Quiet white-sand beaches, crystal clear waters, tall palms, and tribal food. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands may not be the largest island in India, but offer the perfect backdrop for a vacation packed with several things to do. From learning about the rich culture of the tribes of the Andamans to plunging into adventure activities in the Andamans. You’ll be surprised how the days go back and still be left with several places to visit.
But even if you can’t check off everything on your bucket list, a visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a must. A trip to these islands will change your perspective and give you a glimpse into how diverse India truly is. Often called a tropical paradise, this group of islands is located in the Bay of Bengal, off the eastern coast of India. Offering several adventure activities to indulge in, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the perfect destination for those who love water sports.
As for history and culture buffs, the Andaman Islands offer a mixture of historic places to visit, diverse flora and fauna to admire, and a peak into the lives and customs of the heritage tribes who reside there. While some islands and parts of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are off-limits for tourists, there still remain ample places to visit in the Andamans.
Adventure activities in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
1. Go snorkelling and scuba diving
The best way to explore the diverse marine life of the Andamans is to plunge into adventure activities like snorkelling and scuba diving. The clear waters allow for better visibility, giving you an opportunity to discover the diverse marine life, and coral reefs. That’s one reason why you’ll experience the best scuba diving in India right here. You can also opt to go for a guided dive or become a certified scuba diver from one of the many dive institutes there.
If you’re looking for places to visit in Andamans to snorkel or dive, head straight to North Bay Island, Havelock Island, or Neil Island. These are popular islands to visit in the Andaman and Nicobar Island clusters and are known to host adventure activities.
Another place to visit in Andamans for snorkelling and scuba diving is the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. It’s a protected area that is home to a wide variety of marine life, including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses. But the experience here will have you recommending others to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands soon.
2. Experience underwater sea walking
Walk amongst colourful fishes, and coral reefs, and get up close and personal with the varied marine life of the Andamans. This is yet another exciting adventure activity that you can try in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. You can walk on the seabed at a depth of seven metres while wearing a special helmet that allows you to breathe underwater. Suitable for people of all ages, this should definitely be on your list of things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
3. Take a glass bottom boat ride
Witness the beauty of the marine life of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands without setting foot in the water. The crystal-clear ocean here allows you to hop into a boar with a transparent bottom so you can marvel at the coral reefs and fishes swimming below. This is ideal for anyone who wants to stir away from adventure activities in the Andamans and simply have a lazy holiday instead.
4. Try out mangrove kayaking
While there are many adventure activities in the Andamans to try, mangrove kayaking remains unique to these islands. A popular activity in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands that are home to a network of mangrove forests, you can discover a variety of flora and fauna as you kayak. Explore these forests by kayaking through the winding waterways, and observing the wildlife of the Andamans around you.
5. Ride a seaplane
Catch a bird’s eye view of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Why is this one of the things to do in the Andamans? Simply because the breathtaking views of the cluster of islands, pristine sandy beaches and clear waters will leave you spellbound. Besides, this is a unique adventure activity that you can try in the Andamans.
6. Visit the Andaman Water Sports Complex
You could do several adventure sports in India, but there’s nothing like the adventure activities in the Andamans. And that includes water sports at the Andaman Water Sports Complex. The complex offers a range of activities, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. You could spend an entire afternoon here before heading out to a beach in the Andamans to relax.
Places to visit in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
7. Take a boat ride to Ross Island
If you’re wondering which islands to visit in the Andamans, Ross Island should be at the top of your list. For those who would love things to do in Andamans that are centred around history and culture, this is a must-visit. This small island was the administrative capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during British colonial rule. It is now a popular tourist destination and is home to the ruins of old buildings, a cemetery, and a small museum.
8. Visit the Cellular Jail
Yet another thing to do in the Andamans for history buffs, the Cellular Jail is a historical monument. The British used it as a prison during their colonial rule in India and it’s better known as Kala Pani. Several political prisoners during the freedom movement were exiled and imprisoned here including the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. The Cellular Jail is now a museum in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, showcasing the darkest chapters of the Raj and the struggles of the Indian independence movement.
9. Visit the Chatham Saw Mill
A fascinating place to visit in the Andamans, the Chatham Saw Mill is one of the oldest and largest sawmills in Asia. Built by the British in the 19th century, it is now a popular tourist attraction in Port Blair featuring on several lists of things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. If you want to learn about the history of the colonial rule of the Andamans and see how wood is processed you should add this to your list of places to visit in Andamans.
10. Explore the Andaman Tribal Reserve
There’s very little we know about the tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. For decades, these heritage tribes had not made contact with Indians from the mainland and were unaware of modern life. While several tribes in the Andamans still choose to live that way, you can explore the Andaman Tribal Reserve. A protected area that is home to indigenous tribes like the Jarawa and the Sentinelese, who have lived on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for thousands of years and have a unique culture and way of life. Visitors are not allowed to interact with the tribes, but you can take a tour of the reserve and learn about their history and traditions.
11. Tour Havelock Island
This has to be on your list of things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. One of the prime places to visit in the Andamans, Havelock Island or Swaraj is some of the best beaches in the Andamans. This island in the Andamans is home to white-headed mynas and woodpeckers and serves as a great spot for bird watching too.
One of the best beaches to visit in Andamans is Radhanagar Beach, which is on this island. Also known as Beach No. 7, it is a must-visit for crystal clear waters and white sandy shores. If you’re looking for popular snorkelling and kayaking sites, you must visit Elephant Beach, a popular spot for adventure activities in the Andamans.
12. Explore the best beaches in Andamans
The Andaman Nicobar Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in India, such as Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island, which was named the "Best Beach in Asia" by TIME Magazine in 2004. While there are ample places to visit in the Andamans, the popular beaches include Elephant Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, and Lighthouse Beach.
13. Visit the mud volcano
Another island to visit in the Andamans is Baratang Island, where you can be in awe of the natural wonder. From limestone caves to mangrove creeks, there are several things to do here. But you must visit it for the Mud Volcano, which is a unique geological feature. Baratang is one of the only places in South Asia that has a Mud Volcano. The area around the volcano is also home to the Jarawa tribe, one of the indigenous tribes of the Andamans.
14. Visit the Zonal Anthropological Museum
Sitting in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a well-maintained museum. For culture buffs, this museum showcases the culture and traditions of the indigenous Andamanese tribes. Believed to be the oldest in the world, six main tribes are native to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands including Onges, Sentinelese, Jarawas, Andamanese, Shompens, and Nicobarese. As entry to the tribal areas is not permitted, one of the best things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is to visit this museum. You will get a lesson on the culture and history of the Andamans.
15. Go birdwatching
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have several places to visit. You’ll find the best beaches in the Andamans, but the islands are also home to a wide variety of bird species. So why not add birdwatching to your list of things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands? Spot avian species like the Andaman Woodpecker, Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, and the Andaman Green Pigeon, among others.
Best time to visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Plan your visit between November to May, when the weather is pleasant and dry. It’s truly the best time to visit the Andamans as monsoons can mean heavy rainfall and rough seas. The monsoons last between June to October in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, so it’s best to plan your trip during the winter months.
How to reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands
To reach the Andaman and Nicobar islands, you can fly to the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are regular flights from major cities in India such as Kolkata, Chennai, and Delhi to Port Blair. To travel to other islands in the Andamans, you can take a ferry or a speed boat from Port Blair.