Three Beautiful Indian Islands For Your Next Bucket List

Three Beautiful Indian Islands For Your Next Bucket List

If you’re lamenting that the most well-known Indian Ocean destinations of the Maldives, Seychelles, and Reunion are off your bucket list, or have no available bookings, take heart–there are more picture-perfect islands worthy of your bucket list!

The Andaman Islands, off the coast of India in the Andaman Sea, have unspoiled islands and beaches for authentic islander experiences at affordable prices. Rich in nature, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were once under Danish and then British rule, which makes for rich history, too. Add a trip to Swaraj Deep or Port Blair during your tour of India.

If you’d rather laze on the beach or learn to kitesurf, your paradise lies in a three-or four-and-a-half-hour flight from Perth, Australia. Cocos Keeling islands (4.5 hours out of Perth) lie in a volcanic-based circular arrangement of atolls, so exploration of the uninhabited islands is easy. Christmas Island, founded on the growth of copra, has unexpected diversity and numerous festivals in addition to the annual migration of land crabs—an unusual spectacle, but not for those with crustacean phobias!

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Havelock Island in the Andaman Islands: Is it Worth Visiting?

Swaraj Deep, previously known as Havelock Island, Is a life-in-a-day kind of adventure if you’re seeking an authentic island experience. Thickly vegetated, it offers tropical forest walks, a variety of water sports, and serene beach experiences.

Swaraj Deep is a ferry ride out of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman Islands.

While Swaraj Deep is no longer famed for its swimming elephants, you’d be lucky to spot one cooling off in the sea. These days, Elephant Beach, where the giants swam and learned to transport logs, is a hive for water sports enthusiasts. If you prefer more serene sands and waters, you’re spoiled for choice. Try Vijaynagar Beach for a peaceful, soulful experience, or visit Kalapathar Beach for cinematic sunrises and sunsets or for beautiful personal meditations.

While the island is not as developed as most other tourist destinations, there is a range of resorts and packages to suit your budget. Guides are recommended if you wish to explore the forest paths, which can be misleading.

While the sea is generally safe for swimming, be on the lookout for saltwater crocodiles in mangrove areas.

Some areas and beaches on the island are plastic free so pack accordingly.

The Cocos Keeling Islands? Where Are They, And What Can I Do There?

Situated between Western Australia and Indonesia, the Cocos Keeling Islands are Australia’s little secret getaway. With Malay culture influenced by colonial Scots, the twin main islands of Home and West Island offer an interesting variation on Indian Ocean islands and a unique local culture that had been isolated for over a century.

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Tourist accommodation is on West Island and includes house rentals, apartments, and lodges. Home Island does offer some local cuisine on certain days.

There’s no end to the turquoise waters and brilliant sandy beaches. Take an excursion over to Direction Island to one of Australia’s most gorgeous beaches—Cossies Beach, then explore as many of the 25 uninhabited islands as you wish. Alternatively, chill on the picture-perfect beaches and sample the local cuisine.

Snorkelers, surfers, divers, and fisher folk will find themselves in paradise, too. Bird lovers can book water- or land-based tours, while culture lovers can tour Home island, visit the Cocos Museum, and experience coconut husking.

Cocos is a Muslim island and has its own mosque. Visitors are requested to be respectful of local customs, including dressing modestly on Home Island, asking permission to photograph locals, and visiting the mosque.

Explore the islands by water in a unique motorized outrigger adventure, or go on a sea-scooter guided tour. Take a Cocos Cooking Class, a tour of the local artists, or perfect your photography. And if you’ve ever wanted to learn to kitesurf, this is the place!

Combine a trip to Christmas Island for double the dose of paradise. It’s a combined flight from Perth.

Christmas Island Red Crab

Red crab on sand

Christmas Island For A Tropical Christmas Or Mooncake Festival?

Famed for its abundance of red land crabs (also called robber crabs) and their blue cousins, Christmas Island has so much more to offer culturally, with Taoist temples, a mosque, churches, and a full calendar of events and festivals, including the Chinese Mooncake festival. With much of the island a national park, birding enthusiasts and photographers will have eventful days.

Accommodation ranges from boutique hotels to all-inclusive lodges.

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If you ever tire of the sparkling beaches and water sports, you can literally take a hike! The national park has a variety of trails showcasing the best the interior of the island has to offer. Hire a 4WD vehicle or join a tour to get to the best sites like The Grottoes and the Dales Trail that goes by the Hugh’s Dale waterfall.

Seven days are just enough to enjoy this unique island. Book your visit for your favorite festival (or the New Year of your choice) and witness the amazing crab migrations or the spawning season in late summer.

If you’re missing the cinema, be sure to catch an outdoor movie on a Saturday. Wi-Fi is slower on the island than on mainland Australia, so download your playlist before you land for screening on other nights.

There’s more to these islands. Keep an open mind, and a sharp eye out for unique opportunities, and add these paradises to your island bucket list.


Q: Can I fly into Havelock Island?

Sadly, not anymore. Seaplane and helicopter services were discontinued in 2020.

Access to Swaraj Deep (Havelock) island is via ferry from Port Blair. Find ferries at Phoenix Bay Jetty located in Port Blair Harbor. Journeys take between two and four hours.

Q: How do I fly to Cocos Island or Christmas Island?

Book a Virgin Australia flight out of Perth. Flights leave every Tuesday and Thursday. Expect a 4.5 hour flight to Cocos Keeling and a three hour flight to Christmas Island which is a stop-over for passengers going on to Cocos.

Q: What Should I Pack?

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunhat
  • Aloe vera or other skin soothing cream
  • General medication
  • Refillable water bottle or flask (no plastic for Swaraj Deep)
  • Waterproof little bag for wet clothes and shoes
  • Mosquito and insect repellent
  • Cream for stings and bits
  • Comfortable walking shoes for hiking or trail explorations
  • Back up memory cards and batteries for cameras