Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Havelock : Ultimate Andaman Experience Part-II

The main reason of  my trip to Andaman was to have an island holiday. Imagine something like lying by a serene turquoise sea, sip in a beer, occasionally have a swim and then relax. Port Blair offers none of these. Havelock has all that an island of your dream should have. Thus I had planned a 3 nights stay at Havelock. An extra day was meant to lie and relax on sun baked white sand beaches.  

Havelock is the ultimate Andaman. Most foreign tourist was seen heading straight to Havelock from airport. On my next trip I will not waste my time at Port Blair. Rather I would head straight to Havelock. My suggestion is to try and book your ferry ticket yourself. Booking counter is at the Phoenix Bay Jetty. It is like a railway reservation counter. Booking starts 3 days in advance. At least 3 Govt ferry plies daily between Port Blair and Havelock. There also is a private ferry named Makruz. The one way ticket price as in Jan 2012 was Rs.250/- for the Govt ferry. As I had booked it through hotel, they charged me Rs.400/-. The fare of Makruz was around Rs.800/-. Thus you would appreciate the value of taking pain to visit the jetty and book ticket yourself, specially if you are in a large group. The trip generally takes about 2 ½ hours. I found that the Govt ferry leaves at 6:30am, one at 11:30am and another at 2pm. Privately owned Markuz leaves at around 9am.

I had stayed at Eco Villa at Havelock on Beach no.3. This beach is a bit rocky. They are actually dead corals. However the place was decent. I found that resorts on beach no.5 are better because beaches there are not rocky. You get accommodation from 300 to 3000 - fitting almost any budget. Almost all of them are bamboo hut made out of natural materials. As on Jan, 2012, there are about 45 resorts. Almost all of them are located along the beaches, which mean each one has its pie of a small private beach. Exception to this is Hotel Kingdom Place, Hotel Sourav and Jungle View Nest, which are not on the beaches. If you are on a package, ask your agency about the hotel. A bad choice will end up you repenting your entire stay at Havelock.

Sightseeing activities can be arranged by your resort. Rates are generally fixed. If you do all activities with one agency, then you get a better deal. My auto driver offered me rates, which when I compared with the resort rates found almost the same. It is always better to have a second quote to ensure that you are not overcharged. Both rates being same, I decided to go with the auto driver Sanika as I liked his behavior. He was the only one who did not try to fleece us on the trip from jetty to hotel. So I did all activities through him.

Activities at Havelock :

1)  Kaala Pathar beach : It got its name from some of the rocks in that area. A beautiful beach with very little crowd. Go there in the morning and relax on the beach till noon. The sea is relatively calm at this place. You need to find stretches without stones. There are plenty of such stretches. Our cab had dropped us there around 9am and picked us up again at around 12 noon.
2) Radhangar beach : This is beach no 7. Touted as one of the best beaches of Asia, this certainly stands upto that billing. A wide and long white sandy beach with nice waves make it a beautiful place. There always is a decent crowd there. We have been there twice. An evening trip will allow you enjoy beautiful sunset.
3) Elephant beach : We went there for a snorkeling trip. A 30min speed boat ride will take you there. A big signboard warning you of crocodile will welcome you to this place. We got to know that in 2011, a foreign tourist was killed here by croc. Despite the risk, this is a beautiful serene beach. This is a very calm beach, ideal for snorkeling. We had our first snorkeling experience here. I feel it is safe as long as you stay within the area where snorkeling is done. Venturing out of the crowd may be riskier. A typical trip cost about Rs.2500/-
4) Diving : Along with snorkeling, diving is a popular activity. While snorkeling can be done by almost all, diving is not for all. It is costlier as well. Most resort offer diving. We did not try it. A typical single dive would cost you about Rs.3500/-.
5)  Fishing : If you have time and money to splurge, then this is one activity you can do. A trip of about 2 hours cost about Rs.3000/-.
6) Relaxing : The best activity at Havelock. Be lazy. Just sit in the chairs kept at the garden of your resort, sip in a beer, watch the waves and soak in the moments. This is what Havelock is sought after.

A typical Andaman package offers you a single night or two nights’ stay at Havelock and would include a trip to Radhanagar beach. All other activity mentioned above is to be undertaken at your own cost. Meals are costlier at Havelock as compared to Port Blair. Resorts generally do not offer stay with full board (AP) plans. Havelock is a non-vegetarians delight. The choices of sea food will long you to stay longer.

Local transport includes a few buses that ply between the jetty and Radhanagar beach. Most common mode of transport is auto ricksaw. Be prepared to be overcharged for your trips. They generally have fixed rates for trips to Radhanagar or Kalpathar or Elepahant beach. You can also get bi-cycles and bikes. Your resort or even the auto-wallah can arrange this for you. Bike is not a very cheap option @300/- per day plus petrol @80/- per liter, but gives you flexibility if you are a couple.

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Manish Raj said...

Nice one Rups !!

Anonymous said...

Nice blog!
Undoubtedly Port Blair is a lovely town blessed with natural charm and glory that has outshined as a popular tourist destination over the years. My first trip to Port Blair was unfogetable Apart from the natural charm, the town also beholds various popular forts that enhance tourism in Port Blair all the more.
I believe you guys have Joyful Yatra!

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