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The enchanting andamans
Our friend Koyal sent her personal experience of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, as comments. We thought, it deserves an independent posting. Before that, lel us remind you that we have given links to governement websites [because they are highly dependable on information, and without a vested interest] in the left column of this blog. The Andaman Island website is full of information and nice photos.

Here goes Koyal's post:

We visited Andaman & Nicobar Islands last winters – the best months to visit the islands. [You need more time and a special permit to visit the Nicobar part.]

It is a heaven for those seeking to spend holidays amidst un-spoilt nature.

In a ten day tour, you can station for four days at Port Blair: one day for local sight seeing and three days for day long visits to different islands. Keep 2-3 days for Havelock Islands. They are the best in the archipelago. The sprawling beaches of Havelock are not crowded and are lined with thick equatorial forests. The Radhanagar beach is the best of them all. Its sands are unusually white and there are tourist huts right on the best face of the beach [but they are to be booked in advance]. Other resorts are on other beaches. Keep the rest of your time for longish trips to far off islands.

The best attraction of Port Blair is the Cellular Jail, which was used by the British to put hardened criminals and freedom fighters. In the evenings, they have [a rather mediocre] light and sound show depicting those cruel times.[Book tickets in advance so that you do not have to stand in very long queue.]

Besides beaches, the Cellular Jail and marine museums, you have plenty to experience on different islands: snorkel and watch corals in shallow waters of Coral Island; trek to a limestone cave; see a live mud-volcano throwing mud and water out of its small hole; watch very primitive Jarawah tribals in thick forests; cross a tunnel made of mangrove tree roots.

The choice of how you want to enjoy Andamans is yours. If you want to mingle with the Indians [generally a cross section of Indians from different parts of the mainland], go for ordinary tours run by the tourism department or private tour operators. But if you want exclusive trips [comfortable, enjoyable in your own group but without local touch], it is better to book them in advance through you hotel / tour operator.

Markets are rather dull compared to the crowded markets of India’s mainland. If you are buying souvenirs, be careful about their weight; the coral and shell artefacts tend to weigh a ton.
We stayed in a tourist department guest house, on local trips we always carried a lot of stuff from a good bakery in Port Blair, drank gallons of coconut water from freshly cut coconuts, avoided eating local food except in the guest house, and didn’t get sick at all. We mingled with the locals in ships, ferries, buses and SUVs. We also had exclusive motorboat visits to nearby islands. At Havelock Islands, we stayed in a rather expensive resort for two days as others were booked long back for Christmas season.

We are of Indian origin but settled for two generations in Britain. Our children had an exciting experience of this part of the world they thought existed only in geography books. It all didn’t cost us [a family of two adults and two kids] more than Rs. 55,000 [GBP 700]. [It, of course, does not include air fare from/to Chennai.]

Andaman & Nicobar Islands send you back rejuvenated and marveling at nature’s bounty.

Photo courtesy: Pulkit


Zillion 2nd Innings said...

Good to see that you visited my home and had a pleasant time. You can help yur friends and relatives learn more about the "Floating Paradise on Earth" that's the southernmost tip of India by sending them to my blog, Koya! Looking forward to hosting you many more times in future.
Enjoy and Good Luck!

Shrinath Vashishtha said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog, Koya! You must've seen my earlier comment up here in this post of yours by the username - "zillion2ndinnings".

Do feel free to guide your visitors and friends to my blog at - ANDAMAN & NICOBAR THE HISTORIC INDIAN CORAL ISLANDS for a detailed account of the entire historic archipelago.

Do stay in touch and cheers! :-)