Havelock Island | India
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Havelock Island (Hindi: हैवलॉक द्वीप, Malayalam: ഹെയ്വ്ലോക് ദ്വീപുകള്‍) is the most visited of the Andaman Islands. It's becoming popular for its beaches, laid back atmoshere and great scuba diving.

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About

Walking on Beach #5 The Indian government has been advocating eco-friendly tourism development on Havelock for a while now, and while it's the most visited of the islands it sees only a fraction of the visitors that crowd other island destinations such as Thailand. The pace of life is slow, the locals are friendly and still not too affected by tourism, and the facilities are moderately basic for the most part. While many of the lodges have 'resort' in their names, none come even close, thankfully. The beaches have been given a rather boring numbering system instead of names, although some names like Radhanagar are in popular use. The arrival port is at Beach #1, the junction at the center is Beach #3 (aka Govind Nagar), the junction near Dolphin Resort is Beach #5 (Vijay Nagar) and so on. Govind Nagar, the main "town", is small and has only a handful of shops and local dhabas. Most accommodation is grouped along the road from Beach #3 to Beach #5. From the 'junction' near Beach #3 a road veers off to Beach #7 (Radhanagar Beach), the most beautiful spot on the island. Mid-January until mid-May sees the best weather, and often the best diving conditions. The days are mostly sunny at this time of year, and the sea sometimes flat enough to reflect the clouds. The monsoon usually hits around late May, lasting until the end of July, and is probably the worst time to visit the island – strong winds, frequent rain and low visibility underwater. August thru November see some occasional showers and slightly rougher seas, but diving can still be great at this time of year. The weather often takes a turn for the worse for the month of December through early January. Havelock island now has an ATM, and some of the hotels and resorts are able to perform card transactions. Nevertheless, it is best to make sure you take plenty of cash with you from Port Blair. Also, it is hard to buy some items in the market - differing factors of sun cream can be hard to find, as can mosquito repellent.

Havelock Island

Planning a Trip

Lighthouse in Havelock Ferries are the major way on or off the island. 2-3 arrive daily from Port Blair (2-4 hours) and one from Rangat, one of which comes via Neil Island. Schedules vary according to day and season, so enquiry locally, and see Andaman and Nicobar Islands about the differences between the ship types. Government-operated ferries are best booked in advance, as seats often sell out. Rates are ₹250 for Coach and ₹350 for First Class. These ferries are air conditioned and can be booked in advance from the counter at the DSS in port Blair. A booking counter is also available in Havelock at the Jetty and operates from 09:15 to 12:15 and 02:15 to 16/15. You will have to get there early and stand in line, but as soon as the counter opens it can become pretty hectic so be prepared. In busy seasons, local ferries should be booked in advance. You can buy tickets yourself from the Port Blair ferry office on arrival, or resorts will often offer to pre-book your tickets for the journey there and back, which you can either picked up from a travel agency on Port Blair, or they will send someone to meet you prior to your ferry. This is a good idea particularly if you're trying to make it from your flight to your resort on the same day, as the schedules don't leave much room for error. If you don't have a return ticket, try and get your resort to book - or you will need to get the Havelock port early and elbow your way to the front of the queue as the locals do, and even then the ferry can still be fully booked with all of the resorts taking the tickets. On the return, the 4:30PM ferry gets booked up first, so it's often safer to get the 10:00 if you need to be sure of making onward connections. Alternately, there is also an air-conditioned catamaran ferry from Port Blair to Havelock. Tickets are 700, 800 or 1100 (which gets you a leather seat and your own TV). As the ferry is more expensive it is less likely to be full, and its schedule meets incoming flights. Tickets can be booked from a dedicated ticket booking window at Port Blair, thus avoiding the queue barging. On return you can book through your guesthouse (or wild orchid, emerald gecko & andaman bubbles) on Havelock. Some of the shops in the market also book the tickets on these cruises at same price so it should not be difficult to get them. Flight times from Port Blair to mainland India sometimes are changed without warning - including being brought forward. So it's definitely worth calling the day before to confirm your onward flights. Also be prepared to stay couple of days more than planned in Havelock because the boats to Port Blair will be cancelled if the weather is bad. The other option is to fly in. Pawan Hans (+91-3192-233601), which until 2011 operated sporadic helicopter flights to Havelock, now flies an amphibious 8-seater Cessna seaplane from Port Blair to Havelock and back every day except Sunday, covering the distance in about an hour. The standard price is a steep ₹4100 one-way, but discounts may be available.

Havelock Island

Getting Around

11°58′1″N 93°0′7″EMap of Havelock Island Map of Havelock Walking is the most common form of transport. Local buses and shared jeeps ply the 2 main roads between the port (on Beach #1), Radhanagar Beach (Beach #7), and Beach #5 where the bulk of the accommodation is located. There is a local bus for Radhanagar waiting at beach #1 at around the time the ferry (10-10:30) arrives. The cost of a ticket from Beach #1 to Radhanagar is around ₹ 6, shared jeeps a little more. Try to get off the ferry quickly and walk out of the parking area (where all the taxis and autorickshaws are parked) to catch the bus, although foreigners tend to have to stay back a bit to complete their permit formalities. The journey from Beach #1 to Radhanagar is around 30-45 minutes. Auto-rickshaws are also available. Fares are more or less standardized: from Beach #5 resorts to the market costs ₹.20, from Beach #1 (the port) to Beach #5 ₹ 50, and a return trip from the market to Radhanagar Beach (with waiting time) is ₹. 300. You can usually flag them down on one of the main roads, or at the market. Bicycles, scooters and motorcycles are available for hire near the centre of 'town' (Beach #3), or inquire at your guesthouse. A Bajaj scooter will run around ₹ 200/day. Geared motorcycles are available for ₹ 300/day and gearless scooters (Honda Activa etc.) for ₹ 300/day. If you intend to hire for more than one day, then bargaining can bring down the price further. Petrol is available at some of the shops in the market or look out for boards that say "Petrol Pump". It's available for approximately ₹. 100 per liter(Feb 2012), and can go up to ₹. 120 per liter at some shops. Bicycles are available for ₹. 80 per day (Feb 2012). Private taxi operators A/c and non-a/c taxis are available for hire through your resort or travel agent. However these are pricey and non-reliable. A/c taxis charge around ₹ 1,500 for a full day (eight hours) but the eight hours exists in theory. They will drop you off at your destination and disappear. For the return trip, you either have to pre-fix a pick-up time with them or give them a call on their cell phones. You may be better off hiring a scooter or motorcycle for the day.

Havelock Island

Top Attractions

11.98423292.9531271 Radhanagar Beach (Beach nº 7) (From Govind Nagar, follow the road West and the signs for about 10 km.). One of the most beautiful beaches on the island and rated as the best in Asia by Time in 2004. Gorgeous, silky white sand backed by a forest that provides welcome shade looks out over turquoise water, some stretches with a sandy bottom good for swimming and some with excellent coral reefs that are great for snorkeling ; a great combination indeed. Sunsets here are often spectacular and it's a popular time to be at the beach, but be careful not to miss the last trucks back if you're not staying here. A man with an elephant walks through the forest occasionally, offering rides for a fee. Buses run throughout the day until sunset, as do auto-rickshaws and shared 4 wheel-drive trucks. If you are fit, you can bicycle from Govind Nagar but the journey is quite bumpy and steep. There are a few food shacks where the road hits the beach, all of which rent snorkels and fins. (updated Mar 2015) Radhanagar Beach in the late afternoon12.00941492.9471572 Elephant Beach (A path to the beach starts from the road to Radhanagar ; look for a dip in the road on a curve where there will usually be a few motorbikes parked. Several paths head off from this point, ask around for the correct one. If you choose to trek alone through the forest then stick to broad path since there are forks along the way. The walk is about 30 minutes at an easy pace with dry weather.). * Elephant Beach is further north from Radhanagar and is popular with Indian tourists. The shoreline here was largely swept away by the 2004 tsunami and the beach is a fraction of what it used to be; however, the coral here is probably the best on the island, making this an excellent spot for snorkeling. It's reachable on foot from Beach #7 or by fishing boat from the east side of the island; many resorts arrange snorkeling and diving trips here. Since the tsunami, the path ends in an expanse of uninviting looking swampy water. Rather than attempting to go around, wade straight through it — the beach is only 100 meters straight ahead, the water is rarely above knee-height and the ground is solid. As you enter the swamp, you would see a small red board ahead, to your left; bear towards it. Wear sandals when crossing to avoid sharp shells. During high tide, water may be a foot deeper in last 6 metres or so. While snorkeling, keep an eye out for the glass-bottom boats. If trek and get to the beach and are tired to trek back an option would be to take a boat ride from there to jetty, normally they charge ₹ 100 per person, only challenge is finding someone who is willing to take you and then take an Auto ride for ₹ 100 again to the point where the vehicle is parked. (updated Mar 2015) 12.000293.00363 Kalapathar Beach (Travel along the road From Beach nº 3 and Beach nº 5). Located on one corner of Havelock, this beach gets its name from the surrounding village Kalapathar and the black rocks (Kalapathar Rocks) that adorn the coastline here. The emerald seas, the tropical forests on one side of the road the coastline, and on other side the silken smooth silver sands and the sheer solitude make this beach a great place to relax. 

Havelock Island

Things to do

1 Do 1.1 Scuba diving 1.2 Snorkeling 1.3 Trekking 1.4 Fishing Dive in Havelock Pool Table at Pearl Beach Resort. Pool Table is available at Havelock island at Pearl Beach Resort..Rent is ₹ 400 per Hour ..  Scuba diving Scuba diving is probably the biggest activity on the island other than lying around and eating great seafood. Andaman Bubbles, Barefoot Scuba, Doongi Dives and Dive India are the top 4 SSI http://www.divessi.com/ PADI[1] certified dive centers, provide good equipment and offer training up to instructor. They share pretty much all of the same discovered dive sites, and prices are more or less standardized at ₹.4500 for discover scuba dive for non-certified divers, with a 10% discount for your own equipment for fun dives for certified divers. You don’t need to be a swimmer to do the discover scuba diving. However, you should book your schedule with the dive center's well in advance as there are limited trips. The diving possibilities around the Andamans are vast and it feels that what has been discovered is only the beginning... and even that is pretty great. Look for more sites to open up soon. Havelock is the main center for diving in the island chain. Usual places for diving are Elephant beach and Lighthouse in Havelock. If you're an experienced diver, also enquire about dive expeditions, where they will take you out hunting for new and undiscovered sites. For certified divers, South Button is another great place to dive. Earlier, diving was done in converted dungi fishing boats but Government has mandated compulsory use of speed boats now for safety of tourists.In the event of an accident, the nearest recompression chamber is at the naval base in Port Blair, so it's wise to keep your diving profiles on the conservative side. 12.02063993.0062541 Andaman Bubbles Dive Centre, near Wild Orchid Resort (Follow the east road south till Vijar Nagar), ☎ +91 3192 282140, +91 95318 92216. 07:00-20:00. A well run dive shop with confident dive masters, Bubbles provides extensive dive courses and a few selected fun dive spots. It is limited in the dive sites offered which also means contending with diving crowds, and a lack of exploration. The equipment may not be the most recent, but this is one of the cheapest options on the Island. An on-site café (Fat Martin) offers early breakfasts and late lunches before and after the dive trips. The equipment centre is a 5-minute jeep-ride further south. You may have to carry your equipment to the boat, 100 metres across the beach. 2 dives for ₹ 4000 all included, special discounts for couples or multiple dives. (updated Mar 2015) 12.0302893.0002912 Barefoot Scuba, Cafe Del Mar, Beach #3. ₹5000 for 2 dives. (updated Mar 2015) A typical Andaman-style dive boat 12.02700293.0028033 DIVE India. ₹5000 for 2 dives. (updated Mar 2015) Doongi Dives, ☎ +91 94742 96200.  Snorkeling Snorkeling is also popular, with several options. Radhanagar Beach (Beach #7) has a couple of food shacks at the end of the road that rent out fins and masks for ₹ 50/each. There are great reefs for snorkeling in both directions from the end of the road. Elephant Beach also has some good snorkeling sites. Both of the dive shops can also take along snorkelers to some of the off-shore sites. Local fishermen offer day trips and half day trips to different locations. South Button Island is particularly good as the reef is shallow, colorful and beautiful. It makes sense to get a group of 5-10 people together to share the cost of the boat. Near Havelock Jetty, opposite reservation counter there is a small lane which goes along side the beach. Keep going on that road and you‘ll reach some boats parked at the shore. They can take you for snorkeling at Lighthouse and Elephant Beach. Corals out there are worth watching. They charge 2000/- for a couple for Speed boat transfer + Snorkel. Trekking If you've had enough of the beach, try a little hot and sweaty jungle trekking. If you're into confluence hunting, you can find 12°N 93°E [2] just 800 metres away from the end of beach #5. Guides can be arranged through resorts. The Wild Orchid Resort and Emerald Gecko Resort also conduct Jungle treks and you can walk into the reception and check on their offers. Barefoot Eco Tours, operating from the Barefoot Brasserie at the jetty and at Barefoot at Havelock Resort can arrange interesting treks both on Havelock and at other islands (e.g. Long Island) and even conduct overnight camping and trips including treking, kayaking and snorkeling. Wild Orchid Resort, on beach #5 organise trekking, fishing trips and snorkeling. Emerald Gecko Resort, on beach #5 organise trekking, fishing trips and snorkeling. Fishing A local trip on a speed boat with two local fishermen to the nearby mangroves (which is not that great if you've seen dense mangroves before) and then to deeper waters for fishing. The fishermen will prepare fishing lines for you and you can catch fishes. Duration: 3-4 hr. Time: 15:00-19:00 usually. Cost: ₹. 3500. Mike's Fishing Adventures, ☎ +91-9840238042, e-mail: andamanmike@gmail.com. 1-day or 2-day fishing trips on the reefs around the Island, departing from Port Blair or Havelock. (updated Mar 2015)

Havelock Island