Far-flung and fabulously exotic, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are truly isolated, located in the Bay of Bengal. Geographically speaking, the archipelago is closer to Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand than to India’s east coast. It’s this unique placement that has brought in a wide variety of immigrants who have influenced the culture and delicious cuisine, like tandoori fish and curried prawns.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are diverse in cultures and in landscapes, and a journey here will keep you busy with trekking through unimaginably lush rainforest and dipping into cerulean seas. There are more than 500 islands in the region; most of them are uninhabited, and nature’s wild wonders have taken over.
These islands are so quiet and serene that you will only hear the gentle breeze rustle leaves as kingfishers sing in the trees. There are nine national parks sprinkled throughout the islands where bird watchers will be rejoice over the number of varieties. The Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve is a tropical haven of forests and mountain ranges, while Barren Island is home to India’s only active volcano.
The sparse human population is made up of various cultural and linguistic groups with origins from Africa and Asia that have survived living off the land for thousands of years. Learn about the British penal history in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Cellular Jail, dating back to 1906, once housed incarcerated freedom fighters from India.
For the most part, the main goals on a journey to this paradise should be to relax, unwind, and laze about in the tropical sun. Unspoiled, pristine beaches will make you wish to be marooned here forever. Under the sea, rainbow-splashed coral reefs beckon you to explore. Clouds of colorful, curious fish swim by and sunken ships await inspection by expert divers. Hop on a boat from the palm-fringed, white sand beaches of Havelock Island to reach Elephant Beach, an ideal spot for snorkeling.
The night life is out-of-this-world, too. Head out by canoe into the mangroves and look down into what should be dark water, illuminated by a sea of millions of floating bioluminescent plankton that look like a galaxy of stars.