'Off the beaten path' simply does not do justice to the remote location of the Andaman Islands. So if you're only just hearing about them now, you're in for a treat. This island chain located in the Bay of Bengal separates Southeast Asia and India, and as such is still claimed in part by both India and Myanmar.
But take a look at any #andamanislands photo and it’s not hard to see why neighboring countries want to lay claim to them.
Comprised of over 500 tiny tropical islands, the blindingly-bright turquoise waters and white-sand beaches make for an irresistible escape for any over-worked city dweller, lacking in Vitamin D. Time doesn't seem to really matter here, not while you're swimming in the clear waters or strolling among the vast coconut groves.
During low tide, coral reefs surrounding the islands (and the vast marine life that inhabits them), dazzles just under the ocean's surface. You'll be hard pressed to find more exciting snorkeling or diving sites than here. If you don’t have a waterproof camera, get one. You’ll need it. (Failing that, this waterproof iPhone cover works wonders.)
If you're up for a bit more physical activity, a trip to Mount Harriet National Park promises a wide range of nature and wildlife. Even on a brief trek through the jungle there's potential to spot crocodiles, wild pigs, enormous coconut crabs (seriously, they look like Pokémon), and more varieties of birds and butterflies than you can count on all fingers and toes.
But be sure to end the day down at Chidiya Tapu Beach, otherwise known as 'sunset point' thanks to its dreamy views. The gorgeous rainbow-painted skies you can witness here are well worth the drive through dense, crocodile-infested jungle (just keep thinking of those views...).
When it comes to accommodation, options are limited thanks to the underrated and underdeveloped nature of the islands (not necessarily a bad thing), but our pick is by far Jalakara. Since opening last December as one of the most hotly anticipated new hotels, this chic boutique property lives up to its hype.
Owned by a husband and wife team, the hideaway was designed as a peaceful place of rejuvenation, though still sports the décor, facilities and service of a luxury resort (infinity pool and cinema room included, obvs). Located on one of the tinier islands, Havelock, nearly everything is within walking distance, including Full Moon Café, which hosts dancing and drinks under the stars.
With all the untouched natural beauty of a real-life Garden of Eden, the Andaman Islands is destination to explore before the secret is really out.