Tourists arriving on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for a lazy beach vacation will quickly revise their plans. Of course, relaxing and sunbathing on the beach is one of the essential things to do in the Andamans. But the islands offer a host of unique and interesting activities, to tempt the trekker, the bird-watcher, the water baby, the history buff, the shopaholic and the connoisseur. The best part is, these activities can also fill your list of things to do in Andaman in December.
Take the Baratang island tour, with a thrilling speed boat ride through thick mangroves, to intriguing limestone caves. The naturally formed stalactites and stalagmites within the caves never fail to fascinate visitors. This is also one of the most popular things to do in Andaman in December.
Steeped as they are in colonial history, as well as a tribal heritage that goes back thousands of years, the museums of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are places worth seeing. Besides, museums are a good way to learn the history and culture of a state. A tour of the Anthropological Museum offers interesting nuggets about the indigenous tribes of the islands, while the Samudrika Naval Marine Museum in Port Blair treats visitors to the biodiversity of the marine life.
There is possibly nothing as magical as rowing in a kayak and watching whole galaxies of tiny, glittering stars floating under your feet! Get to the beach on Havelock Island on a moonless night and witness the marvel of bioluminescence, which occurs because of the plentiful phytoplankton in the sea.
One of the most special things you can do in the Andamans, a trip in a glass bottomed boat is popular with adults and kids alike. Among other locations, these boats ply between Port Blair and Jolly Buoy Island, giving you an unforgettable tour of the marine world.
Visiting Barren Island, with the only active volcano in India - Can you miss the awesome sight of India’s only active volcano spewing smoke into the air? You need to charter a private boat from Havelock Island or Port Blair, and visitors are not permitted to land on Barren Island due to safety concerns, but the sight of the volcano is worth the trip.
Walking at the bottom of the sea is an unforgettable experience, one of the things you can do only in a place as abundant in marine life as the Andamans. Wearing a protective helmet that provides you with oxygen, you can breathe normally while you view the world underwater, at North Bay Island or on Elephant Beach on Havelock Island.
Naturally, you cannot leave the islands without exploring at least a few of the water sports they offer. Especially when you don’t even have to know swimming to enjoy many of them. At the top of the list of things to do in the Andamans is scuba diving at North Bay Island, Havelock Island, Neil Island and Chidiya Tapu. You don’t have to worry about a thing, even if you haven’t ever done this before. You can be sure that you are diving in a controlled environment, with the right training before you venture on your underwater trip. Just go ahead and enjoy one of the most beautiful marine ecosystems in the world.
Snorkelling, too, is one of the most exciting things to do in Andaman. The clear, shallow and warm waters of Elephant Beach on Havelock Island foster the growth of coral reefs, so a boat ride or trek to this beach, followed by a wonderful time snorkelling, is an experience not to be missed.
A magnificent, traditional boat made in the South East Asian style and restored to its full glory, the MV Island Explorer offers you a superb cruising experience. Despite its antique appearance, the boat complies with all modern safety and reliability standards, even as it brings back the nostalgia and magic of ship voyages of old. As you cruise past some of the most beautiful beaches and islands, you are filled with serenity and joy, making this a truly memorable experience.
Those with a taste for adventure will have plenty of things to do in the Andamans. Trekkers have a marvelous 16 kms. trail from Mt. Harriet – the third highest peak in the archipelago – to Madhuban, through a lush forest that’s home to an amazing variety of plant and animal species. Besides, starting at Mt. Harriet allows you to enjoy panoramic views of the islands.
If trekking is not your favourite form of exercise, an elephant safari also offers you an exciting way to explore the spectacular vista of Mt. Harriet.
Another interesting trek is from Diglipur to Saddle Peak, the highest point of the Andaman Islands.
Swimming with the dugong, the sea turtle and the elephant - Among the many water sports in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, you must experience swimming with its national animal, the sea cow, called a dugong. If you’re at Neil Island, you might have Bob, the friendly sea turtle swimming with you, or you can even book a swim with Rajan the elephant, the star attraction at Havelock Island. Book your own Andaman tour packages with SOTC and get ready for a unique travel experience.
The local cuisine of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is delicious, with seafood among the favourite dishes. Naturally, no holiday on a tropical island is complete without indulging in the freshest and finest fare from the sea, and the islands boast of many delightful restaurants and beachside cafes offering superlative cuisine.
Enjoy browsing among stalls selling local vegetables, fruit and seafood, in the interesting Sunday Market in Port Blair. A weekly gathering of sellers from across the islands, the market is a wonderful glimpse into the local produce and life of the Andamans. Wooden artefacts, shell ornaments, cane crafts and spices are some of the famous things to buy in Andaman and Nicobar.