Q: How do I get to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands?
There are two ways to reach Andaman:
Direct Daily Flight from:
- Bangalore (During On Season)
Airlines Operating: Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air, Spice jet, Vistaara.
Port Blair is the port gateway to Andaman, there are regular passenger ship services for Port Blair from Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam. However, tickets must be purchased well in advance and the journey (3 days) can be monotonous as the ships have minimal facilities and are not luxurious at all.
For further information and current shipping schedule and fares, please Click Here.
Q: Do I need a passport/permission/visa to go to the Andaman Islands?
For Indians: No passport/visa/permission is required. They can stay in permitted areas for as long as they want.
For Foreigners: A passport is required with an Indian Visa to enter India. This is also applicable to foreigners entering Andaman directly from a charter/private yachts. Additionally, a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is also required which can be availed on arrival to Port Blair from the Immigration counter at the airport or, embarkation of ships at the sea-port. RAP is issued for a 30 day visit to the islands, and is extendable up to 15 more days. Tickets can be rescheduled in Port Blair itself from the respective airline offices.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP): Under the Foreigners (Restricted) Areas Order, 1963, the entire union territory of Andaman and Nicobar has been declared as a ‘restricted area’. Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in a Protected or Restricted Area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority, known as RAP or Restricted area permit. The Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is easily obtained on arrival at Port Blair. The procedure usually takes 15 minutes, is free of cost and is available to all foreign nationals at the airport arrival.
It has recently been brought to our notice that some Indian Visas issued carry a stamp that reads “Entry to restricted areas NOT permitted”. Should your Visa carry such a stamp, please contact the embassy and have the visa re-issued as you will not be allowed to enter the Andaman Islands.
Q: When should I plan my trip to the Andaman Islands?
A: Andaman is said to be an all weather tourism destination..!!. The tourist season starts generally from November and extends until Mid-May. The peak time to visit will be December and January.
June, July, August and September are considered to be the rainy season. However, this off season can be a good choice for travellers looking for some good hotel deals and less crowd due to the low number of tourist influx.
Travellers coming for certain activities like scuba diving or bird watching, the tour have to be planned accordingly with consultation of the local experts depending on the adventure pne looking for.
Q: Things to look for when I plan my trip to the Andaman Islands?
A: Andaman Islands have a lot to offer to everyone, it totally depends on what kind of a traveller you are. Andaman is famous for its white sand and emerald blue waters.
If you are a leisure Traveller, move out of the Port Blair city to either Havelock or Neil Island.
If you love underwater activities, you can opt for scuba diving, snorkelling in Havelock, or can experience the unique sea walking or coral safari in semi submarine in North By, Port Blair.
If you are looking for some jungle trekking or bird watching trips, destinations around Port Blair has lot to offer in endemic species.
Other activities like Turtle Nesting, Island Tourism Festival, Heritage Tour, Mangrove Tour etc are also there to be added to your trip.
To view places of importance in and around Port Blair click here.
To know more activities in Andaman, please click here.
Q: Is there anything important while planning my trip to the Andaman Islands?
A: Obviously Yes..!!
We are sharing some few points that you must consider when you are planning you trip to the Andaman Islands.
- All foreign passports must be valid of a minimum duration of 6 months.
- You must have a valid Indian visa if you are a Foreign National
- If there is a stamp on your visa that reads “Not valid for restricted areas” (or similar) you will not be allowed to enter the Andamans as it is a restricted zone. Please ensure that your visa does not carry this stamp and if it does, please contact the issuing embassy.
- Havelock and Neil are two separate islands connected by ferry/speed boats/cruise on regular basis, but in case of bad weather this service can get delayed, reschedule or suspended so please don’t plan a return to Port Blair on the day of your departure flight.
- Ferries operating for Havelock and Neil are very early in the morning, so please be prepared to wake up early in the morning.
- During the peak season December, January and Diwali vacations, it’s too crowdie here so don’t plan very hectic schedule as you might stuck somewhere and get delayed.
- If travelling with small child or senior citizen, try to avoid tedious journeys.
- Carry essentials like Cap, Hat, umbrella and Sun Cream to protect yourself
- It is recommended to enjoy scuba diving a day after your air travel to avoid any health complication as undertaking scuba diving and air travel on the same day may cause some health concerns due to compression reasons and may indispose travellers.
Q: Is Rupees operational in Andaman? And how is the banking facility?
A: Yes. Indian Rupee is used in the Andaman Islands. You can exchange currency at the airport, from the banks or currency dealers. Also, you can withdraw Indian Rupees from the ATMs.
Port Blair has a number of ATM’s, whereas in Havelock Island you will one one ATM of SBI, Axis Bank. There is one SBI branch operational in Havelock; there are times when all the cash in the machine has been depleted. The ATM’s in Havelock are replenished with funds once every 3 or 4 days.
Most other islands do not have ATM’s so do carry sufficient cash with you to pay your bills.
Credit Cards (MasterCard and Visa) are not widely accepted in the Andamans, except for larger hotels and resorts and some diving facilities. You will most likely be hit with a surcharge and both your passport and your credit card will get photocopied to submit to the bank as all transactions are done offline. Do note that many establishments do not accept American Express cards.
Q: What should be my clothing during my trip?
A: Andaman Islands all season remains to be a tropical climate destination, so we would suggest having cotton clothing as a common choice. In all tourist resorts shorts and t-shirts are acceptable. This is also appropriate at night, though “smart casual” is preferred and more appropriate in some resorts. Carry flip flops for your comfort and when going for excursions always carry a towel and extra change of clothes
Act with respect and decorum, dress appropriately (especially away from the beach), and as anywhere, always ask permission before taking photographs of the local population. A beach destination does not mean that the locals are used to seeing women in revealing
A beach destination does not mean that the locals are used to seeing women in revealing swimwear. Please be sensitive to the traditions of the locals and cover up when in areas where locals are present like jetty areas and village markets.
Q: What sort of connectivity option can we expect in the islands? Do all mobile network works in Andaman?
A: Andaman Islands are aptly connected by all medium of communication but with certain limitations.
Indian Post is accessible to almost all parts of the Islands, but certain upgraded services like Speed Post can be availed only from the Post offices available in the Port Blair city. Also there are a lot of options for private courier service like Blue Dart, Overnight Express, DHL etc.
International dialling is available from most major hotels and ISTD booths in the markets. To make an international call, dial 00 followed by the Country Code followed by the Area Code followed by the Phone Number. Services tend to be reliable.
Excellent mobile connectivity is available in Port Blair and in some parts of Havelock however as you travel to the other Islands, you may find that it is present however not excellent.
Networks Operational Are:
Vodafone (Not operational in Neil)
Reliance ((Not operational in Neil)
Internet is available on Havelock and Port Blair. Connectivity in Port Blair is fairly good with fast connections. However on Havelock the internet is reputed to be very slow as most are on dial up connections. Some places offer satellite internet which is faster however much more expensive. Many islands have no internet facilities at all.
Q: What are the main festivals in Andaman?
A: Due to the large number of Bengalis from India settled here, ‘Durga Pujo’ is celebrated with great pageantry and ceremony. Big pandals are erected everywhere and ten days of celebration take place.
Other big festivals are Deewali, Eid, Easter, Christmas and New Year. Almost all the Indian festivals are celebrated as Andaman Islands have a cross section of people from all over India living together cutting across regions and religions.
Apart from the religious festivals, Andaman Islands also host some tourist specific festivals:
- Island Tourism Festival : Around January
- Island Beach Festival : Around April
- Island Food Festival : Around February
Q: Can I get a chance to meet the Tribes of Andaman?
A: Untouched and endangered tribes do exist in these beautiful isles and add to their exotic nature. It is prohibited and against the law as well to enter the tribal reserves, meet or photograph the tribals. Should anyone offer you a trip to meet the tribals, please refrain from doing so. Respect the tribes and adhere to the law.
You can however visit the Anthropological Museum in Port Blair where you can see a display of their tools and weapons as well as photographs depicting their lives and culture.
The indigenous tribes are distinguished in two groups: the Onge, Sentinelese, Jarawa and Andamanese of Negroid descent living on the Andaman Islands and the Shompen and Nicobarese of Mongoloid descent living in the Nicobar Islands.
The Sentinelese are the least studied tribe still living in isolation on the North Sentinel Island. Their number is estimated currently at 250. Living in complete isolation for many centuries, the Sentinelese are not clothed while the Jarawa use only adornments of bark and shell, like necklaces, arm bands, waist bands, etc.