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Which is better Andaman or Maldives?

Discussion in 'Maldives' started by RichaArora, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. RichaArora

    RichaArora New Member

    I have two holiday destinations which I have chosen and would like to visit the Andaman Islands and the other Maldives. Both of these places have been on my places to visit list, and finally, I can go, but for the time being I would have to choose between the two.

    I will be going with my partner and the duration of our holiday will be three weeks. I would like to know which is better Andaman or Maldives?

    We don't mind a bit of sightseeing and also doing some water sports, but most of the holiday would be spent lazing around.

    Which destination do you think my partner and I would enjoy more?

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Both Andaman and Maldives are actually good holiday destinations. They both have white sand beaches and rich underwater life. They are also both remote, giving travellers a sense of privacy and serenity. Both destinations also have water sports activities for tourists. So how do we compare such destinations seemingly so similar in landscape and beauty? Well, it's really hard to do so and at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.

    The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory of India, is an archipelago located in the Bay of Bengal. It is located more closely to Myanmar and Thailand. The archipelago is home to the indigenous tribes of the country, which are collectively known as the Andamanese. Because it is located a bit further away from mainland India, the territory has done well to preserve its natural beauty and as a result, it is untouched by pollution and commercialism. Some of the most beautiful beaches in India and in Asia can be found here. The islands are also well-known all over the world for its numerous diving spots, teeming with rich underwater life. In fact, you might even be able to find species endemic to the islands only.

    The Maldives, on the other hand, is an island country, located in the Laccadive Sea, close to the country of Sri Lanka. It has 26 island corals, also known as atolls and also has its islands located quite far from each other. As such, it is the smallest country in Asia yet it has much to offer when it comes to the natural beauty of its beaches and marine life. The island country is highly developed too and you can stay in some of the best resorts in the world in here. Privacy is secured here as each resort owns one island thereby giving you an access to a beautiful beach privately. It's no wonder that the Maldives is considered as one of the premier destinations in the world and even celebrities worldwide add this little paradise in their bucket list.

    From these descriptions alone, you can see that there's a few differences already between the two destinations. So let's begin with the comparison proper, so you can decide which destination is best fit for you:

    1. Landscapes
    • Andaman - The Andaman and Nicobar Islands has about 349 islands but only about 10% of these islands are inhabited. Not all islands are also open for visitors, mostly those inhabited by tribes are off limits to guests. Mainly, the landscape of Andaman is comprised of white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Around the different islands, you can also visit dense forests, which have been turned into national parks around the union territory. Most of the forests here are of the wet and deciduous type, comprising of endemic flora and fauna to the region. The union territory also has some high points like Saddle Peak, the highest in the region, and Mount Harriet, the highest peak in Port Blair. In a fewer islands, you can even find natural caves, waterfalls and mud volcanoes. The only active volcano in South Asia can also be found in one of the islands of Andaman.
    • Maldives - As mentioned above, the Maldives has 26 atolls which are ring-like coral formations. Around these 26 atolls, there are over 1,100 islands, some are inhabited while others are uninhabited. About 200 of these islands are inhabited by the locals, 100 more were developed as resort destinations and the remaining 800 islands remain uninhabited. As such, the Maldives has little variation when it comes to landscape. It mostly has white sand beaches with patches of coconut palms around. The Maldives has no high point nor waterfalls, unlike the Andaman Islands. On the inhabited islands though, it's not rare to find patches of produce like papayas and bananas, though they're not as extensive due to the natural conditions of the land around the island country. Forests around the country comprise only three percent of the total land area so it's not as extensive as well.
    Coral Atolls, Maldives.jpg
    Coral Atolls, Maldives

    2. Accessibility
    • Andaman - Accessing the Andaman Islands for Indian nationals is easy, as you won't need any permit, except if you're visiting the restricted areas around the Nicobar Islands. For the foreign tourists though, you do need to acquire a permit before entering the islands. If going by air, you can get the permit on arrival and if going by ship, then you need to have your permit arranged for before reaching the islands. Of course, this is in addition to the Indian visa you need to acquire prior to reaching India, expect if you come from the Maldives, Nepal or Bhutan in which you are entitled to a visa-free stay in the country. There are only two ways of reaching the islands as mentioned already, by air or by ship. By air, the Veer Savarkar Airport is the only airport in the region, located in the capital Port Blair. It has direct flights to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. By ship, there are ports in Kolkata, Chennai and Visakhapatnam, but journey duration would be around three to four days. These are also not cruise ships but rather passenger ships so on-board entertainment is very limited. But if you're in a budget, ship tickets are comparatively cheaper than air tickets.
    • Maldives - Any nationality enjoys a visa on arrival privilege as soon as they reach Maldives. Just make sure you bring your passport, an identification card, funds to support your travel and a return ticket and you're good to go. The only way of reaching the Maldives is by air through its Male International Airport. The airport has direct flights to cities like Moscow, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore, Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Colombo, Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt and Doha. The airport is located in the capital of Maldives so you can easily access tourist establishments as soon as you depart from the airport.
    3. Air Fare
    • Andaman - If you're coming from Delhi, flights range from Rs. 8,800 to Rs. 14,000 for a one-way trip. If you're coming from Kolkata, flight prices range between Rs. 6,600 to Rs. 13,000. If you're coming from Bangalore, flight prices range between Rs. 9,000 to Rs. 17,000. As such, you can reach Kolkata first and from there, board a plane reaching Port Blair. This can prove to be cost effective if you want to save some money.
    • Maldives - If you're coming from Delhi, flight fares range between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000. There are also direct flights from Mumbai, with prices ranging between Rs. 18,000 to Rs. 20,000. Trivandrum flights to Maldives seem to be the most affordable at prices ranging between Rs. 12,500 to Rs. 14,000. Thus, your best option is to reach Trivandrum and from there, board a plane going to the Maldives. Another option is to reach Sri Lanka, as it has flights as low as Rs. 7,000 reaching the Maldives.
    4. Accommodations
    • Andaman - As a tourist destination, the Andaman Islands have sparse accommodations. There are some options in Port Blair and in Havelock Island. But beyond these islands, you'd have to settle for guest houses or home stays. However, this has also ensured that the island maintains its non-commercialised vibe. Even with the higher end resorts in the island, you cannot expect good internet connectivity or even mobile signal. This truly brings you back one with nature and makes your vacation even more satisfying. One of the most well-known resorts here is the Barefoot at Havelock Resort, where you get to stay in natural huts with limited amenities. Service is top-notch though and the resort would go out of their way to provide you with you necessities.
    Barefoot at Havelock, Andaman​.jpg
    Barefoot at Havelock, Andaman
    • Maldives - As mentioned before, some of the world's best resorts are located in the Maldives. They even occupy a whole island to themselves, thus offering you the utmost privacy and serenity you need. The downside is that they are very expensive, with rates ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 90,000. There are a few hotels ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 10,000 but you'd have to settle for their distant locations. Or you can opt for guest houses but then again, you need to ride a ferry to reach the distant islands.
    5. Places to Visit
    • Andaman - There are several islands that you can explore in the Andamans. Starting with Port Blair, you can enjoy the historical site of the Cellular Jail here, built around the 19th century and was an incarceration site for prominent freedom fighters. Must visit museums here are the Samudrika Marine Museum, where you can view the diverse marine life of the region and learn more about it and the Anthropological Museum, where you can view the history and way of living of the tribes of the region. You can also take ferry rides and visit the nearby islands of Ross, Viper and Jolly Buoy. If you're into bird watching, there's Chidiya Tapu and you can even opt to stay here as there's a small guest house within the island. Once you're done with Port Blair, head on to Havelock Island where some of the best beaches of the region can be found. Visit the Govind Nagar Beach, Vijay Nagar Beach and Radha Nagar Beach, all of which have white powdery sands and turquoise waters. If longing for just a relaxing stay, you can opt to stay in this island as it has numerous resorts and it's very tranquil as well. Another recommended island is the Barren Island, where you can find numerous dive sites and the only active volcano in South Asia. Diglipur is yet another must visit island, where you can find the Kalipur Beach, a turtle nesting ground in the region. Another must visit here is the Saddle Peak National Park so you can enjoy wildlife spotting and trekking.
    Radha Nagar Beach in Havelock, Andaman.jpg
    Radha Nagar Beach in Havelock, Andaman
    • Maldives - For a relaxing holiday, you can just opt to stay in a luxury resort here and just enjoy the private beach all to yourselves. But if you're in for some sightseeing, Male has some attractions like the Old Friday Mosque, Grand Friday Mosque and Tsunami Monument. Another must visit in Male is the Jumhoree Maidan, where you can find a few commercial establishments and government buildings. For diving, you must visit Alimatha Island, Biyadhoo Island and Banana Reef. Usually though, the resort that you're going to be staying in has all inclusive packages that include sightseeing and diving trips. Thus, it's best to avail of these packages so you can have the best of everything when in the Maldives.
    Biyadhoo Island, Maldives​.jpg
    Biyadhoo Island, Maldives

    6. Activities
    • Andaman - The primary activities that you must do in Andaman are snorkelling and scuba diving. There are many snorkelling sites around Havelock Island. If you're into diving, then you must go to the South Button Island, where you can spot marine animals like manta rays, barracudas and devil rays. In Port Blair, you have the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex where water sports facilities are available for jet skiing, surfing, parasailing and many more. Island hopping is yet another good activity to try in the islands so you can view the diverse landscapes of the region. You can even enjoy trekking in some of the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks around the islands. You can also try glass bottom boating, it's very laid-back and yet you would be able to see the underwater marine life easily.
    • Maldives - Most of the resorts in the Maldives have water sports facilities for kayaking, water surfing or banana boating. You can also try island hopping here as the different islands of Maldives require a boat to visit. As mentioned above, scuba diving and snorkelling are also other activities that you can do in the different islands of the country. But still, the best activity in the Maldives, would be lounging around and soaking the sun in. After all, once you're in your resort, it can be quite tempting to just lay around the whole day and bask in the beauty all around you.
    I hope this helps you. As you can see, the Andaman Islands, although not as developed as the Maldives, has plenty of attractions to keep you busy. But for just lazing around, it's also a good destination for that especially if you reach the Havelock Island. Its proximity to mainland India and affordability, again as compared to the Maldives, makes it an ideal vacation destination for those who don't have much time or budget. In terms of beauty, it's comparable to any of the beaches of the Maldives too.

    On the other hand, the Maldives is mostly a luxury destination. Yes, you do have to spend more to reach it or even to stay in it but then if you do have the money, why not? After all, the islands here are some of the most diverse in the world. If lazing around is just what you need, then the Maldives would also be perfect for that as its main attractions are its beaches.

    Good luck in choosing!