Updated: May 16, 2021
Andaman and Nicobar islands is a union territory of India. It is located in the Indian ocean south of the bay of Bangal.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands are made up of about 572 small Islands, of which only a few are inhabited by the islands. Port blair is the capital which has a historical importance during the Indian independence.
It is belived that origin of the name andaman is related to hanuman, the epic hero of Ramayana.
There are plenty of awesome things to do in the islands if you are seeking a more refined holiday experience, or are keen for an active holiday. Sunny skies, golden beaches, turquoise waters and untouched environs make Andaman islands your perfect go-to destinations.
How to reach Andaman Islands
For Indians Andaman is a part of the Indian subcontinent. Hence there is no travel restriction for Indian tourists. It is very similar to travelling to any other state in our country. There is no requirement for passport, visa or any other permission. You can stay in permitted areas as long as you wish for.
For foreign tourists, a passport is required along with their Indian visa. NO Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required anymore for most foriegn nationals. Citizens of Afghanistan, Myanmar, China and Pakistan would continue to require the Restricted Area Permit. In such cases, the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) would be granted only if the foreign tourists has obtained prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
COVID-19 Guidelines for Andaman Tourist regarding COVID-19 testing
· The tourists arriving at Port Blair will be tested for COVID-19 at Veer Savarkar airport using Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). The results will be given at the airport itself. The tourists will be charged as per rate fixed by Administration. (Presently Rs. 500/- per person).If the tourist tests negative, he/she can proceed for the trip. If found positive, he/she will have to undergo Institutional isolation till recovery from COVID-19.
· Alternatively, the tourists can opt to carry COVID-19 negative report.
· Wearing a mask in public areas and while traveling is compulsory.
· Aarogya Setu app is mandatory for every traveler.
· Travelers have to undergo thermal checking and scanning on arrival.
· Only e-tickets are available for museums as well as tourist places such as Cellular Jail.
· Tourists have to follow the social distancing rule.
· Travelers should reach the airport at least 2 to 3 hours prior to the departure time.
· Avoid cash payment where possible.
· Tourists above 65 years of age are not allowed to visit the Andaman Islands
Getting to Andaman by air:
Veer Savarkar is the only commercial airport in Andaman located in the capital city of Port Blair. This airport is well connected with four major cities- Chennai, Kolkata, new Delhi and Bhubaneswar. Domestic flight services namely Indigo Airlines, Air India, Indian Airlines, Spice Jet, Go Air and Vistara have daily flights from major Indian cities. The best way to reach Port Blair is by taking a flight from Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam Bengaluru and Chennai. Time taken is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. In case, you are taking a flight from anywhere else around India, you will have a layover or a hopping flight Book a flight in advance to get a good deal on the ticket price. Foreign chartered flights are also permitted to land at Port Blair subject to the fulfilment of guidelines of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Flying in a private plane to Andaman those with a penchant for the better things in life, a private flight to Andaman will allow you give a miss to connecting flights and lay overs and travel as per your own schedule.
Pro-tip: Take an early morning flight so that you can utilise the rest of the day.
Travel to the Andaman Islands by Sea
Main Sea Port: Haddo Wharf, Port Blair
Ships available from: Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam
Haddo Wharf is the main port located in Port Blair. Ships sail from Kolkata and Chennai three to four times a month and only once from Vishakhapatnam. The approximate travel time is 3 to 4 days (50 – 60 hours)
The ships sailing between Andaman and mainland India are passenger ships and not cruise ships. So, they have a limited choice of food and no entertainment options. Sea-sickness is also common especially if tourists are travelling between May and October. We recommend travelling by ship only if you want to experience an unusual adventure amidst the blue sea for 3 to 4 days.
The sailing schedules are announced a month in advance so you’ll need to keep a look out for it. The Andaman government website is where you can look. Here is the link: http://www.admaman.gov.in/
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The main tourist season in the Andaman is between November and mid-May with the absolute peak season being December to March. The months of June, July, August and September are considered the rainy season. However travelers at this time can get great off season prices and discounts at many hotels due to the low number of tourist influx.
Movement restrictions may be in effect - please check recommendations for your local area, for those along the way and at the destination.
Crabs, shrimp, lobster and fish are available at almost all restaurants. However do not expect sea food to be cheap here.
The Amritsari Kulcha is a mouth watering dish from Andaman. It is stuffed with many of the tasty items like onion, coriander leaves, spices, etc. making it a very tasty and delicious dish as a must have food.
Bengali Style fish
Macher Jhol is a mouth watering dish form Andaman. This dish is basically originated from the State of West Bengal.
Inter-Island Connectivity by air
Daily helicopter services are available from Port Blair to other inter-island tourist destinations, such as Shaheed Dweep, Swaraj Dweep, Diglipur, Hutbay etc.
Inter-Island Connectivity - by Ferry or by Boat
The Directorate of Shipping Services, A & N Administration operates regular ferry services from Phoenix Bay Jetty, Port Blair in the inter-island and foreshore sectors connecting all populated island/tourist places. The Directorate also operates vehicle ferries to important locations and several Harbour ferries. The sailing schedules are published in the Administration's News Paper – The Daily Telegrams (English Daily) and Dweep Samachar (Hindi Daily). The All India Radio & Doordarshan also announce sailing schedules besides official website. Tickets are issued through the ‘STARS' counters located at Phoenix Bay Jetty, managed by the Directorate of Shipping Services.
For tourists, private boats are operated from Aberdeen Jetty (Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex), Port Blair to nearby tourist places like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island, Viper Island, North Bay, Harbour Cruise etc. Private tourist boats are also available at Wandoor (Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park) for journey to Jolly Buoy and Red Skin Islands. Private luxury tourist boats are operating from Phoenix bay jetty, Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep and back during season, cutting down travel time considerably. Which one is better – government or private ferries?
Private ferries are ideal for tourists if they are travelling between Port Blair, Havelock and Neil. They are super fast and also offer hassle-free booking. If you are looking for an affordable option, opt for Government ferries which have their charm and allow you to interact with the locals.
Do make sure you aware of the updated timing and rules before you visit each.