The Andaman Islands are an archipelago of 572 tiny islands in the Bay of Bengal. Situated between India in east and Myanmar in the west, they are tiny tourist jewels listed as Union territories of India. It has its own share of antiquity as archaeological evidence dates back to 2200 years ago. It has been ruled by the Chola empire and the British.
The climate is tropical with sea breezes keeping it moderate and pleasing. It has sunny skies with irregular rainfall. It abounds in lagoons, rain forests, deciduous flora. The landscape is unspoiled, with serene beaches, breathtaking, clear azure sea, stunning corals, mangroves and the indigenous tribe.
Once you are in this beautiful island what would you do? Which are the best places on this island for a leisure vacation? Here are 9 things you should do in this must-visit destination.
1. Lazing on the soft beaches
Andaman has some of the most beautiful beaches in India tucked in its numerous islands. Some amazing beaches to go in Andaman are-
Radhanagar beach, Havelock Island
–Situated on the western coast of Havelock island this beach is rated as one the best beaches in India, and its ideal for sunbathing. Laze on its white, sparkling smooth sand overlooking the pristine water of Bay of Bengal to ease the grind of daily work life.
Elephant Beach, Havelock Island
– It is famous for fabulous coral reefs, sandy shore, and white sand.
Vijaya Nagar Beach, Havelock Island
– Its shallow and crystal water makes it an ideal beach for surfing and swimming. The coast is also lined by Mahua vegetation and its scenic tranquility makes it perfect for a relaxed vacation.
Kala Pathar Beach, Havelock Island
- Quiet and calm, this beach is much sought after by visitors in search of peace and solace. Its silvery sand and marine blue entices one and all.
Corbyn’s Cove, Port Blair
– It has green coconut plantation along the shore and calm, fresh beach. Take a leisure stroll and boost your photography skills. Take a boat ride and eat at several beach shacks.
- The beach is near to Mahatma Gandhi National Park. It a cute little beach, and mostly frequented by nature lovers and photographers. Exquisite corals and marine fauna abound in this famous beach. Ideal for leisure walks.
Lalaji Bay Beach, Long Island
-It can be reached via small local dinghies through mangrove creeks & waterways. It’s ideal for dolphin spotting, sunbathing, and boating. There is a line of sea –facing eco huts to spend some quality time.
Baludera Beach, Baratang
- Enjoy elephant rides and picnic on this quiet beach. A rich mangrove forest along the curved sand bay adds to its beauty.
Merk bay Beach Baratang
–Though sees minimum visitors it has spectacular sunsets. The seas front can be reached by dinghies. Indulge in a seas bath, bird watching, and dolphin spotting.
Aam Kunj Beach, Rangat Island
- Very popular with locals as well as tourists, it has grey sand and grayish waters. It’s a rocky with many submerged rocks and has low tide. Rest on the wooden benches and log sofas dotting the shore. Best for turtle seeing and bathing.
Raman Bageecha beach
- It’s a charming, picturesque beach with azure waters and white shore. Its all-pervasive serenity is loved by solo travelers.
Kalipur Beach, Diglipur
– The scenic beach offers an awe-inspiring view of saddle peak. You can avail the opportunity to see turtle nesting too.
Avis island Beach, Diglipur
–Perfect to unwind and chill. This beach is located nearby Ramnagar beach.
2. Water Activities
Andaman Islands boasts quite a number of thrilling, amazing water activities or water sports. That could be scuba diving, snorkeling, Parasailing, Undersea walking, jet skiing, speed boating, boat fishing, glass boating, a ride in a sea plane.
Try exploring the mysterious, colorful, vibrant underwater flora and fauna in seas of Andaman. Many scuba diving centers can give you PADI certificates to amateurs, even one who doesn’t know swimming. However to ventures deeper into the open seas you have to be an expert swimmer. Some of the best beaches for Scuba diving are Radhanagar beach, Corbyn’s cove, and Wandoor beach, Neil island.
Try night diving in Lighthouse for a sighting of corals, and marine fauna like Octopus, Humpback Parrotfish, Fusiliers, Lobsters, and Lionfish.
Scuba dive in Aquarium for a visual treat of colorful fishes and hard and soft corals.
Mac Point, a popular scuba diving destination
Barracuda City is an explored destination and has turtles and fishes like Coral fish, Blue-spotted stingrays, and Surgeonfish
See myriad shades of underwater life in the crystal clear water of Margherita Mischief, in Neil island.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Wandoor- Diving in this national park is an unforgettable experience as a pattern of colorful sea flowers, and corals along with Clownfish, Parrot shark, Butterfly fish dot the aquatic underworld.
The underwater habitat in Corruption Rock has a stunning labyrinth of ridges, channels, and canyons. You get to see dolphins and Tuna fishes along with something from the past, like shipwrecks.
Snorkeling is an underwater activity through the water body wearing a designed tube like outfit. With a guide assisting, you’re not required to know swimming, though a skill in swimming would be excellent. Andaman has amazing snorkeling destinations like –
Elephant Beach, Havelock Island
Snorkel through the crystal blue, warm, shallow water with beautiful rare coral reefs.
JollyBuoy Island, Port Blair
A marine ecosystem thriving with multicolored corals (red, blue, spongy) and also other aquatic forms living in these corals like zebra fishes.
North Bay Island, Port Blair
Get sight of corals spread over a vast area, with other life forms like lobster, clams, fishes flourishing on these fringing coral reefs.
Other popular snorkeling destinations include Neil Island, Rutland Island and Cinque Island.
Banana Boat ride
This ride in a banana shaped boat tied behind a speed is fun unparallel. An exciting adventurous activity, this ride is perfectly safe. You’re given life jacket and instructor to cruise your way through the emerald waters.
Non–swimmers can enjoy the thrill of parasailing which is a mixture of water and airborne adventure. You are tied behind a water boat and strapped with a parachute. Flying like a kite could be so heavenly.
If the weather is calm, try this activity which is thrilling as well.
Glass bottom boating
Sit around a small glass bottom in a tiny boat as it sails through the aqua blue. Your joy would know no bound when you sight lively marine life forms underneath.
Ride in sea plane
Andaman is first to introduce seaplanes in India and you can’t miss this ride.
Other water activities for non-swimmers are Kayaking, cruising, riding vehicle ferry and skiing.
If you’re an adventure seeker, you would like to trek through the terrain. Madhuban (20 kilometers from Port Blair by ferry) is the perfect spot for trekking activity. You would trek ( Madhuban to Mt Harriet) your way through verdant forests packed with several indigenous flora and fauna, wooden bridges and meandering ways.
You can also trek to Saddle Peak, the highest peak in Andaman.
3. Visit museums in Andaman
If you are a history, culture explorer, Andaman has some well-stocked Museums for a must visit. Andaman has a rich show of heritage; ecological, cultural, anthropological, art and history. Some Museums to visit are –
Samudrika Naval Marine Museum, Port Blair
This Museum is administrated by the Indian navy and has a zoo too with saltwater crocodiles. Besides, the museums educate you about a diversity of marine life with corals and a few collections of colorful fishes. Its other section caters to archeology, geography, and people of Andaman. A giant skeleton of a blue whale is put up for a show here.
Forest Museum, Port Blair
This museum is run by Forest department and exhibits a diverse range of Andaman flora and fauna. You can shop from the wide collections of wooden artifacts made of oakwood, timber, padauk, and salt wood.
Zonal Anthropological museum, Port Blair
Want to a deeper insight into the living style of aboriginals? This museum in Phoenix Bay offers an interesting, educative knowledge about two main tribes of this archipelago; the Negroids (Onges, Sentinelese, Jarawas, and Andamanese) and the Mongoloids (Shompens and Nicobarese).
Science center, Port Blair
Best place in Corbyn island to spend time with kids. It has slides and swings and a display of aquatic animals. It treats you to various laws of science through experimentation and also provides a detailed knowledge about the history and anthropology of the island.
Chathman Saw Mill, Port Blair
This is in Chatham island and was set up in 1883 to meet the timber needs of the island. This is a tourist attraction as it is the oldest and largest sawmill in Asia. It is of cultural importance because it sort of narrates the tale of economics and trade relations of the Islanders.
4. Parks to visit in Andaman
The Island has 9 intensely diverse and dense National Parks. The parks are loved by conservationists, wildlife activists , photographers, and general tourists as well.
Mahatma Gandhi National Park
Comprised of 15 islands this is located in Wandoor beach, Port Blair. This place is popular for coral reefs, colorful aquatic life, mangrove creeks, and rainforests. The terrain is also famous for its snorkeling activity.
Mount Harriet National Park
Situated in Ferargunj district of Port Blair, this is an exotic part situated at a height of 383 meter. You can breathe in the peaceful environ and gets to view the natural beauty and breathtaking views of the sea from the peak. It has a few species of fauna like the turtles, rubber crab, and wild pigs.
Saddle Peak National Park
This Park houses some endangered species of fauna and flora of the regions. Salt water crocodiles, water monitor lizards, imperial pigeon, Andaman hill myna are some major fauna found in the area spread over 85 square km. The vegetation is unique to the place and not found anywhere in mainland India. The park is also a delight for trek lovers.
Campbell National Park
This place can be accessed through dense evergreen forests and wild tree ferns. Endowed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna life, the park offers camps and cabin facilities for adventure lovers.
The Island has been gaining a reputation as a sunset point. This point is also excellent for bird watching. With dense forest, mangroves and numerous species of birds, this Island should not be missed from your itinerary. This island is home to birds like Eagles, Parakeets, Drongos, Doves.
6. Cellular Jail, Port Blair
If you a history lover, a visit to Cellular Jail, infamously known as ‘Kala pani’ will fascinate and also perturb as you relive those days of hectic struggle for freedom. The place is a mute witness to the torture suffered by freedom fighters in their Struggle for Indian’s independence from British rulers. A major landmark in Port Blair, it was built in 1906 and is known as ‘cellular’ because of its small solitary cells. A walk through the pictures, monuments and light and sound show every evening will rekindle the feeling of patriotism in you. A major tourist attraction these days Kala Pani has now been transformed to a National Memorial.
7. The only active Volcano to visit
Its magical and irresistible site to lay your feet on. This place is located in Barren Island and recorded as the only active volcano in South Asia along the stretch of volcanoes from Sumatra to Myanmar. The Volcano last spewed lava and ash in February 2017. Though this place is almost barren with no vegetation, and no humans around, the waters around the barren island is excellent for scuba diving and sports fishing.Other volcanic sites to visit are the dormant volcano in Narcodam islands, active mud volcano in Diglipur and Baratang.
8. Shopping for artifacts in Andaman
The most visited emporium is Sagarika Emporium in Port Blair. Magnificent pieces of coral and wood artifacts are available here. Anup eco-arts in Havelock deals in fancy ornaments made of coconut shells. A must try.
You can also visit the Sunday market to get a flavor of local life. Sellers from across the island come with wares as varied as local vegetables, local fruit, crabs, prawns. You can shop for souvenirs like jewelry, wood carvings at Aberdeen Bazaar.
9. Try seafood in Andaman
Non-vegetarians can try out an assortment of seas food. The seafood delicacy includes prawns, crabs, fishes, and lobsters. These are easily available in various restaurants and hotels. You can also mingle with villagers for an affordable seafood feast coupled with the local beverage.