India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal, more than 750 mi/1,200 km southeast of Kolkata. These 300-plus islands are really off the beaten path.
The Andamans, once famous for being home to Kalaa Pani, a jail for political prisoners during colonial rule, now offer nice beaches, palm trees, dense forests, farms, swampy land and a wide variety of ethnic people. Mud volcanoes can be seen boiling on some. A volcano at Barren Island, 87 mi/140 km from Port Blair, exploded in 2005, after laying dormant for 107 years, and is still erupting.
The Nicobar Islands, 10 mi/16 km south of the Andamans, are still primitive, offering few tourist facilities.
The Andamans are reached by air from Kolkata, Chennai or Delhi, or by a three-day boat ride to Port Blair in the Andamans. Travel between the islands is by boat. Only a few islands are open to visitors, and even those require special permits for a limited stay. Some cruise lines also dock at Port Blair as a port of call. Port Blair is a 45-minute flight away from Phuket.
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