With shimmering turquoise waters fringed by primeval jungle, fantastic diving, and sugar-white, sun-toasted beaches melting under flame-and-purple sunsets, the far-flung Andaman Islands are the perfect Indian escape.
The population is a friendly mix of South and Southeast Asian settlers, as well as Negrito ethnic groups whose arrival here has anthropologists baffled. Adding to the islands' intrigue is their remoteness, over 850 miles (1370km) east of the Indian mainland – but only 124 miles (200km) from Indonesia and 186 miles (300km) from Myanmar (Burma).
Of the archipelago's 572 islands, only 36 are inhabited and a small selection are open to travelers. With splendid beaches and diving, Havelock (Swaraj) is by far the most popular.
Permit requirements for the Andamans were eased in 2018; the effects of this on the islands' unspoilt state, not to mention the survival of their Indigenous peoples, remains to be seen. To the south, the Nicobar Islands have, so far, been strictly off limits to tourists.