Best beach in Asia
09 February 2013 | Havelock Island
Michael and Jackie
Time magazine described the 7km beach on Havelock Island as the best beach in Asia, and it probably is. A beautiful white sand arc encloses a bay of crystal clear water. The backdrop of virgin forest is pierced by a single small road which brings a small number of day trippers to the beach. Getting ashore is a bit of a challenge as most of the beach has breaking surf. We used Storyteller's dinghy to get ashore by anchoring outside the surf and swimming in.
An Indian bus appeared so we took it for the 14km journey to Havelock Village 3, rumoured to have an internet cafe, ATM and shops. It had all 3, a large market square surrounded by small shops selling everything from hardware to cashmere. small cafe with computers for internet absorbed Sue while the rest of us explored the small village. The journey costing all of 5 rupees was memorable. The bus seemingly lacking shock absorbers, charged at breakneck speed along the single track road, horn blaring. Horn blares signify either get out of my way, you can pass, or overtake me, depending on context. The bus seemed to frequently fly in the air as it dropped up and down the small hills and ravines careering round hairpin bends. We consoled ourselves that it was probably safer in the bus than on a tuk tuk. Still there were sighs of relief when we alighted. Village 3 is the centre for the backpacker and dive community. Tiny wooden shacks to small apartment type resorts, most of them very basic, follow the line of the beach, and hum to the sound of dive compressors.
We decided to return to Havelock 7 by car and the difference was astonishing the road almost seemed smooth, as it curved through the small settlements, vegetable gardens and paddy fields. The cost was a bit more 420 rupees, about Â£5 but the comfort was worth. Near the beach there is a delightful resort(resorts here are small grass huts and a larger one for eating, all hidden amongst massive hardwood trees) where excellent Indian and Italian food is served, along with beer (not common) around here. We retreated here for a feast before returning to the boat, walking through the forest parallel to the beach. We passed the resident swimming elephant, apparently he may or may not dive with you depending on mood. The forest itself is remarkable, tall fig trees create beautiful shady groves, circled by clumps of palm trees. Birds call and can be seen moving in the trees. In the evening sea eagles circle the bay. A flat anchorage as well, heaven!