If you think a trip to Andaman is out of your budget range, we’re here to tell you differently. A trip to this beautiful paradise can be made by anyone on all kinds of budgets. If you’re looking for an ideal beach vacation staring at the sunset, look no further! The islands are known for their beaches and natural surroundings, not to mention their cultural wonders.
The variety of experience that Andaman had to offer brought tourists from all over the world to its shores. Backpackers with their camping tents flocked Havelock and more came the following seasons. You can still find Israeli dishes in small, old lodges or resorts as if the food in Andaman isn’t diverse enough already. It was only a decade ago that infrastructure improved and all types of tourists began coming in leading to resorts of all categories being found on the islands nowadays.
Presently, Andaman sees a variety of tourists craving different forms of recreation when visiting the island, from snorkeling to the beaches and water sports. Solo trippers, friends, couples and families that want an affordable adventure or just seasoned backpackers- all have a place in Andaman.
If you’re looking for a budget trip yourself, we’ll tell you all you need to know about planning it. This is a step by step guide
STEP 1: What’s Your Budget?
How much are you looking to spend on your trip? There is a great deal of choice all suited to your budget, and Andaman does have exciting offerings for all.
Different people have different tastes, so decide the budget for your destination and plan your stay accordingly! But remember- always keep an extra amount for unexpected expenses, just to be safe.
STEP 2: Dates of Travel?
This a crucial step for those visiting Andaman on a budget
What you don’t want to do is visit during the high season. During this time between October to April, flight prices are hiked due to excess demand and you will end up paying a lot in just getting there. Our advice is to book your tickets during the low season that typically lasts from May to September when flight prices are low due to the fall in demand. It may be a bit rainy but it is worth the savings. Of course the offseason may bring about uncertainty in plans, so plan your trip during this time if you don’t mind the rain and have flexible travel plans.
Note that flight tickets are more expensive the closer you get to the date you want to fly due to increased demand, so we suggest you book the tickets in advance and plan your trip a few months in advance as well.
If you’d like to read further on how to save on travel and finding the best airfare, we have written another blog which may help you – 7 Tips for Finding Cheapest Airfare to Andamans
STEP 3: Decide the Places You want to Travel to and What You Want to do There
There are a LOT of places you can visit and drawing the line for yourself may be hard. Every visitable island in Andaman has its charm and is unique in itself but some are more expensive than the other. As a person on a budget, we would suggest you stay the least number of days in Port Blair. It’s expensive on all fronts, be it transport, accommodation, food, etc. The north of Andaman (Diglipur, Rangat, Mayabunder) and Neil Island is cheaper compared to Port Blair and Havelock (though you may find some reasonable options here). Little Andaman, about 10 hours by ship from Port Blair, is also popular amongst budget travelers generally staying for more than a week in Andaman. However ferries don’t ply often.
STEP 4: Inter-Island Transport
You will find yourself in the situation in which you’ll wonder how to get from one island to the other. Private transport may get you wherever you need quickly, but it may be expensive. If on a budget, government ferries are ideal and a cheaper option. They are slower but come with the experience of the local culture and an open deck. While traveling to North Andaman, try local buses or ferries. The ride may get a bit bumpy, but they are well connected and affordable and a fair bargain, quite frankly speaking. Find out more about government ferries here- Ferry Services in Andaman
Step 5: Transport Within the Island
And then there’s the other situation in which you’ll want transport within the island itself. Private transport is costly in Andaman. Using public transport such as buses, or sharing jeeps that shuttle between areas on the island is most economical.
That’s not all, there are bicycles and two-wheelers available on rent around most places. These are a good option if you want to explore by yourself. Rentals for bicycles range between INR 100/day – INR 150/day and two-wheelers between INR 300/day- INR 600/day depending on the model of the bike chosen, demand and location. Buses are cheap but they do hamper freedom of travel, so we suggest hiring the two-wheeler or bicycle for the spirit of adventure.
STEP 6: Accommodation
One of Andaman’s great features is its Eco huts. They may sound like those good old ‘go green’ things, but are only called so because of the bamboo shoots and wood that are used to build them. While the eco hut may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it does boast a considerable budget efficient adventure. Most of these eco huts are located at points of scenic beauty and thus offer exotic views. They are also built-in or around forests but don’t worry, they are completely safe! Find out more about how Eco huts spare costs and still provide a unique experience here- Budget Stays in Andaman Island
- Eco huts are examples of budget accommodation. They cost INR 700-1500/day. Concrete huts without AC cost INR 1500-2500/day, while decent rooms that are larger with AC cost INR 2500-5000/day. Luxury rooms cost above INR 5000/day mostly.
Pro tip: If on a budget, the 4 most important things are –
- Well Ventilated
- Close to the Beach
- Air Conditioning (depending on the weather)
note: the cheapest rooms are those with shared bathrooms.
Now we often hear people frustrated with those basic accommodations with the same old layout all through their trip and we get that. Who wouldn’t, right? To fix this, we suggest you mix up your accommodation type. Keep some accommodations restricted to your budget, and splurge on stay somewhere else. Here’s what we say:
Port Blair: At the heart of the experience, no expenses are spared, but some places do offer a fair price. A decent stay should cost you about INR 2.5K, which is pretty reasonable given the location. Check B&B options that are very popular right now. A couple of the best sites that you need to check out are booking.com and Airbnb.
Havelock: While Havelock may have its lavish side some places fit into your budget as well. There is a classic hostel with 6 beds and many popular eco stays that come for INR 700 with a shared bathroom to INR 2000 with a concrete attached bathroom. You can find a list suitable to you here- Budget Hotels in Havelock
Neil Island: If there’s one place that truly gives you great accommodation at reasonable prices, its Neil Island. Backpackers enjoy the Ramnagar Beach stretch, which has grown quite popular these days. Sunset Garden and Blue Sea near Lakshmanpur beach are a challenge to find but a great experience for most tourists. If you’d like to stay in concrete AC rooms during your time here, try the market area.
Long Island: No, this isn’t where the iced tea comes from, but it has the same buzz altogether. The only resort available here is Blue Planet that does put up a good offer. This island provides a friendly, isolated island experience for those that prefer the aura.
North Andaman: It won’t be a problem finding this place, the name gives it away. Go via bus and hop off at Baratang, Mayubunadar and Diglipur. When at Mayubandar, try staying at “Koh Hee” which is a budget-friendly homestay run by Karen Tribals.
Little Andaman: There may not be a better example of big things in a small package. Little Andaman is frequented now by tourists and has made its reputation. Most stays here are eco friendly and economical. When you get there, simply ask an auto driver for the best and newest home-stay near the bazaar.
It’s probably best that you decide on your first few stays, preferably for the first three nights before arriving. This will take the stress of finding a place just after landing off your shoulders. By the third night, you will have gained an idea of how the island stay works, and you can plan the rest of your accommodation accordingly.
If possible, book Government properties. Why? Well, besides being economical, they are situated in some of the best locations. You will have to book these in advance, however. Here is a link that gives you an overview of accommodation in the government sector: Government Accommodations
If you’re going to splurge, you might as well do it here. Go with a credible and well-rated activity center. Be aware of prices so that you don’t get cheated. And do not compromise on quality. It is better to pay more and be safe than pay less and regret!
Walking on the beach and trekking to the natural wonders of the area are activities that are free for all. Photographers love these scenic views. You can enjoy your leisure time by carrying a hammock and lying around, going for a picnic, observing and taking photographs of the local culture- the list does go on, and you don’t have to spend a penny.
STEP 7: Food
You can choose where you want to spend and save here. The platter is enormous.Food in Havelock and Port Blair is expensive, so we suggest you try the Bazaar for delicious food at cheap rates.
Eat local food– Eating native food such as Idli, Chatpati Paratha, Thalis, or Bengali or South Indian (based on location) are cheaper than dishes that require the import of ingredients.
Preferably, book accommodations that offer breakfast service if you’re booking online. You can buy local fruits at cheap prices from the markets. We advise you to buy your liquor, if wanted, directly from ANIIDCO shops instead of hotels and bars that sell at higher rates.
In all its beauty, Andaman is a great place to go if on a budget. There are a lot of options you can explore, a lot of places on the island you can visit that will make it worth your while. So don’t hesitate, get yourself well-priced flight tickets and fly down soon, it hardly disappoints.