Ah, the Andaman Islands. Lookin’ good huh? Well, they look even better when you’re lying on Beach Number 7 or Beach Number 3 on Havelock, one of the many islands of Andaman. You have to admit the Andamanians haven’t been to creative with naming their beaches, but honestly, on Andaman you don’t want to go through all that trouble. With all the blue and the white and the green, you just want to do absolutely nothing. At all. For a whole week. Or two.
Did I tell you that the Andaman Islands belong to India? Geographically they are much closer to Burma and Thailand, but there are no flights from these countries to the Andaman. Which means you have to fly to Chennai, Delhi or Calcutta first. After finally landing in Port Blair, you have to get a permit in the airport (at least if you are a foreigner). The permit allows you to travel to some – not all – smaller islands. And this is exactly what you want to do: leave the capital, Port Blair, a s a p. Not that it’s so horrible, but Havelock and Neil Island are just so much prettier. To be brutally honest: after having been to havelock, you’ll truly hate Port Blair.
If you are expecting gigantic parties like on islands such as Koh Phangan, you’re in for a surprise. It’s even pretty hard to find a pint of Kingfisher (Indian beer) on the Andaman Islands. But that’s the charm: after a long, hard year of long, hard work you’ll find absolute peace and quiet. At least if you’re lucky enough not to have any stray dogs fighting over the last bit of food right outside your beach bungalow. Anyway, this is how you will spend your time on the Andamans: sleeping, lying on the beach, drinking mocktails, dodging falling coconuts, going on fishing trips, riding an elephant, snorkeling, scuba diving, talking to your Israelian neighbor, going out for a nice dinner, lowering the temperature on your aircon, …
About this scuba diving: according to the many tourists that got stuck on Havelock and Neil and that were now ‘working’ in a diving/snorkeling shop, the Andamans are one of the best diving spots in the world. And surprise: you can get your PADI here in three or four days for about 18.000 rupees (about 280 euros). Seems like a fair price, but I have to warn you: if you do this, you will learn how to dive in one of the best spots in the world. After getting your PADI here, the rest of your diving career will seem less interesting. You can choose to ignore this warning, but don’t come complaining in a few years!
The Andamans are actually pretty perfect for those of you who enjoy bright colors. The ocean is bluer than you’ve ever seen, the jungle is greener, the sand whiter, the beer yellower, … And also it makes for a perfect getaway from the Indian mainland, which is just crazy. Crazy I tells ya. Of course pricewise, the Andamans are nothing like the mainland. You’ll be able to book a decent hut on the beach for about 3000 rupees or 50 euros a night, but if you wanna stay on the amazing Beach Number 7, you’ll be looking at three to five times that prices. And still it might be worth it!
And for the real Ego-Tourists amongst us: you get an Andaman stamp in your passport. Great for showing off once you get back home, isn’t it?