5 of the Most Incredible yet Often Overlooked Places on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands

We have come up with 5 breathtaking locations in Andaman archipelago which are are not usually on every traveller's must see list of places.

Posted by Ashwin on February 12th, 2016

Located 1370 km off the Eastern coast of mainland India, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands offer some the most isolated and visually captivating scenery anywhere on the planet. Lying closer to South East Asia, the islands grant visitors a glimpse into a world untouched by modern life; white beaches lapped by the gentle azure of the ocean, the surrounding mangrove forests teeming with wildlife and the constant chatter of vibrantly coloured birds. But whilst a majority of the archipelago’s three hundred Islands are restricted to tourists – measures taken by the government to protect not only the area’s unique ecosystem but also the largely undiscovered territories of the native tribespeople - the remaining islands provide a wealth of wonder hidden from all but the most intrepid traveller.

Our top 5 places in Andamans

1. Viper Island

Viper Island Andaman Nicobar Islands Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spisharam/2305721119

Now a picture perfect postcard of paradise, with languid palm trees and infinite blue waters, it can be difficult to imagine Viper Island as the site of some of the worst excesses of British rule. Some years ago, the island was the site of a jail that housed political prisoners who sought to liberate India from her coloniser, the remnants of the hilltop gallows attesting to the horrors the island has witnessed. The colony was largely abandoned after the nearby Cellular Jail was constructed and while most of the Island’s structures have long since been reclaimed by nature, echoes of its past now lie amid a far more idyllic setting.

N.B. For those of a nervous disposition, do not be perturbed by the name. The island was christened after an ill-fated vessel that sank nearby, the S.S Viper, and though snakes certainly are never far away, they are much less numerous than the name might suggest.

2. Lalaji Bay

Lalaji Bay Beach, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Source: wikipedia

Although Lalaji Bay will be little more than a footnote in many guide books, amongst locals it is regarded as perhaps the most beautiful beach on the entire archipelago. Nestled on the west side of Long Island, the bay is not the most easily accessible but fortunately the one and a half hour jetty journey from Rangat is a stunning (and not unduly rocky) exploration into the open waters while the further dinghy boat trip and three kilometre walk will allow for a thorough examination of the island’s infinitely varied wildlife.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
– Martin Buber

3. Little Andaman Lighthouse

light house, little andaman, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Standing at approximately 46 metres and precisely 200 steps high, The Little Andaman Lighthouse is another site remote enough to deter all but the most determined of explorers. Much of the journey there is unpassable on any mode of transport except foot, meaning an expedition to the southernmost tip of the island is likely to be an all-day affair.

Otherwise known as Richardson’s Lighthouse, the structure took almost ten years to complete but remained sturdy enough to withstand the tragic ferocity of the 2004 Tsunami. Anyone willing to ascend the narrow and challenging staircase will be afforded some truly spectacular views of the coastline, far from the rabble of fellow holidaymakers and incessant clicking of cameras.

4. Baratang Island’s Limestone caves and Mud Volcano

mudvolcano-baratang-andaman-nicobar-islands

One of the greatest pleasures about life on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not so much the destination, but the journey required to get there. Having arriving on Baratang Island, visitors must trek through the mangrove forests to reach the caves, an expedition that truly feels like a venture into the unknown and, with the tangible presence of wildlife and surrounding yet unseen Jarwa tribespeople, it may very well might be. The caves themselves are lined with stalactites and stalagmites, strange sculptures of animals and Hindu Gods that have been millennia in the making. Usually included in the package is a trip to the mud volcano, India’s only active example, and while not as visually arresting at the limestone caves, it certainly lies testament to the unique geological character that defines the area.

5. Saddle Peak

saddle-peak-andaman-islands Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kalarippayattu.jpg

Standing at an imposing 732 metres, Saddle Peak is The Andaman and Nicobar Islands highest summit. From its peak it is possible to see for quite literally hundreds of miles, over the lush green canopy and far out over the island-speckled sea. The price? A six to seven hour trek that begins sedately before growing evermore arduous, the rich tapestry of flora camouflaging all kinds of watchful eyes. Primitive rest stops have been erected along the way but for anyone attempting the climb, be sure to pack all necessities before beginning as the splendour of nature does not come equipped with convenience stores. Hikers are advised to arrive early, not only to avoid the midday heat but also for the opportunity to glimpse the kaleidoscope of colour that is an Andamenese sunrise, a scene that surely must ranks amongst life’s most humbling.

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