Backpackers budget guide to Havelock Island – India
It can feel like you have travelled to the ends of the earth to reach here and for a good reason. You would have travelled at least 620 miles from the nearest airport on the mainland. After that, it’s a ferry ride from the capital to the fertile shores of Havelock Island. When you do finally arrive you won’t be sorry you came. Like all the rest of the Islands in the archipelago, Havelock is the tip of a submerged mountain that sticks out of the Andaman sea. The mountain chain itself runs from Myanmar to Sumatra, but only the peaks of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are visible.
The island caters to a lot of upmarket travellers, who are only visiting for a couple of days. So a Backpackers budget guide to Havelock Island would be useful for all of us who want to get more out of our time and money. To see this beautiful place in depth will take a little time and a little know-how if you don’t want to break the bank. So here it is, my budget guide to what might be gods own masterpiece.
My guide to Havelock Island.
Havelock Island is a picture-perfect island with miles of beautiful beaches to explore. The fertile forests that cover the interior are both stunning and packed with wildlife. The clear turquoise waters have been alluring tourists for years and blessed with beautiful sunsets. It can feel like you have died and gone to heaven. One thing is for sure you won’t be in a rush to leave this tropical paradise in a hurry.
Despite there being so much to explore, Only a small part of the island has roads or guesthouses. There are miles of dirt paths to keep a hungry explorer going for a very long time.
But most visitors just want to relax and soak in the tropical ambience. As hard as it is to pull yourself out of your hammock, I strongly recommend stretching your legs to explore some of the other beaches, mangroves and forests on the island.
The main beaches have been numbered between one and seven, plus there is the easily accessible elephant beach. Each beach has its own charm. It is the most developed of the Islands in the archipelago, and you will find something to suit every budget.
Getting a nights rest.
My posts are aimed at backpackers so my readers probably won’t want to be spending thousands of rupees for a nights sleep. My personal choice is the Orient Legend resort. The picture at the top was taken in the early morning from the beach where the guest house is located, and that should be enough said.
They also cater to every budget from what looks like chicken coups costing a few hundred rupees to quite plush concrete bungalows that come complete with AC for a couple of thousand and everything in between. I usually go somewhere in between the two standards as that is just fine to get a good nights rest.
The food is good, and the profoundly tropical vibe could easily lull you into staying for weeks. For further information, check this out and, if this one does not do it for you, there are a few more within spitting distance of this guesthouse. If you are aiming for a more spiritual stay in paradise, there are some fantastic places to enjoy a little yoga. One place I visited that was insanely picture perfect and set in a manicured bamboo grove is the Flying Elephant. I only visited as its a little pricy at almost 4000 rupees a night in the high season.
But it is hard to imagine a more idyllic place to practice your downward-facing dog pose, and you would be going to sleep every night with only the sounds of nature. It is set back in a more quiet part of the island on Kalapathar Beach. As you can well imagine Havelock may be beautiful, but it is not a secret. It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists, so if you are coming in the peak season and want quiet, it may be worth shelling out a little more. If this sounds like something, you are interested in check out their official website.
Getting around the island
Getting around is the island is pretty straight forward except for when you arrive. There will be Tuk Tuks waiting to greet you, and they either want to overcharge you or take you to there desired choice of hotels. What you can do to change that is to wait for the bus that takes you to the main village and walk from there, but it is a couple of kilometres from the cheaper guesthouses. It runs to Radhanagar beach so when you have no luggage this is very useful as it is only 10 rupees.
Try and get an idea where your guest house is on a map and plan your journey or pay the fee. There are some cheaper guesthouses on the main road leading to Radhanagar beach that I have not had a look at myself, but I would imagine are good alternatives if you want something quiet.
Once on the island and in your chosen place to stay, it is easy to get around. It is possible to hire bicycles and scooters from most guesthouses and at shops all over the island. Expect competitive rates, You will probably have to pay about 500 rupees a day for a motorbike and 100 rupees a day for a bicycle.
Getting a bite to eat.
When it comes to eating restaurants, cater to tourists all over the island and range from a quite luxurious dining experience, including classics like lobster Thermador to the typical tourist food you can expect on the mainland. Most hotels and guesthouses have their own restaurants, and they will do just fine for your day to day eating.
If you are going to treat yourself, do it properly. I recommend the Red Snapper restaurant on beach 5. It is an expensive meal if your backpacking, expect a bill of a few thousand, but the food is fantastic! The bamboo layout sets off the romance of being on a tropical island. The fresh seafood is still way cheaper than we would get in our own countries and when would you go to the Andaman Islands again? So go ahead and treat yourself at least the once.
If you want good cheap Indian food head to the jetty on beach one as many shacks serve tasty local cuisine and there are also some in the main village on beach 3. I would suggest getting stocked up on anything you can at the supermarkets, including beer if that is your thing as its way cheaper than you will get in your hotels and guesthouses.
Getting there and away.
Getting to and from the island is straight forward enough as there are government ferries three times a day heading to Port Blair, two ferries a day to Neil Island and four boats a week head to Long Island, then on to Rangat.
The ticket office is open from 9.15 AM to noon and 2 PM to 4 PM Monday to Friday and is only open to noon on a Saturday. Tickets must be bought two days in advance, and most hotels will arrange this for you for a fee.
If you want to save money on this fee and do it yourself the ques are massive, but it is possible. The whole process is made more accessible if you are a woman or have a woman with you as they have their own line and is shorter and generally a whole lot more ordered than the male free for all ques, where there is a lot of pushing and shoving. If you can save the stress, then please do as it can be exhausting.
The high season is from December till April and prices are considerably more for a room, and you will have less bargaining space. The closer to April you get the calmer and picture-perfect the water is, but it gets scorching hot. For more information on when best to visit India check out my post.
In summary of my post, a Backpackers budget guide to Havelock Island.
The list of reasons to come here is endless. It is not easy to get a ticket to paradise for cheap anymore, so I hope you find this blog useful. I have made this post as concise as possible for the budget backpacker. For anything, I have missed, and you want to know, just ask in the comments box provided. This may be the most famous island in the group, but that is for a self-evident reason. So if you visit, don’t miss out and enjoy the tropical bliss that this island provides for you, until the next time my fellow intrepid travellers, happy travels.
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