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The Andamans - 10 Places on the Islands

Those who know me know that I avoid the typical touristy things and try to strike off on my own to take in the local flavor. But what do you do when the whole goddamn island is studded with gorgeous spots? The advantage of this truth is that you’ll easily cover beautiful scapes, the downside is you’ll be cramping in plans by the dozen. Like I mentioned in The 5 Smart Ways to Make your Trip to The Andamans Worth It, prioritize nature over the cafes and activities. Here are 10 places I visited (and the one’s I would’ve liked to) so you can mix and match for your tailored itinerary in The Andamans Islands. Port Blair  1. Cellular Jail / Kala Pani I personally sat this one out due to the crowds and the mythi-history narrated. This infamous jail got its name for the atrocities that went on with the freedom fighters imprisoned here on the island. Architecturally, it’s worth one visit but time it to be along with the light and sound show that happens everyday at 7pm. 2. Amaya Rooftop Bar & Grill, Sea Shell Resorts Night-life is quite limited in The Andamans as is the party fever (understandably so). Most places shut by 9:30 and working out transport can be a pain as the roads tend to be deserted and Ola/ Uber are nonexistent. Amaya nestled on Marine Hill though is a perfect place for sundowners where you can dress up, enjoy live music, and treat yourself to a comparatively wider selection of food and alcoholic beverages. I got lucky by directly calling them, talking to the manager (Coorgi chap called Subbaiah) and having the bar work out the pick-up and drop. As you’re going to blow a bomb at these spots, the bars usually help with autos / cabs at affordable costs on the island.

Pro tip: If you’re renting a bike, make sure you wear helmets as there is a hefty fine if the rule is broken. Drinking and driving is also met with severe fines of up to INR 30K and recently minimal jail time too as our cabbie quoted. 3. Chidiya Tapu & Corbyn’s Cove These are usually on the touristy lists too, but head there a little early to avoid the sunset photographers and large groups. From Chidiya Tapu, you can spot Rutland Island on a clear day, and Corbyn’s Cove is sought out for the water activities and a few eateries. The shore is smaller than Elephant Beach, Havelock Island so it’s always quite packed. The terrain at Chidiya Tapu is interesting, with trails that take you through the aged forests and straight onto the beach. 4. Wandoor Beach Cutting 20 km across Port Blair to the quieter side of things is Wandoor Beach, with the largest shoreline. Explore this during low tide to walk into the ocean for miles and take in the beauty. If you find yourself there, take a local boat ride to the Marine National Park as well, but keep the timings in check for your commute back into the city. 5. Baratang Island Located in the Middle Andaman District, Baratang is a whole day’s affair, across the island. You would spend about 3 hours on a scenic route to get there by renting out a cab at INR 4K. There are also boats available if you prefer the waters. I couldn’t fit this in with the already tight schedule I was on but really wanted to go there for the unique volcanoes accessible while in The Andamans. These are: * Sporadically erupting mud volcanoes, the only ones in India * Barren Island Volcano, the only active volcano in South Asia * Narcondam Volcano, a dormant one 

Havelock Island 6. Elephant Beach If you’ve opted for water activities, this is the destination you’ll be taken through via local boats and speed boats. Apart from the cost of the activity itself, the boat ride to and fro will cost you INR 1000 per head and this is fixed. There is a trekking trail to reach this beach too, but it's advisable to do the walk through the nature reserve with a guide in case of bites and wild animals. If going by the boats, reach the Havelock Jetty around 9am and walk up to the many counters on the shore that take down your preferred rides, collect payments, hand over your tickets, and assign you to a boat. Thereafter you’ll be taken to Elephant Beach for a period of 3 hours, during which our boat guy doubles up as a guide till he brings you safely back to the Jetty. My boat was called ‘Yo-Yo’ and the Bangla boys who operated it were super fun, even stopping the boat when I spotted dolphins.  7. Radhanagar Beach You’ll hear every local quoting this beach for the long stretch of white sandy beaches and epic sunsets on the islands. Although commercial, this is Blue Flag Certified, meaning that it meets the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) criteria and standards of management. Littering is absolutely not allowed, the coast guard is super proactive with his call outs. The beaches are quite strict on Havelock Island and any threat to safety due to weather or marine mammal sightings result in closure of the beach or limited access. You can spend the entire day on the beach and at its ecological park with giant redwoods. There are changing rooms, eateries and other facilities too. 8. Kalapathar Beach Known for its distinctive dead corals over black rocks, this beach is a must for sunrises. Speaking to one of the localities who do their morning runs on this beach, I learned that the sunrises look exactly as if the sun is coming up from the ocean, the  clear waters allow for amazing photographs. Unfortunately I had cloud cover due to the typhoon and couldn’t witness this marvel. A lot of photoshoots also happen here and are in close proximity to the resorts on Vijaynagar beach. 9. Something Different Cafe This was one place I totally fell in love with. Tucked away near Vijaynagar Beach, there's a sign for the cafe that winds through muddy lanes to open into a big, breezy cafe. Don’t let the name deceive you as they have a bar and main course options too on the menu. Compared to the other eateries in Havelock, this was reasonably priced and had everything from pizzas, burgers to the classic fish and chips. The decor is quirky with placemats made of upcycled jean aprons holding cutlery. The cafe opens to a small portion of the sea with mangroves and resting boats. Our waiter explained to us that the parties here go on till 11 with free drops back to your accommodation to avoid drink and drive situations. They really have thought of everything! 10. Bonova Bar, Sea Shell Resorts In Havelock Island, a few names come up for the limited nightlife. Nemo cafe, Venom, and Bonova. Bonova was lit up with loud music although the crowd was less for the weekend even at 9pm. What drives me to recommend the place here though is their seafood selection. The waiters are excellent at suggesting dishes and making sure you have a culinary experience. I tried the lobster (price varies as per weight) in lemon garlic sauce on a bed of veggies and rice and food coma ensued. Went through everything there is to the trip? Read on about the local life, history and nature to better appreciate your vacation to The Andamans. 


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