With snow-white beaches, teal shallows, a coast crammed with beach huts and some of the best diving in South Asia, Havelock has a well-deserved reputation as a backpacker paradise. For many, Havelock is the Andamans, and it’s what lures most tourists across the Bay of Bengal, many of whom are content to stay here for the entirety of their trip Havelock Island (Hindi: हैवलॉक द्वीप, Malayalam: ഹെയ്വ്ലോക് ദ്വീപുകള്), with an area of 113.93 km2, is the largest of the islands that comprise Ritchie's Archipelago, a chain of islands to the east of Great Andaman in the Andaman Islands. Havelock is situated 57 km north east of the capital city Port Blair. Each beach at Havelock Island is commonly referred to by a number and you'll find most Havelock Island hotels grouped along the stretch of road from beach three to beach five. On the west side, pristine beach seven (also known as Radhanagar Beach) was once voted the "best beach in Asia" by TIME magazine. Beach five has brilliant sunrises, while beach seven has spectacular sunsets. Beach five (also known as Vijaynagar Beach), on the eastern side of the Island, is the the most developed.
This beach is Andaman’s prideful possession and at the very sight of it, everyone exclaims ‘what a beauty!’One of India’s prettiest and most famous stretches of sand is the critically acclaimed Radhanagar. It’s a beautiful curve of sugar fronted by perfectly spiraled waves, all backed by native forest. It’s on the northwestern side of the island, about 12 km from the jetty.When you visit this beach you can immediately realize why its called the No.1 beach in Asia. The beach is very very clean. White sand that will make you stay on it for long.A beautiful view of the sunset can be seen from here.
Late afternoon is the best time to visit to avoid the heat and crowds, as well as for its sunset. The further you walk from the main entry the more privacy you’ll get.The sand slips right under your feet with every wave and the waves here really hit and make u fall but that fun! We made a sort of human chain in water and waited for the wave just to get knocked off, fall and laugh at each other! It was a lot of fun. Not many people around. Clean water but the waves are too much so not fit for swimming. Should definitely go here!. After sunset, it is not advisable to go inside the water as the intensity of waves increases and it gets a little dangerous to stay in water post sunset. But in the day time, one must visit this nature’s gift to our beloved country and our sacred islands!
1. 12 kms from the Jetty (place to get in and out of Havelock)
2. Awesome sand, clean waters and beach is flat - so you can go much deeper inside (compared to other beaches)
3. Look for hotel near Radhanagar beach - will be far off from Jetty but would be worth it.
4. Nice facilities: Lockers, showers, changing, wash rooms
5. Has places to eat: snacks, fruits, coconut water
6. Nice shops to take your souvenir.
To reach various islands, one needs to travel from one island to the other. The main islands that travelers visit apart from Port Blair are Havelock Island and Neil Island. To reach these islands, Government-operated ferries and Private cruises are available
How to reach Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island:
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 viaNeil 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 "Chair" class and 350-390 for "Seat" Class. These ferries are AC and can be booked in advance from the counter at the DSS in port Blair. Online booking for government ferry is allowed by some private agencies. They book the ferry in advance with some extra charges for the service.
In busy seasons, local ferries can get booked up. 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 pick up from a travel agency on Port Blair, . 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.
Alternately, there is also an air-conditioned catamaran ferry from Port Blair to Havelock. Tickets are 975 onwards (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, Some of the shops in the market also book the tickets on these cruises at same price .
3 Cruises are currently operating in Andaman Islands, connecting Port Blair, Havelock and Neil Island. These cruises adds more comfort to your journey and takes 90 minutes to reach Havelock Island and 60 Minutes to reach Neil Island. Makruzz, Coastal Cruise and Express Bhagya are the cruises that operates in this region.
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 rupees one-way, but discounts may be available. The sailing of these flights depends on weather conditions. Sea Planes does not operate during off season as well. Sea Plane booking inquiry can be done at Andaman tourism website at .
· 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 (10-10:30AM) arrives.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 Rs.20, from Beach #1 (the port) to Beach #5 Rs 50, and a return trip from the market to Radhanagar Beach (with waiting time) is Rs. 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 center of 'town' (Beach #3), or inquire at your guesthouse. As of 2015, geared motorcycles are available for Rs 500/day and gearless scooters (Honda Activa etc.) for Rs 400/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 Rs. 100 per liter, and can go up to Rs. 120 per liter at some shops.
· 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 Rs 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.
· Radhanagar Beach (Beach #7) is the most beautiful on the island and was 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. There are a few food shacks where the road hits the beach, all of which rent snorkels and fins. Also if you walk all the way on the right side of the beach, there is a lagoon also called Blue Lagoon. Very less crowded and beautiful. Although it is not as shallow as the main beach but definitely worth beating the crowd for some quite time. The other way to reach would be to take your bike all the way in the forest pass Barefoot and walk a little. As soon as you cross the big rocks, the lagoon is there.
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 Rs 50/each. There are great reefs for snorkeling in both directions from the end of the road.
· 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.
Game fishing is another popular activity famous in Havelock Island. Even if you are not going for fishing trip then these boats can be hired for sightseeing around havelock island. Fishing boats are available on hire to visit uninhabited islands such as Peel Island, Wilson Island, South button, Inglis Island and John Lawrence. Fishing trips organizers are Experience Andamans, World Sport Fishing and Andaman Sea Fishing.
What to Buy
Govind Nagar has a few basic shops selling daily essentials plus a small pharmacy. If you pick up one of the ubiquitous Andaman & Nicobar T-shirts sold everywhere for Rs.50, take one with black printing, as white text bleeds off the first time you wash it.
There is a recently opened Axis Bank ATM near the Market place.
Some food is grown on the island (like tasty bananas), but most vegetables and fruits are imported. The best thing to eat is the locally caught fresh seafood.
· Dhabas near the junction at Beach #3 serve seafood and basic local Indian food, and are the cheapest way to eat on the island. There are also snack stands near here selling samosas, sweets and the like. More dhabas can be found near Radhanagar Beach (Beach #7), serving fresh sea food at reasonable prices; you may have to wait up to an hour for the food out here.
There is a very good dhaba named 'Welcome Restaurant' serving decent veg and non veg dishes at very reasonable rates at the Govind Nagar intersection. It is patronized by mostly foreigners. It serves good continental dishes and lovely pancakes. The place is very clean and prepares everything fresh, hence it may take time to deliver your order.
· Beer is available at most of the resorts and at the "English Beer & Wine Shop" near the SBI ATM on village 2 (it's open to all, not just Brits.). Wild Orchid,Symphony Palms offers various brand of beers like Kingfisher ,Foster etc at the cheapest price
· Alcohol all types of alcohol is available at the bar in the The Wild Orchid Resort and other bars.
· Fresh coconuts are available around the island - after you drink the juice they'll be happy to whack it open so you can eat the flesh too.
Mosquitoes are a nuisance, particularly at dusk and after rain, and the Andaman Islands are malarial. Use mosquito repellent, wear long sleeves and long trousers in the evening, and sleep under a mosquito net.
Sandflies make a great problem while sunbathing. Occasionally they are in a larger number, so longer shirts and trousers will be recommended.
Wild dogs can be a problem, especially along the beach at night – people are regularly bitten. You'd be well-advised to carry a stick to scare them off... or a handful of stones. Local authorities confirmed that they are helpless with this problem of stray dogs that live in forest but close enough to beaches visited by tourists.
If you plan to be out until sunset or beyond it's a good idea to carry a flashlight (torch). It can get pretty dark, especially if there's no moon out, and the beaches are often backed by dense forest.
Beware of currents at Radhanagar Beach during monsoon (June - Sept). There have been two recorded accidents as people have been caught out by powerful waves during the monsoon months. Supposedly the authorities have taken action to employ trained lifeguards and put up watchtowers.
Beware of jagged edges of bleached coral at Beaches #2, #3 and #5 as the shallow beachfront waters on the northern coast of Havelock (the backpacker strip) is covered with this.
Beware of Saltwater Crocodiles from the sanctuary on neighboring islands. A woman was killed in May 2010 while snorkeling.