Believe it or not, this is India!
When I tell people I lived in India for 3 years, I get very different reactions, but most of them are "Why?" "It's so hot there" "It's so dirty there" "What were you doing there?" "Why India, why not Germany?" and so on. Most of the people see India as an undeveloped country, with a lot of poor people, where people live in bad conditions, on the streets and of course a country where people fall off from trains. On the other hand, I think India is great. I'm not gonna tell you it's not hot, I'm not gonna say it's not dirty, but it has wonderful places, which most of the people are not aware of. In this story, I would love to describe such a place, a piece of heaven, untouched by human kind, something which may become an extremely popular travel destination in near future. I give you - Lakshadweep Islands.
View from the plane - Landing on Agatti Island
Agatti Island port - This is where you get into a speed boat
Lakshadweep is a tropical archipelago of 36 atolls and coral reefs in the Laccadive Sea, which is a part of Arabian Sea. Only 5 of these islands are inhabited. If we look at the map, these islands will be a group of small dots on south- west side of India. Only 2 islands are open for tourists, people who don't have Indian citizenship. For entry to Lakshadweep you need a special permission from the Indian Government, but it's easy to get it once you have your hotel booked. Agatti Island is the biggest one, that's where you land. The only flight you can take is an Air India flight, which only flies on particular days, once a day. Agatti doesn't provide any accommodation, so basically this is only a pit stop on the way to your final destination, which can be either Kadmat or Bagnaram. It will take you about 4 to 6 hours to reach these island by speed boat. Bangaram Island offers only accommodation in tents (big, fancy ones with bathroom), while Kadmat offers regular hotel rooms.
This place will leave you breathless. Once we arrived at Agatti, there was a car waiting for us, which took us to the port, where we transferred into a speed boat and continued our trip to our final destination, Kadmat.
Speed boat ride from Agatti Island to Kadmat Island
After a couple of hours, we stopped at Bangaram Island, because some people were getting off here and because we were starving - We had lunch there with other tourists and local people. While we were in the speed boat all we could see was endless sea and blue sky. Finally, I see our island - a piece of land covered in sand and palm trees. This is the way nature builds. You could not see any trace of humankind from the distance, as if we're heading to a deserted island.
Arriving to Kadmat Island by a speed boat
Once we arrived in Kadmat port we could see a lot of local people, waiting for us, smiling, waving. Next to them was a rickshaw. For those of you who don't know - Rickshaw is a small vehicle, with three wheels, widely used as public transport in India, a substitution for cabs. Of course my first thoughts were "How are they actually planning to fit 3 adults + 3 suitcases in this tiny vehicle?" but then - This is India - Impossible is nothing. Most of the locals came to helps us, carry our stuff. They were pretty excited to see foreigners at their tiny island. It was a 15 minute rickshaw drive, to the other side of the island, where our hotel was located. Soon I realized one thing - My parents and me were the only tourists, the only foreigners and most probably the only Christians at this island at the moment. While we were driving through their village, I could see the surprised faces of local people. Most probably we were equally surprised as well. They live a very simple life, in small houses made from materials they could pick up from the island itself. They eat mostly the food they produce themselves and once a week someone from the island goes back to the mainland to pick up some goods. Next 5 days, we will copy their lifestyle (well not exactly).
We reached out hotel, got our room, unpacked and immediately went to check out the beach. The Island is very narrow, maybe around 30 meters, so it's very easy to go from one side to another. The people were very kind and friendly and even though they don't speak English very well they tried their best to give us the most important information, to entertain us and to be there for us in case we needed something. We could see that the hotel was just preparing for the upcoming season. They were fixing sun beds and canopies, which were destroyed after strong monsoon winds and rain. These islands come alive in winter, they are open for tourism from October to April, when the temperatures are not that high and there is no rainfall.
Kadmat Island Beach Resort
Way to Kadmat Beach
Since we were the only guests at the hotel, we were pampered a lot. First we spoke to the hotel manager, who told us some important things, such as not leaving the hotel ground in a bikini, since the locals are mostly Muslim and that would be really offending towards them. He also warned us which are the dangerous areas in the sea. I personally think there is no danger, but a lot of Indians don't know how to swim, so they are super careful when it comes to water. After the manager, we spoke to the chef, who wanted to know what we would like to have for dinner. There are not many options for food on the island, as I already said they eat only the things which they produce themselves. If we put that aside, just the face that they were so kind to ask us what would we like and to try to please our wishes, was a super nice gesture. Some people might be disappointed by the food, they serve typical Indian dishes, prepared in a very traditional style. Breakfast was mostly eggs, bread, jam, cheese or Idli or Dosa - typical south Indian dishes. Lunch and Dinner would be rice with fish or chicken, Indian bread called Roti and some vegetables. There is only one shop on the whole island, which is in the center of the village. We didn't go there, even though the manager offered us a ride. We didn't really need anything, we got some cookies from the mainland and we were pretty satisfied with the food they were serving in the restaurant. In the hotel itself you can buy water, coffee, tea, coke and some small chocolates. The island is very far from the mainland, so there is no network connection, neither they have wifi. Can you imagine 5 days of your life in the 21st century without any contact with the world? I couldn't - but it was great!
Kadmat Beach - Our deserted island
Kadmat Beach (wearing: Forever 21 bikini)
We spent our days on the beach, swimming, tanning. We played card games, we snorkeled, walked on the hot sand, read books and talked. As funny as it may sound, most of us don't do any of these things on vacation. Instead, they go to crowded beaches, with many restaurants and shops, loud music and all those annoying people who try to sell you fake sunglasses, jewelry and souvenirs. Can you imagine a place where the only thing you hear are the waves? This is a beach which was created by the sea, not people. The palm trees grew themselves, no one planted them. This is a destination for a true vacation, for your body and soul. This is a place we all need to run away from our busy everyday lives. This is a different India, the beautiful one, which you haven't seen before.
Kadmat Beach (wearing: TRIANGL bikini)
Kadmat Beach (wearing: TRIANGL bikini and Forever 21 rope)