The Andamans in a nutshell THE ANDAMAN archipelago is located 1,000 kilometres east of the Indian coast. The island group's capital, Port Blair, is less than three hours by air from Calcutta or Chennai (www.flyairdeccan.net). An occasional ship connection from the mainland takes about three days and costs nearly as much as flying. From Port Blair, there is a daily ferry to Havelock Island (3/3 hrs). The Andamans' climate is more like that of Southeast Asia than the Indian subcontinent. The best time to visit is December through April. Tourist season begins in mid-January, when advance hotel reservations are recommended. Havelock is the Andamans' most popular island, but remains sleepy compared to the Thai resorts, for instance. Life centres on Village No. 3, while Beach No. 7 is the loveliest. The tenkilometre trip between these two can be made by motor rickshaw or rented moped (3/day). Visitors to Havelock have a rare opportunity to fish using proper gear at a reasonable cost. Qutub Taher's boat is equipped with multiplier reels, braided lines and Finnish Rapala lures. A five-hour fishing trip for two costs 50, a whole day 100. Reservations can be made at Village No. 3's tourist info centre-internet café. From the dazzlingly white Radha Nagar Beach (Beach No. 7) and the amazing coral reefs around South Button Island, life revolves around watery fun. Diving the Andamans has a legendary reputation, which may be slightly exaggerated. Most of the diving spots are easy, and even a beginner can expect to see a turtle, octopus or shark around these teeming reefs. At the deeper diving spots (such as Dixon Pinnacle or Jackson Bar), a lucky visitor may encounter a devil ray of up to five metres across. Havelock's diving centres, Dive India (www.diveindia.com) and Barefoot Scuba (www.barefootindia.com), are both professional and come recommended. Dives cost around 25, a diving course 200 to 250. There are several bungalow resorts on Havelock. The best of the backpacker-budget places is Eco Villa, where a simple but tidy bamboo hut costs four euros a night. In search of something more plush? Check out Wild Orchid (50/night, www. wildorchidandaman.com) or Barefoot (100/night, www.barefootindia.com). The latter is home of the highly-regarded EcoTours, which organises kayaking and other activities. The food at most resorts is nondescript, but Eco Villa stands out from the crowd. At Beach No. 7, you can get a tasty Italianstyle lunch at Mahua. The best place to eat on the island, though, is an unpretentious place run by the Mahila Self-Help Group, located next to Village No. 3's vegetable market. The foil-cooked barracuda is mind-boggling! silver, garnet design: Kirsti Doukas Carmen Myanmar India Andaman Havelock Port Blair Thailand Sri Lanka Kalevala Koru Jewelry shops ˇ Unioninkatu 25, Helsinki, between the Senate square and the Market place ˇ Kamppi shopping mall, Urho Kekkosen katu 1, Helsinki ˇ Strömbergintie 4, Helsinki ˇ Domestic terminal, Helsinki-Vantaa airport ˇ Aseman kello, Finnair Tax Free Plus shop ˇ www.kalevalakoru.com Join the story.
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