This beguiling archipelago lies scattered through the Bay of Bengal. At over 1,000kms off India's eastern coastline (the islands are actually closer to Myanmar and Thailand), you get the feeling you're far from anywhere else. Comprising 572 islands, only a dozen or so are actually open for tourists to visit.
For those who desire pristine beaches and rich biodiversity amongst jungles and fertile lands, the Andamans are remote, scenic and intriguing. Here, you can discover white sandy shores fringed with pristine coral reefs beneath turquoise, clear waters, providing unparalleled snorkelling and diving opportunities (some of the best in Southeast Asia!) Spend your days relaxing on the beach or island hopping, kayaking and fishing. On the land, discover lush jungles ideal for trekking and admiring the unique flora and fauna amongst the sounds of birdlife. In ETG’s opinion, the Andamans are some of the best-kept beach secrets in India! For those wanting to engage with British history, Port Blair played a somewhat depressing part in the Raj legacy… Ask your consultant for more information if you’re interested.
Getting there doesn’t always prove to be easy, though, as flight connections and ferries aren’t always reliable. Direct and indirect flights operate from many of India’s larger cities, with direct flights taking just over 2 hours from Chennai and Kolkata to the capital, Port Blair. From here, you can travel by ferry to the island of your choice - some hotels provide private clippers for easy access. The best time to visit the Andaman Islands is from late November through until early May, as the weather is drier and the seas are calmer.
As for accommodation, you can opt to stay on the beach or inland. The Taj Exotica on Havelock is a recently opened 5-star beach resort creating a lot of excitement. Barefoot Eco lodge is a rustic, eco-friendly option on the neighbouring beach. For an inland, boutique option, Jalakara is contemporary and relaxing high in the forest of north Havelock.