Juxtaposing itself in magnificent contrast to the tawdry and worn-out (lack of) charm of popular tourist destinations that heap themselves with a progressively increasing set of cliche’s that don’t help, is the truly exotic paradise that is Havelock island. Situated in the Andamans, off the shore of India, the island is one of the most visited in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Still untouched by the manic craze that is known to engulf popular island destinations, Havelock’s low-profile and it’s lazy quaintness prove it’s trump cards. The sheer slowness of pace that is on display here is a delivering change from the rigours of panic-stricken urban hullabaloo. This, probably serving to ward off the luxury lovers, manifests as lodges that meet no requisite standard of maintenance and prove to be quite far from the “resorts” that they claim themselves to be. In all honesty though, this is still far from a hindrance as it’s quite integrated to the rest of the island’s laidback attributes.
Getting to havelock might be quite a pricey affair. Owing to it’s seclusion and the the general high price of commodities, Havelock is not the lightest on one’s pocket. A ferry from Port Blair (capital of the Andamans and preferred means of getting to Havelock) can set one back from anywhere between Rs.300 for a government operated one, which incidentally, happens to be really difficult to obtain a last minute reservation for and upto Rs.1300 for a private boat. The exorbitant prices don’t quite end there. Most foods, save the locally obtained seafood, is imported from the mainland. And so are other commodities such as petroleum and textiles. Therefore, as a thumb rule, one is to know that anything in Havelock costs at least 75% more than the mainland.
Radhanagar Beach is by and far the most popular draw of the island. Voted by TIME, in 2004, as the best beach in Asia, the white sand of the beach adjacent to the lushness of the towering greenery and the corals which are found in plenty, make this a visit of a lifetime. It is quite a common habit among tourists to watch the gorgeous sunset from here. Numbered 7 on the Beach Numbering System, this lovely strip of white sand and clear turquoise waters redeems Havelock, by itself.
, Other popular beaches include the Elephant Beach ,known as a major snorkelling venue) and the kalapathar beach, known for it’s tranquility and undisturbed peace.
While avenues to amuse/occupy oneself are plenty such as Trekking, Scuba Diving and Snorkelling, one may also choose the more lethargic pursuit of cozily settling down on the shore and get some sun while reading that 500-page block that one could never dedicate enough time for.
While the local cuisine does boast of a few specialties (mostly seafood), it must be known that the cuisine of the area is largely based on filling voids of inadequacies (of ingredients and skill) and may prove to be quite a nightmare for those with less flexible dietary preferences/tastes.
A trip to Havelock, in my opinion, energizes, engages and recharges