Visiting Lakshadweep is like stepping into a different era, a different world. Right from the moment you start seeing the islands from the window of your plane, you will alternately gasp at the beauty of the reefs and the ocean, and smile at this wonderous sight. The airport is one of the smallest, and there is a single road connecting the whole island.
Your stay in Lakshadweep isn’t about luxury resorts like those in Maldives. Or about pubbing or partying like in Krabi and Phuket. But there is beautiful marine life, a sea as green as green could be, palm trees swaying merrily in the breeze, and simple locals smiling at you. It is for those who love a holiday where life slows down, for someone who wants to be away from the chaos of cities, social media, traffic; for someone who is happy spending the next few days simply – walking on the beach, kayaking, swimming, and maybe reading a book.
How to reach Lakshadweep:
Lakshadweep has only one airport. It’s on Agatti Island, and is easily India’s most visually beautiful airport landing. You can read about this beautiful landing here. There is one flight daily to and fro from Kerala (mostly from Kochi airport, sometimes from Kozhikode). So if you are coming from other parts of India, you will have to fly into Kerala first. Flights to Agatti are usually between 11 am – 12 noon every day.
Cruises to Lakshadweep:
There are also cruise ships going to Lakshadweep islands from Kerala, and now from Mumbai as well. There are seven government ships plying to the islands – MV Kavaratti, MV Arabian Sea, MV Lakshadweep Sea, MV Lagoon, MV Corals, MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy operate between Cochin and Lakshadweep islands.
Recently, Cordelia Cruises is a cruise liner that started luxury cruise trips to Lakshadweep from Mumbai.
OnHisOwnTrip Lakshadwep trips happen from Oct-April.
Where to go in Lakshadweep:
Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 36 islands out of which only 11 are inhabited. Most tourists choose either one of two Lakshadweep travel plans. The north islands itinerary includes the islands of Agatti, Bangaram, Thinnakara and Kalpati.
The Southern Islands itinerary includes the islands of Kavaratti, Minicoy and Kalpeni.
Personally, we love the northern islands most!
Is it safe to travel to Lakshadweep? Can girls/solo travelers go to Lakshadweep?
Lakshadweep is possibly the safest place to travel to. So don’t be worried even for a second if you are considering whether it’ll be safe to go there. The islands are small, the people are super simple and super friendly. Most people on Agatti know each other. They wave at you as they pass by you on bicycles, the dive instructors are super helpful and friendly, the boat guys are enthusiastic to show you around, and the staff at the hotels go above and beyond to make your stay as comfortable and possible.
On His Own Trip conducts trips to Lakshadweep. On all our trips, everyone, be it solo travelers, girls, all found staying in Lakshadweep, Agatti super safe. People didn’t think twice before venturing out late nights, lying down on the grass away from the resort and gazing at stars, sitting by themselves at some corner of the beach even at 3-4 am.
Documents/paperwork needed to go to Lakshadweep, requirements to travel to Lakshadweep
Before travelling to Lakshadweep, please keep the following things in mind:
- Book flight tickets as early as possible (45- 60 days in advance). There is only one flight going daily, and tickets get booked out fast.
- You need to have a Police Verification Certificate to get your Lakshadweep permit processed. Approach the nearby local police station in your city, and tell them you need a PCC for travelling to Lakshadweep. The process might take 10-20 days, so apply at least a month before your travel dates
- You will need an authorized Lakshadweep agent to process your permits to visit the island. Mail him your Aadhar card, your PCC, a passport size photograph and they will help you get the permits. You will also need to book your stay through an authorized agent.
Things to keep in mind while in Agatti Island
- The resorts in Agatti are relatively less luxurious than you would find in other parts of the country with more tourism. But they are clean and the staff is warm and friendly.
- There are hardly any plush cafes or restaurants in Agatti. Meals are usually had at the resort itself and are part of tour packages. Meals served are south Indian meals – rice, sambar, a vegetable and fish or chicken. Carry snacks from the mainland if you are fussy about food. You can of course buy snacks in the town market.
- The locals are conservative. If you are heading into town, please dress conservatively. You can dress whatever you want when you are at the beaches, resorts or away from the main town.
- If you love being in the water, carry your own pair of snorkel glasses (you can buy from Decathlon). On our trip, we spent hours snorkeling at the reefs close to the beach.
- There are conflicting reports about whether you can carry alcohol into Lakshadweep or not. Please speak to your agent before the trip. Last we heard, you cant take alcohol to Lakshadweep, it’s strictly prohibited. The Bangaram resort does have a bar, there are no bars in Agatti.
- You can either stay in Bangaram or in Agatti during your Lakshadweep trip to the northern islands. You can’t stay at both. You can of course visit the islands on a day trip. Accommodation and packages for Agatti are relatively less expensive than Bangaram.
Pro Tip: Get a window seat when you are flying into Agatti. Try to get a seat on the left side of the plane 😉
Best time to visit Lakshadweep:
The monsoons make visiting Lakshadweep close to impossible. So the islands are usually closed to tourists from May to end of September. The best time to visit Lakshadweep is from mid October to mid April.
On His Own Trip conducts group trips to Lakshadweep during the best months from October to April, including a trip during new years.
Internet and mobile network in Agatti/Lakshadweep
Rumours, agents, blogs claim that you get decent mobile network and internet in Agatti, but from personal experience, I would say that the network/internet on your phones would be intermittent. It’s unpredictable and sometimes it works and most times you have no signal. Airtel, Jio work patchily. BSNL works best amongst the lot.
Note: None of the hotels in Agatti or Bangaram have wifi
Where to stay in Agatti Island
You can’t call Agatti’s resorts, resorts. They are simple rooms posing as cottages. The hotels only provide you with simple Kerala veg and non veg meals. There aren’t any swimming pools. The rooms open up to sand and trees. Walk further and you shall wade into the sea. Some kayaks sit on the sand. Wake up, snorkel, eat lunch, kayak, walk two kms to have a cold ice cream, dinner, spot shooting stars, listen to the waves.
Things to do in Agatti Island
Agatti, Bangaram and all the Lakshadweep islands are mostly about the beaches and the sea. If you know swimming, you will enjoy it thoroughly. Even if you do not know how to swim, wear a life jacket and go out to sea. Sea-ze the day my friend!
1.Go kayaking in the ocean – > Most of the resorts will have a few kayaks at hand. Kayaking is a simple sport. The sea is very calm, and you can go deep into the ocean. Wear a life jacket, make sure your phone is in a waterproof cover and head out singing “Teri oar, teri oar” to your kayak partner.
2.Go snorkeling -> You can snorkel off the beach, or on a boat. A guided boat snorkeling tour would be quite nice. They will take you into the sea and stop at some reefs that are full of marine life. Trust yourself, trust your boatman and instructor, strap on that life jacket hard and jump into the water. The variety of fish that you see, the colourful corals, they will all make you feel as if you are in a different world.
You can also snorkel near the beach. Find a reef (from the naked eye they appear like black mounds in the green sea). Swim over to them wearing your life jacket.
Note: Do not step on the coral or touch it, for they get damaged. It’s important to appreciate a place without causing any harm to it.
3.Go Scuba Diving -> You must scuba dive when you are in Lakshadweep. On His Own Trip organizes diving and snorkeling in the group tours to Lakshadweep. The cost for scuba diving in Lakshadweep is Rs 3000 – probably the cheapest price in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia.
Marine Life in Lakshadweep Sea –
The Lakshadweep sea is abundant with marine life. Some of the beautiful marine animals you would see while snorkeling or scuba diving are – Moorish Idol Fish, Powder Blue Surgeon Fish, Clownfish or Maldives Anemonefish, Sting Ray, Sea Anemone, Oriental Grunt, Butterfly fish, Yellow Surgeonfish, Humbug Damselfish and Bluestreak Clear Wrasse among others. On shore, you would see a lot of ghost crabs and strawberry hermit crabs.
4.Day trip to Bangaram and Thinnakara Islands -> The best part about this day trip is the boat journey itself. The colours of the sea in the day would dazzle your mind. I have been to Krabi, Phi Phi, Phuket, Bali, Gili Islands and Maldives, but nowhere did I see the ocean look so turquoise, emerald and green for miles and miles at a stretch as in Lakshadweep. On His Own Trip’s Lakshadweep group trips include boat trips to Bangaram and Thinnakara.
You would see turtles gliding past you in the water. If you are lucky, maybe a dolphin.
Stroll around the islands of Bangaram and Thinnakara. Wear your fancy beach wear and click loads of photographs.
Pro Tip: If you are on a boat trip to Bangaram and Thinnakara, don’t spend too much time on the islands itself. Instead spend more time doing the following things:
- Shipwreck snorkeling – About a ten minute boat ride from Bangaram, there is a ship wreck submerged in the ocean. The marine life in that area is On On His Own Trip’s new year Lakshadweep group trip, this was the best snorkeling we did in all five days. The water is crystal clear, and there are a thousand fishes all flitting about.
- Sandbank – Not far from the shipwreck snorkeling is a thin sand bank. During low tide, the water just touches its edges. The sandbank gleams white and is a wonderful spot for taking pictures. Best time to be here is during sunset.
- Palari island – This is very close to Bangaram island and is probably the best spot to see turtles.
5.Day Trip to Kalpati beach -> Kalpati island is just off the island of Agatti. It’s a 10-15 minute boat ride to the island. The island is uninhabited but its full of strawberry hermit crabs and you can take their photos. Do not touch, or harm them please while doing so.
Tip: The snorkeling near Kalpati is supposed to be really good. Ask your boatman to take you to a reef rich with marine life and snorkel there.
Check out this picture post of OHOT’s Lakshadweep group trip!
Sightseeing in Agatti :
There aren’t many tourist attractions in Agatti. There is a museum that you can totally ignore. What you must visit one of the days is Lagoon beach. Go a little before sunset. It’s beautiful, white sandy beach. There are boys playing football, families enjoying, and there is a small dinosaur statue that I have no idea why its been put there. There is a small café also, but we would recommend you to try a café fifty metres from the beach entrance.
There is the Eastern Jetty, that can also make for good pics, videos and reels, especially as you go on the road with the ocean on both sides.
A small fish museum/aquarium (MLR research centre) can be visited. Its basically a fish breeding and culturing centre for some ornamental fish. So you can visit, and learn a bit from the handlers there.
Fun things to do in Agatti
On His Own Trip Lakshadweep trips are very popular. We do some fun things in Agatti on these trips.
- Kayak to the airport : When can you ever tell your friends you went to the airport by kayak! The island of Agatti is really small, and you can easily kayak from the resort to the airport, by sea. We did the same, and even saw a plane taking off right in front of us!
- Kayaking at sunset : The sun is a bright ball of orange fire as it descends into the ocean, and to be there in the middle of the ocean in a kayak, watching it with a loved one, and the water bobbing around the kayak is a lovely feeling.
- Lie down under the stars at night – The night sky in Agatti is absolutely clear. If you lie down on the grass, you would easily see 3-4 shooting stars in quick time! If you want to read a cool Shooting Star story, click here.