This was not a typical beach holiday. Though we had planned for one, somehow our 5 days in the Andamans and Havelock turned out to very different. I love visiting places that have a different culture and vibe than I’m used to, it literally forces you to try a different way of life, in the best possible way. That’s exactly what happened during this trip. It was planned extremely last minute, I think we booked the flight 2 days before we were flying. We had actually planned to go to Sri Lanka, but had to cancel at the last minute.
At Kalapathar Beach
The Research and Flights
So basically we went there with little to no research about the place. All I knew was it had extremely beautiful beaches, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, everything that could go wrong, did. But somehow it was still the best holiday. That’s how amazing the place is.
We took a direct flight from Bangalore to Port Blair, which is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are around 300 islands in total, but a lot of them are still uninhabited. We didn’t want to stay in Port Blair and the plan was to head directly to Havelock Island. There are boats or ferries that take you to these islands, you can book the tickets in advance online. They are quite big and comfortable, and almost always packed so make sure to book ahead of time.
At the Dock waiting for our boat to Ross Island
Make sure to carry a print out of your ticket because they will not see the copy on your phone, and also chances are there will be no internet on the dock. Our flight landed at around 8:30 in the morning, our ferry was at 2 PM so that gave us some time to explore Port Blair. We chose to use that time to visit the tiny Ross Island. It’s a 10 minute boat ride, and highly recommended.
It was an army base at one point so you will see ruins of old bunkers, tanks and abandoned churches completely being taken over by the forest. The animals roam about freely unbothered by the humans walking around, it definitely worth the visit. There’s an entry fee of INR 30, please carry cash. And then you can pretty much walk and cover the whole island. We went in April which means it was hot as hell so we ended up hitching a ride of a golf cart to explore the island. Was quite fun!
This is as close as I dared to get get to deer who seemly completely bored and unbothered with my presence
After our trip Ross we came back to Port Blair, had a quick lunch at the Seaside restaurant (great fish and chips!) and finally headed to Havelock. We had booked our ferry online via Makruzz. One thing to note is that the cell phone network is quite dodgy in the islands. Internet or your mobile data will barely work so be prepared. The ferry was at 2 pm, we reached Havelock around around 3:30 PM.
Stay: Green Imperial Resort
Diving, Night Kayaking: Rohin and Hayat, Shiraz Noble
Beaches: Radhanagar Beach, Beach in front of Full Moon cafe (also known as beach no.5? Not sure), Kalapathar Beach, Vijaynagar Beach, Elephant Beach – we didn’t go but heard it beautiful.
The boat was air-conditioned, so we were really hit with the heat where we stepped off at the island. Don’t even think of packing anything that is not 100% cotton. I made this mistake so you don’t have too 😀 I packed a lot of fun beach dresses but literally didn’t wear even one. As you can see in the photos, I pretty much lived I’m my in swimsuits, t-shirts and shorts for the rest of the stay.
Havelock is famous for the Radhanagar beach which is well known as one of the best beaches in Asia. But don’t be fooled by that thinking it your typical party beach destination. We saw a lot of tourists on the boat with us, which was filled to capacity. But once we landed I’m not sure where they went. Havelock is bigger than the other tiny islands, but it’s still pretty much a small island. The population is tiny and very laid back. We saw one shop where you can buy alcohol, right next to the SBI ATM. We saw a total of 3 ATMs on the island and all 3 stopped working for a couple of days during our stay. So I would definitely recommend you to carry enough cash for your stay. Also most restaurants do not accept card, on account of there being no network on the island. Only BSNL phones work. So this resulted in us spending the entire week with absolutely off our phones and laptops.
Most of the tourist offerings on Havelock are centered around scuba diving and various other water sports. All places close around 9 – 10 PM at night so there’s not much nightlife. Make sure to make your dinner arrangement before that. We at most nights either at our hotel, or walked across the road to the Full Moon Cafe which is really nice. You can walk from from it right to the beach – which is beautiful, and made the perfect place for a morning swim.
We had the most relaxing and amazing time at Havelock. We went diving twice with our friends Rohin & Hayat, who are rockstar scuba instructors – they live in Havelock, travel the world diving and teaching other people to dive and are permanent islanders 😀 Feel free to hit them up with any diving related questions! We stayed at Green Imperial, where a room means a cottage/hut for yourself. We would wake up, have breakfast and walk across the road to the Full Moon Cafe beach to swim.
The water there is very calm and no big waves, so it’s pretty much a giant swimming pool. It was perfect! We went to all the tourist beaches in Havelock (listed below), and some other ones that our friends took us to and the one thing that stood out was how different they are from other beach towns. No shacks or hotels on the beach, hence no litter and no plastic! Just beautiful white sand and water the bluest of all blues. As you see in the pictures, there were no throng of tourists either. All the restaurants serve fresh catch from the sea, plenty of seafood and pretty much every meal we ate was delicious. It was just perfect!
Fish curry rice at the Full Moon Cafe
Fish Thali/Full Plate at the Full Moon Cafe
Walk through the forest trail to get to a secluded part of the Radhanagar beach
Fresh fruit plate on the beach
We also went kayaking at night. I don’t think I’ll ever get out of my head. So basically the plankton and water just lights up with bioluminescence as you kayak. It was insane! It was completely dark, the only light coming from the stars above and the water lighting up as you slide through. Again, it was awesome!
We spent almost 5 blissful days on Havelock and honestly can’t wait to go back. We were a little taken aback by how hot it was but that only made spend as much time as possible in the ocean, so it ended up being a good thing. Don’t go looking for a party beach town like Goa. Thailand or Bali, you will be disappointed. Instead go to experience the island life, non-touristy water sports and the gorgeous beaches. A lot of the food is made from produce made on the property and the island and everything tasted great. We loved absolutely loved it! I’ll talk about the 2nd part of the trip – our time on Neil Island on Part 2 of this post as this is getting pretty long. Let me know if you have any specific questions about Andamans or Havelock and I’ll be happy to answer what I can.
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