Planning The Trip
Being surrounded by sea on all sides the islands are accessible only by boat, ship or air. Frequent flight services are available from various places in India. Andaman is a part of India and you cannot fly directly from any other country. Foreigners will require a restricted area permit to enter the islands and these can be obtained upon arrival.
Direct flights to Andaman and Nicobar Islands are available from places such as Chennai, and Delhi. You can also opt for a ship or cruise from Chennai but the journey is quite long and can be taxing. Usually the permits issued to foreigners are for a period of 30 days. You must also carry the permit on your person as each island will have a check post. Some of the main tourist islands in the region include Havelock Island, Neil Island, Ross Island, and Barren Island and so on. The locals are fluent in English and there is a thriving tourist population in the islands during the season. Boats are available from places such as Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakapatnam. However, you must remember that they may take anywhere between five to 15 days and ships will be nothing like a cruise. You will mostly likely be given a small bunk with a thin mattress. The ride might not be comfortable and if you are prone to sea sickness then you will not enjoy the trip. These days better boats are being introduced but they are almost as expensive as a flight ticket.
One can expect to hear Hindi and Tamil being spoken at the island. The islands are known for their clear blue waters and excellent diving spots. The best time to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is from January to May. The conditions are usually sunny but pleasant at this time. June and July witness torrential rainfall due to the monsoons and it is not a good idea to visit at this point. Most of the tourist firms are usually closed during the monsoon and the rough seas make diving quite difficult. Many travellers who come to India plan a trip to the islands as a last minute thing. Tickets are readily available but you might have to pay last minute charges. However, a trip to the Andaman’s is well worth the money if you are travelling during the season.
As a traveller safety should be your number one priority and you should take all the necessary precautions at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands are usually quite safe and problems are rare. Some of the remote islands are home to aggressive tribes who do not welcome visitors. However, since travellers are prohibited from going anywhere near these places there are no issues as such. Always check with the tourist department regarding the safety procedures and keep an eye out for hospitals in the region. While the heath care might not be great in the region, it is fairly adequate and cheap. . You might want to take precautions against malaria while travelling here as well. Mosquitoes may be present during the summer but a repellant or a good mosquito net should do the trick. Also, ensure that you eat seafood from reputable places. Sea food spoils quickly and you do not want to end up with a bad case of Delhi belly.
Salt water crocodiles are present in some places and while attacks are rare, they are known to occur from time to time. So do not go swimming in places where these creatures exist. The population of these creatures is largely restricted to Interview Island and Little Andaman. Quite a few of the Nicobar Islands are infested with these but they do not venture out into the open sea.
The climate in the region is not unlike the other coastal regions of the country. During the period from June to October one can expect monsoonal rainfall on and off. The period from November to May is the best time to visit the place. April is probable the hottest month but day temperatures rarely go beyond 30 degrees. The conditions are sunny but pleasant and the best time for diving in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is during this period.
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