ANDAMAN TRAVEL TIPS – 14 THINGS TO KNOW!!
If you’re traveling to Andaman and Nicobar Islands for the first time, there are few things you should know.
Andaman Island is a beautiful pristine paradise! It is one of the best getaways that are closer to home filled with turquoise hued water and white sandy beaches.
I love the rustic ruins of Ross Island and mysterious Cellular Jail of historical significance. The Havelock Island is breathtakingly awesome with Radhanagar and Elephant beaches at its best. Do not miss snorkeling and Scuba diving here!
Planning a trip to Andaman? Here is an ultimate guide to plan ahead of your beach holidays – Andaman and Nicobar Islands Travel guide!!
Here are 14 best Andaman travel tips that’ll help you on your first trip.
- Early to Bed, Early to Rise:
In Andaman, Sunrises by 5:22 AM and the day ends early by 5 PM. It dusks quickly and dissolves into pitch-black night so rapidly by 5:30 PM. Early to bed, early to rise helps to be on time with the ferry schedule and you could also spend more time while visiting any places. So, start early!
- Carry extra cash:
Even though you had pre-booked your hotels and flight, you might need extra cash in hand when you travel. Golden rule is to, “Never put all eggs in one basket”. Split up your money and carry safely. In Andaman, we tried to withdraw cash in two of the ATMs and it didn’t have enough cash. Finally, we had to pay using cards. So, do take your credit/debit cards as an alternative.
- Photocopies of documents:
Always make photo copies of all important documents when you’re travelling including your passport. Carry two copies of passport size photographs. Don’t ask why? This will serve as a backup if in case you lose the originals. ID card is a must and you need to provide for permits. It is best to carry photocopies of your ID cards, hotel bookings and ferry ticket bookings. As we didn’t find any net café nearby, we had to take print-out at the hotel. Do carry your driving license as it is needed to get your rental bikes.
- Use locker rooms:
When you are going for any beach, do not carry any valuables. We left everything except our cameras and a pair of dress to change when we went to Radhanagar and Elephant beach. There are locker rooms available in beaches and you could use them at a minimal cost.
- Carry a water bottle:
Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day as the sun will be at its peak by 8:30 AM in the morning. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it at your hotel so that you don’t need to buy it often.
- Swimming / snorkeling in the beaches:
Do bring your own snorkeling gear so that you could spend more time in exotic beaches watching all underwater lives.
If any of the beaches has warning signs of salt-water crocodile inhibition, do take it seriously and do not step into water. There were incidents reported at Wandoor Beach, Neil’s cove beaches and Corbyn’s cove. Please beware of the reptiles. Swim/snorkel only in the area where it is allowed and ensure to stick closer to the shore. Stay within your limits for a happier vacation! Do not go deeper into sea to frighten everyone around! Do not swim/snorkel alone in the sea.
The moment you get to see the aquatic underwater lives, you would be super-excited!! Thumb rule is not to touch anything! Do not touch any of the corals or sea animals.
There are lots of stinging animals and even a stone fish could be camouflaged amidst the corals. If you are stung or bitten by any of the aquatic lives, do report it to a diver or doctor immediately. Sea urchins are deadly and they are commonly found in the sea. I spotted a few sticking to the shorelines in the water sports complex. Do not try to pick up any cone shells as it is one of the deadliest creatures.
Do not stay overnight in any beaches or forests. No bonfires or no hammocks after sunset.
- Do not stock up your luggage:
Never stock up a complete wardrobe in your suitcase. Pack less, if you’re not going to plan for any longer stay at any places. If your Andaman plan trip includes island hopping, then it would be a better idea not to over pack. Hefty baggage will be a burden when you hop island. Besides, the extra space will have room for any souvenirs or gifts.
Our luggage includes one duffle bag for me, one suitcase for Lazz and two backpacks for each of us. We felt it little difficult when we had to carry all those baggage while hopping islands through ferries. Likewise, make sure to pack a pair of dress in your hand baggage/carry on, so that it would be helpful if in case your luggage was stolen or you missed it during your journey.
Not sure, what type of dress to pack for your trip?
I packed a pair of denim pants and capris with a couple of t-shirts in my carry on. My duffle bag includes a pair of dresses for walking around the city, exploring Ross Island with a pair of denim coat and a shrug. I packed three sets of beach wear for Havelock Island. Light colored full sleeved tops and pants are must! They help you to protect from sunrays when you visit Baratang Island and save you from stringent mosquitoes during your night travel.
Pack light and enjoy your trip happily!
- Befitting Foot wear:
Beaches… Beaches… Beaches… it is full of them! Do not spoil your Carlton London boots in turquoise hued beaches, like I did, the moment I saw Radhanagar beach in Havelock Island. Flip-flop slipper is the ideal footwear to explore not only Andaman any beaches for that matter. Sneakers or belly shoes suits for touring the city. Besides, carry a pair of socks that would be useful during your night stay at any places.
- Unpretentious Accessories:
Undeniably you need to carry sunglasses, hat, and stoles to prevent from sun-tan. When it comes to jewelries we don’t prefer to wear gold during our travel, just to be on safer side. Do not wear any shimmering or sparkling jewelry while you swim in the beaches or go for snorkeling as it might attract other marine animals. Earrings, that I wore during swimming in Radhanagar beach rusted due to saline water. So, keep it light and simple!
- Unexceptional Toiletries:
I’ve a few refillable and reusable toiletry bottles that take the first place whenever we pack our things for any travel. My travel essentials includes one for oil, one for moisturizer, one for shampoo, one for liquid face-wash and one for conditioner. The good thing is they don’t spill or spoil your baggage!
I put everything in a small toiletry bag along with two travel-friendly small soap bars, two tooth brushes, a small tube of toothpaste and washing detergent sachets. You need sunscreen and mosquito repellant creams as well.
Once it dusks, it is the land of mosquitoes! A few of my friends who’ve been to Andaman recently returned with fever. So, we packed two long sleeved tops and full pants along with mosquito repellant creams. Essential oils like citronella, lemongrass will repel mosquitoes. You could use them when you go for any trekking.
- Handy Medical Kit:
Do carry a small medical kit with band-aids, cottons, bandages and Dettol solution. We also packed some paracetamol, anti-vomiting drug, and antacid drugs.
- Others travel essentials:
Do carry a small flash light as you rarely find street lights in Andaman. I did packed my Swiss knife which we used to take during all our trips. We carried our laptop with us to transfer photos from camera as and when we needed.
- Do not visit restricted tribes/Islands:
There are certain don’ts every traveler must know and adhere to it before planning a trip to these exotic islands of Andaman.
- Never ever try to visit any restricted tribal islands! North Sentinel Island is one of them and Sentinelese who had inhabited this island for almost 60,000 years. They do not have any contact with outsiders and attack ruthlessly if any one tries to intrude into their boundary. Your curiosity of wanderlust might get you a free travel pass to Death Valley to remain dead there. Recent attack on John Chau’s shows that how they are hostile to strangers. Let us, be respectful and allow them to live peacefully in their own terrain.
- Jarwas are one of the nomadic tribe of Andaman and they have continued to thrive in the dense forest. Andaman Trunk road which passes through the dense Jarwa reserve forest of 49 Kms begins from the check post with a lot of instructions to be followed during the journey. Strictly, no photography is allowed until we cross the reserved forest. No interactions with the Jarwa tribe or stopping the car. Violation of any of the rule will end up in imprisonment.
- Do not carry any corals or shells as they are punishable offence and may lead to imprisonment. If you had accidentally picked any corals, do drop it right there!
- Be Human and Be respectful:
It is the whole responsibility of us to keep the beaches and surroundings clean. Do not litter around the pristine beaches as it may kill the marine life. During our trip to Baratang Limestone caves, we saw the mangroves creeks littered with plastic water bottles, covers and papers. Let’s learn to leave the nature at its best for our future generation kids and enjoy every moment out of it.
The last but not the least, is being mindful of others to stay happy throughout your vacation!!