Things you must know to plan your Andaman tour packages
Andaman islands have recently poped up in the map of every tourists and travel agents as the favourite tourist spot in India. Specially after the violence in Kashmir and the frequent natural calamities in North India, Andaman tour packages are the most sorted after tour packages.
Andaman is different !
Andaman islands are situated 1200 kms from mainland India and are seperated by the Indian Ocean. Ships and flights are the main modes of conveyance between what we call mainland India and these islands. Needless to mention materials and commodities get transported via cargo ships and are priced double here, so are the services.
How to plan your Andaman tour packages ?
You need to decide on three major aspects of your tour. Duration, Sightseeing and Budget. Balancing all these three is the key to an amazing Andaman tour package. Duration of your holiday is upto you and may be your boss. Once you decide on the number of days, fix your budget. We will help you decide the sightseeing and island trips as per your choice. Andaman has a lot to offer, you must have the time and interest.
How much shall I spend on hotels and tours?
To be honest, you will get much better hotel rooms in your city but you won't get to experience nature like this anywhere else. Hence focus on tours and activities rather than hotels. I am sure once you land here, you ll go back to your hotel only in the night to sleep and wake up the next morning for another outing full of new experiences. If you have the budget, you may choose the luxury beach resorts. But if you are planning your Andaman tour package on a limited budget save your money for a lot more interesting stuff like Scuba Diving, Sea Walk, Game Fishing or Island hopping.
What to expect and what not to expect ?
No comparisons please. Sydney, Bangkok, Malayasia and for that matter Goa has far better infrastructure than Andamans. The hotels here are costly (I explained the reason above), Food is expensive and there is no night life. No it is not Bangkok or Goa.
Andaman is more of nature and its serene beaches. A must visit place to know how our freedom fighters struggled in these remote islands and the infamous Kaala Paani for our freedom.
Do expect the following in your Andaman tour !
Nature at its best (94% of these islands are under reserve forest cover).
A rare combination of Sea, forests and hills.
Rich coral reefs and colourful fishes in their natural habitat.
A flash back into the hgistory of India's freedom struggle.
Adventure activities like Scuba Diving, Sea Walk (Only of its kind activity available only in Andaman) and Sports fishing.
India's only active volcano which has erupted for the first time after 1991.
Good beach resorts (Of course for a good price).
Tropical climate round the year.
Liquor shops and quality bars for a good price.
Do not expect the following in your Andaman tour !
Interaction with the primitive tribals (Jarawas). They are happy in their natural habitat and we must let them live their lifestyle. Remeber interacting with the Jarawas is a punishable offence under the law.
Wifi and virtual world. It may be a boon or curse, the way you take it. The internet connectivity is very slow due to satellite bandwidth. No, there is no physical wire connecting India. So the only option is to let your mobile phone relax in your bag and you relax in the arms of nature.
Night life and sex tourism. If that is in your mind, cancel your tickets right away.
Good hotels at throw away price. There are good beach resorts in Andaman but they are priced relatively high compared to metro cities. A 3 star hotel which costs you Rs.3000 in Delhi will cost you Rs.7000 in Andaman and in tourist season it may cost Rs.10,000.
Some myths about Andaman
Andaman is too far and its tough to reach. Thats the biggest myth. Andaman is now connected via direct flights from Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
It is very costly. We better visit Thailand.As mentioned above, it is little expensive but then it is unique. If you visit once you will definitely recommend people. Yes its that good.
We get to see the Jarawas in their primitive stage. Sorry you don't. They live in their protected reserve forests and we respect their privacy.
Andaman is a small island and can be covered in a day or two. Andaman and Nicobar group comprises of 572 islands and the largest of them, Great Nicobar is spread across 920 Square kilometres. The 350 km Andaman trunk road from Port Blair to Diglipur is a national highway.
Five most amazing facts about Andaman
Barren Island in Andaman and Nicobar is the only active volcano in India
Barren Island in Andaman is the only active volcano in India. Barren Island Volcano errupted in the year 1991 and was dormant till Feb 2017. The volcano has once again errupted and smoke and lava flowing out of the crater is visible from far.
There is no regular connectivity to Barren island and it is not permitted to go to the island. Tourists can charter a game fishing boat to go for fishing near the island and witness the rare volcano live from a distance.
To charter a game fishing boat to Barren Island Click here.
Dugong (The state animal of Andaman and Nicobar islands)
These peace loving mammals are found largely in the Andaman sea. They survive mostly on sea grass are strictly vegetarians unlike other sea creatures. It is a vulnerable species and an average Dugong weighs about 300 Kgs.These innocant marine mammals had been the soft target for smugglers worldwide, who had been killing them for meat, oil and bones. But in Andaman these mammals have been given special protection under the wild life act.
Also famous as sea cows among locals it can not survive under water for very long duration. With its unique structure and harmless nature, it is the favourite of all sea animals for Scuba Divers.
The southern most of India is not Kanyakumari, Yes it is Indira Point in Andaman and Nicobar
Not known to many is the fact that the southernmost point in India is Indira point in Great Nicobar. Named after our former prime minister Indira Gandhi, this island was submerged upto 06 metres during Tsunami in 2004.The island has a light house as seen in the picture. The light house once on the sea shore is now standing tall in the middle of the sea due to the increase in sea level.
There is a Air traffic control tower built on a tree top. This point once witness to many VIP visits is now seen mostly from the helicopters. Lack of proper connectivity to Great Andaman doesnt allow tourists to visit this place.Plans are being made to connect this island with helicopter service in future. May be some day you can click a selfie at the southern most point of India.
Andaman is the nesting ground for world's largest Sea Turtle: The leather back turtle
World's largest turtle, the leather back sea turtle nests in the beaches of Andaman sea. The 900 Kg sea turtle has its evolution history of 100 million years. These 7 feet long creatures can dive 4000 feet under water and stay there for as long as 35 minutes. They live for 80 years on average. The most amazing fact about this turtles is that the female lays around 100 eggs on the shores of Andaman islands and go back into the water and never come back to same place again. The eggs take 60 days to hatch. The turtle babies are born 2-3 inches in size and are left all alone to go to the sea. Unfortunately they are the favourite targets of the predatory fishes and only one in thousand babies grow up to become an adult leather back turtle. This is unique. Isn't it ?
The most isolated tribe in the world has been living in andaman for 600 years
This is the closest possible recent picture of the worlds most isolated tribes, the Sentinelese. These tribes are beleived to be decendents from Africa and had been living isolated from the modern world in the north sentinel island for more than 600 years. The island was destroyed by Tsunami in 2004 but it is still a mystery that how the sentinelese mangaed to survive. All attempts to go near the island and study about them have been rejected by these tribes with shooting arrows.
A naval helicopter that flew over the Island was shot by an arrow which almost killed the pilot. These tribals live on the natural resources available on the island and have never tried to venture out of their territory nor do they allow any one to come near them. And you thought you can't survive without a Jio sim ?
Things to carry for your Andaman tour
Your Photo ID proof. (RAP for foreign nationals). You will need it at the Airport, Jetty, hotels,Cruise and reserved forest areas.
Age proof of the kids. Full fare is charged for Children above 2 yrs in cruises and above 5 yrs in hotels.
Sufficient cash, Although there are ATM machines available in most islands but satellite link failure is a regular thing in Andamans.
Medicines. If you are under any type of medication then carry sufficient medicines for your stay duration. There are no medicine shops in Havelock & Neil Island.
Extra pair of changing clothes, towels and your swim suit for all beach tours and sea activities.
A BSNL or Airtel sim card. Sorry no JIO here ! A power bank is also a good idea.
An umbrella during monsoon season.
T shirts, shorts and floaters are ideal for Andaman.
Do's and Don'ts in Andaman
Carry minimum baggage for a comfortable tour.There are no porters in Havelock and Neil.
You can drop the extra baggages in your Port Blair hotel.
Be on time. The ferry, Cruise, island boats, Baratang convoy, Light & sound show etc have fixed timings.
If you are late you miss the tour and there are no refunds for no show or last moment cancellations.
Wear life jacket. Always wear the life jacket for your safety. Remember your life is precious than your selfie or comfort.
Remember you are being watched by the Tourist Safety Enforcement Team (TSET) and can be fined or denied to board the boats without life jackets.
Follow the safety Instructions. While in sea observe the safety signs and adhere to the instructions of the life guards.
Take special care of your children and elders. Do not venture into no swimming zones and do not disturb the marine eco system.