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Which is better Andaman or Lakshadweep?

Discussion in 'By The Sea' started by NadinaCh, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. NadinaCh

    NadinaCh New Member

    I want to give my husband a surprise for his birthday and book a holiday to either Andaman or Lakshadweep. I have heard more about Andaman and hear people going there, and less about Lakshadweep, but hear that Lakshadweep is more beautiful and a serene place.

    We won't be doing much when we go, as we both have busy lives, we would be spending time in peace together, relaxing at the beach or the resort.

    I would like to know which is better Andaman or Lakshadweep?

    The holiday would be planned for early November, so the sooner I get some feedback, the sooner I can start with the hotel and flight bookings.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Overview of Andaman and Lakshadweep

    The most pristine beach destinations in India, maybe even in Asia, the islands of Andaman and the islands of Lakshadweep. Once you visit these destinations, you won't be able to get enough of them. But really, what sets them apart? Is there a better destination than the other? What differences can we highlight between the two? And further, which would give you the best value for your money's worth?

    The Andaman Islands are located in the Andaman Sea, closer to the countries of Myanmar and Thailand really. Comprising of about 3,000 islands and islets, including the region of Nicobar, the most diverse flora and fauna can be found in the Andaman Islands. Various peaks, forests, underwater marine life and even waterfalls dot the landscape of the region. Endemic wildlife can also only be found in the islands. As such, this premier destination has been noticed by many prestigious travel magazines and websites worldwide.

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    Andaman (Image Courtesy of Make My Trip)

    The Lakshadweep Islands, on the other hand, is located off the Arabian Sea. It is close to the state of Kerala and also has the same white sand beaches as the Andaman Islands, yet evidently less developed. It is comprised of about 36 island atolls, the only islands of their kind in India. In contrast to Andaman Islands, the forests and landscapes in Lakshadweep Islands are not as varied. The land here though is very fertile, suitable for growing many agricultural crops.

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    Lakshadweep (Image Courtesy of Oscar via Flickr)

    In-Depth Review of Andaman and Lakshadweep

    1. Ease of Access
    • Andaman - Indian nationals don't require any entry permit when visiting the Andaman Islands, unless you would be visiting the tribal areas which are off-limits to visitors. Foreigners need to apply for an entry permit if arriving in the islands by ship. If reaching the islands by air, you can easily get the entry permit from the immigration checkpoint at Port Blair. Furthermore, not all islands can be accessed for night trips, some can only be visited during day time. So as mentioned, you only have two options of reaching the islands, either by ship or by air. Ship journey is longer but cheaper. There are three ports from which ships to Andaman leave from which are Chennai, Kolkata and Vizag. There are more frequent ships leaving from the former two, Chennai and Kolkata, than the latter, Vizag. Journey duration is around 62 to 66 hours. The cheapest class in a passenger ship costs about Rs. 2,380 while the higher end class costs Rs. 9,750 and above. On the other hand, if you're planning for an air journey, there are flights from Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Visakhapatnam plying to Port Blair where the Veer Savarkar International Airport is located. Flights from Chennai to Port Blair cost around Rs. 7,221 to Rs. 9,450 for a one-way trip.
    • Lakshadweep - Both foreigners and Indian nationals require an entry permit prior to reaching the islands. You can get this permit in the Cochin Office of the Administrative Officer for Lakshadweep Tourism. It is located in Cochin, in the Indira Gandhi Road. Processing for this permit can take up to two days so you would need to plan accordingly. While Indian nationals can access all the islands of the region, foreign nationals are only allowed in the islands of Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat. Now we get to the main question, how do you get to the islands? You also have two options, either by ship or by air. Ships depart from the Cochin Port, but their schedules are not fixed so you would need to go to the Lakshadweep Tourism website to know the exact schedules. Fares are around Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,200 for the tourist class. Journey duration would be around 14 to 20 hours. There are direct flights from Cochin to Agatti Airport as well, which cost around Rs. 4,842 per passenger. Finally, there are also packages offered by SPORTS wherein the ship fare, meals and sightseeing are already included. The packages differ but they usually cost around Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 25,000 for a 5-day cruise from Cochin.
    2. Attractions
    • Andaman - There are plenty of places to explore around Andaman Islands. Starting with Port Blair, which is where you'd first arrive regardless of whether you choose ship or air journey, it has numerous museums and nearby islands to keep you busy. The Cellular Jail is probably the most well-known attraction here, which was a prison used by the British for capturing and torturing political prisoners. The Anthropological Museum is also very interesting as it highlights the tribes that are living in the islands, which are the Negrito tribes and the Mongoloid tribes. The Samudrika Marine Museum and the Fisheries Museum showcase the rich marine life of the region. Nearby to Port Blair, you can also make day trips to the islands of Jolly Buoy, Ross and Viper. The Havelock Island is famous for its white-sand beaches, especially Beach No. 7 or Asia's Most Beautiful Beach, Radha Nagar Beach. Other beaches in the island worth visiting are Beach No. 3 or Govind Nagar Beach and Beach No. 5 or Vijay Nagar Beach. A unique island, the Barren Island, has the only active volcano in South Asia although you can only view it from the boat. Interview Island is also worth visiting as it has a wildlife sanctuary with species of both flora and fauna that are endemic to the region. Actually, there are plenty of islands to explore around Andaman so you can satisfy the wanderlust in you when in here. But even for an idyllic and serene getaway, you can choose to just lay around and enjoy the scenic views around the shores.
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    Radhanagar Beach in Havelock (Image Courtesy of Andaman Tourism)
    • Lakshadweep - While Lakshadweep has less islands to explore, they are the epitome of virgin and untouched landscapes. Kavaratti Island is the most developed island in the region. The island also has some attractions that you can visit, aside from the white sandy beaches, like the Kavaratti Lighthouse, Ujire Mosque and Marine Aquarium. Agatti Island also has white sandy beaches but it only has two resorts within its premises. The last island open for foreign nationals is the Bangaram Island. You can explore the white shore beaches of the island along with the brackish lagoon located right in the middle of it. Other islands worth visiting in Lakshadweep are Kadmat, Minicoy and Kalpeni. These islands are even lesser explored than the previous islands so you cannot expect much when it comes to tourist facilities when in here.
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    Bangaram Island (Image Courtesy of Mapio)

    3. Accommodation Options
    • Andaman - As compared to the Lakshadweep Islands, Andaman Islands have more accommodation options. Starting with Port Blair, where there are over 100 hotels to choose from. You can go backpacker style by staying in hotels that won't cost more than Rs. 1,000 per night with the likes of Hotel Phoenix and Dream Palace. Mid-range hotels are also abundant with the likes of Driftwood Hotel & Resort and Sun Sea Resort leading the pack. Or you can also opt for higher end hotels like Fortune Resort or Sinclairs and enjoy the luxurious setups. Hotels in Havelock Island are more pricey though, with nightly rates beginning at Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000 per night. Hotels like Hotel Saurav and Cross Bill Beach Resort fit this price range. But higher end hotels like Barefoot at Havelock, Sea Shell and Symphony Palms Beach Resort cost as much as Rs. 15,000 and above per night. In the remaining islands, accommodation options are sparse and you'd have to consider visiting them during day trips or staying in guest houses there.
    • Lakshadweep - There are fewer accommodation options in Lakshadweep Islands. Yet it is actually a prerequisite to have an accommodation book prior to applying for a permit. This poses some problems for most tourists, hence it is why they opt for all-in packages offered by SPORTS. For the main three islands, there are some resorts that you can find though. In Kavaratti Island, the Kavaratti Island Beach Resort is a good choice. Nightly rates differ but it's around Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000 per room. In Agatti Island, there's the Agatti Island Beach Resort, which has nightly rates of Rs. 4,600 per room. A more expensive option is the Sea Shells Beach Resort, which has nightly rates of Rs. 20,000 and above. The Bangaram Island Resort has the same rates, about Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 7,400 per night. You can also opt for guest houses or home stays but they aren't as plenty in the islands.
    4. Things To Do
    • Andaman - Andaman won't disappoint when it comes to activities. The Rajiv Gandhi Water Sports Complex in Port Blair has an array of water sports to keep you and your loved one busy. Activities range from jet skiing, speed boating, canoeing and parasailing. Snorkelling is also a must when in the Havelock Islands and you can indulge in seeing the rich marine life without going too deep into the water. Or if you are an expert diver, why not go to Neil Island? It has plenty of diving spots like K Rock, Bus Stop and Junction. You can spot colourful fishes and wonderful coral reefs easily here. North Bay Island and Jolly Buoy Island both offer glass-bottom boating so you can view the underwater life without even going under. Oh, and why not go on trekking trails around the highest peak of Port Blair, the Mount Harriet National Park? You'd be rewarded by spectacular views of forests and wildlife. Or if you're feeling more adventurous, indulge in a trek in the highest peak of all of the islands, the Saddle Peak National Park. The Limestone Caves of Baratang and the Alfred Caves of Diglipur are also worth exploring.
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    Limestone Caves of Baratang (Image Courtesy of Amazing Andaman Holiday)
    • Lakshadweep - Kavaratti Island has a myriad of water sports for enthusiasts like banana boat riding, speed boating and kayaking. It is also famous as a diving area with the numerous diving spots here like Governor's Reef, Harbour Mouth and Turtle Nest. If ever you aren't licensed to dive yet, there are PADI certified instructors here to help and guide you too. You can also indulge in Lagoon Fishing in Kavaratti Island or any other nearby island. Snorkelling and diving are also done in the islands of Agatti, Kadmat, Minicoy and Kalpeni. As compared to Andaman Islands though, there are lesser activities to do in the Lakshadweep Islands.
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    Lagoon in Kavaratti (Image Courtesy of Cardinal Travel)
    5. Dining Options
    • Andaman - You won't run out of restaurants to try around Port Blair and Havelock Island. Varying cuisines ranging from Italian, Chinese, Indian, Seafood and Asian would be there to greet you. Around Port Blair, you can try out budget-friendly restaurants like Annapurna and Golden Spoon. Havelock Island has the best cafes in the region, with the likes of Full Moon Cafe and Anju Coco. Both serves Indian, Chinese and Seafood dishes with the views of the sea all around you. Neil Island also has a few restaurants like the Gan Garden Restaurant, serving Indian dishes and the Dugong Restaurant, serving Chinese dishes. However, for the other islands, it's best to bring your own food and beverage as tourist facilities like restaurants and eateries are sparse in them. Local cuisine in Andaman is not different from mainland Indian dishes actually. Except maybe for the seafood dishes as they are more fresh here.
    • Lakshadweep - There are only a handful of restaurants around Lakshadweep. Mostly, you would dine at the resort you're staying in. In Kavaratti Island, there's Cafe De Saina, which serves Indian dishes to guests along with seafood. Local cuisine in Lakshadweep resembles that of Kerala though so it is a very familiar taste to tourists. Guest houses serve home-cooked meals which is a delight for tourists as well. Usually, meals comprise of coconut and other indigenous spices to the region.
    6. Transportation
    • Andaman - Transportation between the islands can either be via tourist ferries or local ferries. The former is smaller and is air-conditioned while the latter is bigger but doesn't have air-conditioning. Private ferries also ply between islands but they cost more than any of the above options. In some islands, like Port Blair and Havelock Island, you can also hire a scooter to explore the island on your own. There are also taxis and auto rickshaws in the above-mentioned islands. Or you can also opt for travelling via sea plane in between the different islands of Andaman, but this costs quite high, usually between Rs. 4,100 to Rs. 10,500 per person.
    • Lakshadweep - Just like the Andaman Islands, the only way of transferring from one island to the other is via boat or air. Boat is much cheaper although it can take a longer time too. During monsoon, your only option would be via air or helicopter ride from one island to the other. Helicopter fares can cost as high as Rs. 10,000 though. If travelling within the island, your only options are either by foot or by bicycle.
    Summary of Comparison of Andaman and Lakshadweep

    While both islands are suitable for couples, they have some stark differences. Andaman is easily accessible, right from obtaining the permit up to reaching the islands. There are plenty of accommodation and dining options too, you can have your vacation as cheap as you want or as expensive as you want. There are many islands around Andaman but for just relaxing, Havelock Island would be your best bet. Even transportation around the islands won't be an issue as there are many options for it. Tourist infrastructures are also abundant here so you won't need to worry.

    On the other hand, Lakshadweep is a less developed tourist destination. It is beautiful, there's no doubt about that, but you might encounter some issues when it comes to dining options and accommodation options, even in transportation. But the upside is that flights from Cochin to Lakshadweep are generally cheaper than flights from Cochin to Andaman. However, applying for an entry permit for the Lakshadweep Islands takes a longer time and even more effort. And you might need to spend more on accommodations as the rates here are higher as compared to Andaman. However, since the place is idyllic and calm, you won't really need to spend much on other services or activities so you save some money too.

    The Verdict

    It's up to you really. Both destinations are good options, Andaman is more of a developed and touristy destination while Lakshadweep is more of an off-beat and remote destination. If you don't mind the lesser tourist infrastructures, Lakshadweep has more virgin beaches that you can enjoy lazing around in. But if you would still love to enjoy dining out or maybe having some comfort, then Andaman might be a better choice for you.

    Good luck in choosing.:)
     

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