Havelock is a beautiful island in the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is the most reputed, most beautiful and most visited island in the area. Millions of tourists fly or sail across the Bay of Bengal to enjoy this heaven in a remote corner of India. For most of them, Havelock is Andaman and Andaman is Havelock.
Havelock is a home to the absolutely clean and serene beaches, picturesque villages and exotic resorts surrounded by beautiful coconut and palm trees. The blue sea with the crystal clear water, the sand, the local mouth-watering foods, excellent diving schools and some of the best dive sites-Havelock is a backpacker’s paradise.
I stayed in Havelock for 8-days and explored every possible corner of this beautiful island. For many tourists a visit to Havelock means a visit to Radhanagar Beach (Beach No.7). That’s it. and If they have some time, they also include Elephant Beach in their itinerary. I met many tourists who arrived there by the morning ferry, visited Radhanagar beach and returned back by the afternoon ferry. Many tourist packages sell like this only. But, Havelock is such a beautiful place, that I recommend everybody to spend at least 3-4 days in Havelock to explore other beautiful locations.
Here is a brief idea of all the beautiful locations of Havelock island:
Beach # 1 (Adjacent to the Main Jetty): This is the main jetty of Havelock Island. Every ferry from Port Blair, Neil Island and Rangat arrives here only.
There is a small market adjacent to the ferry ticket counter, where you can enjoy local foods and coconut water. In front of this market, you can see a lot of boats waiting for the tourists. These boats are basically used as a transport option to Elephant Beach, another beautiful beach in Havelock.
Note: Left side of Beach # 1 is basically used as a boarding/de-boarding point for the ferries. No water sports available here, except the ferry or high-speed boats to the Elephant Beach. Right side of beach # 1 is not accessible directly from the ferry site. To visit this side, a walk is required from Beach # 2 side.
Beach # 2: This beach is generally off from the eyes of a tourist, unless he/she wants to enjoy diving and snorkeling in Havelock. Most of the diving schools conduct their basic diving courses/confined water dives/swim and float tests here. This is also the diving site for Discover Scuba Diving package offered by most of the diving schools/resorts.
How to Reach? It is situated just 500 meters ahead from the beach # 1, near the helipad. On the opposite side of the helipad road, there is a cluster of 5-6 houses. A narrow path passed through these houses surrounded by the coconut trees to the Beach 2.
Note. 1: It is a nice place to look out for Mangrove trees.
2. While moving towards the sea in the evening, watch out near the roots of first 3-4 Mangroove Trees. They are the home of a Sea Krait family. Sea Kraits are venomous, but they don’t harm unnecessarily. They tend to move out near the beach in the evening.
3. Be careful, if you are clicking the Mangroove Plants. Don’t move inside the cluster of Mangroove roots in the slippers at least.
Govindnagar Beach (Beach # 3): This is also away from the eyes of the people and not visited by many tourists. Beach # 3 expands along the edge of many resorts situated in this area on the sea-shore. Normally the guests from the adjacent resort use this beach. All the boats owned by resorts moored here in the evening.
How to Reach? If you are not staying at any resort along the beach # 3, then take a narrow paved road leading towards beach # 3 near the DFO, Forest Department Office. DFO office is just 300 meters ahead from the main market on the road from Govindnangar to Vijaynagar. If you are staying at those resorts, you can directly approach to the beach from your resort.
Note: 1. Unlike many private beaches covered by adjacent resorts in many countries, Beach # 3 is a public beach. Anybody can go there.
2. Very less crowd (almost none) is there. Its a nice place for sunbath as well as ideal for swimming.
Radhanagar Beach (Beach # 7): This is most popular beach in Havelock Island. In 2004, it was named as “The Best Beach in Asia” by TIME. A coastline full of white sand spread over one km, this beach is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset in whole Andaman Islands.
How to Reach? Best way to reach here by using a public bus from the main Jetty. The bus also passes through the main market near beach 3. Fare is INR 10 per person for one way journey. Many people go there by hired moped/bike as they are cheaply (INR 400-500 per day) available all over in Havelock. You can also hire an auto-rickshaw (tuk-tuk)from the jetty as well as from beach # 3 market. But public auto-rickshaw on sharing basis is not available in Havelock.
Note:1. Distance: Main Jetty to Radhanagar: 10-11 kms, Beach 3 to Radhanagar: 8-9 kms, Vijayanagar to Radhanagar: 15-16 kms
2. Bicycles on rent are also available in Havelock. But the road from Beach 3 market to Radhanagar beach passes through the hilly terrain. I tried one day and it was really tiring. Since the public bus is easily available, it is not recommended to go on this route by a bicycle, unless you are very enthusiastic about it.
3. First bus from Jetty to Radhanagar departs at 06.20 AM, then there are consecutive buses on 08.45 AM, 09.30 AM, 10.30 AM, 11.15 AM, 12.45 PM, 03.45 PM, 04.30 PM and 05.15 PM.
4. An AC bus facility is also available on this route, fare being flat Rs. 50 per passenger from Havelock Jetty to Radhanagar Beach. It departs from Havelock Jetty to Radhanagar Beach at 09.00 AM, 10.30 AM and 02.45 PM.
5. Last bus from Radhanagar departs at 06.00 PM, giving you a good time to enjoy the sunset.
6. Sun sets early in this part of India (About 05.10 PM in October), as compare to the main land.
7. Hitch-hiking is very common in Havelock Island and the best thing is that people are very kind and they never try to charge you money for this.
8. Beach # 7 is also famous for the diving elephant Rajan. I heard that Rajan still dives/snorkels from January to April in the calm water, but I am not sure of this. I stayed at Barefoot Resort, but never tried to get this information. 🙁
9. No water sports are available at Radhanagar Beach.
Elephant Beach: This is another popular beach in Havelock Island and most difficult to reach. and Don’t expect to sight any elephant here. The beach is picturesque with lot of fallen trees in the background. This is the place for the water sports in Havelock. You can enjoy jet-skiing, boating, snorkeling, kayaking, boating in the glass bottom boats etc near the elephant beach.
How to Reach? Most people reach there by ferries or high-speed boats available from the main jetty at beach # 1. They usually charge INR 1000-1500 for a round trip.
Another cheapest way to reach here is by a public bus from main jetty at beach # 1 or main market at beach # 3. Catch the bus to Radhanagar and de-board near the trekking path to Elephant Beach. A well marked trekking trail through a dense forest for 2 kms leads you to this beach.
Note: 1. Forest is very dense from the main road to the beach. If possible, never trek alone on this trail. I went out alone, but my heart was sinking during the complete trek.
2. Have a stick to move away the dogs.
3. Most of the time, tourists tend to walk in the shorts and chappals in Havelock Island. Don’t go on this trail in shorts and slippers. The forest is dense and Andaman is the home for many venomous reptiles.
3. Avoid this trail right after the rain.
Vijaynagar Beach (Beach # 5): It spreads along the village of Vijaynagar, just behind the famous Dolphin Resort. Large Mahua and Coconut trees grew along the beach. It is a perfect place for long walk along the sea.
How to Reach? Public bus operates twice in a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Hired auto-rickshaws are also available. AC Bus from Havelock Jetty also goes upto Dolphin resort, once in a day at 09.00 AM. Better to go by a hired motorcycle. Terrain on this road is not hilly like Radhanagar road, so you can go by a bicycle also.
Kalapathar Beach/Village: After 2-3 kms from Vijayanagar, there is another beautiful beach named as Kalapathhar Beach. This beach is a nice spot for snorkeling.
Kalapathar is a small village, that lies about 3 kms further away from this beach. It is a very beautiful village in a calm, serene surrounding. This village is also a nice place to observe the local village life, local agriculture, vegetables and fruit plantation etc.
How to Reach? Same Public bus that goes to Vijaynagar Beach goes further to this village, twice in a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Better to go by a hired motorcycle. Terrain on this road is not hilly like Radhanagar road, so you can go by a bicycle also.
Govindnagar Market : Govindnagar is Number 3 village in Havelock Island, near beach # 3. Villages do have a name, but normally they are known by their number in Havelock. Govindnagar is the main market in Havelock having many grocery shops, cheap and decent restaurants, a departmental store, chemist shop and internet cafes. Two ATMs, one of SBI and one of Axis Bank is also there near this market. (About 300 meters from the main market towards Beach No.2).
How to Reach? It is about 2 kms from the main jetty. Catch a public bus from Main Jetty or walk. You can also hire auto-rickshaws, near the jetty.
Mobile Networks in Havelock Island: Mobile networks of Vodafone, BSNL and Airtel are available at Havelock Island.
Havelock Island is popularly becoming a backpacker’s paradise in the tourism world. It is a natural paradise full of white sand beaches, coral reefs with a colorful array of aquatic life, palm trees, as well as dense forests in the interiors. Sea water Havelock Island is generally safe for swimming, snorkeling and diving activities and looks inviting, but it also has some potentially dangerous marine animals like Jelly Fishes, Stone Fishes, Sea Snakes etc. Always remain vigilant and enjoy the pristine beauty of Havelock Island.