Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a group of 572 islands located in the Bay of Bengal. It is around 1600 km away from the Indian subcontinent down South-East.
Andaman Islands are very relaxed in rules. Just some simple ettiquetes like dressing up properly and asking for permission before taking pictures should be kept in mind. Having said that, since Andamans is a protected area, one should not expect comfort equivalent to the level of one on mainland in India.
The Andaman Islands have pleasant climate throughout the year. The Islands experience monsoon twice a year- mid May to Aug. and Nov.to Jan. Therefore, one can visit these Islands in any season.
Only 32 of the main islands are open to tourists. Entry to rest of the islands is restricted for research purposes.
For Indians: No passport/visa/permission is required. They can stay in permitted areas for as long as they want.
For Foreigners: A passport is required with an Indian Visa to enter India. This is also applicable to foreigners entering Andaman and Nicobar Islands directly from a charter/private yachts. Additionally, a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is also required which can be availed on arrival to from the Immigration counter at the airport or, embarkation of ships at the sea-port. RAP is issued for a 30 day visit to the islands, and is extendable up to 15 more days. Tickets can be rescheduled in Port Blair itself from the respective airline offices.
The quantum of tourist inflow to the islands is a testimony of how safe tourists feel in the islands. These islands are one of the safest places to live/travel in the country.
Andaman is not known for its vegetarian cuisine but with the inflow of tourists, vegetarian food has become easily available. So YES, if you are a vegetarian travelling to the island, you need not worry. In fact, there are a few vegetarian restaurants we recommend.
The Andaman Islands is a very relaxed place so the rules are simple as well. Act with respect and decorum, dress appropriately (especially away from the beach), and as anywhere, always ask permission before taking photographs of the local population. A beach destination does not mean that the locals are used to seeing women in revealing
A beach destination does not mean that the locals are used to seeing women in revealing swimwear. Please be sensitive to the traditions of the locals and cover up when in areas where locals are present like jetty areas and village markets.
Having said that, we would like to stress that the Andamans is a remote place and although the people are casual, one should not expect the kind of comfort or the level of service that is expected of a hotel/resort in mainland India.
Preferably carry travellers cheques and cash in Indian currency up to $100 at all times to pay for local services. Credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, Amex are also widely accepted in Andaman.
Although many hotels in Port Blair and other developed Islands have hotels and resorts that offer a bar, the night life concept has not really caught on in these islands. You will not encounter loud music, disco lights or parties here on a regular basis. Nights are usually quiet and most people get to bed soon to wake early and make maximum use of the day light hours.
An exception however is during Christmas and New Year on popular tourist islands like Havelock and Neil where you will find parties going late into the night, loud music and a lot of dancing.
Although alcohol is available on the islands, availability of imported alcohol is extremely limited. Except for a few IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) bottles, the alcohol availability is restricted to mostly Indian brands. Black Label, Black & White, Bacardi, Smirnoff and Kingfisher beer are some of the brands that are available easily.
As such there are no dangerous predatory animals in the forests of Andaman. So do not come here expecting to see tigers or lions. The forests here are inhabited by animals like wild boar, spotted deer, civet cat as well as numerous species of birds and butterflies. The vast forest canopy provides home to many different species of reptiles as well. Snakes both poisonous and harmless can be seen in the Andamans.
Monitor lizards too inhabit these islands and the mangrove creeks provide shelter to ‘salties’ or salt water crocodiles.
Tourists are advised to pay attention to sign boards posted on beaches as well as watch their step if walking through dense jungle or mangrove areas.