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The Andaman Islands are a beautiful island chain that are politically a part of India, but geographically much closer to Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). The chain includes about 300 islands, most of which are uninhabited. The Andamans are blessed with particularly clear seawater, coral reefs and sandy beaches.
The Andaman Islands have a population of 360,000, comprised mainly of migrants from the Indian mainland. The original islanders, some of who still survive, are indigenous tribes ethnically unrelated to India. The total land area is about 6500 square km (2500 sq miles)
Foreign travel to the Andaman Islands has only recently been allowed. Travel to the capital, Port Blair, is currently only available from Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras), and is available by airplane and sporadically by ship.
Luxury accommodations are scarce, travel is difficult and the few tourists that visit the Andamans, decide to camp or stay at spartan guesthouses. Life on the Andaman Islands, outside of Port Blair, is as you would expect in the tropics: slow-paced and relaxed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Andaman Islands and where are they located?
The Andaman Islands are a group of Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, comprising roughly 300 islands known for their palm-lined, white-sand beaches, mangroves, and tropical rainforests. They are located to the southeast of the Indian subcontinent, separated from Thailand and Myanmar by the Andaman Sea.
What is the best time to visit the Andaman Islands?
The best time to visit the Andaman Islands is between October and May. During these months, the weather is warm and pleasant, with minimal rainfall, making it ideal for beach activities and water sports. The monsoon season, from June to September, is less suitable due to high tides and heavy rains.
What activities can tourists enjoy in the Andaman Islands?
Tourists can indulge in a variety of activities in the Andaman Islands, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and exploring the vibrant coral reefs. Other popular activities include island hopping, visiting the Cellular Jail National Memorial, trekking in the lush forests, and witnessing the unique wildlife.
Are there any indigenous tribes in the Andaman Islands?
Yes, the Andaman Islands are home to several indigenous tribes, including the Sentinelese, Jarwa, Onge, and Great Andamanese. These tribes have lived in isolation for thousands of years and are among the last few communities to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.
How can one reach the Andaman Islands?
The primary entry point to the Andaman Islands is through the capital city, Port Blair, which is accessible by air and sea. Regular flights are available from major Indian cities like Chennai, Kolkata, and New Delhi. Additionally, passenger ship services are available from Chennai, Kolkata, and Visakhapatnam.