This guide is dedicated to all the globetrotters who want to explore Andaman without burning a hole in their pockets. Many people spread rumors that Andaman Islands are expensive. If you think so, you are wrong.
Actually, the reason is that they are either uninformed visitors or luxury travelers who end up spending more than their budget. You can spend as much as you want as a luxury traveler. But you need to do your own research and explore Andaman Islands within budget.
The budget depends highly on when you visit and accommodation you choose. If you are looking for a lavish stay, you will definitely want to spend more than the predefined budget. You will spend even more if you are planning a trip in peak season. So, it is a smart move if you travel in the off season when the crowd is less and hotels and flights cost less.
No matter what many people have to say, you can go to Andaman Islands on a budget. You just have to make some compromises and plan in advance. You can spend as much on activities as your heart’s content if your budget allows.
Basics You Need to Know
Here are some of the details you need to consider before visiting Andaman Islands –
As you know, Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an archipelago in Bay of Bengal and are categorized in two different groups. There is a 150 km channel which separates them, which is called Ten Degree Channel. The Nicobar Islands are located on the south and Andaman towards the north of the channel.
The Andaman Sea separates these islands from Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia. These islands are closely located to India being the political part of India. There are a total 572 islands in Andaman and Nicobar, while only 37 islands are inhabited. They together form a group of islands or archipelago.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP)
You no need to have a permit if you are traveling from India. If you are a foreigner, you will have to apply for RAP before traveling there. You can easily get RAP when you arrive at Port Blair, which will be valid for up to 30 days. You can extend it from FRO or SP at Port Blair. They will grant you around 15 days more. Foreign Registration Offices are located in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai along with Indian Missions where you can get RAP. In addition, airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata have immigration authorities which issue those permits.
Modes of Transport
Port Blair is the official point of entry in Andaman. You can get there by either sea or air. Taking a flight is the cheapest way to travel. Port Blair is connected to several major Indian cities like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. If you are coming from outside India, you will have to land to India first and then take flight to Port Blair.
You can also travel by ship from Kolkata, Chennai or Visakhapatnam, which take up to 3 to 4 days. But sailing is restricted to season.
Best time to visit Andaman Nicobar
You may visit Andaman at any time of the year. The islands receive warm tropical weather but it gets very humid in summers. On average, temperature hovers around 30 degree Celsius all the year round with erratic rainfall. Most travelers plan their 7-day itinerary to visit Andaman from January to February.
But to save a lot, you can plan your trip in April or May. During this period, the sun is not too harsh and days are comfortable, even though these are summer months. It also doesn’t rain much in this period. There are also lesser chances of storms and high tides.
All in all, you can travel to Andaman whenever you feel free. All you need to do your homework before traveling to this place. Avoid traveling in scorching heat and on monsoons.
What about currency?
Indian Rupee (INR) is the only currency which is widely accepted and valid on the Andaman Islands. You can find a lot of currency exchange outlets in Port Blair and the airport. ATMs also work in the city area. However, you need to carry sufficient amounts of cash before traveling to Neil and Havelock Islands.
How Much does it Cost to Travel Andaman?
You need up to Rs. 25000 to Rs. 30000 to travel to Andaman Islands for seven days, which is rounded up to US$363 or £324. It is recommended to book flights and hotels in advance to save more. Keep in mind that Andaman is not a budget-friendly destination actually. But you don’t have to spend too much. With proper planning and research, you can stick to your budget and enjoy the trip.
You can dine out at several multi-cuisine restaurants in all leading islands. You can also find vegetarian restaurants offering authentic North Indian and South Indian cuisines. You can easily find a decent eating option in Andaman.
Are there any safety issues?
If you are heading to Andaman, you don’t have to worry about safety. You won’t face eve teasing, harassment, mugging or other such cases. However, Andaman had been prone to natural calamities in the past like earthquakes and tsunamis. So, it is recommended to visit the website of the meteorological department before visiting.
How to look for cheap hotels?
You will find different types of luxury hotels in various tourist destinations in India. But Andaman Islands have limited accommodation options and their prices are also high. However, budget hotels are aplenty in Andaman. Choose the hotel wisely and invest some time choosing budget options online.
Book whenever you find an ideal deal or you will end up losing it. Keep in mind that a budget hotel doesn’t mean cheap stays. You need to look for options that can provide a decent and comfortable experience without breaking your bank.