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“God isn't a cowboy, he loves the beaches more”
Review of Havelock Island

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Mumbai
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 helpful votes
“God isn't a cowboy, he loves the beaches more”
Reviewed December 8, 2008

My wife was on a break between jobs and somehow we were sold on the Andamans. There wasn't much time for planning and booking tickets. So it had to be in India and our agent took care of everything.

There are downs. Getting there can be painful, unless you happen to stay in Chennai or Kolkata. Overnight stays at any domestic airport isn't easy. Especially not for families with kids.

The place however compensates for everything. When you see it from the sky, it reminds you of all the pretty wallpapers and screensavers you have seen of Bali or Seychelles or the like, but possibly more beautiful. Why? Because you are just about to land there!

As an Indian, visiting Port Blair is a must. Its a part of our history and we'd be fools to pretend Kala Paani never existed.

Havelock Island, save that for later. Its like Goa, only the beaches are cleaner, the sand is actually white, nobody seems to be pushing drugs, and the locals don't speak konkani, surprisingly they speak Bengali!

Earth was made by God, so I believe, and He took special care with Havelock, that I also believe. But this isn't a place where He paid a lot of attention to detail. This isn't about German precision. Its softer, warmer, and its Indian.

The place has a wide choice of hotels and eating places, to suit all budgets. Some of the more expensive hotels, also have their semi-private beaches. There's a range of cuisine to choose from and clearly sea-food is the thing to try. However we are die-hard vegetarians. Though our options were limited, we didn't have to starve. Stay off the south Indian stuff. It's not the Mumbaiyya south Indian, its definitely not the Delhi South Indian and its certainly not "southern south Indian". But be adventurous, try the local stuff. As in Goa there are plenty of beach shacks serving local stuff, which is actually Bengali cuisine. And city dwellers need not turn up their noses. Some of these places are cleaner than our five stars.

In this context, Wild Orchid deserves a special mention. Great ambience, awesome food, (probably) fantastic sea food. Its got a well stocked bar as well.

The thing to do in Havelock is to learn, scuba diving. Various schools offer 3-day courses. So don't just lay on the beach, wet your toes and envy the foreigners with their flippers and oxygen tanks. Go ahead and dive. Poor advice from our local agent resulted in our not getting to learn, but we will, next time and there will be a next time.

The slightly less adventurous can start off with snorkelling and all of Andamans is a fabulous place to go snorkelling around.

Getting around is easy. Taxis are aplenty. Even better if you know how to ride. You an hire bycycles or scooters and experience freedom from scheduling.

However this is India and getting there and getting out of there is a pain. There's just one boat run by the government, which ferries passengers between Havelock and Port Blair and its a messy affair. Long queues, unaccounted for delays are just some of the things.

A lot of tourists, especially Indians, get to Havelock morning trip from Port Blair and get back on the afternoon trip. What a waste. Havelock isn't a place for doing something, its a place where you just be. Thats what we did. Lay on the hammock, took long bike rides, swam in the ocean and of course snorkelled. We left wishing we'd spent more time in Havelock than Port Blair, promising ourselves and Havelock we will be back.

Helpful?
Thank socrates009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands
1 review
“My Favourite Place in India”
Reviewed November 25, 2008

Hi...i thanks to all your team members, for opening like a such site, thanks to you all for guidance such a nice place, havelock is a beautiful place as far as i know, that was my first visited to andaman, and i am fully satisfy with you...it is not wrong to say havelock is a heaven for me,..no wards to say.

Helpful?
Thank THISISMYPLACE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
17 reviews
16 helpful votes
“OK but a long way to go even from Bangalore”
Reviewed October 13, 2008

In Short its not the padise its made out to be in this season SW monsoon in Sept. Restuarant is excellent and good value, Jungle of Havelock is fascinating to look at and to live in (snakes and birdlife very aparant) but trips are overpriced and the fact that its burdened with the rubbish issue is the most dissapointing element... We have just returned from our trip to Havelock. We stayed in the Barefoot (run by Aitken Spence) hotel on beach no 7 (time magazine best beach in asia 2004). I simply had to start my advisor blog with this trip as my wife and I spent a significant amount of time at the resort trying to work out how we would run it better. Havelock is a disaster to get to, the recommendation (we heard after!) is air india as the flight arrives early am in port blair and gives you time to catch the horrible government ferry. We took a deccan and arrive 1.5 mins to late to catch the ferry and had to stay in "fortune Bay", port blair which can only be described as terrible (more on this is available but we thought that Barefoot could have done more at the airport to speed things up as it took 40mins to fill in imigration forms and the Barefoot people just sat in their cars without warning us we were likely to miss the ferry, which had a time change to 1pm from 2pm - aparantly). Gov ferry takes 2.5 hours to havelock. The Ferry departs twice a day from PB and once from HAvelock so if your times dont coincide you have to get the private boat or stay in PB. The Ferry was a utility vessle , had no windows to talk about and there is no seating outside which is a shame as it would have made a lovely morning trip. the ferry staff emptied the bins straight into the sea about 15mins before we docked at havelock so dont use the bins. BArefoot is 25mins from the dock at beach no 1 (otherwise know as the rubbish tip). The entrance to the resort is through the forest which is highly original, reception at the resort was good until the final part where the staff said the resort was entirely eco freindly and listed all the things that they did not do or provide which I found a bizarre way to greet guests. We had 2 rooms a duplex (which is the best room they have) and an AC nicobari cottage. the duplex was large with a bedroom on both floors, downstairs was fully enclosed with glass but upstairs the front of the cottage was open which gave a fantastic experience of being with nature in the jungle but the bed surrounded by mosquito net was a nightmare of biting insects (my wife and I returned with approx 200bites). We slept our 9month old downstairs. Our other cottage housed the 3 children and our nanny, I thought the AC cottage smelt fusty and damp and we didnt run the AC as it wasnt hot enough, there was no problem with insects in this room infact the children slept in a bed with mosquito nets all round and did not suffer a single bite. We visited the beach first day and it was a mess of driftwood and clods of seaweed but more importnantly litter (everything from the usual old shoes to hyperdermic needles). I asked the hotel if they kept the beach clean before we ventured on our trip and was advised it was a public beach but they did keep it clean (in the room literature it states that they adopt the beach and wood/jungle surrounding and keep it all as nature desired, but that if frankly absolout rubbish) so I was very dissapointed to have to walk with the children over the rubbish to get to the sand. I personally removed 2 100l sacks of rubbish from the area nearby the resort entrance before the hotel GM took action to tidy the beach, I even offered to pay extra for my room if they employed a beach cleaner . That afternoon it was cleared further by the staff under duress but even when we left after 10 days it was still littered with glass, plastic etc etc in the tree line and. The sea was rough to start in the AM and not good for the Children, however as the weather improved (end of monsoon) and the tide went out (around midday) the beach looked much more appealing with a mass of sand and lovely calm area of approx 100M from start of the water to waves where it was upto .5m deep perfect for the children and they spent hours playing between 1130 and 5pm. Just round the corner there is a beach called neils cove which was a little rough at times but aparantly good to snorkel around, this was too deep for the kids in the main so we kept to beach 7 for the majority. We toook two trips out to beaches 5 and 6 which has very shallow waters and were calm all day and virtually untouched (although still fly tipped rubbish in the bushes of course!). We had a couple of great afternoons on these beaches, we hired a car for the journey there and back. Its best to get a Sumo car not a jeep as the jeeps are uncomfortable (although more authentic) and you cannot see the fantastic jungle views out of the jeep. We also took scooters out on a few occasions and my 5 year old loved it as they were a great adventure and a great way to explore. The Jungle is fascinating to look at , we go to vietnam in Feb but its how I expect Vietnam to look. Amazing high trees and unfeasibly old and developed plants that we have never seen before despite our travels all over. We had a harmless snake cross our path the first evening back from the restuarant to the room but using a torch to get back was a must and stamping of the feet was reccomended,we had no issue in the rooms with snakes but we had a large Rat running around the Duplex along with two massive spiders in the(so if you dont like either of them dont go !). We found the room service issue (ie No room service is offered) rediculous, food fine as it can attract rodents but why cant they send drinks to the room especially off season with staff having little to do at most times, when we asked if it was possible we had a flat refusal apart from on one occasion when the GM intervened. They were building a new reception block which was annoying on a few occasions with routers and other power tools going, when we asked for them to be kept quiet over lunch etc they usually did go quiet but it was the fact that we had to keep asking over 10 days. The excursions were frankly a rediculous set of prices, 16kINR for a day boat excursion to an island 2 hours away (thats about $350) I thought was massively overpriced, The kayaking trip was equally expensive costing 5kINR ($120) for a 2 hour trip with a guide who knew nothing about the place, was worth a look but its a monopoly price (ie no competition). We booked the private boat back to port blair as we really didnt want the hassle for the ferry and another night at "fortune pit" but its not suitable for children unless you can keep them supervised as there are no siderails on the boat, the children and my wife retired to the cabin from the desk when it rained but the cabin had an overpowering smell of diesel in it (as there seemed to be 200 gallons stored there in drums!) , there is no loo on the boat. Luckily the trip was flat calm, strange as we were told the night before that we should leave at 5am to ensure we met our flight on time and the sea was forecast to be rough ! However there are no jetty arrangements in port blair and the boat chaps had to assemble a rib that then made 4 journeys back and forward to the smelly quayside with us and our luggage. We had to forcibly ask for life jackets for the children, I had asked the night before but as is usual in india it was left to chance and the only jackets on the boat were old style adult ones. Proper kids versions are available in the barefoot offices at beach no 1 but you have to force the issue. We got picked up by barefoot taxis and dropped at the airport caught the Deccan flight which is fine on a new aircraft back to chennai. The part owner and original founder of the "Jungle resort" was at the hotel the majority of the time and was very hospitable towards the end of our stay and was the main man for getting things done so its really important to get to know Him when you arriv. the GM actually works for Aitken Spence of Sri Lanka , mr Siril who was good but quite slow to react and didnt carry any negotiating weight when we had issues with prices. Resturant, was excellent , we had fres fish bought to the table each nigh to choose from including Lobster and If you ask they will tell you on the day what is fresh and what is frozen, only eat the fresh fish if you can, mostly snapper but we had it cooked many ways and was always great dispersed with a few lobster nights !! Kids loved it and had the run of the place, staff really looked after them, biggest issue was the terrible state of the path back to the cottages as they were terribly worn, I asked the day we arrived for them to be repaired with sand but was advised the work was scheduled for "november sir!", my 2 year old fell over numerous times and was lucky to come away unscathed. Barefoot is the only resort in havelock for families or couples used to the 3* and above lifestyle although its basic the rest of the options are mainly traveller cottages, 2 other resorts did look ok on beach 5 but looked like a travelodge in comparison. Overall we would like to come back to the andamans but only if the locals and government sort the garbage issues out and there is some proper connecting transportation ie safe boat, helicopter or seaplane that can be booked and chartered for a reasonable fee. Otherwise its too hard to get to and its not the paradise you may be expecting.

Helpful?
2 Thank only6greens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 helpful votes
“the best beach holiday ever”
Reviewed October 6, 2008

This is a beautiful scenic island, faraway from civilization. It is sheer paradise on earth. Clear blue, emerald ocean, beautiful beaches and no commericalization. 5 days of doing nothing but enjoying this place. One of the best vacations I have ever had.

Helpful?
Thank travelinutopia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kolkata, India
Level Contributor
111 reviews
177 helpful votes
“Best Beach in Asia”
Reviewed December 9, 2007

If you are looking for a location unspoiled by human, this is the place to visit.
Lovely white sand beaches and azure waters, excellent corals and a great place to do snokrelling, diving and angling.
Connect: By Ship from Chennai(Madras), Kolkata(Calcutta), it takes about 55 hours
You can also catch a flight from Chennai or Kolkata.
You arrive at Port Blair. For there you take a connecting Ship/Launch to Havelock. The journey takes about 4.5 to 6 hours depending on the Ship.
There is also a helicopter service which you should book well in advance by contacting Andman and Nicobar Tourism.
The best time to visit is from December to February.
The two main beaches are Beach No. 5(Vijaynagar Beach) and Beach No. 7(Radhanagar Beach).
Beach No. 7 has been rated as the Best Beach in Asia by Times Magazine, 2004.
The top three Resorts near the Becahes are : The Wild Orchid, The Dolphine Yatri Niwas (Beach No.5) and Barefoot Jungle Resort(Beach No.7)
Activities: All water activities you can dream of. Mountain/Jungle Trekking. There are some very good Coral Reefs where you can travel like Elephant island.
Food: Decent Sea Food available and Liquor price is among the cheapest in India

Things to Note:
1) Carry Cash (No ATM. ATM is located in Port Blair) and Credit Cards are not usually accepted because of communication problem.
2) Carry Stick at night to ward off stray dogs
3) If you are in Barefoot carry a torch and take precautions from snakes.

Helpful?
Thank swastik73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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