Maldives or Andamans - Where next?

Written By Manveena Bhaskar on June 02, 2021 Planning Your HolidayAndamans or Elsewhere?

Planning Your HolidayAndamans or Elsewhere?

Maldives or Andamans - Where next?

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Of all the sought-after beach destinations in Southern Asia, the Maldives and the Andamans are on the top of the charts for most Indian travelers.

These two tropical destinations bear as many similarities as differences, so hold tight while we give you a play-by-play of these hot and trending vacation spots.

At the end of it, you’ll have a better idea of where you want to be heading!

Maldives vs. Andamans: How are they Different?

1. Culture, Currency and Language

Maldives:

The Republic of Maldives is an island state with 26 atolls*, with Islam being the state religion and Dhivehi being the national language. Dhivehi is primarily derived from the Sinhala language of Sri Lanka but is influenced by various languages like Arabic, French, Portuguese, and others.

The national currency is called Maldivian Rufiyaa. But, due to it being a large international tourist destination, English is widely spoken and US dollars are widely accepted as an alternate currency.

Atolls*: For island-newbies, Maldivian atolls are usually a series of islands surrounding a lagoon.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

Andaman &  Nicobar Islands is a union territory of India with around 572 islands, of which 38 are inhabited. The primary language in use is Andaman Creole Hindi* and the currency in use is the Indian rupee. Most islands are inhabited by settlers from all over India and in addition, the islands are home to 5 indigenous tribes.

Andaman Creole Hindi*: It is a dialect of Hindi derived primarily from the mainstream Hindustani Bengali and Tamil languages.

2. Visa Requirements

Maldives:

For an Indian traveler, a free visa-on-arrival makes the Maldives a super-friendly international destination. All you’ll need is a passport with 6 months of validity, a return ticket, and your itinerary with accommodation details to get rolling.

Here’s an updated checklist on what you’ll need on your trip to the Maldives, including recent Covid-19 requirements: https://www.tourism.gov.mv/covid19

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

For the Andamans, you’ll need no visa if you’re an Indian Citizen. In fact, you don’t need a passport to travel to the Andamans, if you’re Indian.

All you’ll need is an acceptable government ID such as your Aadhar Card, Driver’s license, or Voter’s ID.

3. Mode of Transport

Maldives:

You can fly to the Maldives from most metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore for as little as Rs. 20,000 (275 USD) both ways.

Within the Maldives, seaplanes are the most popular mode of traveling from island to island. TransMaldivian Airlines operates several flights daily to and fro from all the atolls. You could book your tickets directly with them or through your resort and travel agents.

Our experience has shown that booking with the resorts can be more expensive than booking with a travel agent or booking directly.

Ferries are also available for inter-island travel.

The prices for sea-planes and ferries vary greatly from atoll to atoll.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

It should cost you Rs. 10,000 – Rs. 15,000 per ticket on average to fly to the Andamans, both ways.

It’s well-connected with most metro cities in Mainland India. Within the islands, ferries are the easiest way to get around.

There are several reputable cruise lines such as Makruzz, Sealink, and Green Ocean. It should cost you around 1.3k one way per person.

You can book them here: https://www.go2andaman.com/online-ferry-booking/

4. Accommodation & Expenses

A bit of a tricky one, but we’re going to try and break it down for you.

Maldives:

While the Maldives is touted to be an ultra-luxury, water-villa and pool breakfast type-a destination, it also has a tonne of options for mid-range travellers.

While the former can cost you an average of 1000 – 1500 USD per night for an all-inclusive stay, you can get budget-friendly spaces for as low as 70 – 120 USD per night (may not necessarily be all-inclusive).

The best places for mid-range travellers are Male, Maafushi Island, Thulusdhoo and Bodufolhudoo where you’ll find economic options aplenty.

Having said this, Maldives has primarily promoted itself as a luxury destination and it is a delight for the luxury vacationer.

We recommend going all-inclusive since most of them are island resorts (meaning one island houses only one resort), so you won’t have access to out-of-house restaurants and entertainment. All-inclusive will usually include unlimited alcohol, access to all the resort’s restaurants and cafes, a replenishable mini-bar and may include spa treatments and oceanic excursions.

Most island resorts have spas, sometimes treatment is included in an all-inclusive package. You’ll have to check for spa offers before you pick a particular resort. Most resorts offer a discount if you book the treatments prior to arrival. Treatments can range anywhere between 70 – 500 USD on average and will mostly depend on the type of resort you decide to pick.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

The Andamans is primarily a budget to mid-range destination peppered with a few luxe options. Most resorts are spread around three popular islands: Havelock, Neil and Port Blair.

You can expect to spend anywhere between Rs. 4000 to Rs. 7000 (50 – 100 USD) on average per room night inclusive of breakfast.

For this range, you can expect an air-conditioned cottage room close to the beach. Most resorts have various meal plans on offer wherein you can avail yourself lunch and dinner at a nominal additional charge of Rs. 400 – Rs. 800 per meal (5 – 10 USD).

Your luxury options include your classic Taj, we have a Taj Exotica that is sure to blow your holiday hat away, and it’s right on Radhanagar beach at that. We have Jalakara, a niche boutique resort with an infinity pool looking straight into lush tropics and with all-inclusive packages. We also have a newly built Tilasiro, courtesy of CGH Earth. Finally, Barefoot Resort at Radhanagar beach, known at one point for the swimming elephant Rajan, is one of the oldest, longest-standing and most exquisite of resorts. It has built its reputation over the years and is a crowd favourite for good reason. All of these range between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 35,000 on average (200 – 2400 USD).

Most resorts are equipped with an in-house bar where cocktails and spirits will almost surely cost you less than you’re used to paying in Mainland India. This is thanks to the A & N Islands’ Union Territory status. You have access to all the restaurants and entertainment on a given island, so you can restaurant and bar hop to your heart’s content.

Expect to pay anywhere between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 (30 – 70 USD) per meal inclusive of alcohol.

5. Cuisines

Maldives:

The Maldivian cuisine is very similar to the Southern-Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines in that it’s a mish-mash of warm spices, curries, and surprisingly, savory pastries. The cuisine makes judicious use of coconuts and fresh seafood which are available perennially.

Most resorts, however, serve a global audience and the food and restaurants are largely reflective of that. You can expect to see Italian, Mediterranean, Asian, and a lot of grills in most resorts.

At best, some resorts will have a Maldivian-themed night but it’d be hard to find a resort that only serves Maldivian food. On average, an island resort can be expected to have 2-3 restaurants and choice is limited to that.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

The cuisine in the Andamans is very regional and you can expect most resorts to serve Indian, Indo-Chinese, and some International food like Italian and grills.

Fresh Seafood is available year-round and is a literal must-have. Andamans gives you the option of trying different restaurants and cafes all across your island of stay.

There are several stand-alone and in-resort options on Havelock Island, Neil Island, and Port Blair.

6. Water Sports & Activities

Maldives:

On most island resorts, in the Maldives, you won’t have to spend any money on non-motorized activities like surfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and snorkelling.

However, motorized activities like jet-skiing &  banana boats, dive courses, fun dives, and ocean excursions will cost you extra, ranging between 100 – 150 USD on average per person.

For the budget traveler, most guesthouses and resorts will be able to guide you to the nearest available dive or adventure shop.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

In the Andamans, on all three tourist-friendly islands, you’ll have access to water sports activities and dive/snorkeling shops run by independent owners.

It can cost you anywhere between Rs. 2500 to Rs. 5000 (40 – 60 USD) per activity.

More on this here: https://www.go2andaman.com/category/learn-scuba-diving/

7. Beaches, Sightseeing and To-Do’s

Maldives:

Since most, although not all, resorts on the Maldives are island resorts, it does restrict movement in a large way. Beach and entertainment options are usually restricted to the resort of stay.

So, if you’re looking for an activity-packed vacation, this may not be the best option for you.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

Andamans, on the other hand, gives you access to all the beaches and sightseeing on your island of stay. There is no limit to the amount of adventure and activity you can pack into your day.

It’s ideal for the complete spectrum: travelers looking for non-stop adventure to travelers looking for complete relaxation.

Maldives vs. Andamans: An Overview of Their Differences

ThemeMaldivesAndamans

Widely-Used Languages + Currency

Dhivehi & English + USD

Hindi & English + Indian Rupee

Visa Requirement for Indians
Free Visa-on-Arrival for
Passports with 6 months
Validity
No Visa Required. Government ID will Suffice.

Type of Accommodation
Mostly Luxury Island-Resorts,
Meaning one Resort on one
Island
Mostly Budget, Mid-Range, and Premium
Resorts
Spread the Islands of Port Blair,
Havelock and Neil
Popular Mode of Inter-Island Travel
Seaplanes: TransMaldivian

Ferries: Makruzz, Sealink and Green Ocean
CuisinesInternational: Grills, Italian,
Mediterranean and Asian
Regional: Indian and Indo-oriental

Maldives vs. Andamans: How are They Similar?

1. Super-Accessible

They’re both a direct flight or one stop away from most metro cities on Mainland India. It won’t take you more than 7 hours, on the higher side, to reach both destinations. Easy-peasy-squeezy.

 

2. Beach, Please

Both destinations are paradisical abodes with crystal-clear, blue waters and a white-sand beach at every nook. Pack those flip-flops and swimmers and let your beach persona go wild!

 

3. Tropical Weather

Both spots enjoy gloriously sunny weather with irregular, light rain between the months of October and April. Heavy monsoons begin in May and end around September.

 

4. Diving Havens

They’re literal reef heavens for scuba diving enthusiasts. In the Maldives, eagle rays, turtles, and reef sharks are regularly spotted. Andamans is home to bright and colourful marine life, with large shoals of fish, turtles, and eels. Head to Havelock for dives that only dreams are made of.

 

5. Honeymooning in the Tropics

For the perfect tropical honeymoon, it’d be hard to say that one is more romantic than the other. While the Maldivian islands are flat, with little vegetation and surrounded by the azure blues, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are lush green, with thick vegetation, and are surrounded by turquoise blue waters.

So, we’ll just give them both a 10/10 and close this right here?

Maldives vs. Andamans: How are They Similar?

We don’t believe in the one-vacation-fits-all notion.

We think the Maldives is a perfect honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday getaway. To celebrate that special something with an international vacation thrown in with a little glitz and glamour. Save up and splurge is what we’re saying!

And the Andamans is a repeat vacation spot, like Goa or Manali. It’s that accessible, affordable nostalgia-inducing piece of heaven that will make you fall in love with it again and again. It’s easy on the pocket and it’ll have you coming back for more.

Both these destinations are worth being on your travel list and will satiate your wanderlust in different ways! So, whether you’re looking to honeymoon with your beau, vacay with your gal pals, or holiday with your family, we hope this blog helped you decide where you’re heading next. Either way, it’s a vacation win.

Maldives vs. Andamans: An Overview of Their Similarities
Regular flights from Mainland India from metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore
Beachy destinations with tropical weather and light rain during tourist season
Romantic, idealistic vacation spots for honeymooners
Dive spots for seasoned and novice divers alike

Maldives vs. Andamans: A Cost Comparison

BasisMaldivesAndamans
Flight expenses: return ticketsRs. 16,000 – Rs. 20,000 per personRs. 12,000 – Rs. 15,000 per person
Accommodation expenses: per nightLuxury stay: Rs. 30,000 – Rs. 80,000
Premium stay: Rs. 7,000 – Rs. 15,000
Budget stay: Rs. 2000 – Rs. 2,500
Premium stay: Rs. 4000 – Rs. 7000
Luxury stay: Rs. 15,000 – Rs. 35,000
Food & beverage expenses: per mealRs. 4000 to Rs. 7000Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000
Water activities: per activity per personRs. 3500 to Rs. 11,000Rs. 2500 to Rs. 5000
OthersSpa treatment: Rs. 5000 to Rs. 15000 per treatmentInter-island or beach day trips: Rs.500 to Rs. 2000

Maldives vs. Andamans: An Overview of Their Differences

Maldives
  • Dhivehi & English + USD
  • Free Visa-on-Arrival for Passports with 6 months validity
  • Mostly Luxury Island-Resorts, Meaning one Resort on one Island
  • Seaplanes: TransMaldivian
  • International: Grills, Italian, Mediterranean and Asian
Andamans
  • Hindi & English + Indian Rupee
  • No Visa Required. Government ID will Suffice
  • Mostly Budget, Mid-Range, and Premium Resorts Spread the Islands of Port Blair, Havelock and Neil
  • Ferries: Makruzz, Sealink and Green Ocean
  • Regional: Indian and Indo-oriental

Maldives | Language & Currency

Dhivehi & English + USD

Andamans | Language & Currency

Hindi & English + Indian Rupee

Maldives | Visa Info

Free Visa-on-Arrival for Passports with 6 months Validity

Andamans | Visa Info

No Visa Required. Government ID will Suffice.

Maldives | Accommodation Info

Mostly Luxury Island-Resorts, Meaning one Resort on one Island

Andamans | Accommodation Info

Mostly Budget, Mid-Range, and Premium Resorts Spread the Islands of Port Blair, Havelock and Neil
Author
Manveena Bhaskar

Hi there! I’m a local from the Andamans; born, bred and raised, like they say. I’ve been happily travelling around here for the last 29 years of my life and have been to off-beat locations like Little Andaman, Long Island, Rutland, Barren Island and Ross & Smith. It may seem like a small place, but I feel like I still have so much to see! I’ve also been ridiculously in love with reading and writing for as long as I can remember. Put two and two together and it gives you this blog post.

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