Sunset at Thinnakara island, Lakshadweep, India

Our holiday in the magical Lakshadweep islands

Pristine beaches, spectacular sunsets, and tiny magical islets. We experienced all that and more during our time in the Lakshadweep islands.

In January 2017, we got back from our vacation to the Lakshadweep islands (read about our planning, booking and costs here). We can now shed some more light on what it’s like to visit these islands on your own.

Our overall experience

Overall, it was a great vacation and an incredible experience, one that you won’t have anywhere else in India—arguably, not even in the Andamans. But, as with all travel in India, nothing really goes exactly according to plan or turns our exactly the way you want. So tempering your expectations will go a long way towards making sure you have a good time. Also, just to avoid confusion, the Lakshadweep tourism department is called SPORTS (Society for Preservation of Nature Tourism and Sports), so if someone says ‘sports’, this is probably what they mean.

Also read: How we planned our Lakshadweep holiday

Bright blue waters - Agatti, Lakshadweep
The almost artificially blue waters at Agatti pier

Pros and cons of a vacation in the Lakshadweep islands

To start with, here is a list of major pros and cons that we figured out during our vacation in the Lakshadweep islands. While it might look like the cons outnumber the pros, I’m convinced that the pros carry much more weight.

The pros

  • The islands are picture-perfect, each surrounded by a lagoon of crystal-clear shallow water.
  • There’s spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities everywhere you look, and lots of water sports, too.
  • The weather in early January is lovely, even turning slightly chilly at night.
  • Tourism (SPORTS) staff and locals are friendly and helpful.
  • The views of island silhouettes, sunrises and sunsets are incredible.
  • Mobile network connectivity is good on all islands, though data service is 2G and erratic.

The cons

  • All activities on islands cost extra, unless you are part of a cruise. They are also expensive, and you need to pay for them in cash.
  • Everything seems a little disorganized. Things eventually get done, but the laid-back ‘island’ attitude may take some getting used to.
  • It seems like what one pays upfront for is mainly for the privilege of being on the islands. The accommodation and food are quite basic.
  • Alcohol is permitted only on the island of Bangaram, and even there, it wasn’t in stock when we visited.
  • If a beach isn’t directly in front of the resort, chances are it’ll be piled with plastic washed up from the ocean. Or tossed about by careless tourists and locals. This is not an assumption; we’ve seen it happen.
  • The food on each island reflects their main segment of tourists. Local flavours are sometimes in short supply.

Also read: 4 reasons why you should stay in Agonda on your next Goa trip

Lakshadweep holiday - Thinnakara

The story of our holiday in the Lakshadweep islands

1. Kochi, Agatti and Kavaratti

In Kochi, the Flora Airport Hotel is a nice place to stay if you need to spend the night in the city, with nice rooms and a food court next door. Agatti island is a small spoon-shaped island that hosts the airport and a village of local islanders. While it is beautiful, accommodation is not currently available on Agatti, and it mainly serves as a transport hub for air and boat traffic. Long-distance ferries to Kavaratti and Kadmat ply to and from here three times a week, while smaller boats make daily trips to closer islands. Tourism department (SPORTS) staff will take you to the airport to your ferry or boat, and back.

Kavaratti is the administrative capital of the Lakshadweep islands, and has between 12,000 and 15,000 residents. There’s also a lot of ship traffic, and the resort right next to the busy pier. It’s one of the stops that form part of the cruise packages. This means a few hundred tourists—mainly from North India—disembark here a few times a week. The food served in the resort mainly caters to these tourists. Local eateries also exist, with local cuisine dominated by various forms of tuna fish.

The beach at the resort offers snorkeling and water sports. You can visit a few other beaches on request, as well as a museum and the island lighthouse. Supposedly, at low tide when there is a new moon, the tide goes out so far that one can walk among the corals nearly to the edge of the lagoon.

Agatti island from above in Lakshadweep, India
Agatti island from above

The full story

Our flight from Kochi to Agatti was scheduled at around 10:30 in the morning on a Wednesday. We had earlier discovered, however, that there was no flight from Hyderabad  to Kochi before that, so we had no choice but to fly in the previous evening and spend the night in Kochi. We stayed at the Flora Airport Hotel, which was a little expensive, but comfortable. It was also right next to a no-frills 24×7 food court that served great local food.

Agatti was a small, spoon-shaped island surrounded by light blue-green water, with the airstrip in ‘handle’ of the ‘spoon’.

The next morning, the hotel transport dropped us back at the quaint Kochi airport for the flight to Agatti. As we came in to land two hours later, we got our first glimpse of Agatti. It was small, spoon-shaped island surrounded by light blue-green water, and the handle of the spoon contained the airstrip. The island turned out to be bigger than we expected. It didn’t just have the airstrip, but also the small airport building and lots of local houses. The pictures of Agatti on the internet are a little misleading regarding its size, it seems.

Agatti Runway - How we planned our Lakshadweep holiday
The runway on Agatti
First impressions

We landed with the sea a stone’s throw away to both sides of us, and walked goggle-eyed to into the little air-conditioned arrival hall. We spent about half an hour there while our luggage arrived. Meanwhile, a breathless SPORTS official segregated everyone according to which island we were traveling to next. Once everything was sorted out, we were driven to one of Agatti’s two jetties. From there, we got into a small boat that took us out to the catamaran-hulled ferry waiting a few hundred feet away. On board, we found ourselves seats in the air-conditioned cabin. We got handed packed lunches and bottles of water, and settled down for the two-and-a-half-hour journey to Kavaratti. I made the mistake of eating my lunch immediately. Luckily, the sea wasn’t very rough so I only felt mildly nauseous.

On Kavaratti, the SPORTS resort was right next to the pier, which meant that we had lots of ships in our ocean view.

When we got to Kavaratti, we were a bit disappointed that the SPORTS resort was right next to the pier, which meant that there were lots of not-so-lovely ships around whenever we looked out to sea. Also, it turned out that a group of VIPs (a parliamentary committee, no less) was having a party at the resort that evening. Also, a cruise ship packed with day-tourists was scheduled to arrive the next day, which meant that we only had a few hours of peace left.

We made the most of these by taking a short nap and then heading out for a nice afternoon of snorkeling out in the lagoon. That evening, we ate dinner in a little cane hut separate from the revelers and, luckily for us, the party wound down just as we decided to go to sleep.

Fellow tourists at Kavaratti

Getting away from day-trippers

The approximately 200-strong group of day-tourists arrived early the next day, and we realized why we got non-spicy north Indian food all the time. It seems most of the tourists on the cruises in the Lakshadweep islands are from north India and, understandably, the food at all the cruise stops is tailored to them. Those hoping for some local flavours need to look elsewhere. Luckily, Kavaratti being the main administrative center of the Lakshadweep islands and home to between 12,000 and 15,000 people (depending on whom you ask), local eateries are not scarce.

The beach on Kavaratti’s ‘chicken neck’ was small and private, with clear blue water.

To help us get away from the crowds, some of the resort staff arranged for a short trip to another beach near Kavaratti’s naval base, on a narrow strip of the island called the ‘chicken neck’. We made the short drive in an open pickup truck, sitting in cane chairs on the cargo bed with the wind in our faces while the truck navigated Kavaratti’s narrow roads and superfluous traffic lights. The beach itself was small and private, and with the usual clear water.

The beach at Kavaratti island’s ‘chicken neck’
Low tide at new moon?

We first took a short walk and met a local who told us that, during low tide at the time of the new moon, the water is so low that one can wade out almost to the edge of the lagoon and walk among the corals. To prove his point, he enthusiastically whipped out his phone to show me photographs of the last time this happened, and proceeded to show me so many that I had to politely make my excuses after a few minutes. After this, we snorkeled among the corals out in the lagoon for an hour or so, before heading back for another north Indian meal and a nap.

An ‘enlightening’ experience

That evening, our coordinator Shah Ali took us to see the lighthouse. After some confusion about which vehicle to take, we got there just as it was closing (i.e. just as the grumpy lighthouse keeper decided that he had had enough visitors for one day), so we scurried up the many stairs while Shah Ali sweet-talked the keeper into letting us stay a while.

From the top of the lighthouse, the island looked almost uninhabited, with everything hidden by the palms.

One could see the whole island from the top, covered by a thick canopy of palm trees. From up there, with everything hidden beneath the palms, the island looked almost uninhabited. The sunset, of course, was beautiful.

The view of Kavaratti – the Lakshadweep islands’ most populous island – from the lighthouse
Kavaratti - Lighthouse sunset
Lighthouse sunset at Kavaratti

Dinner like the locals

On the way back, we got off at the beginning of the beach road leading up to the resort, because we had seen a nice-looking restaurant there that morning, and we were itching to try some Lakshadweep cuisine. As we strolled down the road, we saw some tuna fishermen unloading and cleaning their catch. We were amazed to learn that each of the huge fish (they had caught about 20 of them) had to be caught individually with a rod and tackle, and that tuna was so plentiful around there that the fish would be sold for as low as Rs. 30 per kg! Still shaking our heads in disbelief, we strolled down to the Café de Saina restaurant, which was across the road from the beach.

Kavaratti - Restaurant Cafe de Saina
Cafe de Saina on Beach Road, Kavaratti island

There, we sat and sipped fruit juice on beach chairs helpfully placed on the beach, until it got quite dark. At the restaurant, we sat outdoors and ate our dinner. It turned out, to our surprise, that the place was run by Bengalis and not by locals. This also meant that the most ‘local’ thing we ate was a simple—but very nice, fresh and soft—Malabar parota. Dinner done, we strolled back to the resort (encountering some interesting road graffiti along the way) and turned in for our last night on Kavaratti.

Also read: 21 simple tips to be a responsible traveller

2. Bangaram

Bangaram is a resort island that is a 45-minute boat ride from Agatti, and whose clientele is mainly foreign tourists. Probably because of this, it is the most expensive island to visit in the Lakshadweep islands. The accommodation is tasteful but slightly run-down; the food is a mix of western, north Indian and south Indian, and service is quite professional. Sadly, despite being completely safe, the tap water smells extremely unpleasant because of its sulfur content. For drinking, mineral water is provided, and you can ask for bottles of purified rainwater.

The beach is steep, with corals just a few meters away. Dinner service is magical, with a buffet and candle-lit tables on the beach. The scuba diving is expensive but a great experience for beginners, and the snorkeling is brilliant. The island also has a large, interesting sandbar at one end that is reachable at both high and low tide. Bangaram is the only island in the Lakshadweep islands on which alcohol is permitted, but it might be a good idea to bring your own—with permission—in case the resort is out of stock.

Shuttle boat from Agatti ferry to Bangaram island, Lakshadweep, India
We were transferred from the ferry to Bangaram on this little taxi boat

The full story

Early next morning, we got on another catamaran-hull ferry and set off on the two-and-a-half hour trip back to Agatti, from where it would take another hour or so to Bangaram in a smaller boat. This time, the seas were rough, and my seasickness kicked in with a vengeance. Luckily, the crew allowed us to sit outside on deck instead of being cooped up inside. That helped me, but a few other passengers who tried it still needed to stay within reach of the not-too-clean washrooms for the entire journey.

The ferry crew allowed us to sit on deck, which helped with my seasickness.

At Agatti, because the seas were rough, they decided to send the ferry on to Bangaram instead of transferring us to a smaller boat. This meant that the journey lasted barely 15 minutes. Sadly, this also meant that the ferry couldn’t enter Bangaram’s shallow lagoon. So once we got there, we got into a smaller boat that needed another 20 minutes to reach the Bangaram floating jetty on the other side of the island.

On approach to Bangaram island

Surprises, both pleasant and otherwise

Bangaram island itself is uninhabited except for the resort staff and a few locals from Agatti that visit to collect coconuts and to fish, and our experience there was very different from Kavaratti. First off, the resort has a much more typical ‘island paradise’ feel to it, with tastefully made (if slightly run-down) cottages and shacks. The staff greeted us with coconut water at the reception hut, handed us a map of the island and a rate card of the activities on offer, and gave us a short talk on what to expect from our stay.

The resort on Bangaram had a typical ‘island paradise’ feel to it.

We were also warned that the water in the bathrooms would take some getting used to because it contained sulfur and smelled like rotten eggs, but were also assured that it was not harmful and that everyone on the island used the same water. When we got to our rooms, the water was the only unpleasant thing, and everything else was comfortable and clean. The room was surprisingly cool, too, and we didn’t even think of turning on the air cooler.

We decided to take a quick dip before lunch, and found that the beach at the resort was surprisingly steep, the water going from a few inches to ten feet deep in the space of a few meters. Thankfully, both of us are good swimmers. We also discovered an advantage to having deep water so close to the beach: there were lots of corals to be seen just a few meters away! Dip done, lunch was a nice buffet at the dining hut, with a mix of north Indian, south Indian and western cuisines, and lots of fresh fruit and salad.

View from Bangaram cottage - for blog
The beach in front of our room on Bangaram island

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A sunset, some litter and a magical dinner

After lunch and a nap, we headed to the other side of the island to catch the sunset. We were depressed to see the expected litter, even here in the middle of the ocean. What was worse was the number of empty soft drink cans that were lying about, evidently left behind by visitors to the beach. We decided to not allow the rubbish to spoil the mood, and strolled along the beach with the sun setting off to the side. The rising tide soon forced us to abandon the beach, though. Using the rough map we had given, we found our way back to the resort. Our route took us along paths strewn with more rubbish, and past the ‘lake’, which was really not much more than a swamp.

Candle-lit tables set out on the beach made dinner magical and romantic.

Dinner was a pleasant surprise, and lifted our mood somewhat. Candle-lit tables were placed on the beach near the water, as was the buffet, which featured a live grill and tandoor. The overall mood was magical and romantic, only slightly spoiled by the teenagers on the next table playing music on their phones, and a private party that had set up their own bar a little further up the beach.

Sunset, palm trees and breakwater on Bangaram island, Lakshadweep, India
Sunset beach near the Bangaram island helipad

Scuba diving and sandbar wading

We got our first taste of scuba diving the next morning after breakfast, starting with a detailed briefing by Mr. Aman, the dive master. We then progressed to a bit of practice with the breathing apparatus (with which I had no end of trouble). We finally culminated in a half-hour long assisted dive among the fish and corals just off the beach. Because we were beginners, we really weren’t allowed to do much more than breathe as our instructors propelled us around, but it was still great fun. If it hadn’t been so expensive, we would have loved to accept Mr. Aman’s offer of a more advanced dive later!

The sandbar at one corner of the island turned out to be everything we had hoped for.

After the dive and some rest, we decided to explore a large sandbar at one corner of the island that we had been told about. We thought it best to explore it towards midday, when it would be the most easily accessible at low tide. Armed with caps, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen, we headed off.

The sandbar turned out to be everything we had hoped for. It was a beautiful stretch of pristine white sand, separated from the island by clear, knee-deep water. We spent the better part of two hours there, exploring the sandbar and admiring the different shades of blue in the water.  We got back just in time for a late lunch, and then decided that we had done enough for the day. So we spent the afternoon snoozing, and the evening lounging on various beach chairs.

Scuba diving off Bangaram - Lakshadweep islands
Scuba diving off Bangaram
Bangaram - Sandbar - Lakshadweep islands
Towards Bangaram’s sandbar
Sunrise, snorkel, sunset

We got up early enough the next day to catch the sun rising out of the sea in front of the resort. To our disappointment, we found that that it didn’t look very different from a sunset. After breakfast, the morning went in snorkeling at a coral reef halfway between Bangaram and its neighbor, Thinnakara. That was one of our most enjoyable hours in the Lakshadweep islands. We spent it swimming alone over massive mounds of coral, accompanied by lots of fish. Some of the coral was so close to the surface that we had to stop kicking our feet while swimming over it. That evening—our last on Bangaram—we headed back to the helipad on the other side of the island for another sunset.

Also read: 20 evocative beach pictures from our travels around the world 

3. Thinnakara

Thinnakara is a small, very peaceful resort island, 10 minutes by boat from Bangaram, and 45 minutes from Agatti. Accommodation is in tents with fans and lightbulbs. Each tent has an attached ‘green toilet’ that combines shower and WC. Tap water is as unpleasant as on Bangaram. The food is good, simple south Indian cuisine, with one token western dish per meal. The electricity supply may be turned off for a few hours during the day if one of the generators is under repair.

At low tide, one can walk to two tiny neighboring islands through ankle- and knee-deep water. One can also snorkel at a small shipwreck, and watch turtles swimming in the lagoon. On clear days, the sunsets are spectacular. Sadly, the beach on the windward side of the island is piled with a few years’ worth of plastic rubbish.

Sunset at Thinnakara island, Lakshadweep, India
Magical sunset in the clear, shallow waters around Thinnakara

The full story

The next morning, we were to do the 10-minute trip between Bangaram and Thinnakara after breakfast. We were told that a boat from Agatti would pick us up. It was carrying guests bound for Bangaram and Thinnakara, and we could tag along. After a few revisions to the timetable, we decided we were tired of waiting. So we booked ourselves a speedboat ride to Thinnakara (at extra cost, of course). It was worth it, though, because the scheduled boat finally arrived close to lunchtime.

Accommodation on Thinnakara was basic, but still charming.

We found the accommodation at Thinnakara to be basic, but still charming. Our room was an open, thatched-roof structure with a tent and a fiberglass ‘green toilet’ with both WC and shower. A single switchboard hung from a pole in the tent. This was connected to a ceiling fan, a stand fan, and a lightbulb each in the tent, the toilet and the sit-out. We were also told that one of the generators wasn’t working, so there would be no electricity supply in the late morning and early evening.

Hammock on Thinnakara island - Lakshadweep islands
Hammock in front of our tent on Thinnakara island
Thinnakara - View from the room - Lakshadweep islands
The ‘resort’ as seen from our tent

Privacy and Parali (both One and Two)

Despite all this, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at Thinnkara. The food had an almost exclusively local flavor, with the odd western dish thrown in. Also, it was the most peaceful place we had been to so far. The only thing we usually heard was the put-putting of the generator in the background.

After we got there and checked in, we decided we wanted to explore a bit. So we headed off along the beach. Again, we were greeted by the depressing sight of plastic detritus piled all along the high-water mark. This was the most rubbish we had seen so far. It seemed like no one had ever thought of cleaning up (unlike in Bangaram, where the beaches are cleaned once a month). So we looked out to sea instead, admiring the soothing shades of blue.

The rubbish along the beach was depressing, but it was compensated for by the two tiny islands: Parali One and Two.

We soon realized that there were two more islands (Parali One and Two) visible just off the main island’s edge. When we got closer, we were amazed to see that the water between all three was extremely shallow. Again, this was thanks to the low tide at midday. So, despite the heat, we decided to see if we could wade over. And after 15 minutes of walking through a foot of water, we were at Parali Two!

Also read: 21 simple tips to be a responsible traveller

Thinnakara - Lakshadweep islands
Rubbish on Thinnkara. The picture does not do it justice.
Parali Two and back

The island itself wasn’t much. It was very small, covered in palm trees and their fallen leaves, and had a small monument in the middle. But it gave us some much-needed respite from the midday heat. So we cooled off in the shade of the palms on one of its small beaches. A few locals soon arrived on a boat from Agatti, though. It seemed like they were there to hunt for sea snakes! We decided to leave them to it and headed back.

The palm trees in the middle of the island were too sparse to offer shade, but thick enough to cut off the breeze.

Once we got back on to Thinnakara, we thought it would be cooler to walk through the palms in the middle of the island. We were wrong. The palm trees were too sparse to afford much shelter from the sun, but thick enough to cut off the sea breeze. So about 20 minutes in, we gave up and started following the beach again. We later realized that, if we had walked along the other side of the island we would have gotten back faster. It seems the beach there doesn’t curve like the other side.

By the time we got back for lunch, we were exhausted and grateful for some shade. Lunch was simple and tasty, served in the sand-floored dining shack with its neat tables and chairs. There was also a small TV playing an Indian football league match, with the staff cheering enthusiastically.

En route to Parali Two

A magical beach on the other side

That evening, we explored the other side of the island, and found the beach very different from the one we saw in the morning. It was lined with palm trees that were on higher ground, and the sand was slowly being washed away from under them. Many had fallen over into the water, and some were in the process of doing so. Lots of interesting photo opportunities! The water was very shallow, so we decided that we would come back for a leisurely swim the next evening.

Thinnakara - Undercut palms
Undercut palms
Of shipwrecks and turtles…

The next day was our last in the Lakshadweep islands, so we decided to make the most of it. In the morning, we got the staff to take us snorkeling to a small shipwreck out in the lagoon. This was another interesting experience. Even though corals hadn’t really taken hold at the wreck, it was swarming with fish. They came in lots of different shapes, sizes and colours, and all were surprisingly unafraid. It was tiring, though. The current around the wreck was very strong, and kept pushing us in the wrong direction. This was one time we were grateful for our childhood swimming lessons!

Our last morning, we went snorkeling in a smal shipwreck swarming with fish.

Shipwreck snorkeling done, they took us to see the turtles that tend to swim around in the lagoon. Sadly, we couldn’t see too much detail from the boat. But we did realize that turtles are incredibly fast when in the water, despite their size! Though we spotted close to 20, we only really caught glimpses of each before they darted away. At one point, one of the boatmen startled us by suddenly diving overboard. He resurfaced holding a turtle that was at least three feet long! We quickly got him to let it go, though, because it was obviously in distress. It disappeared immediately.

…and ice cream sunsets

That evening, we went back to the spot we had chosen the previous day. This time, we’d armed ourselves with a camera, towel and a change of clothes. The water was everything we were expecting, but little rafts of dead seaweed constantly floated by, which was a little disturbing. Just before sunset, we suddenly realized that there wasn’t any of the usual the usual haze on the horizon, and scrambled madly for the camera. What followed was the most spectacular sunset we had ever seen! The crystal-clear sun melted into the sea like a scoop of glowing orange ice-cream!

Thinnakara sunset
The original infinity pool
Sunset for blog
Ice cream sunset on Thinnakara
The moon on the other side

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A chilly bit of star-gazing

That night, because of the clear sky, I thought it might be a good idea to do some star-gazing. The only problem was that the moon was near full, and blotted out most of the stars. I thought that the best time to see the stars would probably be between setting of the moon and sunrise. So I decided to try and wake up at the right time. After a failed attempt at 3:30 AM (the moon was still high in the sky), we woke up at 5:00. The rust-orange moon about to set through some clouds just above the horizon. It was quite eerie, and defied all my attempts at photography.

The sky turned thick with stars once the moon went down.

But once the moon was down, the sky turned thick with stars. We would have probably seen more if a few other guests hadn’t left lights on outside their tents. We spent a chilly half-hour lying on the beach and admiring the sky before the horizon started turning light.

Bangaram to agatti ferry
From Bangaram to Agatti – the best seats in the house!
Back to Agatti and then home

After our last breakfast, we caught a boat back to Bangaram at around 9:30. There, we boarded a little yacht for our journey back to Agatti. During the 45-minute journey, they allowed us to lounge on the prow of the yacht. Along the way, to our excitement, a pod of dolphins suddenly appeared! Some even accompanied us for a few minutes before going about their business.

To our excitement, a pod of dolphins accompanied our ferry for a few minutes.

Once at the Agatti pier, we were hustled off to the airport again. We waited in the tiny waiting lounge for passengers from other islands, and finally took off at around 11:30. On the flight out, we were give one last look of Agatti. We also caught glimpses of Andrott, Lakshadweep’s largest island. That drove home just how isolated these precious islands really are—tiny jewels in a vast, shining expanse of blue.

Also read: How we lived the island life for a few days in the Andamans

The startlingly blue waters around Agatti

Conservation efforts in the Lakshadweep islands

Lakshadweep’s low-lying coral islands and their surrounding marine ecosystems are extremely vulnerable to the influences of environmental events and local communities. Both the government and conservation organizations have recognized the need for conservation efforts here.

The Nature Conservation Foundation conducts research and conservation programs in the Lakshadweep islands.

The Nature Conservation Foundation, an organization that works to study and conserve wildlife and ecosystems across India, conducts research and conservation programs in the Lakshadweep islands, and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Their efforts are leading to a better understanding of how the reefs and their fish respond to external influences, and how to protect them. You can learn more about the NCF’s oceans and coasts programs here, or make a contribution to their efforts here.

IQ’s top tips for a Lakshadweep island holiday

  • You must have a printout of your SPORTS-issued permit with you whenever you travel into and within the Lakshadweep islands. If you don’t have a permit, they won’t allow you to travel, even from Kochi to Agatti. We heard from a Swedish couple how they had almost missed their flight to Agatti. Why? Their travel agent had told them their permit would be waiting for them at the airport, but it wasn’t.
  • For the best view of Agatti island while flying in, try and get a seat on the right side of the aircraft. But make sure the engine isn’t in front of your window.
  • Make sure you carry enough cash along to pay for the activities on each island. We spent around Rs. 12,000 on activities, mainly snorkeling and scuba diving. We saw an ATM at Kavaratti, but none on Bangaram and Thinnakara.
  • The long ferry rides between Agatti and Kavaratti (and probably Kadmat too) are not pleasant for anyone prone to seasickness. But you can ask the ferry staff if you can sit outside on deck. Carry anti-nausea medicine with you, and take one an hour or so before your journey. Eating immediately before or during the ferry ride is not a good idea.
  • Kavaratti, Kadmat and other islands are on the itinerary of the island cruises, and get hundreds of visitors a few times a week. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can plan your schedule around the cruise schedules on the SPORTS website.
  • The Lakshadweep islands aren’t as quiet and unexplored as you would think, so don’t expect to be the only tourists there. Thinnakara was the only really peaceful island that we visited.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the staff if you are looking for something beyond what is on offer. They may have forgotten to mention it, or may just not have thought of it yet.
  • On Kavaratti, not much ‘local’ food is on offer at the SPORTS resort. Explore local eateries for a better idea of Lakshadweep cuisine.
  • On Bangaram and Thinnakara, the groundwater (which they pipe into the bathrooms) contains sulfur and smells like rotten eggs. If it bothers you, ask for purified rainwater with which to brush your teeth.
  • At Bangaram, make sure the staff gives you an electric mosquito repellent in your room. We heard from another guest that mosquitos kept him up all night because they had forgotten to give him one.
  • Take along a cap, a pair of sunglasses and some good waterproof sunscreen. The sun can be unforgiving, especially when you ‘re in the water.
  • If you plan on doing lots of snorkeling, it might make sense to bring your own mask and snorkel. Just renting them will cost you Rs. 300 each time.
  • If you’re walking around at midday because of the low tide, carry an umbrella and a bottle of water. The heat can be terrible.
  • If you can see Agatti from Bangaram or Thinnakara, you’ll probably have a spectacular sunset that evening. Keep your camera ready!
  • The best time to star-gaze in early January is between 5:15 and 5:45 AM, between moonset and sunrise.

Vegetarian tip

All the government SPORTS resorts serve buffet-style meals that will include at least a few vegetarian options. Larger islands like Agatti and Kavaratti will also have some local eateries, and though tuna fish and chicken are popular, you’ll find some simple vegetarian dishes, too.

Responsible travel tip

The Lakshadweep islands depend a lot on rainwater to meet their water needs. So instead of accepting the plastic bottles of water that the resorts give you, try asking for purified rainwater instead.

Also read: How we planned our Lakshadweep holiday

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  1. Enjoyed reading about your experience,thank you for all the tips ☺ would like to know how much was spent for all in expenses to Laks i.e accomodation+activities and food excluding flight

    1. Glad you liked it! My post on planning a Lakshadweep trip (link in the above article) has cost figures that should give you a broad idea of expenses.

  2. Wow, this was so helpful & liked how you give the pros & cons up front. Had never heard of these islands before- thank you for such a wonderful treat! We like to snorkel & dive & always looking for places off the radar (at least for Americans).

    1. I’m very glad you liked it, Cindi! One of our most memorable trips so far. Hope you manage a visit there, too! 😊

  3. WOW!!! We’ve never heard of Lakshadweep. What a great read! And thank you so much for putting the location on our radar. The nature is breathtakingly gorgeous! And the photos are incredible! (The ice cream sunset stole our hearts!)

    1. Thanks, guys! You don’t need too many photography skills when the views are so incredible 😊 But you should probably visit sooner rather than later. I hear the islands are being battered by cyclones and erosion, so I’m not sure how much longer they’ll be around 🙁

  4. Superb detail. It was all a learning curve for me, I knew nothing of this location before. Great blog

    1. To be honest, we didn’t know much about it either, and getting information wasn’t easy. Which is why I decided to write the post after we visited, so other visitors wouldn’t have such a hard time figuring things out.

    1. Thanks, Stefan! You can always take your own to Bangaram, in case they’re out of stock again. 😉

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