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Which is better Andaman or Kerala?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by Rashi5698, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Rashi5698

    Rashi5698 New Member

    Hey, everyone, I want to know which is better Andaman or Kerala?

    This would be the first time I would be traveling somewhere far from home. Otherwise, it was just short holiday trips nearby within a 6-hour drive.
    My ideal destination that I am looking for is something where there is nature and lots of peace. I don't know what either of these destination has to offer or which is better out of the two, so I would like some expertise advice from you all.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Both Kerala and Andaman are wonderful destinations. Choosing between them can be a tough experience, just because they have different landscapes, perfect for your dream vacation. The good news is, whichever destination you choose, you're bound to enjoy nature at its best. The only dilemma now is, which destination is suitable for you? Let us first give a brief overview of Kerala and Andaman.

    Nestled on the southeastern side of India, Kerala has often been called as God's own country. It's not hard to realise why, due to its abundance in natural greenery and varied landscapes. It is such a vast state that it's impossible to cover all its attractions within a week only. Beaches, forests, backwaters, historical sites, you name it, Kerala has it. As such, it has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. As an added bonus, it is easily accessible making it a year-round destination for many local and foreign tourists.

    Backwaters of Kerala

    Andaman Islands, on the other hand, is a union territory on India in the Bay of Bengal. It is located more closely to Thailand and Malaysia though. With its pristine and beautiful beaches, it has become one of the premier destinations in the country. Reaching the islands can be a bit more daunting though as you need to either go by air or by sea. However, the beauty of the islands have been attracting throngs of both local and foreign tourists too despite the difficulty in accessing it.

    Beach in Andaman
    Now, we go to more in-depth discussions of both destinations. This way, you can truly understand what makes each destination different from one another. By then, it would be more easy to choose which on best fits you.

    1. How to Reach

    • Kerala - Whether you're coming from a foreign country or in India itself, Kerala is easily accessible. Kerala has three main airports, one in Trivandrum, one in Cochin and another one in Calicut. These airports have domestic flights from other cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. They also have international flights so those coming from Europe, America or the Middle East can directly reach Kerala. If going by road, Kerala is connected to the main cities through the national highways. If going by train, Kerala also has numerous railway stations with the main ones being in Ernakulam and in Trivandrum. The state is also connected by direct buses from Bangalore and Mangalore. If going by ship, there are regular cruises from Cochin Port to Mumbai, Goa and Lakshadweep. Thus, reaching Kerala won't be a problem at all, whether going by public transport, by private vehicle or by air.
    • Andaman - There are only two ways of reaching Andaman, either by air or by ship. The first way, by air, is preferred as it is more convenient although more expensive too. The Veer Savarkar Airport, also known as the Port Blair Airport, is the only airport in the islands. There are direct flights from Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune to the airport. Thus, if you come from another country, you need to reach any of these cities to board a plane going to Port Blair. Ship journey is cheaper but a bit uncomfortable and lengthy. You can reach the islands in about three to four days and there's limited on-board entertainment as these ships are not cruise ships but rather passenger ships. Andaman is a bit more inaccessible from mainland India and thus, its remoteness makes it a premier destination in the country.
    2. Landscapes
    • Kerala - The state has very varied landscapes and terrains. For starters, there's the backwaters, running almost all throughout the entire state. The backwaters are a series of interconnected canals and water ways, which has become a major tourist attraction in the state. Kerala also has highlands like Wayanad and Munnar, which has a distinct pleasant climate as compared to the other lowland areas. These highlands are also covered with tea and coffee plantations, adding to the distinct landscape of Kerala. The coastal area of Kerala, includes Alleppey and Kovalam, has golden sands with shades of coconut trees. The entire state also has varying forest covers, ranging from dense ones to deciduous ones. As such, you can find wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in such areas.
    Wayanad in Kerala
    • Andaman - The Andaman and Nicobar Islands has about 349 islands, only 38 of which are inhabited. Almost 86% of the islands are covered with dense forests and teeming with wildlife. Being an island off the mainland India, the region has plenty of beaches with white shores. Perhaps the most well-known islands here are that of Havelock and Neil. But the islands of Diglipur and Baratang are equally beautiful yet offer varied landscapes. Diglipur has the only river in the whole islands and the amazing mud volcanoes too. Baratang has tropical forests, scattered alongside its beaches. It also has limestone caves and mud volcanoes too. In Barren Island, you can find the only active volcano in South Asia. As you can see, Andaman has varied landscapes too although not as complicated as the landscape of Kerala.
    Baratang Island in Andaman

    3. Best Time to Visit
    • Kerala - The main climatic feature of Kerala is that it receives moderate to heavy rainfall for the majority of the year. Southwest monsoon season in Kerala begins in June and ends in September. During this time, the state receives the first rainfall in the country and thus, heavy rainfalls are inevitable. Yet it doesn't end there, because from October to December, the region receives its second monsoon, the northeast monsoon season, which has heavy rainfall too accompanied by thunders and lightnings. The winter seasons receives the least rain and temperatures are slightly lower in the lowlands. Hill stations have temperatures between 7°C to 10°C so they are quite colder. The last season, which is summer, is also mildly warm, with temperatures not exceeding 40°C. But unlike other states, the region receives mild rain showers by the end of May. Kerala can be visited all-year round but of course, the winter season is the best time for sightseeing. For Ayurvedic treatments, the best time for that is during the monsoon season. Hill stations are best visited during the summer season.
    • Andaman - The islands of Andaman generally have tropical climate almost all-year round. Winters have mildly pleasant temperatures, ranging from 22°C to 35°C. Almost all resorts and water sports are available during this time and you might also find that this is a peak tourist season for travellers. Summer is also a good time to visit but temperatures are slightly higher at 25°C to 37°C. Again, all establishments are open during this time but the heat might be a bit uncomfortable during day time. The last season, monsoon, sees the same temperatures, from 22°C to 34°C. However, if reaching the islands by sea, it can be dangerous due to the strong sea waves. Shifting from one island to another might also be quite difficult to do during this time. Thus, consider visiting the islands during summer or winter only to be on the safer side and so all water sports and establishments would be open.
    4. Accommodations
    • Kerala - The state has plenty of accommodation options for guests, ranging from luxury ones to budget ones. Of course, main cities like Trivandrum and Cochin have more options for tourists. But don't worry as even the hill stations of Wayanad and Munnar has good options. The same goes for beach destinations such as Alleppey and Kovalam. More remote destinations like Bekal and Kumarakom has fewer options and are mostly luxury ones. Even if you need to go to remote locations, you would find budget options for accommodations like home stays and guest houses.
    • Andaman - Hotels and resorts in the Andaman Islands are limited. There are more choices in Port Blair and Havelock but beyond these islands, options are scanty. There are also islands that are only permitted to be visited during day time and even some islands that can only be seen through a ferry ride only. Thus, when visiting the Andaman Islands, it's best to book a hotel well in advance especially when visiting during peak tourist season.
    5. Attractions
    • Kerala - The main attraction in the state is its backwaters and this is the venue for the houseboat tours organised by the government and different travel agencies. If you'd like to experience the city life in Kerala, you can venture into the cities of Cochin and Trivandrum. In Cochin, there are historical sites that you can visit like Fort Cochin or the Mattancherry Palace. There are also some religious sites that you can explore here like the Santa Cruz Basilica and Gowreeshwara Temple. In Trivandrum, you can visit one of the wealthiest temples in the world, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The beaches of Kovalam and Varkala can also be visited near the city. As mentioned before, there are also plenty of hill stations that you can visit in the state like Wayanad and Munnar. Wayanad has plenty of natural attractions like the Meenmutty Waterfalls, Pookode Lake and Soochippara Waterfalls. Munnar, on the other hand, is home to the Ernavikulam National Park, one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the state. The Attukad Waterfalls is another major attraction in Munnar. For something more offbeat, you can visit Vagamon or Bekal. As you can see, there are plenty of places to visit around Kerala and even a month won't be enough to fully explore it. Thus, it's best to choose just one or two destinations in the state instead of trying to visit all these attractions in a short amount of time.
    Attukad Waterfalls in Munnar
    • Andaman - If you go by air, the first place that you would encounter in the Andaman Islands is Port Blair. This is mainly the capital of the region and there are plenty of museums that you can visit here like the Anthropological Museum and Samudrika Marine Museum. One historical place worth visiting here is the Cellular Jail, a prison used during the colonial British era. Excursions nearby the city can be at Viper Island, Ross Island and Jolly Buoy Island. Then, there's the Havelock Island, home to the most pristine beaches in the territory like the Radhanagar Beach and Vijay Nagar Beach. Barren Island is another must-visit, not only for the active volcano here, but also for there excellent diving sites in it. Diglipur Island is home to other islands like the Craggy Island and Ross & Smith Islands, excellent sites for snorkelling and diving. The Saddle Peak National Park is also located here, where you can spot the endemic wildlife to the region. All these attractions can be covered in about 8 to 12 days.
    Radhanagar Beach in Havelock Island

    6. Activities
    • Kerala - Aside from sightseeing and a houseboat tour, there are other activities that you can do in Kerala. There are tea, spice and coffee plantation tours in the hilly regions of the state. You can also explore the numerous wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala like the Periyar National Park, Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and Ernavikulam National Park. In Periyar National Park, you can try out bamboo rafting in the river located within its premises. Of course, the usual wildlife safaris, through a jeep or bus, are also offered within different national parks. Trekking and hiking are also must do activities in Kerala, especially for the numerous waterfalls in the state. If you are visiting during the monsoon, even in other seasons, you can indulge in Ayurvedic massage for the ultimate relaxation. Some of the beaches of Kerala, mainly the ones in Kovalam, offer water sports as well like parasailing, windsurfing and jet skiing.
    • Andaman - Andaman is the hub for water sports enthusiasts. In Port Blair alone, there's the Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex, offering activities like parasailing, jet skiing, boating and plenty more of water sports to tourists. You can also indulge in snorkelling and diving in the numerous beaches of Andaman. The best sites for this are the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and Corbyn's Cove. Other water sports that you can do in Andaman are underwater sea walking, surfing, banana boat riding and speed boating. You can also explore the national parks located in the islands like the Mount Harriet National Park and Saddle Peak National Park.
    So there you go, a brief comparison of the two destinations. In a nutshell, Kerala is a vast state and has something to offer for any type of traveller. There are forests, backwaters, hill stations, beaches, heritage sites and cities as well. You really cannot explore most of the state in just a short time. If you're looking for serenity and nature, it's best to choose hill stations instead of cities in Kerala. On the other hand, the Andaman Islands, due to its remoteness, is definitely serene and has plenty of natural attractions. However, if you like visiting heritage sites, there are only a few on the islands. The beaches here are pristine though and teeming with marine life, perfect for snorkelling and diving.

    Good luck and I hope this guide helps you choose between these two destinations!