August 2018

Bird Watching in Andaman – You Shouldn’t Give A Miss

One of the seven union territories of the country, Andaman means pristine azure crystal clear sea, white sand, mangrove forests, an ultimate escape for vacay. Andaman is an ecological hub that’s rich in flora and fauna. Did you know that Andaman Island is a hot spot for some of the most exotic and rare species of birds, many of which are endemic? The alluring and fascinating winged inhabitants are always a treat to watch, isn’t it? In case you’re a wildlife lover or a twitcher, this article is going to be a complete guide for you regarding the best bird watching locations in Andaman, apt season to visit these locations and everything that you need to know. LOCATION: 1. Mount Harriet National Park: The national park is situated in Ferrargunj, covers around 4.62km^2 area. Here’s one interesting fact for you, have you noticed the picture on the back of Rs. 20 note? Well, that’s the back view of Mount Harriet national Park. It’s named after Harriet Tytler, wife of Rober Christopher Tytler, former British army officer. It’s a den to endangered species of birds such as Andaman wood piegeon, Andaman cuckoo dove, Andaman woodpecker, Andaman Scops owl and many more. Also, Mount Harriet offers a stunning picturesque during sunsets and sunrise. Though, one must prefer to go before the sun goes down. December to March is the best time to visit this national park in Andaman. 2. Sippi Ghat: Sippighat Village is about 13 km away from Port Blair. Prior to 2004 Tsunami, Sippihta was mainly had paddy fields. Post-Tsunami it started brimming with bird population consisting of Brown Hawk owl, collared kingfisher, Orange headed thrush, Andaman Hawked Owl, Crested Serpent eagle, White bellied sea eagle and a lot more. 3. Chidiya Tapu: As the name suggests, Chidiya Tapu is well-known amongst bird watchers. This one’s about 25 km away from port Blair. It is a home to countless beautiful birds such as Drongos, Hanging parrots, Emerald dove, green pigeons etc.. Addition to this, you definitely can’t miss sunset when you’re in Chidiya Tapu. Feel the beauty of each moment with dissonant chitter-chatter of the birds and also, try out trekking maybe? August to February is the best time for tourists to pay visit here. 4. Havelock Islands: The largest island in the archipelago, Havelock island is located 41 km away from Port Blair and stands between Peel island and Neill Island. This island is named after Sir Henry Havelock, a British General. Apart from coral reefs and white sand beaches, it is densely populated with some endemic species of birds, for instance, Andaman barn owl, Andaman bulbul, Nicobar jungle flycatcher, Andaman flowerpecker. Visiting it between October and March is the best idea. Here are some tips from Andaman Birding Buddy for you to have an enthralling bird watching experience: 1. Prefer trips to these locations during daylight for bird watching to get crisp and fresh perfect shot and also for the mesmerising sunrise and sunset. Return by evening because there’s no point of staying in the dark. 2. Black oil sunflower feeder or any bird feeder might help you to lure birds. 3. A professional guide from Our Ghummo Andaman Team will help you spot the birds easily by telling you about the best locations and areas where it’s easy to spot them. 4. Keep you ears alert and focus on the movements and sounds made by the birdies. 5. Being a keen observant is important. Patience is the key. 6. Make sure that you schlep binoculars and camera along with yourself. Here is a list of ENDEMIC BIRDS that you can expect to see. 1. Andaman Woodpigeon 2. Andaman Teal 3. Andaman Cuckoo-Dove 4. White-Headed Starling 5. Andaman Serpent-Eagle 6. Andaman Crake 7. Andaman Brown Coucal 8. Narcondam Hornbill 9. Andaman Woodpecker 10. Andaman Drongo 11. Andaman Treepie 12. Andaman Shama 13. Andaman Bulbul 14. Andaman Cuckooshrike 15. Andaman Green Pigeon 16. Andaman barn-owl 17. Hume’s Hawk-owl 18. Andaman Hawk-owl 19. Andaman Scoops owl 20. Andaman Nightjar 21. Andaman Cuckooshrike 22. Andaman Bulbul 23. Andaman Shama 24. Andaman Flowerpecker 25. Glossy Starling 26. Beach Thick Knee 27. Pacific Swallow 28. Plum Toed Swiftlet 29. White Bellied Swiftlet (Earlier called at Edible Nest Swiflet) 30. Pacific Reef Egret So what are you waiting for?  Book Andaman Islands best experience of Birdwatching with guides from ANDAMAN BIRDING BUDDIES.
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Top 10 Adventurous Trips You Must Take in Andaman

The Andaman Islands or the Andaman Archipelago has some of the most adventurous trips you’d want to take if you’re looking for an off-beat experience! Well, you might have heard that about most of the adventurous places that vouch to be a perfect location for a vacay. But here’s what! We have not only listed the most amazing and exotic places in Andaman, here but the ones that will prove to be the most adventurous ones you must visit, making your trip the most unforgettably amazing one. Here’s the list: – Try Scuba Diving in the Havelock Islands Heard about the amazing experience of Scuba Diving in books or in movies? …If you’ve ever thought of doing it yourself in real life, we have just the right place for you to make this wish of yours get ticked off the bucket list! Sounds thrilling! Doesn’t it? What’s more thrilling is the actual experience of it. While the Andamans have a good number of coral reefs in the clean waters, the best that we can think of to make this experience of yours all the more adventurous are the ones in the Havelock Islands. Well, as it is one of the adventures one shouldn’t miss out on if you visit the Andamans, some people have some misconceptions regarding the same. If you think that a previous experience of having done this activity, or for that matter, swimming skills are something that is required to explore this adventure, then it’s purely a myth. We say so because this is an activity that can be explored by anyone, even those who don’t know swimming under the supervision of a guide. It is only for taking advanced courses that you’ll need to have had a prior experience of this activity and you also might need to carry the certificates of your prior experiences. However, for those having some health issues, it is advisable to first consult a doctor whether you can perform this activity or not. Sea Walk in Andaman Now, water activities aren’t restricted to just swimming, scuba diving or boating. There’s a lot more you can do in the waters. Sea walking is the thing we’re talking about. Yes, you read that right! You can now walk underwater without having to know swimming because you’ll be given a proper suit with a helmet to give you a constant supply of oxygen along with assistance to explore the waters. And this will become an unforgettable experience when you try it by exploring the rich marine wildlife of the waters in North Bay Island, Port Blair or the Elephant Beach, Havelock Island. Watch the Turtles Nest at the Diglipur Islands Diglipur Islands are visited by turtles for the process of hatching, during the month range of December-March. So, if your visit to the Andamans is about a 6 Day long one or maybe more, anytime during the months of December, January, February or March, you can try to visit this place to watch the turtles nesting. And trust us! It’ll be an experience of a lifetime. Visit the Only Active Volcano in India, Barren Island The only Active Volcano in India, Barren Island is worth a visit if you’re looking for an adventure in the Andamans. But again, it needs some mettle to visit the destination, because of course, a Volcano it is! Well, we think all that will be worth it because of the offbeat experience you’ll get by visiting an actual active volcano. If you do visit this place you’ll have to do so by hiring a private charter boat from Havelock Island or Port Blair to Barren Island to visit the Volcano. You cannot land on this place due to laws passed by the Government in regard with the safety concerns. No night stays are allowed at the Barren Islands, so you will have to make a visit only during the day time. Ride the Seaplane and the Helicopter Seaplanes have been an amazing thing which helped people gather an aerial view of the water bodies and islands in the Andaman archipelago. However, their operation has been put to close since a year, by the Government of Andaman. Well, that having been said we’ll now open the good news block for you. While the operationality of the Seaplanes has now been ceased, Helicopters are something that are still operational in the Andamans. Think about how thrilling would be the experience of seeing the beautiful islands from such a great height while you’re in a helicopter. And we hope you find a booking for one when you go to the islands because there are only a limited number of seats (six seats) available for each ride and there are no pre-bookings available. The booking opens on the day of the ride itself. So, you’ll be really lucky if you get the chance of experiencing this adventurous ride. Explore Kayaking at the Havelock Island Ever heard of a Kayak or about Kayaking? Don’t worry if you haven’t because this being one of the activities that have recently acquired fame in the Andaman Islands is the one for which you need to have had no prior experience of it. The Havelock Island is a great place to give yourself a chance to explore the same. Its operation is only seasonally available, can also be affected by weather conditions. Otherwise, it is operational at all times during the year except for the months of July, August, and September. Hope you enjoy it! Try Snorkeling in the Turquoise waters of Jolly Bouy Island, Port Blair Snorkeling is another adventure you cannot afford to miss out on, once you are in the Andamans. It is again, a water sport performed under complete guidance, keeping in mind your safety underwater. This place is really clean and safe but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before you visit this place. These are that since this place comes under the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, it is a no-plastic zone. Secondly, whether or not snorkeling is your motive to visit this place, do keep an extra pair of clothes because we are telling you well in advance that the waters there are way too tempting! The last and the utmost important thing is the time that you plan to visit that place at. Since this place has beautiful coral reefs, it stays shut for six moths (and is thus only enabled to be visited during the months of October to April) to protect this natural treasure. And you’re not allowed to stay here at night so if you have to visit this place, you’ll have to plan one in the daytime. And then you’re good to go! Trek to the Elephant Beach, Havelock Island Elephant Beach is a very beautiful beach in the Havelock Island. And to visit this beauty many people prefer taking a boat ride. While that may sound cool to many, what’s more adventurous and thrilling is Trekking to this place. And we particularly suggest to try to trek to this place through the marshlands, forests and mangrove lands to make it an all the more offbeat and thrilling experience. Explore Fishing in the Havelock Island and take a Trip to the Inglis Island in Black Marlin Fishing is an adventure that needs no introduction. After all it has been known for the thrill of it since centuries that have passed. So, why to miss out on it while in the Andamans! And we have got a way to make it all the more interesting a game for you. The Black Marlin is a boat made especially for the purpose of fishing. It is a fishing boat which is anchored around the Havelock Island and can also be used for the purpose of exploring the beautiful islands around Havelock, if not for the purpose of fishing. If you trying to go with the latter option so these are the places you can try to explore while taking a ride in the Black Marlin: Inglis Island, the South Button Island, Wilson Island and Peel Island. Take a Trip to one of the Remotest Places in Andaman—The Virgin Island Cinque Now, when we talk of adventure and thrill, how can the drill of travelling to the remotest of places be left out. The Virgin Island Cinque, in the Southwest part of the Southern Andamans, is just that kind of a place. The Sea Horse is a boat which has been exclusively customized to help you reach this destination from Chidiatapu. This one will be the perfect way to make your adventure trip one that is worth being called one. These are some of the most adventurous things you can do on your trip to the Andaman Archipelago. So, go ahead and plan your trip.
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Top 7 Things to Buy in The Andaman Islands

Pristine emerald beaches with white sand, sunsets, gushing wind brushing your cheeks gently and waves moving too and fro and of course, sea food-all this totally sum up Andaman! Away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, a chance to explore the archipelago of Sentinelese that’s rich in flora and fauna. Apart from the scenic beauty, Andaman has another thing to offer-shopping! Like any other tourist spot, Andaman too has a lot for you to shop. Countless souvenirs that are exclusively found in Andaman will act as memory hoarder when you go back to your usual mundane life. Andaman has a vivid local and beach market in addition to some shopping emporia, a heaven for shopaholics! Though clothes and attire shopping from Andaman isn’t a good idea here, but there are plenty more stuff you can get your hands on. We have listed some of the best shop-worthy items that you can buy from the markets of Andaman for you and your loved ones- 1. Wooden Artifacts: Andaman brims with wood. Wooden home decors and artifacts made of timber, oak etc., definitely needs to be in your list. Ornamental woods like paduak, Chui are used to making showpieces. Interior artifacts like wall hanging, furniture, also kitchen utensils are sold in abundance. The high-quality wooden items are decay proof and easily transportable. However, as per the recent laws in Andaman, it is illegal to collect wooden items like driftwood from the beach keeping in mind the preservation of the biodiversity. 2. Pearl Jewellery: Precious exquisite high-quality pearl adornments such as earrings, neckpieces, bracelets come at a very reasonable price tag. So if you’re planning to gift some souvenir to your loved ones, pearl jewellery is definitely worth consideration. You can get pretty pearl jewellery at Sagarika Emporium, a Government of Andaman established emporium that encourages local sellers to sell their products. 3. Hats: Wandering on the beach is cool but without a hat? NAY! You need to protect your hair and eyes from the UV rays of sun hence hat is a must-have during a beach vacation. There are some trendy hats in the local market that’ll protect your skin from sunburn and make you look chic as well. You can grab your hat from Aberdeen Bazaar, Port Blair. 4. Seashells: Beach and seashells, both the terms go hand in hand, isn’t it? Shell craft industry is a major source of income in Andaman. Seashells are used in various accessories like bangles, lamps, mirrors and many other items. Also, the authorities don’t let tourists collect sea shells, since as per the Wildlife Conservation Act, 2013, it is a punishable offense. So you need to be extra cautious if you have a habit of collecting sea shells from the beaches. 5. Bamboo Artifacts: Bamboo baskets, bags, furniture, wall hangings, lamp shade, home décor also are popular in Andaman. Bamboo artifacts are made by tribal artisans. Also, bamboo is an eco-friendly and durable alternative to plastic so thumbs up for bamboo bags. You can also grab some Bamboo doormats and place them at the entrance of your house. 6. Spices: Who doesn’t need spices? One of the most important kitchen ingredients, spices add flavor to your food. Andamanese spices like black peppers, cinnamon, cloves are of amazing quality and you surely don’t want to miss on these kitchen seasonings. 7. Coconut Crafts: You get to see coconut trees in Andaman every now and then. Andaman is densely populated with coconut trees. The locals have very well exploited this opportunity to earn a livelihood. There are a hand full of coconut shell, stem and fiber exporters, and wholesalers. Apart from being a thirst quencher, coconut is used to manufacture lamps, mugs and many other utilities as well.
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A Complete Snorkeling Water Adventure Guide in Andaman & Nicobar

Known for it’s gorgeous beaches, Andaman is an archipelago that has 572 islands extended over 8,249km^2 area. Home to a genus of some of the rarest, endangered and endemic species in the world such as Hawksbill turtles, green turtles, leatherback, dolphins, brown frogs, Nicobar frogs and many others. Jarawas(Adivasi group) is Palaeolithic group who’ve been residing in Andaman islands since the past 55,000 years, originates from Africa. Their survival is totally based on the hunting of pigs and fish with bows and arrows, their weapons. They also rely on honey, fruits and wild roots. Andaman truly defines the word “Eco-system” because it is an apt example of co-existence. Andaman is clearly of the most exotic locations that you definitely need to add to your travel list! Indeed a perfect destination to connect with mother Nature. Are you an adventure freak and constantly seek adrenaline rush while traveling? Then Andaman has the best adventure for you-Snorkelling.Snorkeling is, swimming inside a water body or swimming on the surface using a designed tube namely snorkel. A well-known water diving activity, the snorkel is popular in tropical locations. The exciting corals and various other underwater organisms can be seen while one snorkel. Snorkel is the instrument that lets you breathe while you’re cherishing the underwater experience. Best part is that you don’t even have to be a swimmer in order to snorkel. The 30 cm J-shaped cylinder acts as your breathing tube. Snorkel consists of a mask and fins. You shouldn’t be missing out on this fun-filled adventure if you are in Andaman. The enthralling view and life inside the sea is astonishingly exuberant. Lovely rendezvous with sharks as you swim through the azure water will create indelible memories for sure! Here are Top 3 locations for Snorkeling in Andaman. SNORKELING AT THE ELEPHANT BEACH-HAVELOCK ISLAND A boat from Havelock Island Dock takes you to the Elephant Beach. You may opt for a kayak that takes you through the mangroves on the way. The beach is about 20 minutes away from the Havelock island dock. The calm beach will brim your heart with tranquillity and mind with peace. The mesmerizing white sand beach is extremely clean and untouched since littering is not allowed. You’ll witness aligned trees on the beach and coral reefs too. The amazing marine life including crocodiles, octopuses, fishes. Adorn your trip to Elephant island by trying out an adventure sport like snorkeling. You just can’t get enough of the underwater world! SNORKELING AT NORTH BAY ISLAND-PORT BLAIR The island is veiled with corals extending to a large area. With a maximum depth of 15-25 feet deep, swimmers and non-swimmers both get to experience it escorted by professional local guides. School of fish, lobsters and coral reef will pave your way to the underwater world. In case you are a bit skeptic about your safety, let me fetch a sigh of relief by telling you that you’ll be provided with life rings and jackets during the whole process. SNORKELING AT JOLLYBOUY ISLAND-PORT BLAIR Situated in south Andaman, this island is close to Wandoor and is a part of Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park. Jolly buoy island is a treat to the eyes! This island is one of the virgin islands in Andaman. The main attraction is zebra fish that you get to see within the water. Another neighboring island is Red Skin Island. Both the islands are open alternatively every 6 months, that is, November-April for Jolly Buoy and May to October assigned to Red Skin Island. The snorkeling is a must if you’re planning to be there. The 15 minutes of snorkeling experience is going to last forever in your memory! Photo ID proof is pre-requisite to booking tickets. FEW SNORKELLING TIPS: Here are some little tips for you if you’re a beginner in snorkeling- 1. FOCUS: Being cautious while snorkeling is important because you don’t want to risk your life amidst the vast ocean. 2. GOOD EQUIPMENT: Even though your guide will provide you with the equipment but it’s important to make sure that it’s in good conditions and also you must wear the mask and fins properly. 3. DELICATE MARINE LIFE: Remember that marine life are better left untouched, witness their beautiful from a safe distance and have a good time!
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