How to go to Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Snuggled in the Indian Ocean, the Andaman Islands are a paradise on earth. This region is dotted with pristine beaches combined with a colonial past. Andaman flaunts a total of 572 islands, out of which only a few are inhabited.
Andaman is a part of the Indian subcontinent. Hence there is no travel restriction for Indian tourists. It is very similar to travelling to any other state in our country. There is no requirement for passport, visa or any other permission. You can stay in permitted areas as long as you wish for.
For foreign tourists, a passport is required along with their Indian visa. NO Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required anymore for most foriegn nationals. Citizens of Afghanistan, Myanmar, China and Pakistan would continue to require the Restricted Area Permit. In such cases, the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) would be granted only if the foreign tourists has obtained prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs
The capital city of Port Blair is well connected to mainland India by air and water. The quickest way is to take a flight from major Indian cities. There are direct flights from Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Vizag. The travel time is around 2.5 to 4 hours. For the rest of the country, you will get many hopping flights or ‘one-stop’ options.
Another way is to sail from the ports of Kolkata, Chennai and Vishakhapatnam. The ships are operated by the Indian Government and the voyage takes around 3 to 4 days. Haddo Wharf is the main sea-port at Port Blair. Every month, 3 to 4 sailing takes place from Chennai and Kolkata and only 1 sailing takes place from Visakhapatnam. Kindly note, the ships are not cruise liners and do not have entertainment options. Also, online booking is not available and it can only be done from the Shipping Corporation Offices in Chennai, Vizag and Kolkata.
Where to travel from?
The quickest way to reach Andaman is by boarding a flight from mainland India. Direct flights operate from Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Vizag. Connecting flights are available from all other destinations around the country. No international ship or flight services exist in Andaman as of now. However, the Indian Government has turned Veer Savarkar Airport as an official immigration check post so that non-natives can enter and exit directly from there.
Getting to Andaman by air:
Veer Savarkar is the only commercial airport in Andaman located in the capital city of Port Blair. Domestic flight services namely Indigo Airlines, Air India, Indian Airlines, Spice Jet, Go Air and Vistara have daily flights from major Indian cities. Book a flight in advance to get a good deal on the ticket price.
You have to board a flight from Kolkata and Chennai to reach Andaman within 2.5 to 3 hours. The longest travel time is from Delhi which takes around 5 hours. In case, you are taking a flight from anywhere else around India, you will have a layover or a hopping flight.
Pro-tip: Take an early morning flight so that you can utilise the rest of the day.
How to travel to the Andaman Islands by Sea
Another (but not suggested) way to get to Andaman is by sea. Haddo Wharf is the main port located in Port Blair. Ships sail from Kolkata and Chennai three to four times a month and only once from Vishakhapatnam. The approximate travel time is 3 to 4 days (50 – 60 hours)
The ships sailing between Andaman and mainland India are passenger ships and not cruise ships. So, they have a limited choice of food and no entertainment options. Sea-sickness is also common especially if tourists are travelling between May and October. We recommend travelling by ship only if you want to experience an unusual adventure amidst the blue sea for 3 to 4 days. Also note, the booking process is time-consuming and tickets can only be made from the Tickets Corporation Offices in Chennai, Calcutta and Visakhapatnam.
Click to know more about Travel to Andaman Island by Sea.
Getting to Port Blair
The best way to reach Port Blair is by taking a flight from Kolkata, Bengaluru and Chennai. Time taken is around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Getting to Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep)
Havelock is one of Andaman’s crowning jewels. It is a slice of paradise wrapped in vibrant corals, blue waters and fine powdery sand. This region is also known for its thrilling water sports, starting from scuba diving to snorkelling, jet-skiing and what not. A walk along the pristine coastline is the best way to soak up the charm of Havelock. It also hosts the astounding Radhanagar Beach, which is titled as the best beach in Asia.
Private and government ferries operate daily between Port Blair and Havelock as well as Neil and Havelock. The air-conditioned private ferries take just 1.5 hours from Port Blair and 1 hour from Neil Island. When it comes to the Government ferries, they are slow and booking needs to be made 4 days in advance. They usually cater to the locals and are not as reliable as their private counterparts.
The private ferries have a hassle-free booking process and offer the fastest way to commute between islands. Hence, it is advisable to opt for private ferries as a tourist. Helicopter services are not available for tourists. They usually cater to the local people and emergencies on the island.
Getting to Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep)
Neil Island or Shaheed Dweep is a tranquil piece of land nestled in the Andaman Archipelago. It features a lush green landscape packed with fields and coconut palms. The sublime beaches swathed in turquoise blue waters create a picturesque frame in mind and offer immense photography opportunities. If you are the kind of person who fantasizes tropical island, this is the place to be.
The easiest way to reach Neil Island is by hopping on a government or a private ferry. Again, opting for the private ferry is a better and easy option. Even the bookings can be made online in advance. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach Port Blair and about 1 hour from Havelock.
Getting to North Andaman (Baratang, Rangat, Mayabundar and Diglipur)
One of Andaman’s best-kept secrets, North Andaman is a slice of heaven on Earth. This region is known for its virgin beauty and is often characterized by lush forests, pristine beaches and turtle nesting sites. Places in North Andaman include Rangat, Baratang, Diglipur and Mayabunder. Tourists usually go on a day trip to Baratang to witness the Limestone Cave and the Mud Volcanoes. No wonder, North Andaman is one of the most magical locations that will allow you to reconnect with the poet within yourself.
Only government ferries ply in North Andaman. Please know your ferry schedules before the trip. You get to know the schedules for only 4 days in advance. Ferries sail almost every day to Baratang, Rangat and Diglipur. However, ferries operate once in 5 days to Mayabunder. The most common option is however to travel by road. Private and government buses, as well as chauffeured car services, are available for the same. Please note, hiring a car is a costly affair when it comes to travelling to Diglipur. This is a 6 to 8-day journey. But if you enjoy road trips, this trip is highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I take sea-planes around Andaman?
Sea-planes are not functional in Andaman as of now. These were extremely popular in the past but for the last 3 years, their services were stopped. We do not know when sea-planes will be operational in the future.
- Can I take helicopters around Andaman?
Helicopter services are available around Andaman. But tickets are not available for tourists. Click here for details
- Which one is better – government or private ferries?
Private ferries are ideal for tourists if they are travelling between Port Blair, Havelock and Neil. They are super fast and also offer hassle-free booking. If you are looking for an affordable option, opt for Government ferries which have their charm and allow you to interact with the locals. In case you are hard-pressed for time, private ferries are what we suggest. For more details about ferry services in Andaman, please click here.
- How to book ferries?
For ferry bookings, kindly click here