Located at a distance of about 1200 kilometres from mainland India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands form an archipelago consisting of approximately 572 islands in the great Bay of Bengal. Though only about 38 these many islands are inhabited, as a tourist you are not going to be allowed in most of them.
While the Nicobar Islands are strictly off limits, there are some spectacular places to visit in Andaman. These tropical islands look postcard perfect with their white sandy beaches and droopy palm trees that almost seem to kiss the sea. If you’re planning a visit to this heavenly abode that’s an astounding mix of natural beauty, enchanting history, lip-smacking food and nerve-racking adventures, you should definitely not miss these top islands in Andaman.
Bite into a slice of history as you take a ride to Ross Island, which used to be the Administrative Headquarters of the British for 85 years until it was hit by an earthquake in 1941. As you take a walk around, you can almost visualize the hustle bustle of the town that it used to be as you pass the ruins of the bazaar, temple, the grand church and the wooden ballroom where the British would gather for a hearty dance. Interestingly enough, the Island’s Japanese occupation between the years 1942-45 is also made evident by the presence of the bunkers that were used to look out for possible attackers.
North Bay Island
Usually covered alongside a Ross Island tour package, this popular destination offers multiple options for snorkelling, sea walking, scuba diving and other exciting activities. This is basically where you should head to get the most variety of water sports. Also, it is the North Bay Island that you see on the flip side of a twenty rupee note.
Definitely one of the most popular destinations in Andaman, Havelock Island has the Radhanagar beach which is touted as the best and 7th best beach in Asia and the world respectively. Do not miss the sight of the sun going down as you lay out a mat on this beach. Visit Havelock also for its cool cafes, scrumptious seafood and underwater coral reef explorations as it’s a popular place to go for snorkelling, scuba diving or seabed walking. Just so you know, you do not need to be a swimmer to experience any of these.
Very close to Port Blair, where the Cellular Jail is located, the Viper Island was where the prisoners were hung. You can go around the jail building and see the ruins of the gallows which were situated on the top of a hill. This is place is bound to send shivers down your spine as you remember the selfless sacrifices of the freedom fighters.
The most interesting places to visit in the Neil Islands are the Bharatpur beach for the coral reefs and the variety of tropical fishes that you can find there, the Laxmanpur beach for its spectacular sunsets and the (natural) ‘Howrah Bridge’ which is a sea arch that has come to be formed through years of wave action. Be prepared for a rocky walk, but once you’re there, you can take a sneak peek into the beautiful marine life with corals and jellyfishes and hermit crabs.
Located towards the Middle Andaman, this island is truly unique. Be amazed by the numerous mud volcanoes that spew out mud or make your way to the limestone caves through the dense and enchanting mangrove forests.
Jolly Buoy Islands
Go for a glass bottom boat ride to enjoy the view of the aquatic life, especially the live corals. Be sure to check if the island is open before planning a visit as it remains closed in phases to protect the live corals. This is also a ‘No Plastics’ zone!
Given that the only active volcano present in the whole of South Asia is located here, it is but obvious that this is an island you must visit. Located at the juncture of the Burmese and India seismically active tectonic plates, the last time that the volcano erupted was in 1991 and showed minor activity again in 2017. This is an uninhabited island and captures nature at its pristine best.
Though reaching this island may be a bit trying, it’s every bit worth it. Reach its capital Hut Bay from Port Blair on a seaplane or via a ferry ride. There are two beautiful waterfalls that you can go to; the White Surf and Whisper Wave Waterfalls. This getaway is known for the Red Oil Palm plantations that happen to cover large parts of the island. If you go to the Butler Bay beach, you will get options for surfboarding, which has been gaining popularity in the island.
Located at a distance of approximately 30 kilometres from the Baratang Jetty; the Parrot Island is not a misnomer in the least. Nature lovers and bird watching enthusiast will definitely find their paradise here as thousands of parrots make music out of their calls as they wander around the island.
Given the often discreet locations and the dependence on limited means of transportation, it might become a challenging task to cover all the ‘must watch’ places in the Andaman Islands. However, with the help of experts at iTraveller, you can be sure of an Andaman tour package that will pack in all the elements, sights and experiences that you want on this vacation!