Introducing Andaman Islands
Long fabled among travellers for its legendary beaches, world-class diving and far-flung location in the middle of nowhere, the Andaman Islands are still the ideal place to get away from it all.
Its lovely opaque emerald waters are surrounded by primeval jungle and mangrove forest, and snow-white beaches that melt under flame-and-purple sunsets. The population is a friendly masala of South and Southeast Asian settlers, as well as Negrito ethnic groups whose arrival here still has anthropologists baffled. Adding to the intrigue is its remote location, some 1370km from the mainland, meaning the islands are geographically more Southeast Asia – 150km from Indonesia and 190km from Myanmar.
While the archipelago comprises some 300 islands, only a dozen or so are open to tourists, Havelock by far being the most popular for its beaches and diving. The Nicobars are strictly off limits to tourists, as are the tribal areas.
Need to know
With snow-white beaches, teal shallows, a coast crammed with beach huts and some of the best diving in Asia, Havelock has a well-deserved reputation as a backpacker paradise. For many, Havelock is the Andamans, and is what lures most tourists across the Bay of Bengal, many of whom are content to stay here for the entirety of their trip.