The archipelago of Andaman Islands is located in the Bay of Bengal between India and Myanmar. In the recent years, Andaman has gained popularity for its pristine beaches and untouched natural beauty. Although Andaman is popular with honeymooners, it is a place that will enchant you with its surreal beauty. Activities like scuba diving, and snorkelling are enjoyed equally by kids and the grown-ups. The soothing peace and tranquillity at the beach front suits the older crowd and it is a perfect escape from the daily humdrum. Nature enthusiasts, bird watchers, naturalists, biology and oceanography students get attracted to its biodiversity.You can explore various Andaman tour packages and go for the one that suits you.
Here are a few things that you must do in Andaman -
1. Visit the historic Cellular Jail
Situated in the capital city - Port Blair, Cellular Jail is an erstwhile prison used by the British soldiers to exile Indian freedom fighters. It is also called ‘Kala Pani’. This national memorial can be accessed at a nominal fee of Rs.10 for anyone above the age of 10 years. The famous politician Veer Savarkar was also imprisoned in the cells of this prison.
The Sound and Light Show priced at Rs. 20 for adults and Rs.10 for children is worth a watch. The show narrates the history of this jail through a striking audio-video visual. It happens daily in Hindi at 06:00 pm and in English at 07:15 pm.
2. Water sports at Havelock Island
Largest island on the Ritchie’s Archipelago, Havelock Island is home to white sands, crystal clear waters and a diverse marine life. Getting around Havelock Island is fairly easy. There are local buses that connect the jetty and village on an hourly basis. You can alternatively choose to rent bicycles, mopeds and bikes too. For those who want a relaxed stay, auto-rickshaws and private vehicles can be availed.
Do visit the Elephant Beach, best known for snorkelling and glass bottom boat ride. You can also visit the Radha Nagar Beach that was featured in ‘Best Beaches in Asia’ by Times in 2004.
3. Mud volcanoes and limestone caves at Baratang Island
The only mud volcanoes present in India are at Baratang Island in the Middle Andaman. Mud volcanoes are not real volcanoes, but a mixture of hot water and subterranean mineral deposits. Limestone caves at Baratang Island are a must-see attraction as well. The caves can be easily reached by a jetty, which passes through a tribal reserve and mangrove forests. The caves are dark, so carrying a torch will be necessary.
4. Trek to the highest point in Andaman - Saddle Peak
Saddle Peak is at an elevation of 2,418 feet and is the highest point in Andaman. You will be required to catch a bus to Lamia Bay. The entrance is easily visible from here and with minimum permit formalities; you will enter this tropical rainforest. There is a trail marked in red, which you have to follow and you’ll traverse along the coastline to reach a dense canopy of trees. The entrance fee is Rs. 25 per person and Rs. 10 for camera.
5. Explore the exotic Long Island
Situated in Middle Andaman, Long Island is Andaman’s hidden gem. Away from the local tourist attractions, Long Island offers you a respite from the usual crowded places. It has Andaman’s best kept secrets. It has exotic diving locations with Asia’s best marine life. The beaches of Lalaji Bay and Merk Bay are hidden treasures of Andaman.
There are boats that go to Long Island via Havelock Island (except Friday) and Neil on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. To travel back to Port Blair, boats are available only on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. So plan your travel likewise.
Apart from these experiences, other places worth visiting are the Anthropological Museum, Chatham Saw Mill, Natural Bridge at Neil Island, Ross and Smith Island, Wandoor, Jolly Buoy Island, Chidiya Tapu and much more. If you happen to go in the turtle nestling season (December-February), you’ll be lucky enough to see the hatching of Olive Ridleys. Andaman has a galore of seafood and seafood lovers will enjoy the local fishes served there.
Best time to travel:
The best time to travel is between November and May with the season peaking from December to March.
Things to remember:
1. Carry sunscreen, scarf, sunglasses and hat/cap/sombrero as a protection from direct sunlight.
2. Carrying torch is a must, as Andaman is less developed and there are very little lights on the street at night.
3. Carry an extra memory card. Andaman is very photogenic and you might just end up clicking more than you ever thought.
4. If you are a birding enthusiast, a good pair of binoculars will come handy.
5. Do not forget to carry a first-aid kit as Andaman has very little facilities in terms of medical care.
6. Choose comfortable footwear to walk-around. Andaman has beaches and uneven terrain. You might be required to hike a few places to witness the most amazing views.
7. Miscellaneous: Swiss knife, mosquito repellent, sewing kit, power bank, extra cash (as ATMs are sparse)
8. Do not carry corals, orchids, exotic rocks etc. back home. It is a publishable offence.
9. Do not interact with the local tribes (Jarawas). As per The Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation, 1956 contacting, photographing or interacting with the Jarawas is prohibited.
10. Andaman is a beautiful island with high biodiversity. Do not litter or damage any monument of national importance. Treat nature and other objects with respect.
11. Remember the ‘golden rule’ of travel - Travel light and leave behind the unnecessary baggage!
More ideas for honeymoon packages
Author : Winnie Karnik
Photo Courtesy : Nijae/Devocean Picture