Beaches, museums, nature parks and sanctuaries, famous prisons, chic seafood restaurants, charming resorts and shopping hubs – you’ll never run out of places to visit in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Practically from the moment your plane lands on the tarmac, or your ship docks at the port, you will be dazzled by the sights in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Emerald and jade forests and vegetation, waters in every shade of blue, silky white and golden sands, birds, corals and marine life of every hue – the very first items on your Andamans sightseeing agenda are provided by Mother Nature herself.
Once you’ve soaked in the natural beauty, you can indulge every part of your personality on a different day. Feeling like absorbing a bit of history? Visit the Cellular Jail, now a World Heritage site, with a solemn memorial to the prisoners of the Indian independence movement. Curious about the indigenous people who have inhabited these islands for thousands of years in seclusion, away from the interference of modern society? Enjoy an interaction with them in their own settlement. Indulge the nature lover in you with bird watching, trekking or island hopping to admire the sunset, from various vantage points. For the water sports fan, of course, there is a treasure trove to explore and admire, from coral reefs, dolphins, sea cows and turtles, to colourful marine creatures too numerous to name. The question – what to see in Andaman – will never cross your mind. There are countless tourist attractions in Andaman, the only shortage you will face is time.
Here are some of the must-see Andaman tourist places.
This island is somewhat secluded, yet among the most popular spots in Andaman. It is the quintessential beach destination, with silky sands, clear seas, colourful corals and a green fringe of palms at the coastline. The Elephant Beach at Havelock Island is particularly famous for its underwater tour experiences, with vivid and colourful marine life drawing tourists towards scuba diving and snorkelling.
Strange as it sounds, visiting the notorious Cellular Jail ranks high on the list of most visitors to the Andamans. Situated in Port Blair, and also known as Kaala Pani, this was a prison constructed by the British during their colonial rule in India. The political prisoners who participated in the Revolt of 1857 (referred to by the British as the Mutiny), were brought to the island as it was secluded and there was small chance of the freedom fighters being able to contact anyone from there. It is said that they were forced to clear the remote, forested area and build their own prison. The notable inmates of the prison included Batukeshwar Dutt, Yogendra Shukla and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. The jail complex, now owned by the Government of India, is recognised today as a national memorial monument. Every night, the fascinating history of the Cellular Jail is unveiled to tourists through an enthralling sound and light show.
One look at Radhanagar Beach, which some consider one of the most beautiful places to visit in Andaman, and you won’t be surprised that it was once ranked as Asia’s Best Beach by TIME Magazine. Powder white sands and turquoise blue waters frame truly breathtaking sunsets. With such a perfect setting, Radhanagar Beach is certainly one of the most popular selfie points and one of the must-see places to visit in the Andaman and Nicobar islands!
There are other museums in Andaman for history buffs; this one is a wonderful experience in viewing the marine biodiversity of the islands. Even if you aren’t a nature lover, it’s worth a visit to learn about the amazing creatures and plants that inhabit the sea.
Imagine walking under the sea, and making the acquaintance of fish, marine animals and beautiful coral reefs! At the North Bay Beach, the experience of sea walking is rated by the well-travelled as the finest in Asia. Besides, you don’t need to know swimming to go sea walking. Tourists are provided with glass helmets, which allow normal breathing. The North Bay Beach is also considered very safe for sea walking, as there is no air pressure to cause discomfort.
This destination is an ecosystem by itself, with mangrove creeks, a tropical rainforest and reefs with more than 50 types of coral. So it’s not surprising that Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park is the go-to place of water sports fans, for its fascinating snorkelling, glass bottom boat rides and scuba diving. As a known ecotourism spot, the Park is always maintained in all its pristine beauty.
The northern-most town in the Andamans, Diglipur is one of the favourite destinations of nature lovers. As it is home to a famous turtle nesting site, crocodile sanctuaries, an exciting network of caves and the highest peak on the island, it certainly ranks as one of the places to visit in Andaman. You shouldn’t miss visiting the Diglipur church, the Pathi Level beach, the limestone caves and the turtle nesting point.
Drive from Port Blair to reach Chidiya Tapu by early evening, in time to witness one of the most stunning sunsets you will ever see. An exquisite spot blessed by nature, Chidiya Tapu is a haven for hundreds of species of birds, including parakeets, sea eagles and emerald doves. The flight of birds of many colours and the breathtaking sunsets make Chidiya Tapu one of the places to visit in Andaman that you simply can’t miss.
Located close to Port Blair, this was once the administrative headquarters of the British. Ross Island’s architecture and charm had earned it the nickname of the Paris of the East. However, an earthquake in 1941 and a subsequent invasion by the Japanese destroyed the glory of this island forever. Making it one of the places to visit in Andaman with a spectacular topography.
However, history buffs still love to view the architectural ruins of Ross Island, while nature lovers admire its tropical beauty and picturesque views. The island’s grand past can be glimpsed in its church ruins and other landmarks, now almost covered by banyan trees. The chief commissioner's erstwhile home, now known as Government House, still bears traces of its glorious past, with Italian tiled flooring, splendid ballrooms and huge gardens. The Indian Navy has also restored some of the old structures, such as the local stores and the bakery, giving nostalgic visitors a feel of an era gone by.
Besides, Ross Island offers an opportunity to sample the local cuisine at its best, with a unique regional influence.
A more tranquil spot, Neil Island boasts of three beautiful beaches, each perfect in its own way. The shimmering waters reflect shifting shades of blue, indigo and green that tempt you in immediately. Nearby, another must-see place to visit is the stunning Wandoor National Park, where you’ll find some of the rarest and finest coral habitats in the world.
No one who loves water sports can miss out on this place! Banana rides, parasailing, jet skiing, rowboat paddling, speed boat rides – every kind of water sport is there to be enjoyed, with excellent trained professionals to provide safety equipment and instruct the novice water junkie.