As people who have been an integral part of the tourist experience in Andamans for several years now, we have seen travellers planning trips to this ultimate island destination with utmost care but still tend to get a few things horrendously wrong.
Here is a guideline to make your trip hassle free and ensure a wonderful experience throughout the stay.
1. Planning a short vacation
This is the most common mistake made by tourists. Andamans with its rich history and culture has a lot to offer. This definitely takes at least five days to cover. It is not recommended to plan 3 day trips as it gives you a feeling that the vacation has ended even before it starts.
Havelock, Neil and Port Blair are the most sought after tourist destinations. You could explore all the three or choose to opt for a relaxing stay at one of the resorts here. If you are staying for a longer duration, you can make use of the opportunity to explore offbeat places like the Barren Island, Mangrove Creeks, Chidiya Tapu, Diglipur, Rangat island. This requires you to make a 7 to 8 day itinerary so that you explore all these places along with the popular tourist destinations.
2. Not making the bookings on time
Making your bookings is the most pivotal part of your trip. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Make sure you complete your bookings for hotels, ferries and flights beforehand so that it is one less thing you need to worry about when it is time for your departure. It is recommended you do this at least 2 months prior so that there is no immediate surge in prices as the dates near.
Considering you travel in a large group, make sure you book the activities beforehand to avoid standing in a queue or wasting a lot of your precious time on the island. The above factors are most crucial especially for the peak seasons of December and January when the majority of the population dive in to enjoy the holiday season of Christmas and New Year.
3. Expecting high speed internet
Time for some heartbreaks! Many people believe that the internet is going to work as well as it does in the mainland. Nothing could be farther from the truth. So if you are planning on uploading instagram stories or having a video call with your friends highlighting the many adventures of the trip, patience is the key.
BSNL, Vodafone and Airtel are the most used network operators in these areas. But you cannot expect to have all round connectivity. So if you have any important work to be done, it is best to have it postponed.
Looking at the bright side, this will enable you to be off the grid and truly enjoy being in the moment.
NOTE: You do not need to carry an international sim in Andamans.
4. Not packing the right clothes
Keep in mind that Andamans is a tropical destination. Most of your time would be spent in white sandy beaches and sparkly azure waters swimming, taking a stroll or participating in water sports activities. Hence it is important you carry light clothes preferably made up of cotton, sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, fast-drying towels and rubber sandals or flip-flops.
It is not recommended to carry high heels as you would be moving around a lot. Given you travel during the rainy season, pack rain coats, umbrellas, rain shoes and windcheaters.
While going for hikes, it is suggested you carry the appropriate hiking shoes and comfortable clothing, caps.
5. Thinking your SIM card will get connectivity
As mentioned earlier, you need not expect great connectivity in these parts. There may be network issues most of the time.
The best available network is for BSNL. So you may try your best with the same. However, it isn’t recommended to completely put your faith in either.
6. Thinking the trip would be too expensive
Please do not fret! Andmans is for everyone.
Your expenses completely depend upon your stay and leisure activities. In order to save money that can be spent enjoying various activities and exploring beautiful cuisines in the shacks / cafes along the beach, it is recommended you make the important bookings much earlier. Book your flights at least two months before the trip. The same goes for ferries and accommodation. If done so, you would have a rough estimate of the remaining budget which can be spent lavishly in eateries or walking through shopping arenas
7. Thinking Andamans is only for the honeymooners
Though Andamans offer an exquisite holiday experience to the honeymooners, with candle lit dinners under the starry nights and wonderful beaches with beautiful sunsets which are otherwise less crowded, providing a relaxing nocturnal stay, it is not just for the newly weds!
It is an amazing destination for families who can take up accommodation with a pool, enjoying various games and indulging in water sports activities along the beaches, going for family dinners and exploring the rich history of India in Cellular Jail, Viper Island. It is also popular among backpackers and solo travellers who explore the lesser known places and go for jungle hikes.
8. Thinking Andamans is just about water sports
Andamans as an ultimate island destination is exclusive for its water sports activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling which lets you explore the rich marine life and coral reefs underwater, species which are endemic to these islands with most of the biological phenomenon still unfounded. It is also popular for kayaking in the midst of cool, shady mangroves and jetski, parasailing rides on the beaches. Though a synonym for water sports, it won’t be just to place Andamans with the set expectations alone. It is popular for its jungle hikes which lets you explore the rarest species of birds and animals, experiencing a sound vacation in secluded beaches, going beach hopping and exploring various cuisines, dolphin watching and so on and so forth.
9. Expecting luxurious cruise rides
There are no luxury cruise lines under operation in the Andamans. There are a set of catamarans or cruises used only for transporting people from one island to the next. These prolong till the time it reaches its destination, which is only a few hours in a day with no facilities for a night stay.
10. Not carrying a medical kit
This cannot be stressed enough! Carry a small medical kit on your journey at all times. Medicines would most definitely be available but most of it is imported from the mainland itself. In a worst case scenario, these may run out of supply. To be on the safer side, it is always best to carry your own essentials.