What currency is used in Andaman

The Andaman Islands: an island paradise with an arduous journey

The Andamans with their beautiful beaches are closer to Thailand or Myanmar, but the islands belong to India. Here you will find tips on how to get here and your stay on site.

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Nathalie (30) and Dominik (26) have been on a world tour since September 2016. After starting in India, Nepal, Thailand and Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan are planned for the next few months. A two-month road trip through Canada is planned to round off their trip. You can read about what the two of them are experiencing on their homepage daswasbleibt.de.

The Andaman Islands: beaches, tips, sights, information

India's easternmost island post, just off the coast of Myanmar and just 700 kilometers from Phuket, are the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Two and a half hours by flight from Chennai, India, one of the last unexplored indigenous peoples on earth lives here under the protection of the Indian government. The former have defended themselves so vigorously and bloody against all foreign research missions and intruders over the past centuries that it was really hardly possible to find out anything about them and in the end it was strictly forbidden to enter most of the islands.

Andaman Islands: Arrival via Port Blair

The only airport on the main island in Port Blair is probably used exclusively for domestic Indian flights in order to limit international tourism.

If you get lost in this remote area, the first impression after landing in Port Blair is that of an ordinary Indian city.

Port Blair is in itself very beautifully situated between hills and bulbous headlands, but you will have to look for it for a long time in anticipation of a quiet and backward island metropolis. Because here it is typically Indian: full, loud, smelly and chaotic. A striking number of local tourists from the mainland cavort at the market between countless, even female traffic policemen or wait for the ferry to the most popular of the archipelagos.

The relatively large main island certainly has some tourist attractions and beautifully located accommodations to offer, but the undisputed main travel destination is called Havelock Island and is located two and a half hours by ferry northeast of Port Blair.

Port Blair to Havelock: ferry tickets and bureaucracy

After landing in Port Blair, foreign travelers always have to spoon the same soup: Before physically present at the customs counter, there is no mandatory special residence permit for the island port. And without this there is no ferry ticket and without that, booking accommodation in advance on Havelock is pointless.

An overnight stay in Port Blair is given to every low-budget traveler who cannot / does not want to afford an expensive "private ferry" without a particularly good stroke of luck. Because the 420 rupee tickets for the "Government Ferry" are sold out the day before at the latest and / or are given to the disadvantaged, the elderly and locals. The aforementioned Restricted Area Permit, i.e. the “restricted area permit”, is to be treated like a second passport. Without it, you can neither travel to another island nor book a hotel, nor pass a traffic control without any problems. So be sure to have a copy made and always carry it with you.

At all ferry ticket counters, it is best to adapt to the impatient audacity of the Indians, because there is no queuing here and you should rely on your elbows rather than on charity.

If the queue extends to the street, push in anyway, because you need a short written application for the ticket. There are divided queues for women and men - one can buy the ticket for the other.

Since the return tickets for the ferries cannot be purchased upon arrival, simply inform Havelock as soon as you arrive when the advance booking for the desired travel date will start (usually three to four days in advance). When the time comes, the early bird will catch the worm. If you don't come until nine in the morning, you have to queue for a long time. The door is opened at eight o'clock, the switch only at nine, but that remains unfounded.

orientation

When you arrive at Havelock's harbor on the northern tip of the island, it's best to take a tuk tuk to Beach No. 5 (fixed price 100 Rps). The elongated island has numbered beaches. In the north up to and including Beach 3 are the better resorts and hotels, in which mostly Indians can be found, and further south on Beach 5 is the backpacker hotspot.

Pictures of Beach 5:

Further south there is remote Beach 6 with a few resorts and on the opposite side of the island you come to the well-known Beach 7, Radhanagar Beach, where there are also only a handful of better hotels.

Hotels on the beach 5

You can relax with the information provided by the tuk tuk drivers, who are happy to ask about individual requirements for the accommodation and thereby adapt their goals. You know the island with its two long, paved roads like the back of your hand. Gathering some information about sleeping places and wishes in advance certainly doesn't hurt, but this is done quickly due to the rather small selection. The most popular bungalow accommodations include the Emerald Gecko, the Coconut Grove Beach Resort and the Wild Orchid.

We stayed at Coconut Grove for three weeks and we highly recommend it. There is a bungalow category for every budget and the circular arrangement of the huts quickly creates a community.

As a backpacker from home or on the go, it is not necessary to make reservations, as the hotel operators have an elementary problem: There is little or no internet on Havelock Island. So it's just like you want a vacation to switch off: You can choose your accommodation on site according to flair, beach and people and let the digital world be itself. If you can't stand this permanently or urgently need to do something, a handful of restaurants offer WiFi, but even that only works sometimes and then very slowly.

It is the same with cell phone reception: in most places there is only the emergency call signal and if you have reception, then only on 1G quality (also applies to the only Indian network operator BSNL).

Pictures of the Coconut Grove Beach Resort:

Andaman Islands: time zone

By the way, you should definitely catch the early ferry from Port Blair, because another unusual circumstance can prevent the spontaneous bargain hunter from choosing the accommodation without being disturbed:
On the Andamans, the time zone of the Indian mainland, which is over 1,000 kilometers away, applies - so the sun rises here at 5 a.m. and dusk begins at 4 p.m. If you take the late 2pm ferry from Port Blair, be prepared to look for a room in the dark.

Automatic teller machines (ATM) in the Andaman Islands

You should also buy an ATM in Port Blair by a few thousand rupees at the latest (limited to 10,000 rupees per withdrawal). There is no way to pay by credit card in the Andaman Islands. Only cash is true, and since there are only two ATMs on Havelock and these are only available at random, you would do well to have a juicy cash reserve. You hardly have to worry about theft here.

The best travel credit card for India

You can save a lot of money on your travels with the right credit card. Here you can find out which cards you can use to withdraw cash free of charge worldwide and pay in local currency at no additional cost. And who is currently the only provider who reimburses you for third-party fees at the machine, for example in Thailand or Vietnam.

Here is the credit card comparison

Havelock: Shopping and Alcohol

At the small island market Village No. 3 Halfway from the ferry to Beach 5 there is everything you could need on the Andaman Islands: hammock, air mattress, drugstore items, street food, pharmacy and all kinds of odds and ends.

Alcohol is only sold in the two wine shops next to the ATMs, which, like the supermarket and the rest of the shops, have a siesta from noon to 3 p.m. A few bars also sell beer and cocktails, including the Venom Bar and the Red Snapper at Wild Orchid.

Restaurant tips for Havelock

The Venom and the Red Snapper are also recommended for dining, but you can also indulge your palate at a much cheaper price: the inconspicuous Welcome Restaurant has the best tuna steaks with a pepper crust, in the Ocean Tree you can feast with passable WiFi and the best price- For money the restaurant Kathmandu definitely has, where you will always be treated like a friend. It is located across from the Fat Martin Restaurant, which often hosts open mic evenings. There is also internet here, but the kitchen urgently needs a revival.

Enjoying fresh fish on Havelock is recommended, if you wish, you can be shown the catches you have just caught - from red snapper to Norway lobster to shark steak, nothing to be desired is left unfulfilled.

Getting around: Rent a motorcycle or bike

A scooter with between 300 and 500 Rps is recommended for getting around on Havelock. per day costs. The sporty or thrifty also like to use a bike, which starts at 100 Rps. can be rented per day.

However, if you want to visit Beach 7, the walk from Beach 5 and back becomes a half-day tour. Driving a tuk tuk is relatively expensive compared to mainland India, probably because the competition is not that great.

Havelock: What you can do

So now you are fully equipped for all adventures - but what is the best thing to do on Havelock? First and foremost, switch off - sip fresh coconut juice in the hammock in front of the bungalow or on the beach.

Contrary to expectations, the shifted time does not play a role, because here you go according to the sun and your internal clock. You can ideally escape the stress of everyday life through the feeling of total seclusion - not a single contrail disturbs the sky and you can confidently immerse yourself in the novel you have brought with you under the impressive cloud formations.

Unfortunately, you have to advise against the offered massages, because they are mostly approached carelessly and unprofessionally, not to mention the lack of ambience.
If all of this becomes too monotonous for you, you can snorkel for crabs in the gently sloping, turquoise-blue water or book an open water diving course in one of the many resorts that take place all around the island. Many hotels and hostels also offer half-day fishing trips where you can hunt your dinner yourself.

Island hopping is also offered at a few resorts, although the topic here is a sensitive one, as none of the nearby islands, with the exception of Neil Island, may be entered and should therefore be referred to as island watching.

Adrenaline junkies can book their portion of fun right next to the ferry station in the form of various jet ski and water sports offers.

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Havelock: more beautiful beaches

If you prefer to go exploring, you can't go wrong on the beaches mentioned. The rather arduous footpath to Elephant Beach across the jungle and mud should be tackled with proper footwear and is certainly an adventure - unfortunately the beach is overrun by the somewhat finer Indian rulers who allow themselves to be embarked by boat from the ferry station. We also learned that the only elephant and crowd puller who occasionally romped in the sea water there died in August this year.

Fortunately, Beach 7 is very long, so you can quickly leave the chaotic turmoil near the parking lot behind you and surely find a lonely place in the gleaming white sand.

Pictures from Beach 7:

It is also very dignified behind Beach 6 (Kalapathar Beach) inland. There, off the beaten track, you can observe primeval everyday life on the island and roam the lush rice fields under the infinitely high tropical trees by bike.

Havelock: Trip to Neil Island

For the really die-hard dropouts among us, a trip to Neil Island, south of Havelock, is recommended in the high season. Since the ferry does not arrive here until the afternoon and does not leave again until the next morning, you can spend a couple of nights in one of the bungalows in the middle of the untouched jungle.

It must be clear, however, that you can only buy what is currently available for food and nothing more. While re-orders of self-evident items in the supermarket can take 14 days on Havelock, bottlenecks occur more frequently on Neil. So good equipment is a must for a longer stay!

Basics: India and the Andamans

A trip to the Andaman Islands is ideal for backpackers who like things a little more original! Package travelers can also spend their vacation here relatively cheaply.

In everyday life India is not a travel destination that reads every wish from the lips of discerning tourists. It is still one of the poorest travel destinations in the world and is therefore easy on the wallet; However, one should not forget that the Indians do not deal with tourism as professionally as elsewhere and sometimes you are not spared the strain of the gray cells - but that is precisely what makes the seclusion so incredibly authentic, doesn't it ?!

Andaman Islands: Best time to travel

The main travel season is from the beginning of November to the end of March, although there may be occasional rain showers at the beginning and much is still under construction.

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About the author

Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and since then has also written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.

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