A picturesque, popular and yet relatively undisturbed tourist destination is Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a chain of islands located in the Bay of Bengal about 1,200km away from both Chennai to the west and Kolkata to the north-northwest. This archipelago comprises two groups of islands: Andaman Islands to the north and Nicobar Islands to the south. The archipelago, with Port Blair as its capital, is very close to the coast of Indonesia, and separated from Thailand and Burma by the Andaman Sea. The tropical climate provides for a rich profusion of exotic flora and fauna – and some fantastic sights to see and things to do. Here’s a list of top 10 things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Recommend you do them all.
Cellular Jail National Memorial
This much feared and hated island prison, known as Kaala Paani (Black Water) during British rule, is now a memorial dedicated to leaders and fighters of the Indian independence struggle who were incarcerated here.
Ross Island was the administrative HQ of the Andamans under the British. Once likened to Paris, it was ruined by the twin blow of the earthquake of 1941, and the invasion of the Japanese.
The grim reminder of colonial justice in the shape of this British jail and gallows, constructed in 1867, attracts tourists to this rather misleadingly named island, really named after a wrecked ship lying nearby.
For an accurate and impartial portrayal of Andaman and Nicobar’s native tribes, an interesting collection of their artifacts and craft and an informative booklet on native culture, this Port Blair museum is the best place to be.
Forest Museum and Chatham Saw Mill
The British set up Asia’s biggest saw mill here in 1836. Reached by a road bridge, it now houses the forest museum which chronicles the history of the island.
Samudrika Marine Museum
This staid Indian Navy-run museum has a modest but fairly accurate and informative collection of items that detail the islands’ flora and fauna, the native tribal communities and the islands’ ecosystems.
Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park
This excellent marine park is spread over an area of 280 sq km containing some complete ecosystems: 15 islands and innumerable creeks of mangroves and tropical rainforest, and reefs that are home to over 50 different species of coral. The park is accessed from Wandoor village, 29 km from Port Blair.
Jolly Buoy and Red Skin Islands
These islands, a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, are ideal for snorkeling and a few other watersports.
If you’re looking for a place to swim, watch sunsets or just plain laze near Port Blair, Corbyn’s Cove is just the place. However, beware of weekend and holiday crowds!
Andaman Handicrafts Emporium and Sagarika Government Emporium
The shops here stock some splendid island handicrafts made from wood, seashells jewellery, bamboo and cane.
The Andaman and Nicobar Island experience would be far more rewarding and enjoyable than can be described in a few words. However, this list of the top 10 things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is sure to help you go for the best that the archipelago has to offer.