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A Trip Guide to Andaman

Visiting Andaman for the first time, you need to keep in mind the below mentioned instructions and precautions to make your trip a hassle-free and memorable one. Here is a list of information that you need to remember while visiting the place:

GETTING THERE

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By Plane- The airport is situated at Port Blair which is connected to Chennai, Kolkata and a lot of different cities within the country. This is the only airport for now, to reach Andaman. Jet Airways and Air India are the two most important flight operators for the region. Other than that, many other commercial flight operators also operate throughout the season. Prices of tickets are usually cheap if booked well in advance.

By Sea- It is also possible to take a cruise from Kolkata which will take around 4 days to reach Kolkata and is less expensive than flights. However, the services provide are very basic and the cabins and bunks given to rest are smaller in size. The timings of the ferries are not fixed and the arrival can extend up till 5 days owing to the weather conditions. The prices range from 7000 INR for the first class to as low as 1700 INR for securing bunks in the ship.

TRANSPORTATION WITHIN ISLANDS

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There are various small islands within Andaman and to visit them, most popularly preferred are the local ferries because the few helicopters and private seaplanes that provide the services of inter-island transportation are way too costly. The government-run Directorate of Shipping Services (DSS) runs the ferries back to mainland as well, operates two kinds of vessels: small tourist ferries and large local ferries. The fares for both are almost identical, charging 150-200 INR to travel from Port Blair to Havelock Island or vice-versa.

NOTE: The demands are very high during season, so make sure to pre-book your seats in the ferries by planning your vacation in advance (Psst! You can take our help in that).

Apart from inter island travel; travelling within the habited island is also a task. Don’t worry you can find many Auto-rickshaws and Taxis for smooth travelling in Port Blair as well as Havelock Island. Drivers of these vehicles also act up as a tour guide and so you get the benefit of both.

And if you are more into adventure and thrills, there are scooters and motor-cycles that you can rent and travel all on your own. The prices for this range between Rs.150 to 250 per day with a security deposit of around Rs.750-1000.

FOOD

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Well, you are in an island! Indulge yourself in some lip-smacking seafood. There are many big upscale restaurants in Port Blair to satisfy your taste buds. You can enjoy fresh Crab and Tuna here. There are also many local Dhabas on Havelock Island which offer good fish and other seafood dishes. Basic Indian dishes are also available, but then who would want to eat the same old thing in a new place? Apart from these delicious cuisines, some Resort restaurants also serve a limited set of western dishes but are very expensive and can create a hole in your pockets.

NOTE: Look out for allergies while having seafood because all this time living in mainland and having a set pattern of nutrients intake, our digestive system adjusts to a particular type of food intake and a sudden break to that pattern might spoil your trip. Therefore consult a doctor before leaving for Andaman.

DRINKS

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Not referring to alcohols, drinks in this part of the world means abundance of coconut water. It is the most popular and widespread drink available in Andaman. Not to disappoint you, Andaman is not a dry state, so you can get alcohol at some restaurants and at “English Wine and Beer Shops” in Port Blair and Havelock Islands. Andaman is fairly new in the travellers wish list, so as of yet no pubs or dance clubs or that party culture per se, has developed.

NOTE: The beers available at shops are not “chilled” as we know it, so don’t go looking out for anything of such sorts. And as stated earlier, the party culture has not yet developed, therefore you will not find amazingly lit, beach shacks or dance clubs or beer shops. What you will get is a poorly lit, bordering creepy Local bars.

CONNECTIVITY

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You may be going gaga over the release of this new network which has drastically cut down tariff rates and data charges but this happiness stays limited to the landmass of India. In Andaman, the network coverage of all operators is very poor and signal dropping is a norm. State-owned BSNL and Private Operators such as Vodafone and Airtel provide mobile services there.

Internet speed is frustratingly slow but still tolerable in Port Blair. Reliance network works in the city but is pathetically slow. A project for inter-connectivity is under process, over completion of which fast internet services and better network signal services will be provided for.

MISCELLANEOUS

Andaman is malarial, as it is an island, so prepare yourself accordingly and do not forget to carry Mosquito repellants (gel, sprays, coils and papers) to put in the place where you stay.

Many small islands have local native tribes which may not always be welcoming to foreigners since they see it as an attack on their sovereignty. Although the chances of a tourist crossing their paths is rare, you should still keep this in mind and control your adventurous spirit and not let it loose.

There is also this point of salt-water crocodiles. The reports of their attacks on tourists are very rare. They are mainly situated in Little Andaman Island (Northern and Western sides), Interview Island and narrow straits that separate the main islands. There’s nothing to worry because they mostly keep themselves to these regions and even there mostly spend their time within water.

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