Your ultimate travel guide to Lakshadweep - the Maldives of India
One post from Indian Prime Minister Narendra about the Lakshadweep group of 36 islands in India got the internet on fire. And not without reason - the Maldives definitely have something to worry about, as Lakshadweep can be its ultimate alternative, offering exotic and pearl-white beaches. Here’s everything you need to know before planning your vacation in Lakshadweep in 2024.
How to get there?
Lakshadweep is an archipelago in the Arabian Sea, located in the Laccadive Seas off Kerala's coastline.
If you're traveling from outside of India, it goes as follows:
- Reach mainland India. Lakshadweep is accessible by air and sea from mainland India. You'll need first to reach one of the major cities there, such as Kochi (Cochin) in Kerala, as Kochi is the main gateway to Lakshadweep.
- Book a flight to Kochi. Most travelers start their journey by flying to Kochi, which is well-connected to major Indian cities. You can book a flight to Cochin International Airport (COK), the nearest major airport to Lakshadweep.
If you come from other places in India, you will still have to fly into Kerala first.
From there, you have a few options to reach the islands.
You can book a flight from Kochi to Agatti Island, the only airport in Lakshadweep open to tourists. Several airlines operate flights to Agatti, which lasts approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. They are usually between 11 am and 12 noon every day.
Another option is to travel by ship from Kochi to Lakshadweep. Seven government ships are getting to the islands, and you can check the availability and schedule of ships to Lakshadweep through the Lakshadweep Tourism website or contact the Lakshadweep Administration. However, ship-based tourism is limited and seasonal, so we'd recommend taking the flight.
Fun & new activity for the ones who also want to visit Mumbai on the same trip: Cordelia Cruises started luxury cruise trips to Lakshadweep from Mumbai.
Do I need any permits?
Lakshadweep has restricted access and is not open to all. A permit issued by the Lakshadweep administration, located in Kochi, is mandatory to gain entry to Lakshadweep. Once you have obtained the permit, the process involves the following steps:
- Download the clearance certificate and have it endorsed by a local police station. You must also attach your identification documents and provide three passport-size photos.
- Once you have secured the clearance certificate, you can download the entry permit or obtain it in person from the Lakshadweep administration office on Willingdon Island in Kochi.
- Upon arriving in Lakshadweep, you must submit your entry permit to the station house officer as part of the entry process.
Once you arrive in Lakshadweep, you can explore the main islands using local ferries and boats. Regular ferry services connect some islands.
There are a bunch of islands there, and they're most often divided into two parts: The Northern and the Southern Islands. Here are our recommendations for both.
The Northern Islands:
- Agatti Island. This island has an airport and is a popular entry point for tourists visiting Lakshadweep. It's also known to be the hub for water sports & the best coral reefs.
- Bangaram Island is famous for its stunning beaches, often ranked among the best in Asia, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. It's an ideal destination for a calmer getaway away from the crowds.
The Southern Islands:
- Kavaratti Island. It's the capital of Lakshadweep and one of the most developed islands in the archipelago. Here, besides the sandy beaches and water activities, you can also visit the Ujra Mosque, known for its exquisite architecture, and learn more about the local culture.
- Minicoy Island. Two must-dos for this island: visit the 300-year-old lighthouse and enjoy the traditional dance performances offered on the island.
The climate in Lakshadweep is tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 27°C to 32°C. April and May are the warmest months, with an average temperature of 32°C.
The ideal time to visit the islands is from October to March, when the weather is most favorable.
From June to October, there's active rainfall, averaging between 10-40 mm. Humidity during this period hovers around 70-75%. On average, there are 80-90 rainy days per year.