Andaman and Nicobar Islands Accommodation

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Where to stay in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Exploring the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Where the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea meet is a chain of remote, exotic islands that technically belong to India but in reality are a world unto themselves. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are about as adventurous as island vacations come. Just getting to these far-flung islands is an odyssey since they lie over 1,000 miles from the nearest piece of land. The only flights here come in from India and land in the sleepy capital of Port Blair.

But once your reach the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, time slows to a crawl and tourist ferries provide transport between nine of the 600 islands in the archipelago. Port Blair is the only town of note here, with a smattering of British colonial buildings and most of the amenities. Many travellers come for the scuba diving, which is superb around Havelock Island. Neil Island is the other main tourist destination, catering to eco-conscious travellers who want to immerse themselves in beautiful empty beaches and lush jungle.

Sights nearby

Only nine of the 600 or so islands here are open to foreigners, most of whom head to Havelock Island. The beaches and diving on Havelock are top-drawer, and some of the nicest resorts are here as well. Though the overall infrastructure of the islands is fairly basic, visitors can find both remote, undeveloped hideaways and comfortable resort accommodation.

Havelock Island
Though the infrastructure here is minimal, Havelock Island has the most developed tourism scene. Its beaches, creatively numbered one to seven, are as pretty and as pristine as any in Asia. Radhanagar (Beach #7) is an award-winner. Most of the resorts are located along the eastern coast, which is also where dive shops and other amenities are concentrated. Elephant Beach and Radhanagar are both excellent sites for snorkelling and scuba diving if you get tired of chilling out on the soft sand.

Port Blair
The capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is as sleepy as you’d expect of a remote tropical island. While not a spectacular town, Port Blair is where the only museums, historic sites like Cellular Jail and the Japanese Bunkers, and the majority of lodging is found. Besides walking the seaside promenade, visitors often take boat excursions to neighbouring islands like Barren Island, where India’s only volcano is located, and North Bay Island, which is nice for glass-bottom boat tours and snorkelling.

Neil Island
One of the most relaxing islands here is Neil Island, a lightly developed place with a handful of eco-friendly resorts and few amenities. People come here to escape the relative tourism bustle of Havelock, and are rarely disappointed. You can walk the perimeter of little Neil Island in under two hours, stopping at beaches that specialise in calm swimming conditions, shell hunting, and powdery white sand that is ideal for lounging about on. Boats run from Port Blair daily in a 1 hour, 30 minute trip.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Shopping is probably the one activity you won’t indulge in while visiting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but thankfully the dining scene is very alluring. Port Blair has the most restaurants to choose from, and seafood and Indian fare are the norm. Check around the clocktower’s bazaar for a good selection of eateries in Port Blair or pop into any resort along the beaches of Havelock or Neil islands for more eating and drinking options. Nightlife on these islands is as sedate as the atmosphere, but you can usually find a cold beer at resorts like Hotel Sentinel and Peerless Sarovar Portico.

Public transport

Port Blair’s Vir Savarkar Airport is the only air gateway in the Andaman Islands and the main entry point for the vast majority of travellers. Regular flights arrive from a handful of Indian cities like Chennai and Kolkata, and there is always the four-day ferry from Kolkata if you prefer the slow and scenic route. To move between the islands, there are good passenger ferries that run from Port Blair to the other eight islands that are open to foreigners. Auto rickshaws are the main form of public transportation on the large islands, though in reality you can walk most places.

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