Andaman is one of the extraordinary regions of the world owing to its ecological biodiversity, and rich cultural heritage. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are together made up of 572 islands in total. 325 of these islands belong to the Andaman region.
Apart from the pristine beaches and turquoise waters of Andaman, the marine life of the island is teeming with exotic species. Till date over 560 various species of coral have been documented at the island. The island is the only place in India that provides a nesting site to leather back sea turtles, which is the largest of all living sea turtles.
Tropical evergreen forests are another specialty of this island.
Tourists can explore the dense vegetation offered by Andaman by indulging in the mangrove creek safari’s offered at various island.
Traveling to Andaman from any major city in India is a hassle free process. Read on to know more about the different modes of transport that can take you to piece of paradise on Earth.
Indian Nationals traveling to Andaman
Indian citizens do not need a passport to travel to Andaman Islands. A valid card is enough or identification purposes. Traveling to Andaman is like traveling to any other part of the country, citizens can take a flight or cruise to Andaman.
There are no Visa requirements to be fulfilled by Indian citizens but a form needs to filled that will grant access to the restricted areas on Andaman. Tourists require a permit to travel to Jolly Bouy, Cinque and some of the other islands.
Travel to Andaman by Flight
The quickest way to reach Andaman Islands from any other part of India is by flights. The Veer Savarkar International Airport, popularly known as the Port Blair Airport, is situated 2 km south of the capital city of Andaman. The airport operates around the clock offering passengers the comfort of traveling at their own convenience.
Tourists can find direct flights to Port Blair from the metropolitan cities of Chennai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, and this journey takes about 2 hour 30 minutes. Airlines that offer nonstop flights to the capital city are Spice Jet, GoAir, IndiGo, and Vistara offer direct flights to the capital city.
There are several one stop flight routes available from other major metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar. This journey can take anywhere from 5 to 9 hours depending on the airline, city and layover hours.
Travel to Andaman by Ship
If you plan on reaching Andaman by waterways, then you can get aboard a passenger ship from Chennai, Kolkata or Vishakhapatnam.
The journey from these cities to the Haddo Jetty Andaman usually takes about 3 days.
These passenger ships travel to and fro from Port Blair 1 to 4 times in a month. The scheduled dates for sailing are drawn a month in advance, so be sure to check the same before booking your tickets. Please note, this sailing service is provided by the Government and the fleet does not include any luxury ships.
Passenger wanting to see the latest schedule or book tickets can visit the official government website of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration.
As per the many reviews about the passenger ship to Andaman, the journey can take more than the estimated time of travel due to weather conditions and sometime, several hours of hold up at the source and destination jetties.
Foreign Tourists traveling to Andaman
All foreigners traveling to Andaman require a valid passport and Indian Visa. Additionally tourists required to obtain the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) in order to visit restricted places in Andaman Islands.
These requirements are applicable to all foreign tourists traveling by private flights and yachts as well.
A RAP can be availed at the immigration counter at the airport or the sea port, depending on the mode of the travel. It is usually issued for a period of 30 days, post which it can be extended for an additional 15 days. The extension needs to be applied for before 3 days of the original permit date lapse.
Luxury cruise ships that dock in Andaman
You can visit Andaman as a part of your cruise that has a stopover at the Island. There are several luxury cruises that ply between Thailand and Andaman Islands. You can explore the many islands of both Thailand and Andaman in the lap of luxury, convenience and beauty all in one trip. The number of days that you spend in Andaman, depend on the cruise you choose but, usually you get about a week to experience the biodiversity of Andaman. In case of foreign nationals, all passport, Visa and RAP access requirements stay the same.
Private flight trip to Andaman
At the time of writing, there are no international flights landing directly in the capital city of Port Blair at Andaman Islands. If you are traveling from a foreign country to Andaman, you will first need to reach one of the major cities in India and then take a connecting or direct flight to Andaman. This journey can easily take 14 – 24 hours depending on the layover hours.
If your priority is hassle free travel, then taking a private flight to Andaman is the way to go ahead. Apart from passport, Visa, RAP access, tourists will require special flying permits, and several forms to be filled at the customs and immigration counters. Private flights need to comply with the guidelines outlined by the Director General of Civil Aviation.
Private yacht trip to Andaman
Nothing gets better than traveling to the pristine islands of Andaman by your very own private yacht. As of now, the only foreign country that tourists can travel to Andaman by boat is Thailand. The journey from Phuket island to Andaman can take up to more than 2 days, in case of constant travel. Make sure to check on weather conditions before you embark on this journey.
Private Yachts can dock on the Chatham anchorage. Authorities will visit your yacht to complete the required formalities at the time of entry. It is recommended, tourists contact a local agency to assist them in getting all the required documents in place as the entry and exit formalities are quite extensive in case of private yachts.