Havelock Island is a paradise...
It is India's best kept secret. Most people associate India with history, architecture, "cows on the road", the chaos, backwaters, beaches on the mainland, Himalayas, but not with having a beautiful Island. Havelock Island is a gem in the middle of the Indian Ocean and gorgeous, to say the least.
Located off the east coast of mainland India, it is part of the Andaman Islands. Lined with white sandy beaches, rich coral reefs, abundant marine life and lush green forests, it is an alluring natural paradise. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Andaman Islands, Havelock should be on your list.
Top Things to do on the Island
1. Explore the Beaches
- Radhanagar Beach - Rated as one of the best beaches in Asia, it is truly beautiful in every aspect. Standing on the fine smooth white sand with the forest canopy behind you and the beautiful expanse of the ocean in front of you, It looks absolutely stunning. Thanks to the long stretch of beach, you'd easily find a spot for yourself to enjoy the ocean and stunning sunset the beach offers.
Note: The beach is not accessible to anyone after sunset, so make sure to get there either during the day or just in time for sunset.
- Kalapathar Beach - With mangrove trees lining up on the shore and dotted with rocks, this is a small yet beautiful beach on the east side of the island, located just a few kms from the town centre. You could find a nice spot among the shade of the trees, in the branches to enjoy the view of the turquoise water.
- Beach No.5 / Vijaynagar Beach- This is on the east side of the island. This is where most of the resorts are located. It is a beautiful beach with plenty of shade provided by the trees that line the entire stretch. The proximity of the resorts to the beach makes it an ideal place to relax.
Note: this beach is quite shallow with plenty of rocks for quite some distance, so don't go about jumping into the water. Found this out the hard way myself. These rocks are only visible in the low tide, so be cautious.
- Elephant Beach - This one is located one the west side of the island. It's an ideal beach with options of sea activities like diving, snorkelling, etc. I hear there is plenty of marine life and it's beautiful. Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit it, so don't have much info on it. But, keep it on your list, if you're in Havelock.
2. Scuba Diving
If you visit Havelock and haven't tried scuba diving, you've not really visited Havelock. Being an island, part of the beauty of the place is below the surface of the ocean. The marine life is amazing and the experience is something you're going to cherish for the rest of your life. There are plenty of beautiful dive sites around the island for beginners and certified divers.
Also, for people looking to get certified with the PADI/SSI courses, it's an ideal place, especially for indians, since it's so close and no visa required :). There are many good dive schools around and most of them have tie up with resorts, so you end up getting a sweet deal on your stay as well. I did my PADI Open Water course from Andaman Bubbles and it was an amazing experience.
Being an island, the main reason people visit havelock, apart from enjoying the beauty of this small beautiful paradise, is to relax and unwind. You could swim in the clear turquoise waters, sit by the beach and enjoy the view. I've always enjoyed watching the waves crash on the beach, the sound of it is music to my ears. And, the best way, that I discovered, to enjoy it all, is to relax on a hammock, preferably with a beer in my hand, and enjoy the view, the cool ocean breeze and the sweet sweet sound of the waves crashing the beach. It's the best way to chill and unwind.
Stargazing on an island is an experience by itself. Picture this, lying on the soft white sands, with the sound of the ocean and Mr.Probz ' - waves and the sky brightly light up with a million stars - PERFECT. Now that's a sight you don't see back in the cities. It was by far one of the most beautiful and serene experiences of my life. The best things in life are indeed free.
To get to Havelock, you would first have to land at Port Blair which is the gateway to the beautiful Andaman Islands and the island with connectivity to mainland India. From Port Blair, there are 2 options to get to Havelock:
Helicopter service - At 20 minutes of travel time, it is the quickest way to get to havelock. Flights are operated by the Civil Aviation Dept. of A&N Administration. You can get more info. on the price and schedule here
Ferry service - the most preferred mode of transport and priced decently as well. There are government run ferries as well as private ones. I traveled by Makruzz, which is a private run ferry service.
1. Make sure you carry enough cash and not rely completely on your Credit/Debit cards.
2. The mobile network isn't that great, so expect no or little network at certain parts of the island.
3. There is 1 liquor store on the island. They have a quota system per person for the day. An individual can buy a maximum of 4 bottles of beer or 1 bottle of hard liquor in one day, not more. (That was the rule when I had visited Havelock). Get high on Nature for a change.
4. Many cafes, don't serve alcohol, but they do get permits to serve for a single night, usually when they're having some event. Make sure to check with them.
5. Make sure to wear a helmet when you're riding a rented bike. I say it not only for the obvious reason of safety, but also the cops do check. We were caught for not wearing a helmet when riding and had to pay a fine. I know, out of all the places in the world, had to be here.
6. It would be advisable to book your ferry tickets to and from the island at least a day before to ensure you get tickets.
7. Avoid polluting the island with plastic and other items, it's a beautiful paradise, lets work on keeping it that way.