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A row of tiny specks in the Andaman Sea, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are only tenuously connected to the rest of India. Despite being a picture-postcard image of tropical perfection, the islands were used as a penal colony by the British, and the remains of jail cells and gallows are dotted around the jungle. Unlike the volcanic atolls found elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, the Andamans and Nicobars are the tips of submerged mountains, but you’ll still find all the prerequisite sandy beaches, palm trees and coral reefs. As well as being a mecca for divers, the islands provide a haven for a series of indigenous tribes, some of whom have yet ...

A row of tiny specks in the Andaman Sea, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are only tenuously connected to the rest of India. Despite being a picture-postcard image of tropical perfection, the islands were used as a penal colony by the British, and the remains of jail cells and gallows are dotted around the jungle. Unlike the volcanic atolls found elsewhere in the Indian Ocean, the Andamans and Nicobars are the tips of submerged mountains, but you’ll still find all the prerequisite sandy beaches, palm trees and coral reefs. As well as being a mecca for divers, the islands provide a haven for a series of indigenous tribes, some of whom have yet to have any encounters with the outside world. Although there are several plush resorts and a scattering of rustic beach huts, only a handful of islands are open to visitors and infrastructure is limited - of course, many would say that is part of the appeal. The only access is by slow ferry from Kolkata, Chennai or Visakhapatnam, or on one of the heavily booked flights from Kolkata or Chennai.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Andoman and Nicobar Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, east of mainland India and geographically closer to Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Language: Nicobarese, Bengali, English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to May, for clear skies and good underwater visibility