Trip Start Dec 15, 2007
3Trip End Jan 10, 2008
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Where I stayed
The following day we visited Radhanagar Beach - as mentioned earlier, reputably the best beach in Asia. We won't argue with that! Not a snorkelling beach but exciting waves, elephants in the woods behind the beach and unfortunately our only rain in the Andaman Islands with heavy showers from about 3 pm.
On Wednesday a visit to another beach, Kalapathar, about 15 minutes or so drive from our hotel. I think we were the only people on a long stretch of sand. We walked along the beach to the Elephant Training Camp. Elephants can swim and are trained here for logging - moving large tree trunks over stretches of water
Elephant beach can only be reached by boat - or a 15 minute rickshaw journey, and a 30 minute 'jungle' trek, following elephant footprints.
So the next morning the boatman was there ready for us. Elephant Beach (as for most of Havelock Island) was paradise. The snorkelling was truly spectacular. I cannot begin to recall the numbers, colours and sizes of fish, the superb shapes of the colourful coral reef and huge coloured starfish on the sea bed. It is impossible to describe the feeling when dozens of fish swim with you, look at you through your mask, or you swim through a huge shoal of smaller fish. You simply feel privileged to share part of their hidden world for just a short time.
The next day we spent at the beach close to our hotel and the following three days returned to Elephant Beach, on these occasions once again getting a rickshaw to the start of the 30 minute trek through the 'jungle'
I should mention that our picnic lunches on Havelock comprised of bananas, biscuits and street food bought from the market area - banana bhajis, vegetable pakoras, chapattis, etc. All delicious. Close to the market was Havelock's only bank. Not exactly HSBC or Royal Bank of Scotland!
It's now Thursday and our last two days on this paradise island. We decided on a final visit to our favourite spot, Elephant Beach today and another visit to Radhanagar Beach tomorrow. At Radhanagar we walked through the woods at the back of the beach for about 15 minutes to reach an almost deserted cove - which must be the best spot on the best beach in Asia. Picture postcard perfect!
On Friday we began our long journey home. Ferry to Port Blair, overnight at Peerless Resort and then a flight to Chennai wo more nights at GRT Grand
We had a full day to spend in Chennai but wanted to escape the manic city centre. We headed for the beach, the second longest city beach in the world and being Sunday, busy with locals enjoying a walk, a paddle, bringing in the fishing boats or visiting the many food, drink and trinket stalls set up at one end of this wide stretch of sand.
In the evening, being in South India's centre of culinary excellence (who hasn't heard of Madras Curry) we dined in style at . . . . Pizza Hut, just opposite the hotel. Then very early Monday morning (nearer Sunday night!) our Qatar Airways flights via Doha to Istanbul. Finally, the short hop down to Izmir - the only flight delayed during our travels - a half hour delay due to on-board computer problems.
To summarise, a wonderful holiday: Havelock is the perfect island. Very few tourists, almost deserted beaches, snorkelling to die for, exceptional food and wonderful island people. No beach sellers, no beggers, no inflated tourist prices in the shops.