A Deep-Dive Into The Secrets Of The Andamans

The charming, astonishingly diverse archipelago of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is far removed from the excesses and gloss of the coastal hotspots of Goa, Seychelles and Mauritius. Here are 10 things in the Andamans, including its capital Port Blair, that are likely to make your trip one for the memory-books:


Barefoot Scuba Resort
Havelock Island is the Andamans’ Holy Grail, a magnet for those in search of some spiritual and scuba manna. A two-hour journey from Port Blair’s Phoenix Bay Jetty on a rickety ferry takes me there. I land up at the Barefoot Scuba Resort on Beach No 3, and am met by a parade of divers, kayakers, snorkellers and random bohemians. The vibe here is lazily hypnotic, helped along by sea-facing duplex cottages, the rustic Café Del Mar and, if you really must exert yourself, a fantastic water sports facility that ticks all the boxes. Budget and bohemia don’t often make such amiable bedfellows.

Festival Fever
Come festival time and everyone’s game for one united party. I land bang in the heart of Durga Puja and am privy to an island-wide spectacle of colour, flavour and splendour. 


A chance encounter leads me to the Andaman Nicobar Environment Team (ANET), a grassroots NGO focussed on research and education in the Andamans’ rich environmental sphere. ANET’s assistant director Tasneem Khan takes me through their initiatives, including a collaborative programme that gives school kids first-hand knowledge of physics, biology and botany, all through scuba-diving. ANET’s base in South Andamans’ verdant majesty of Wandoor sports several thatched huts, a large two-storeyed wooden library / presentation centre and a transient community of volunteers, interns, staff and core ANET officials. 

Mandalay Restaurant
Picture this: a gorgeously overcast day, with a breeze blowing in from the sea, miles of ocean spread out before you and ahead, a plate of excellently grilled lobster. As dining experiences go, you could do much worse than Mandalay at the Fortune Resort Bay Island, up on Marine Hill in Port Blair. One of the island’s few rarefied cuisine options, Mandalay scores with its spectacular setting overlooking the Bay of Bengal, with the North Bay lighthouse in the distance. 


Collinpur Beach
Some things stay with you endlessly, irrespective of whether you have them on camera/film or not. The vision of Collinpur Beach stretched out in front of my eyes, with not a soul to disturb the picture, is now burned on my mind forever. This sandy white beauty lies southwest of the main island and getting there from Port Blair (a roughly hour-long journey through lush mangrove forests) is an experience in itself. 

Megapode Nest
One of Port Blair’s oldest addresses, this resort guesthouse lies up in the hilly Haddo locale. It’s usually the go-to place for government officials, but don’t fret. You don’t need to be staying here to visit their restaurant and enjoy the view: miles of blue, punctuated by distant hills and the odd yacht, dinghy or sailboat. And if you do decide to splurge on one of their Rs8,000-a-night cottage villas, you’ll have balcony (and bathtub) seats to the sky and ocean playing off of each other in an unforgettable dance.
(Megapode Nest, +91 22 6150 6363)


A forest lodge situated deep in the forests of South Andamans, on the southernmost tip of the main island Chidiya Tapu, Wildgrass comes fresh off the oven. The resort is so new, it doesn’t even have a website yet. But what it lacks in finesse, it makes up for in intimate uniqueness. You’ll stay in one of four wooden chalet-cottages, basic but comfy; you’ll look out from a raised balcony onto acres of lush wilderness; you’ll tuck into fish caught that very evening, and you’ll often have the resort’s amiable owners, retired Navy Commander Baath and his wife Mona, for company.
(Wildgrass - Contact Commander Baath on +91 9474204508)


Grub Island
A tiny, secluded gem that it doesn’t even feature on the average traveller’s map, Grub Island is a protected reserve—due to its habitat and fragile ecosystem—and is out of bounds for almost everyone. But if you’re fortunate enough to get invited by a forest official or some such, you’ll have front-row seats to a Robinson Crusoe-type scenario, complete with white sandy beaches, utter seclusion, mangrove forests, caves, limestone rocks and snorkelling. Time your visit here so that you’re making your way back from Grub to Wandoor as the sun begins its descent. The result: a stunning sunset as the island is rendered a dark silhouette, framed by manic orange skies and mysteriously calm waters.

Corbyn’s Cove
This beach, located seven kilometres from Port Blair, wouldn’t figure too high on most locals’ recommendations. The beach itself is just a tiny, curvaceous speck of brown sand framed by palm trees, ideal for a spot of lazy sunbathing. But it’s the drive along Marine Shore Road from the heart of the city that will keep you coming back for more. You’ll have the breeze in your face, an endless ocean at your disposal and a constant audience with swaying palms, rolling clouds and the distantly ominous Ross Island.

What do you think of this story? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter


You may also like:




Siddharth Dasgupta


Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Latest News

  • Gaurav Chopra dons Virat Kohli's look for 'Gulmohar Grand'

    Mumbai, April 18 (IANS) Actor Gaurav Chopra, who mostly flaunts his grown out locks with aplomb, has gone in for a hairdo and look similar to that of Indian cricketer Virat Kohli for his upcoming TV show "Gulmohar Grand". Last seen in "Savdhaan India", the tall and handsome Gaurav will be playing the main lead of Aniruddh in "Gulmohar Grand". Star Plus's new offering "Gulmohar Grand", a finite series of 26 episodes, will give an insight into the world of a five-star hotel. …

  • Looks count more than talent in India, says Marzi Pestonji

    New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Ace choreographer Shiamak Davar's former students like Shahid Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput are now among sought-after Bollywood actors. Asked if he would follow in their footsteps, Pestonji told IANS: "Do I look like an actor? In India, talent is not that great (a factor). Besides, you need to learn up so many words in one time and speak... not possible," added the former "Dance India Dance" judge. …

  • May make more films in sync sound: Mani Ratnam

    Chennai, April 18 (IANS) Ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam enjoyed making his latest Tamil outing "O Kadhal Kanmani" in sync sound so much that he plans to make more movies using the same technique. Sync sound refers to sound recorded at the time of filming a movie. The experience was so good that I'm thinking of making more films in sync sound," Mani Ratnam told IANS. "O Kadhal Kanmani", which features Dulquer Salmaan and Nitya Menen in the lead, was completely shot in sync sound, and Ratnam admits …

  • Happy with girl-next-door tag: Sri Divya

    Chennai, April 18 (IANS) Actress Sri Divya, who has mostly featured in simple, girl-next-door roles in her career in southern cinema so far, says she doesn't mind the tag as it suits her personality. Having made her cinematic debut in Telugu industry in 2010 film "Manasara", Divya went on to be a hit heroine in Tamil filmdom in the last few years. The only reason is that Tamil cinema gave me better roles," she said. In Tamil too, Divya says she hasn't accepted every role that has come her …

  • Few gains in LGBT roles in Hollywood films - report
    Few gains in LGBT roles in Hollywood films - report

    By Maria Caspani (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More Hollywood movies in 2014 featured one or more lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters than in the previous year, but those roles were mostly minor and stereotypical, said researchers. GLAAD, a U.S. organisation that researches and promotes LGBT issues in media, found that 17.5 percent of 114 films released last year by major studios included characters who identified as LGBT, compared to 16.7 percent in 2013. "Every year …

  • Shah Rukh Khan, Zayn Malik, Sanjeev Bhaskar honored at UK Asian Awards 2015

    London, April 18 (ANI): Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Zayn Malik and Sanjeev Bhaskar were amongst the celebrities who were honored at the recently held Asian Awards 2015. While the former One Direction star, 22, who made his first public appearance since quitting the boy band, picked Outstanding Contribution to Music award, Khan was honored with Outstanding Contribution to Cinema, the Mirror reported. Held at the at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, the ceremony, which was hosted by …

  • Denver teacher's third grade assignment goes viral online

    By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado teacher who posted notes from her third grade class online and started a social media whirlwind under the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew said on Friday the assignment had been a revelation for her. Kyle Schwartz, 26, asked the eight- and nine-year-olds at her Denver inner city school to write down something they wished she knew about them, partly as a writing exercise, and partly as a way for her to learn about her pupils. Schwartz, a …

  • 'King and I' gets royal treatment in new Broadway revival

    By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - A revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1951 musical "The King and I" is getting the royal treatment on Broadway with a 29-piece orchestra and huge cast in a production critics say is breathtaking and beautiful. The show that opened on Thursday night at the Vivian Beaumont Theater tells the story of the Welsh widow, Anna Leonowens, who travels to Bangkok in the 1860s to become a teacher to the King of Siam's children. Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr …