Monday, July 25, 2005

Lakshadweep HOWTO


If you maintain a list of things to do before you conk off, add visiting Laksha dweep somewhere at the top. After the disappointment at Karwar where I couldn't go snorkelling due to the weather, I was looking for an opportunity to give it a shot again. In Lakshadweep I got more than what I wished for.

Getting There
There are two options. If sea sickness is not a problem, you can get there by ship from Cochin or Calicut. The journey by ship takes about 22 hours. There are four ships that make the trip to Lakshadweep. One of them has cabins. On the others, you will have to sit through the entire journey. Cabin costs about 1500 rupees, seating is cheaper.

The other option is the Indian Airlines flight from Cochin. It costs 5500 rupees one way per passenger. Don't expect apex fares early bookings. The plane is a 12 seater Dornier. You have to book well in advance since this is the only flight as of now. Air Deccan is planning to operate flights from Cochin to Agatti soon. Expect the fares to be half of what IA charges. The flight duration is about 1.5 hours.

If you have sea sickness, by all means take the flight in both directions. If you want travel by ship to be a part of the holiday experience, do take the flight in one direction so you don't miss the beautiful aerial view of the islands.

Stay Options
Bangaram Islands Resort is apparently the best place to stay in Lakshadweep. The beach is excellent. You can see all shades of blue and green in the lagoons around this island. The tariff is steep. It takes half an hour by boat to reach Bangaram from the airport on Agatti island.



I chose the Agatti Island resort for my honeymoon mainly for the affordability and good reviews from my friend Mayank. This resort is right next to the airport on Agatti island. A 3 nights, 4 days package in April cost me 18,000 rupees for the two of us. This included all meals, a fishing trip, glass bottom boating and a trip to Bangaram island. Add about 2000 rupees for the guided diving and snorkelling off Bangaram island. Unlike Bangaram island, Agatti island has a population of about 7000. The resort's beach is private.

Lakshadweep tourism organizes diving trips to the islands. You will have to stay on board a ship on these trips. The ship will dock near some of the islands during the trip. There is a resort on Kadamat island too. You'll have to enquire about these options since I've only been to Agatti and Bangaram.

Season

The season is from October to April. After April, it gets windy and the sea gets rough. The resorts stay open during the off season too and the tariff is usually half of the season tariff. The best time to be there is in December or January when the temperatures are within limits. By April it does get vey warm there (about 32 degrees).

Things To Do

At Agatti island, you can go for a swim in the sea. The waters off the island are crystal clear due to the coral reefs which break the waves. Even if you can't swim you can pick up a life vest and float about. Kayaking in the calm waters is another option. The resort has bicycles on hire if you are interested in a visit to the inhabited parts of Agatti. You don't have to worry about losing your way there, there is only one road on the island. The resort arranges for a fishing trip in the lagoon and a glass bottom boat trip. The glass bottom boat has glass windows at the bottom. You can catch a glimpse of the colourful aquatic life below when the boat goes over the coral reefs.



The main attraction though is snorkelling and diving. The good part is that you needn't know swimming for these activities. For snorkelling, you can put on a life jacket and float around wearing a glass mask. A tube from the mask stays above water to let you breath. If you can swim, you can can go on your own to the corals that are a few metres away from the beach and enjoy the underwater view. If you can't swim, you can get someone to guide you there. Guided snorkelling will cost you about 500 rupees. This is not part of the package. For the more adventurous, there are introductory guided diving lessons off Bangaram island (need not be a swimmer for this). The corals there are teeming with aquatic life. The multi-coloured tropical fish there seem to be straight from Finding Nemo. You can also dive off a ship wreck near Bangaram islands. If you have sea sickness take some pills along since the boat ride can get rough at places.

Plan well in advance if you are interested in making this trip. Getting the flight tickets to Agatti isn't easy and the resorts have some paperwork to do for the permits to visit the islands. You might get a discount on the regular tariff if you use a reference. I used Mayank's reference to knock off 10% from the tariffs. Feel free to use my reference :)

42 comments:

Noorul Islam K M said...

Nice to see this post about Lakshadweep.

Anonymous said...

Hi Binu,

Precisely what i was looking for! I am planning to go to Lakshadweep for my honeymoon in december...ur blog was really encouraging. I wanted to know more about the food and Acco. I heard Agatti is a lil expensive compared to the other islands. Whats ur take on the planned tours organised by SPORTS (the govt sponsered trips i mean). I am a lil unsure of whether there will be privacy.

binux said...

I don't have first-hand information on the planned tours conducted by the government. They are all done by ship, so I didn't get the details on that option. Outlook has a book on holiday destinations in Kerala and Lakshadweep. It has details on the conducted tours to Lakshadweep.

Renu said...

Hi Binu

A friend forwarded me ur blog..and i realised i know U from HSS;-)...nice read on Lakshadweep...would surely want to go snorkeling there someday..thanks for the thread..Renu

Anonymous said...

Hi Binu,
Nice write up on Lakshadweep!
Again, thats the information I was looking for also.
Am planning my honeymoon for the coming Feb. and yes, Lakshadweep is gonna be the one place, we will visit!..Sure!
Do also add your experience and travelogue on the Bison's Well in Kodai. Thanks!

binux said...

Glad this post was useful to you. Hope you have a good time at Agatti. I'll write about Bison Wells soon. Here's their website if you are interested: http://www.wilderness-explorer.in/index.htm

Anonymous said...

Hi there...

Informative post.. Thanks.. Am planning a holiday to Agatti in Jan. Few things that I wanted to ask you. How gud/bad is the resort food (veg)??
How is the accom in standard a/c? Do these rooms hv the sea view ?
Heard there is no room service but will the resort ppl arrange for dinner by the beach ?

Subhra said...

Hi Binu,
I understand its a pretty old post, but can you tell me how to reach lakshadweep. Kingfisher flights costs around 20K from cochin, roundtrip. and indian doesn't show a flight.

so how do i reach?
Also let me know the sites where i can get the ship info from.

Also do tell me how is the aggatti island resort? how are the facilities etc.

Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Subhra

binux said...

Subhra,

Look for Indian Airlines flight IC 502. Fares are around Rs. 6000 one way if you can get a seat. It's a small plane that's usually fully booked during the peak season. Approach a travel agent and check for availability. It doesn't fly on all days of the week.

Here's the link for ships to Lakshadweep:
http://lakport.nic.in/index.htm

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Have been to lakshadweep twice: To kavaratti, agatti, kavaratti & minicoy. The visit was dream come true with beautiful lagoons & crytal clear water.

Bangaram is an expensive one because it is the only island open fro foreigners.Rest all the islands are pretty affordable.

Now, Kingfisher is the connecting flight to Agatti from where you can either go to kavaratti, bangaram or Kadmat.

For minicoy you need to take the ship. Shall suggest go through a cruise coz they shall take care of the entire thing: travel, travel permit to lakshadweep & stay.

Personally, i found Minicoy the best because it is a big island, much greener, excellent food, very good resort & good options for snorkelling & scuba. The people too are very warm there.

Srikanth Punagasela said...

Hi Binu,

Please let me know ur contact details.I need more info on lakshwdeep.

Please help.

Rgds-Srikanth P
09885009530

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Andy said...

How can i give your reference and get a discount at the resort? Please do let me know.
My Id: anil77k@gmail.com

binux said...

Andy:
It has been six years since I visited, so I don't think any reference will work now.

Lakshadweep Package said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lakshadweep Package said...

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snigdha G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajay Jain said...

I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!….. I’ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work


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Arif Ali Saiyed said...

I will soon get in touch with you for some tip on Kashadweep
-Arif

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I went to Thinnakara Island, Lakshdweep for sport fishing camping and it was an amazing experience. A must visit place for fishing lovers.

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