Here is some good news for all the beach fanatics, we may have found the perfect replacement for Goa. Yay!
Goa may be all about beaches, a carnivalesque atmosphere and food galore but you need to plan your next beach gateway to the Andamans if you are tired of Goa. Long fabled among travelers for its pristine beaches, coruscating coral walls, world-class snorkeling and the far-flung location in the middle of nowhere, Andaman Islands make for the ideal place to get away from the flock of tourists. This group of islands aren’t your quintessential sleepy stretches of surf and sand – each one of these islands are not only gorgeous but also carry an astounding back story you’ve never heard! We put before you 6 reasons why these islands will make a perfect substitute for Goa:
1. Closer to Home and So Clean
Located in the Bay of Bengal, the Andamans are islands off the east coast of India but are geographically closer to South East Asia, making it a tourist attraction with a foreign feel. Deserted and unspoiled beaches, an eminently diversified and colorful marine life, intriguing historical past and the overall scenic beauty make it a perfect vacation spot. “With an increase in the number of tourists in Goa, the place has become very dirty. It just isn’t the same anymore,” says Fareen Vazir, a beach lover, who had visited Goa earlier this year. Surprisingly, at the Andamans, you can find clean beaches with crystal clear water having a greenish hue which is otherwise extremely rare to find in other Indian beaches.
2. Relaxed Vibes
Andaman is known for its sparsely populated beaches which make for a perfect escape from the mundane life that most of us lead today. There are times when we look out for some relaxed experiences rather than going in for the adrenaline pumping activities. Imagine yourself lying on a lounge chair, hearing the gentle sounds of waves without the distractions of vendors coaxing you to buy their wares, basking in the silence whilst being indulged in the breathtaking surroundings, doesn’t it sound like one of those getaways you have always wanted to have? Here, you get a chance to do nothing but simply unwind and live in the moment. Still want to head to other destinations where one finds throngs of people always rushing to tick off the spots in the itinerary, defying the very purpose of an escape?
3. Havelock Island and Ross Island
Havelock and Ross Islands are two islands you must visit in Andaman. Havelock is a natural paradise with aesthetic white sand beaches fringed with the green awning of the forests and lush coral reefs which tempts every tourist to stay here for the entirety of their trip. Here, jungle treks, camping and parasailing are the activities well-liked by the people. One can explore the underwater reef without getting wet by taking rides in the glass-bottomed boats, which allow the passengers to observe the marine life from within the boats itself. Havelock houses Radhanagar beach, which is Asia’s seventh largest beach and is the most popular tourist attraction. Ross Island, on the other hand is filled with British history, having been their seat of power. It still has the ruins of the British bakeries, where savouries were prepared for their gala balls. One could almost relive the British era among the remnants of a grand church, troop barracks, ponds, et al. Visit Ross Island, especially if you are a history buff since most of the itineraries skip this island.
4. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
“Water sports in Goa are atrociously expensive and hugely unorganized which accounts for one to be super careful. Also, you really need to have some amazing bargaining skills!’’ says Shyam Agrawal, who has traveled to Goa twice. With an incredible biodiversity, it’s hard not to become blasé about the exceptional diving experience in the Andaman Islands. These islands are the abode of one of the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world. What makes it different is that the coral reefs and underwater formations are untouched by human activities. Scuba diving is an adventure for the strong hearted and must be indulged in if you want to experience the beauty of marine life with live corals and colorful fishes. The best season for diving is considered between December and April. On an average, scuba diving in Andaman would cost you around Rs. 1500. Others can try snorkeling, which also gives you an insight into the underwater life. For some best snorkeling action, you can also take a trip to one of the open fishing boats that offer excursions from different islands in the Andaman.
5. Diverse Ethnic Groups
Currently off-limits to travelers and locals, Baratang is one of the most feared destinations due to the native Jarawa Tribes who are considered as the wildest of all tribes in Andaman Islands. They are believed to have lived in these islands for more than 55,000 years. However, only about 500 of them now survive. Andaman offers a glimpse into their habitat by allowing the tourists to go on human safaris in convoys of vehicles accompanied by government officials with strict instructions restricting photography and getting out of vehicles. If you are lucky enough, you may spot a Jarawa. This tour is open for tourists only twice a week.
6. Historical and Archaeological Marvels
“Kaala Paani” is how the Andamans was once known as due to its cellular jail which housed many notable Indian activists during India’s independence struggle. Each wall of the Cellular jail carries in its bosom a heart wrenching story of sufferings and hardships faced by our freedom fighters. It instills a sense of reverence for their heroism. One gets to see the light and sound show about the revolutionaries at the time of the British regime.
People who enjoy digging into the past and exploring natural formations, the limestone caves at Baratang will leave you impressed. Even more impressive is the journey leading to these caves that passes through the lush mangrove forests.
So for your next beach getaway, forget about Goa and head to the Andamans.
Tarannum Rajani is a handpicked product of the Bayside Pathfinder where we empower the young and the young at heart with the power of storytelling. To become a part of our extended family of unique contributors, call up Prem Madnani at +91 9892913788 or email him on [email protected].