These islands are jewels in the Bay of Bengal that many people haven’t even heard of.
That’s partly because access is strictly limited and controlled to protect the native tribespeople from diseases they will have no resistance against. So, if you want to go, you’ll need the regular Indian visa applicable to your nationality as well as a special permit that can be obtained from the Immigration Office at the airport.
So, why’s it worth going? Well, as we said, there’s the fact that most of your friends will ask “Where?” added to the romance of an almost undiscovered space. Let’s face it, there aren’t too many of those around.
But, seriously, you can pack several holidays into one in this destination. Because it’s a group of islands, you’ll find myriad different experiences to suit just about every taste (apart from skiing!). And, because of the area’s isolated nature, many of the natural treasures are unspoiled. Try scuba diving on one of the richest coral eco systems in the world. Go dolphin watching. Take a tour to the limestone caves or the volcano on Barren Island. Hop on a helicopter and get a bird’s eye view of some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. And don’t miss the spectacular light show at the historic Cellular Jail in Port Blair, which tells the history of the islanders’ part in the battle for Indian independence.
You’ll be visiting the home of the Rajan, the famous swimming elephant. Like many working elephants, he was taught to swim during his working life which involved travelling between islands, and then continued to do so, much to tourists’ delight, in his retirement. However, Rajan passed in 2016. Beware of visiting his successors. The Andamans are incredibly rich in local wildlife. If you’re going to seek an animal experience, do your homework. Make sure whatever you’re doing is ethically managed and does not involve close human contact. Worldanimalprotection.org is a good place to start.