The Andaman, Nicobar and the Lakshadweep Islands have a lot going for them. Situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean, in the southern part of the Bay of Bengal, these two archipelagos boast superb white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. Relatively unknown as destinations, they escape from mass tourism and therefore have been able to preserve their fauna and underwater flora. This makes them the ideal location for those looking for a complete change of scenery, an encounter with a very distinctive culture, and magical scuba diving excursions or boat trips.
Surface area : 8267.6 km2
Population : 379944 inhabitants
Time difference : The UK is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep Islands in winter and 4h 30m in summer.
Other than the Port Blair Market, there aren't many places for shopping, but you'll find almost everything you need there. There are lots of different products, such as fruit and vegetables, high-tech gadgets, fabrics and plants. A pretty piece of jewellery made out of coconut makes a great souvenir.
Andaman cuisine is heavily influenced by all the cultures that came into contact with the region. Like many other aspects of Andaman culture, the influence of the Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Sikh religions in the island's traditional food is very apparant. You are sure to find a lot of very spicy poultry and pork, as well as of course lots of fish and seafood. You can also try fresh coconuts during your stay.
We recommend that you plan your trip well before you arrive otherwise once you do you will just want to lounge on the gorgeous beaches. Make sure to include a visit to the Port Blair prison, the Anthropological Museum, and a spot of scuba diving. Keep in mind that some of these activities can be quite expensive. The local currency is still the Indian Rupee. Remember to change your pounds before leaving, as credit cards are often not accepted.
Pack some long-sleeved jumpers or cardigans for evenings to minimise mosquito bites. Otherwise, bring very light clothing as it gets very hot here in summer.
Lastly, don't forget to ask for permission to take photos, especially of people in small villages who might not want their photo taken. If you don't, expect to get shouted at or be demanded to give money.