Tourist FAQ’s

What is the best way to travel to the Andamans?
Most visitors fly to the Andamans and flights can only be booked out of Indian airports, either a 2-hour flight from Chennai or Kolkata, or a 5-hour flight from Delhi. Port Blair and Veer Savarkar airport are the only ports of entry for all visitors, either Indian nationals or international travelers.

 

What kind of money is used in the islands?
The Indian rupee (INR) is accepted everywhere. Some bank ATMs and money changers are available throughout the Andamans, and the larger resorts and hotels accept credit cards. It is advisable to bring a good supply of cash in different denominations, as many locations do not accept other forms of payment.

 

How many islands in the Andaman island chain are open to tourism?
Out of the 300+ islands in the Andamans, only a few are currently available to visit by both Indian citizens and tourists from select other countries.

 

What are some of the popular islands that can be visited?
For day trips only (no overnight accommodations available), tourists can visit:
Ross Island, Brother Island, Sister Island, Narcondam Island, Interview Island, Barren Island, Baratang Island, Ross and Smith Islands

For overnight (or longer) tourists can visit:
South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island, North Andaman Island, Long Island, Little Andaman, Neil Island, Havelock Island

 

What documents are needed to travel to the Andaman Islands?
Indian nationals do not need any passports or visas, since the Andamans are a union territory of India. Other international travelers must have a valid passport and a recently issued Indian visa.

 

Where can a foreign visitor acquire an Indian visas?
Indian visas can be applied for at consulates, embassies, or missions, or online. Visas must be issued without any stamped entry restrictions in order to travel through Andaman tribal reserves or visit day-only islands.

 

Once we arrive in the Andamans, do we need other documents?
To rent a motorized vehicle like a scooter, foreign visitors will need to bring a valid international driver’s license. To visit or transit through certain areas like national parks, indigenous forest reserves, or other access-controlled locations, special permits are needed and are acquired through specific government agencies and offices. It’s smart to also bring photocopies of your passport and driver’s license in case you lose the originals.

 

What international time zone are the Andamans in?
All the islands are Indian Time zone, which is GMT + 5:30 hours.

 

When is sunrise and sunset?
The Andamans experience tropical days and nights, with early dawns (around 5 am) and early sunsets (around 5 pm). At the summer solstice there are almost 13 hours of sunlight, and at the winter solstice there are less than 12 hours of sunlight. Many of the planets, constellations and the Milky Way are visible to the naked eye in the night sky in the Andamans.

 

What kind of food can be found in the Andamans? Are there restaurants and bars?
In all the islands, both South Indian and North Indian cuisine is popular, as well as vegetarian. With local seafood available, visitors can have prawns, lobster, fish and shrimp at every meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant, as is rice and coconut water. Visitors can find some Continental, Chinese, Italian and American restaurants in Port Blair. Restaurants and bars that serve liquor are found at a few resorts and hotels in Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island.

 

Can I drink the tap water in the Andamans?
Historically, the Andaman islanders relied on the many springs and streams for their drinking water. The Japanese occupation forces during WW2 dug wells in the jungles for fresh water, and many islanders collect rainwater during monsoon season. Unless the resort, hotel or restaurant is using a reverse osmosis process to treat their water supply, or the tap water is provided by a municipal water treatment plant, we strongly recommend that you drink bottled water throughout your vacation. You’ll find numerous vendors offering fresh coconuts on every island, a refreshing and local substitute for bottled water. The Andaman islanders are also in the beginning stages of a recycling program for plastic water bottles, so you should see collection cages around Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island.

 

Is there a dress code in the Andamans? What kind of clothes are needed?
The Andamans are hot and humid, so lightweight clothes are recommended for tourists. Bring long sleeve shirts and pants to wear if you plan to trek in the rainforest or explore the mangroves. Bathing suits and cover-ups, beach shoes, sandals, hat, sunglasses and a change of clothes are necessary for days at the beach. A jacket, shawl or cover-up is needed for cool nights or to visit temples and shrines. Bring an umbrella, travel adapter (the islands are 220V) and insect repellant.

 

Is there good internet and cellphone service?
There is low connectivity and slow speed (2G) for the internet, and wi-fi is scarce, unreliable or unavailable outside of Port Blair. Most tourists use hotel or resort phones or ISTD booths in the local markets to call internationally. India is in the process of connecting the Andamans with the mainland by way of underwater fiber optic cables, but currently only satellite phones provide the best connection. Vodafone, Airtel and BSNL are the best SIM cards to purchase on the mainland and bring with you, but you will not be able to find reliable coverage throughout the islands.

 

What kind of other technology should I bring?
Smartphones will still be able to take photographs in the Andamans, and tourists are welcome to bring their laptops (to work offline), tablets, cameras and other devices. Some of the attractions and experiences in the Andamans will require a separate fee to be paid to use a camera, video recorder or other technology on-site.

 

What kind of medical care is available in the Andamans?
There is one hospital in Port Blair, and some of the larger island population centers have small government health centres. Hotels and resorts may offer a physician on call for guests, and in case of an emergency there is a inter-island helicopter service for locals and visitors. Some minor injuries (such as insect bites and small cuts) should be self-treated with antibacterial cream and bandages immediately because of the risk of infection. Visitors should bring all their prescriptions and medications with them, and may want to consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance before leaving home.

 

Are the indigenous tribes of the Andaman Islands dangerous?
The government has forbidden all outside contact with the various native tribes of the Andamans in order to help them to remain as sheltered and unaware of the modern world as possible. Large areas of the Andaman rainforests and islands have been designated as native tribal reserves, allowing the dwindling populations of tribespeople to live free of interactions with islanders and travellers who might introduce illnesses into the tribe. Only rarely might visitors catch a glimpse of the Jarawa while passing through their reserve on the way north to Baratang Island, or perhaps observe the Onge come out of their forests to fish on Little Andaman – the incident with the missionary being killed by the Sentinelese was due to his illegal visit to North Sentinel Island, forbidden to tourists and locals alike. Visitors to the Andamans can learn more about the Stone Age lifestyle of the Onge, Jarawa, Andamanese, Shompen and Sentinelese tribes by visiting the anthropological museum in Port Blair, where their history, artifacts and daily life is on display.

 

Are there dangerous animals in the Andamans to be aware of?
The Andaman Islands are the home of a wide variety of wildlife. There are poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, monitor lizards, and saltwater crocodiles, and some villages have stray dogs that can become aggressive. Exploring the rainforest or trekking in the jungle with a local guide is recommended. When diving or snorkeling offshore, tourists should be aware of underwater sea life like sharks, eels and

 

Any chance of experiencing an earthquake or seeing a volcano erupt?
Most tourists enjoy the experience of observing the hot mud volcanoes erupt at Baratang and North Andaman islands, but yes, Barren Island is India’s only active volcano and can be safely visited (at a distance) daily by dive boat excursions and day-trip tourist boats, as well as the vibrant waters surrounding Narcondam Island, a long-dormant volcano. As with many other tropical volcanic island chains like Hawaii or Fiji, visitors to the Andamans might experience occasional minor tremors, and should not be concerned or frightened. The Andaman Islands are a submerged mountain range, in an arc of 572 islands stretching from Myanmar to Indonesia over two underwater continental plates, and there is a slight possibility that both seismic and volcanic activity could occur. An earthquake damaged Port Blair’s Ross Island during the WWII Japanese occupation, and more recently, the Andaman and Nicobar islands were impacted by the 2004 tsunami (some ecological impacts from the event can still be seen on many beaches). The Indian government performs constant scientific monitoring of the coastlines and offshore in the oceans for any sudden changes in tide levels, or receding ocean wave that exposes the shoreline unexpectedly after a tremor.

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