adventure, a trip that you must not miss out on!