If you have ever dreamt of a tropical idyllic island, it would be the Andaman Islands. The breath-taking white sand beaches and the clear blue sea is the primary reason behind its popularity.
My 10-day solo sojourn to the Andaman Islands ended an everlasting desire to travel the place. Even though the main highlight was the Open Water Scuba diving certification, I did manage to squeeze in enough time for other activities in Havelock. I must admit, I see myself travelling back to the islands soon to explore much more.
Here are my favourite things to do in Havelock:
Diving amongst the rich marine life with DIVEIndia
Started more than a decade ago, DIVEIndia is probably the most experienced in the field of scuba diving on the island and has some of the best instructors. They are meticulous, reliable and focus on safety. I completed my course with them and I was amazed to see how relaxed and professional their instructors are. Also, Vinnie, the owner of DIVEIndia, has three dogs; Sam, Frodo and Buffy who are an absolute delight.
Watching the sunset at Radhanagar Beach
At the entrance of Radhanagar Beach or Beach #7, it is unlikely to foresee how the sea-shore opens up. Behind the tall trees, lies a partially rocky, partially green beach where crowds of tourists gather to witness the sunset. I visited this beach quite a number of times and was happier when it was empty, towards the first half of the day.
The mesmerising experience of kayaking in the mangroves
Kayaking is perhaps the lesser known activity on the island but it is nothing short of living a magic. My 2-hour evening kayak session with Tanaz amongst the mangroves was just an introduction to the elusive phosphorescence. As the double-seater kayak lined up with these bright glowing particles, I wish time would have stopped time there.
Get in touch with Tanaz Noble at +919933269653
Feasting at the Full Moon Café
Full Moon Café, on Beach #3, serves the best food on the island. My day used to start with their perfect masala chai (I was staying at the adjoining Island Vinnie’s) and their fish steak served with lemon rice soon became my staple lunch. I have sampled most of their continental dishes and everything is as good. Niamh, the owner, bakes a special dessert every day and it takes a great deal of courage not to indulge in one!
Classy shopping at Seven Heaven
At the risk of being nicknamed a hedonist, I would still recommend shopping at Seven Heaven on Govind Nagar Beach #3. It is expensive but it has good quality garments and merchandise, which I have not found anywhere else on the island. Amit who owns and runs the store, brings in exquisite fabric and designs from across the country. It also has a tattoo parlour and they’re looking for good tattoo artists for the next season (any takers?)
Contact Amit at: email@example.com or call: +919531835632
Drinking beer at Silver Sands
Havelock is blessed with quintessential tropical weather and perhaps the reason why beer becomes an important part of the day! My time on this island was physically strenuous though I did manage a day’s date with beer.
Silver Sands is an exotic property sprawled across two sides of the road. The restaurant offers a good prospect to the sea at a distance through the well-landscaped coconut trees. It was a serene evening to see the sky colours change as I sipped some beer.
Indulging in some cookie love from Anju Coco
My lunch at Anju Coco was just about all right but the smell of their freshly baked delights haunted me for days till I went back. Their choco-chip cookies will soon develop into an addiction. If you like dry fruits, you could try the mixed cookies with almonds and raisins. I packed lots of them for my friends and family back in mainland, and their freshness lasted me weeks.
Relaxing with an Ayurvedic Kerala massage
A quick way to relax is testing an Ayurvedic therapy massage. These are very basic and a number of green-coloured huts stationed across the island provide an hour of full body massage, at a cheap Rs. 1000. Keep your sleaze bug off and don’t be curious about a cross-massage.
Biking on the roads to the other side
Starting at an affordable Rs. 70 for bicycles and Rs. 400 for gearless scooters, these modes of transport are great to navigate across the two extreme sides of the island. Since I was there for quite some time, working out a healthy discount didn’t seem impossible. The roads are great for biking around, though you must be cautious not be run-over any of those small creatures on the road (read: crabs and snakes.)
Staring from the hammocks at DIVEindia
Blessed with some of the best hammocks on the island, I have spent seven afternoons staring at the pristine blue waters or napping in one of these. It was so bad that I began to get possessive of my hammock!