As a solo traveler, one of the primary thoughts in my mind was ‘Does the place have enough exciting and engaging activities to do to keep me happily occupied’. The answer my dear readers, is a resounding ‘YES’.
A visit to Andaman & Nicobar Islands is likely to be one of your most memorable and exciting trips you may ever undertake! One of the most stunning locales in the world covering over 600 islands in a remote geography in the world defines Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Situated at the crossing of the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, these beautiful islands are a union territory of India though they are geographically closer to Myanmar and Indonesia. It is one of the seven union territories of India and its capital city is the spectacularly pretty city of Port Blair.
Of the more than 600 Islands in this area, only 9 are open to foreign visitors and the rest are all off limits primarily as they have unique and rare tribes and the world’s only Paleolithic people.
Things to Know
Do note that a permit needs to be obtained in advance either from the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi or the Foreigners registration office in Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Kolkata. It can also be obtained upon arrival in Port Blair.
This permit allows for a travel visiting period of not more than 30 days and covers many places in Andaman like South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island, Little Andaman Island, Neil Island, Diglipur, Baratang, and Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (not including Islands of Twin, Tarmugli, Pluto and Malay). You can stay overnight in the National Park with prior permission of the Parks authority with permission only.
Visits in a day are allowed to Islands like South Cinque Island, Ross Island, Narcondum Island, Interview Island, Brother Island, Sister Island and Barren Island.
Ok, so let me put it straight. Andaman Islands are primarily a destination sought after by honeymooners and families due to its scenic locales and calm waters. But you know what, that is actually deceiving as it has so much to offer a solo traveler irrespective of gender. So let’s dive right in and see what the Islands have to offer.
In this tropical paradise, there are so many things to do that it is easy to get lost in planning how to spend your days in Andaman. Let us make things simpler for you in this incredible journey.
Long Island or Guitar Island
Photograph by Minoti Satpute Singh
A wonderful little Island in the eastern coast of North Andaman is the beautifully named Guitar Island. It has a pretty white sand beach with calm and soothing waters off its coast and is really untouched by humans. All you will see are fishing boats going about on their regular day trips for catching fish and little else apart from it. It really does seem like the Island is yours for the taking!
Oh yes, you want to ask why the pretty name! As per the locals of the place, the name comes from the view of the Island if you happen to see it from the sky or a plane because it looks like a guitar!!
Photograph by Hari P S
This is one of the lesser known but magnificently beautiful beach which is an ideal spot for swimming and especially if you are a photography enthusiast in which case you will absolutely love it!
Geographically, this island lies on the northern side of the Long Island and can be visited together with this Island. It is a 45 minute boat ride here from Long Island on one of the Andaman administration operated jetties. You can also come here directly from Port Blair which would take 4-5 hours in a clear and quiet weather.
Don’t miss this for anything as this is one of the most underrated places Andaman has to offer and has the most amazingly delicious food too for the foodies reading this! Fish Fry is the dish to order and maybe more than once!
Photograph by Niladri Bhattacharya
This is one of the less famous beaches in Andaman and you must try Scuba diving here which is simply impressive. Coming here will just take you 2 hours in a ferry or jetty from the capital city of Port Blair.
It is a pristine and calm Island which has many places to explore like Ramnagar beach and Bharatpur beach along with the pretty rock bridge.
Rent a bike and explore the pretty Island and especially don’t forget to go to the Laxmanpur beach which has a brilliant and unique triangular edge on its coast.
It is also known as the ‘Vegetable Bowl of Andaman’ as it has been used for harvesting a lot of crops as it is blessed with good weather and good soil for a variety of crops.
Photograh by Minoti Satpute Singh
This is a small village which is off the beaten path for visitors to Andaman and is situated 25 kilometers from the town of Diglipur in north Andaman.
It is the perfect place for adventure seeking backpackers to go trekking to Saddle Peak which is the highest peak in Andaman. The beauty of this place can also be experienced through the quiet and unassuming village life and this will be on your itinerary if you are planning to visit the Ross and Smith Islands.
A unique activity to do here would be going on guided night walks to watch the nesting turtles here which are a pretty rare thing to witness and amazing to post on instagram, you bet!
Ross and Smith Islands
Staying in the north Andaman, there is also Ross and Smith Islands to visit which can be accessed from a boat ride from Diglipur by jetties or boats which would take 30-40 minutes. It is one of the most visited Islands in Andaman with good reason.
It has developing eco-tourism with some of the best beaches in the world which you just have to witness to understand its exquisiteness. They are marvelously decorated with thatched huts on the beach, sitting areas, hygiene facilities, swings under huge trees and hammocks swung around the tree trunks giving an amazing touristy vibe to the entire beach which you simply wouldn’t want to leave at all! It is the perfect place to be to have a chilled out holiday on one day and have an adventure filled day out on another with the yin and the yang so beautifully balanced in these Islands!
One more Instagram worthy activity to do is to walk across the area connecting the two Islands which is made possible in low tides and it is safe to do so!
Another interesting place to visit as a solo backpacker would be the Hutbay which is situated at a 45 minute ride from Port Blair if you take a chopper or seven-eight hours if you travel by ship. It is the most attractive surfing beach you can ever imagine! This island is located in the geographical area of Little Andaman which has the longest beach in the whole of Andaman and Nicobar too. It extends for up to 22 kilometers from one end to the other.
Another beach here deserves a mention which is the butler bay beach fast becoming popular among-st the tourists frequenting the place. It has numerous resorts scattered all over the beach and is the perfect destination for surfing. Surf boards are available for rent or purchase in the small little shops on the beach and you can also choose to do sun bathing or snorkeling in the clear turquoise blue waters.
Wait, you do need one more day to spend here. Once you are done with all the above activities and yes loads of photographing the awesome waters and the sunsets, go ahead and visit the surf waterfall nearby. This is situated at a short trek of 10 kilometers from the town, inside a jungle and has an entry fees as well. It is located bang in the middle of a thick jungle with bamboo and banana plantations falling 20 metres below and is nothing short of a wonder!
Corbyns’s Cove Beach
It is one of the most historically significant beaches in the city of Port Blair and one which is comparatively more commercialized as well. It has a number of options to stay and dine in and leaves you spoiled for choice.
One of the most famous sights to behold here are the long rows of coconut trees dotting the landscape of the beach leaving you with so many selfie moments! Many water sports can be enjoyed here as well like the Jet Ski and the speed boat rides offered on the beaches by number of local shops with or without the guides to assist you with, though it is advisable to take a guide with you who knows the waters well.
Munda Pahar Beach
Photograh by shubhayan banik
This attraction is located in southern part of the Andaman’s archipelago and is one of the hidden gems of the group of Islands. It deserves a special mention and at least 2 days on your itinerary as it is full of scenic locales and picturesque places dotted with unique kinds of trees which lends a dreamy and scenic beauty to the place.
The Andaman administration has taken various measures to beautify the beach and put out many sitting arrangements for the comfort and attraction of the visitors to this beach.
Do visit the beach at the time of the sunset and do carry your selfie stick with you! You can capture beautiful Facebook worthy pictures which you will love to share with your family and friends who will be jealous of you at the same time! Swimming is another activity which can be easily and comfortably done here as the waters are very calm and serene at this beach with very low tides.
A must see place in Andaman is Mayabunder situated in the middle Andaman area which is one of the most unique and naturally beautiful places in the world with mangrove forests all around it. Mayabunder mangrove forests are said to be so dense and lush that they cover an area spanning hundreds of acres and the Jarawa rain forest also falls in this area.
You can also go for mangrove kayaking in this town which is basically kayaking in between the forest waters which is as amazing and beautiful as it sounds. Soak in the greenery of the area which is a sight for sore city eyes and be one with nature in this amazing water activity which will be a joy for times to come. Do remember to get your selfie stick with you on this kayaking journey and capture all the sights and the sounds and the pristine views on the way.
Dhani Nallah Mangrove Nature Walkway
Among-st the lush green mangroves, there is a striking natural wonder taking place which you can witness if you visit the area in the months of January to March. This is the annual turtle breeding and nesting season which is a rare sight to behold for everyone who is yet to see something so amazing and beautiful.
While walking though the huge and dense forest area, you will see lovely baby turtles who have just been born on the beach crawling to the sea waters. The charming walk in the woods was approximately covering an area of one kilometer and was dotted with a variety of mangrove trees which were adorned with labels of their scientific names as well as local names.
So my dear friends, do you still need more reasons to visit the land of nature and fantastic beauty! Call forth the wanderer in you and succumb to the splendor of this little beautiful gems of Andaman tucked away in the corners of India and make it the trip of your lifetime.