Offbeat places in Andaman are abundant and each one seems to be better than the other. The islands hold a treasure of the not so popular yet pristine locales that’ll leave you in awe.
Incorporating the offbeat places in Andaman to your travel plan opens a gateway to the many available interesting and adventurous activities. This includes a boat ride in the mangrove creek, an encounter with the local tribes, visiting a mud volcano, or simply gazing at the brilliant sunset from uninhabited beaches.
If you are a traveler looking forward to exploring places beyond the ordinary, I am here to help you with your quest. My current blog will help you uncover the hidden gems of Andaman and make your holiday unique. Also, worth remembering in the future.
Best Offbeat Places in Andaman
Andaman as a destination is a favourite among adventure junkies and nature lovers.
Not only does the region offer travelers with a real adrenaline rush owing to the various water activities, but also provides a sense of quietude for nature lovers. All thanks to a combination of thrill and serenity.
You know what is the best part about the offbeat places in Andaman? A visit to these destinations is an adventure in itself.
As a traveler interested in offbeat places in Andaman, you should most certainly visit the following locales spread across South Andaman, Middle Andaman and North Andaman.
|Active Mud Volcano|
|Aerial Bay Islands|
Exploring the Offbeat Places in Andaman
Let me now elaborate on each of the places mentioned in the table above, giving you a glimpse of what’s in store on the unconventional journey that you have embarked upon.
As you read on, you will come across the classification of the above places based on their location. This will make it easier for you to plan your stay and logistics while implementing your travel plan to the offbeat places in Andaman.
Offbeat Places in Andaman (South)
South Andaman is the southern most island region of the overall region that comprises the Andaman Islands. The majority of the local people reside here. South Andaman is full of beautiful places, some of which might come across as a surprise.
The offbeat places that one must visit in South Andaman are Chidiya Tapu, Munda Pahad, Wandoor, Jolly Buoy and Sippighat.
Located about 20 kilometres south of Port Blair, Chidiya Tapu is a secluded beach with evergreen forests around. This beach features on the list of the most beautiful sunsets in South Andaman. It is an ideal pick for an evening excursion from Port Blair.
The changing colours of the sky from clear blue to husky orange fading into darkness is truly sublime. Additionally, Chidiya Tapu turns out to be a paradise for bird lovers. Several colourful varieties of birds are found on the beach and in the surroundings. This makes it a stunning photography destination.
Just a few meters away from the beach is the Chidiya Tapu Biological Park. The park conserves endangered species of animals and birds. It is worth spending some time at the biodiversity park before you head to the beach to watch the mesmerizing sunset.
How to Reach Chidiya Tapu?
Leveraging local transport is the cheapest means to get to Chidiya Tapu. Buses run frequently from Aberdeen Bazaar in Port Blair to Chidiya Tapu and take about an hour to reach. Auto-rickshaws are also available but I wouldn’t vouch for them on the curvy and uphill roads. If you are in a group, you could hire a local cab for a round trip from Port Blair.
If you’re up for the short trek, Munda Pahar is the place to be. It is situated near Chidiya Tapu on the southern coast of South Andaman. The trek up the hill of Munda Pahar takes just about 30 minutes.
You’d find a lot of like-minded people on the way, climbing up the hill for an incredible sunset view. From top of the Munda Pahar, the view is a crazy good one.
The Munda Pahar beach offers a similar view as the Chidiya Tapu sunset point. These points of attraction are located just beside each other and are best visited together later in the afternoon.
Not being at Munda Pahar for the sunset makes the visit futile, hence one must ensure that they plan their travel accordingly.
How to reach Munda Pahar ?
As Munda Pahar is just next to Chidiya Tapu, you can use the same means to reach either of the places as described earlier.
Wandoor is about 25 kms west of Port Blair. It is home to luxury resorts, perfect for a rejuvenating getaway from the city life of Port Blair. You can dine in any one of these resorts with private beach access.
You’d have a great time spending some quality time by yourself or with your loved ones on the super clean soft sand beaches.
A swim in the sea-blue waters of Wandoor beach open to the public is quite a relaxing experience. The area is cordoned so that one wouldn’t drift away into the deep waters. The water here is cleaner than at Chidiya Tapu making it a better place for swimming.
How to reach Wandoor?
Local buses from Port Blair to Wandoor turn out to be cost-effective. Auto rickshaws are available as well, but it might be an uncomfortable journey lasting about an hour. Hiring a cab is better if you are travelling in a group as you can split the cost with your fellow travelers.
An island off the coast of South Andaman, this tiny wonder will take you by surprise. A boat ride to the Jolly Buoy beach takes about an hour from Wandoor.
A permit is required to visit the beach, which must be procured a day in advance. Once you’re there, you’d feel as if you’re on a private island as the number of people allowed on the island on a specific day is controlled.
The Jolly Buoy beach is a common pick for scuba diving enthusiasts as the coral reefs are unexploited. The water is so clear that one can see up to the depths of 6 to 8 feet. For this very reason, snorkelling is also a recommended activity at Jolly Buoy.
How to Reach Jolly Buoy?
To get to Jolly Buoy, you first have to reach Wandoor as the boat departs from there. As the tickets are limited, it is advised that you obtain them along with the permit in advance with the help of a local guide. The permit with the boat tickets from Wandoor to Jolly Buoy and return will cost you under 1000 INR.
The best way to go about planning your excursion to Jolly Buoy and Wandoor is to spend the first half of the day at Jolly Buoy and take a boat back to Wandoor at 2 pm. You can then laze around at the Wandoor beach until evening to catch the impressive sunset before you depart for Port Blair.
Sippighat Farms is an agriculture and horticulture farm located off Port Blair. It is owned by the government and has different sections of land allotted for different kinds of farming. From spices to medicinal plants, they describe their farming technique with a demonstration which is a great learning experience.
The locale is extremely peaceful, and the plants and trees around make it even better. One can dedicate roughly about an hour of their time at Sippighat Farms.
How to Reach Sippighat?
You’d find Sippighat Farms are on the road connecting Port Blair to Wandoor. You could make a quick stop on your way to Wandoor if you are travelling by cab. Else you could take an auto-rickshaw on any of the days that you’re in Port Blair to visit Sippighat.
Offbeat Places in Andaman (North & Middle)
The northern and middle regions of the Andaman Islands are not just hubs for eco-tourism but also comprise of some of the most unexpected geographic landscapes. A few years ago, many locales in the region were hit by a powerful tsunami. However, the offbeat places here are still beautiful and mostly untouched.
The offbeat places that you must visit in North and Middle Andaman are Baratang Island, Mangrove Creek, Limestone Caves, Mud Volcano, Rangat, Diglipur and Barren Island.
The Baratang Island is about 100 kilometres north of Port Blair in the administrative district of Middle Andaman. It is one of the true hidden gems of Andaman for the varied experience that it offers.
Many tourists do not come to Baratang altogether since it involves a long and tiring journey. But those who do, have no regrets.
One must take the Andaman Grand Trunk Road from Port Blair to get to Baratang Island. However, on the way, they’d come across the village of the Jarawas, the local tribe of Andaman.
This is a restricted zone and one cannot enter this village by yourself. The check post to cross the village opens only at 2 specific times during the day. Only with the necessary permissions can one enter the village, strictly in a convoy.
There are very high chances of spotting the local tribes in the forest, busy in their day-to-day activities. The Jarawa tribes are not dangerous until you provoke them.
You are not allowed to open the windows of your jeep, click any photographs or offer any food to the tribes. If you pursue any of these, you might land into severe trouble. The ride to get to the other side of the village takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
How to Reach Baratang Island?
The journey to Baratang Island from Port Blair takes 2.5 to 3 hours per way. There are government as well as private buses that operate day trips to Baratang and return. Buses prove to be the most economical means to plan the day-long excursion to Baratang if you are a solo traveller.
However, hiring a cab will prove to be cheaper if you are travelling in a group. The cab driver will also act as your guide, sharing stories about the Jarawa tribes making it an interesting ride.
You must take a ferry to cross the river after you are dropped off by your bus or cab and the parking lot. On the other side of the river, you’d find a ticket counter to buy tickets for the boat ride into the mangroves.
You will also be able to visit the Mud Volcano. To visit the active Mud Volcano, you would have to hire a cab from this very spot. The charges are higher, as there are no other means to get there. But bargaining always works, and you can also settle for a shared cab which makes it cheaper.
These less visited places in Andaman can prove to be wonderful places on your itinerary. It will set apart your Andaman holiday from the mainstream and will make it unforgettable
Once you’re at the Baratang Island, you can visit Mangrove Creek, Limestone Caves and Mud Volcano.
Once you’re on Baratang Island, you should surely visit Mangrove Creek. A boat ride through Mangrove Creek is a unique experience that you might not have had before. A 30-minute boat ride takes you through the narrow passages of the mangrove creek.
Lush green forests surround the area and it is a delight to be in the lap of nature.
The boat ride through Mangrove Creek brings you to the start of your trek to the limestone caves.
How to Reach Mangrove Creek?
Taking a boat from Baratang Island will lead you straight into the Mangrove creeks.
A short trek lasting about 30 minutes from the drop-off point of your boat gets you to the limestone caves. The trek through the paddy fields with brilliant views is what makes the journey a memorable one.
These limestone caves are a natural wonder. You wouldn’t spend more than 20 to 30 minutes inside the caves as the entire area is not accessible.
But you do get to touch and feel the texture of the caves, something that your geography textbook from school did not allow you to do.
How to Reach Limestone Caves ?
Since the Limestone caves are located between mangrove forests and Baratang Island, they can be visited on a boat from Baratang Island. A 35-minute drive from Baratang followed by a 2-kilometer trek into the jungle will lead you to Limestone Caves.
Active Mud Volcano
Baratang Island has many active mud volcanoes, though not all are accessible to the public. Do not confuse these volcanoes with the huge mountains that squirt out lava.
Active mud volcanoes are tiny openings on land that erupt mud instead of lava. The mud is cold, unlike lava or ash which is really hot. It is an interesting watch and something which is unique to this place.
How to Reach Active Mud Volcano ?
You can hire a cab from Baratang jetty to Mud Volcano. Pool cabs are available here.
Rangat is one of the least visited places of the Middle Andaman region. Now, this is sad, because Rangat has so much to offer – volcanic rocks, pristine beaches, gushing waterfalls, nesting turtles to mention a few.
At a distance of about 20 km from Rangat is a Mangrove Nature Walkway that goes by the name of Dhaninallah. This is the largest mangrove walkway of its kind in India. At Dhaninallah, turtles nest seasonally. You’ll be lucky to visit here during the nesting season.
Cutbert Bay Beach and Amkunj Beach are two very pretty beaches near Rangat.
How to Reach Rangat?
From Port Blair, you can board a bus to Rangat. However, it’s a tiring route. Instead, you can travel from Havelock Island via boat. It will drop you at Rangat Bay.
There are various locales in and around Diglipur that have the potential to offer travelers much delight. Interestingly, Diglipur is one of the remotest places in the Andaman region. Hence, the least visited.
Kalipur Beach near Diglipur is an absolute must-visit for snorkelling lovers. However, in recent times, there are fewer guided snorkelling providers. Then there is the Craggy Island across Kalipur beach which is known for beautiful fishes, corals and other marine creatures.
You can venture to Aerial Bay Islands from Diglipur. These islands include Chatham island, Ross Island, Smith Island and Ox Island. Some of these need you to purchase an entry ticket.
Lastly, the highest point of Andamans i.e. Saddle Peak is also near Diglipur. So is the only river of Andamans – Kalpong.
Reserve one full day for going trekking till Saddle Peak. There are two routes to choose from here. You can either through the thick forest or from the side of the beach. Once you reach the top of the peak, a gorgeous view of Craggy Island and Kalipur Beach is visible clearly.
How to Reach Diglipur?
You can board a bus from Port Blair to Diglipur. This is a 12-hour journey. You can also break your journey at Rangat and then travel from there the next day. Lastly, you can travel via the sea route from Port Blair to Aerial Bay Jetty. This will be an overnight journey. Aerial Bay Jetty is around 10 km from Diglipur. So, you can take a bus or auto from Aerial Bay to Diglipur.
Barren Island is the only active volcano in the whole of India. Also, in Southeast Asia. Its most recent eruption of lava happened in 2018. The islands are rightfully named Barren Island. The reason being the absence of any active flora or fauna around it owing to its active nature.
Special permission is needed for visiting Barren Island. You will be taken near it on a private ferry or a small catamaran. If you’re lucky, you can witness molten lava erupting from it.
Barren Island will come across as a majestic place rising high above from the deep sea underneath. The only downside is that a trip to Barren Island can prove to be a costly affair. You are not to put your step down on the island as it is strictly prohibited.
All you are allowed to do is take a voyage around the island in a vessel or a ferry varying from 3 to 5 times and view it from a distance.
How to Reach Barren Island ?
You can take a ferry from Phoenix Bay Jetty or a catamaran at Port Blair till the nearest waters of Barren Island. It lies at a distance of around 130 km via the sea route.
Important Travel Note on the Offbeat Places in Andaman
As a traveler and someone who is absolutely in love with Andamans, I need to mention one thing. It will not be possible to cover all the offbeat places in the Andaman Islands in just one trip unless you’re here for at least 3 weeks.
So, choose either South Andaman or North & Middle Andaman and then plan a good itinerary. The destinations across these three regions are quite varied and worthy of your time. So, do not try to visit them superficially. Spend a good amount of time in whatever region you choose to visit.
Alternatively, visit the Andaman Islands more than once to cover all its rare and less-visited locales.
Offbeat Places in Andaman that are Least Known to the Outside World
There are places in the Andaman Islands that are offbeat and there are places that are even less known. However, all such places not only offer a powerful geographic landscape but will leave you in complete wonder of them.
Two such places are Narcondam Mountain and Red Skin Island.
The word Narcondam in the Tamilian language means, “pit of hell.” But don’t worry, it isn’t as scary as you may think.
The Narcondam Mountain is actually volcanic in origin and is the second largest peak in the entire Andaman region. The first being the Saddle Peak, as mentioned before in this blog. Narcondam is currently a dormant volcano.
The island surrounding the Narcondam Mountain is completely covered in lush green flora and is home to some rare species of birds including the Narcondam Hornbill.
Fact that this island is hugely untouched, Narcondam waters form excellent scuba diving spots. Marine life underneath is sparkling clear and is bustling with diversity in so many forms and colours.
Location: Andaman Sea
Red Skin Island
Considered a part of the Mahatma Gandhi Marine Park, the Red Skin Island owes its name to the abundance of red coral reefs on its coasts. These reefs give a pretty reddish look to the island.
The Mahatma Gandhi Marine Park is comprised of 15 islands. However, only 2 are accessible to travelers. One is Red Skin Island and the other is Jolly Buoy Island. Most travelers visit only Jolly Buoy Island and miss out on the pristine Red Skin Island.
The Red Skin Island lies at a mere distance of 2 km from Wandoor. Yet very few people know about its existence. I highly insist that you not only visit this island but also take a glass boat ride underneath the water. Additionally, you can indulge in snorkelling.
One of the best aspects of Red Skin Island is that usage of plastic bottles is completely banned here.
Location: South Andaman
Why Visit the Offbeat Places in Andaman?
A lot of you might be wondering if it is necessary to include offbeat places in Andaman in your itinerary. I’d like to share my perspective with you on why you must plan a visit to all these unique locations.
A trip of many firsts
The Andaman escapade with an addition of the less-visited places will turn out to be a trip of firsts for a bunch of you. The natural wonders such as the coral reefs, limestone caves and mud volcanoes are something that many come across in Andaman for the very first time.
An encounter with the Jarawa tribes
Andaman is home to five tribes, of which you will have a chance to come across only one – the Jarawa tribe. They reside in the Middle and South Andaman. It is a once in a lifetime experience to pass through their habitat and have a sneak peak into their way of living.
Unexploited beaches with great sunset views
The common beaches in Port Blair and on the nearby islands are the most frequented and hence, a little crowded. If you are a beach lover and appreciate solace, the beaches on the list of offbeat places in Andaman will make you fall in love with the place for its serenity.
Good connectivity by local transport
Andaman Islands are well connected internally by local transport. Hence, it is easy to plan your journey to the offbeat places in Andaman through buses and local autos. You do not need to hire a private cab to explore the hidden gems of Andaman.
Uncover the unseen places in Andaman on a budget
A visit to most of these offbeat places in Andaman is free or at a nominal cost. This is your chance to plan your trip to the less-visited places of Andaman on a shoestring budget. You can use local transportation at its best. The only other cost includes an entry ticket where applicable.
While Andaman is full of amazing places to visit, certain out of the box adventures will make your trip worthwhile and different.
Just take my word and go for it. You’ll have some kick-ass stories to share for a lifetime and memories that’ll remain etched in your hearts forever.
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