Probably, you’ve never heard about it. No surprise: it is one of the most remote resort areas in India. Actually, Havelock, a part of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, is much closer to Thailand than to India.
During the British rule it was pretty abandoned and only after the liberation numerous Indian settlers headed for it in search of free land and tax rewards. Today it is one of the most beautiful islands you can find in Asia.
Why is Havelock so magic?
Well, it has anything you may probably need.
- If you are into off-the-beaten-path travel – the remote island of Havelock is one of your best options. It’s unique.
- If you are an extrovert like us, are looking forward to meet friendly locals, untouched by the waves of greedy tourists – they are on Havelock.
- If you want the best beach in Asia (Havelock’s Radhanagar Beach has been voted as the Best Beach of Asia by The Time Magazine in 2004 – and it hasn’t become worse ever since) and the cleanest, bluest, Maldives-like water – they are on Havelock.
- And by the way, it all comes at a very, very affordable price.
How to get there?
How much: $113 / person (from Chennai, India)
How long: around 5 hours (plane from Chennai + ferry from Port Blair)
In order to get to the island you have to take a plane or a ship to Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar islands. The closest mainland port / airport is Chennai.
On your arrival take a tuk-tuk for 70 Rs.=$1.2 to the jetty point. Buy tickets there at least several hours in advance of your trip. In case there are no tickets left, you’ll be able to ask a captain for “a favor” and go anyway, no problem!
The ferry to Havelock takes 2 hours and costs 385 Rs.=$6.5. Take a bottle of water with you and don’t forget to enjoy a beautiful view on the deck!
Where to go?
As soon as you arrive, you can either take a tuk-tuk to nearest Beach #5 (it should cost not more than 60 Rs.=$1) or a bus to the furthest Beach #7 (10 Rs.=$0.16).
What’s the difference between these two beaches?
Beach #5 is developed: it has Internet access, good telephone coverage and a wide range of guest houses and hotels. This beach is also perfect gathering point for snorkeling and diving pre-paid groups. But! The beach itself is bad – the water is shallow (impossible to swim!) and there is rubbish here and there. It was a huge disappointment for us. A night in typical guesthouse: 400 Rs. – 800 Rs. ($6.7=$13.5)
Beach #7 is far away, there is no Internet and no mobile phone coverage. But! It is the most beautiful beach you’ll ever see in your lifetime. The water is deep, transparent, crystal clear and extremely blue. The sand is so white that it’s impossible to look at it. There is a preserved forest area along the beach (no crowded restaurants and noisy hotels!) and the sunsets… Ah, those sunsets! There are only two guesthouses and one expensive hotel. We highly recommend both guesthouses, they are nice and clean. A night in typical guesthouse: 1000 Rs.=$16.88 (it’s totally worth it!).
These rest of the beaches are villages for locals, not beaches for swimming.
Where to eat?
Barefoot resort. Great hotel at Beach #7 with excellent 5 star restaurant. A dinner for two will cost 800 Rs. ($13.5). Our favourite dish: pizza with blue cheese.
Welcome Restaurant. Situated near central market. A dinner for two: 400 Rs. ($6.7). Our favourite dish: dosa with various fillings (rice pancake).
Random guesthouse restaurants. They are all the same. Their advantage is that they serve food when the rest of India is on strike. A dinner for two: 400 Rs. ($6.7). Our favourite dish: grilled prawns.
What to do?
Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishsing. Havelock is perfect place to learn more about underwater world, so don’t miss thischance. Prices range from 3000 Rs=$50.6 to 18000Rs.=$304. At the beach #7 there is a lagoon where you can snorkel absolutely for free on your own.
Swimming with elephant. Hmm, controversial experience. Elephants keep private space and don’t like to bath with others. Btw, it costs 12000 Rs=$202.6.
Hiking. It is great and safe, so don’t miss an opportunity to hike through jungles to elephant island or wherever. Take into consideration that hiking along the coastline from beach to beach is a bad idea: beaches are divided by high rocks! We did that and it was a life-threatening experience. We are really happy that we are still alive.
As you can see, Havelock Island is a perfect destination for a laid-back vacation on a budget. Unlike any other place in India, it’s bounty paradise you’ve always dreamt about, still not spoiled by tourist crowds.
Have you been to tropical islands? If so, where have you been and what where you experiences? What other undiscovered places in India can recommend?
This was a guest post by Illia and Nastia – travel blogging couple behind Crazzzy Travel:
Illia and Nastia are passionate about each other, traveling around the world and sharing their experiences at crazzzytravel.com, a blog where you can find plenty of budget travel tips as well as practical information about numerous destinations. They have already been to 33 countries on 4 continents and ain’t no stopping. Visit their website to learn more about India or check their latest story about how they saw Europe on 3 EUR / day.