By Juhi Bansal (Title courtesy- the husband!)
If there is heaven on earth it is here, here, here. Ewwww so clichéd. I know right! But, that’s how we felt when we landed in Seychelles. It is gorgeous beyond words and so mesmerizing! The white sand is the softest I’ve ever seen and the waters, so blue and so clear!
I don’t remember the number of hours we spent in the ocean or lying on the beach gazing at the waves. This was Iy’s first time on a real beach (she spent some time in Mykonos on the beach but I think she was too little to understand the experience) and she had a complete ball! Towards the end of the day we would literally be dragging her back home from the beach!
The quickest way to get to Seychelles is via the Air Seychelles flights from Mumbai. You can be in Mahe Island in 4 hours! Alternatively, both Emirates and Etihad fly to Mahe Island via Dubai/Abu Dhabi.
Where to Stay
I think if it is a question of which island, it should definitely be Mahe. The international airport, the best beaches, hotels plus the city centre (Victoria) are all in Mahe. You could also stay at Praslin but getting there may be a little tricky (and expensive). You will have to take a local flight from Mahe which is quite expensive and has baggage restrictions or go by ferry which is about an hour long ride.
Where exactly in Mahe is a good question too. We chose the Beau Vallon beach because it’s in the middle of the buzzing town and city centre is only a 15 min drive away. Some good hotels on this side are Berjaya, Fisherman’s Cove, Hilton etc. It’s quite like North Goa and always buzzing with action.
If you’re more a “South Goa” person, I would definitely recommend Four Seasons. Their private beach Petite Anse is as gorgeous as it gets!
Disclosure: We were invited by their PR Co-ordinator Amy Sefton to spend a day at the resort and it was amazing!
I would also strongly recommend the self- catering villas. We moved to one after a couple of days at Meridien and it was really fun. Most beaches in Seychelles are free. Even the ones that are supposedly private are open to public and you don’t even have to book a table in most cases. So, there is no added advantage of staying at a hotel unless you want a pool but why would you when the ocean is beckoning right?
1 Seychelles Rupee is equal to 5 INR. All transactions happen in this currency. You should carry USDs with you and then convert them to Seychelles Rupees at the airport. Cards work almost everywhere expect for roadside shops. You will largely need local currency for tipping etc.
Things to do
Sunrises, sunsets and just spending time on the beach. I just cannot say it enough. Spend all your time on the beach. Pack a picnic basket and just stay there the whole day! I’ve had my share of ocean and believe me when I say this- it does not get better than this!
There are guided day tours to La Digue and Praslin but I would recommend skipping La Digue and just doing Praslin. Spend the day at the world’s most photographed beach- the Anse Lazio and you will know what I mean.
Victoria is the city centre and is actually quite small. You just need a couple of hours to walk around. It closes pretty early in the evening so you must plan accordingly. The town is very unassuming with no big designer labels and brands on display. Just walk around, pick up trinkets or soak in the colourful beauty of the town centre. You may also want to take a picture at the cutesy Clock Tower 🙂
Not just in Seychelles, I recommend this every where. Always try the local flavours, liquor and food. You can gorge on sea food, some creole curry, star fruit, coconut etc. Do not forget to try the local rum Takamaka. We liked it so much, we got ourselves a bottle!
Giant Tortoise & Coco de Mer
You will see giant tortoises everywhere you go. They weigh 100 kgs each and are 80-100 years old. Most hotels have them as pets. But, if you would like a personal interaction like feeding them or talking to them (I strongly recommend it), I would suggest going to the Botanical Garden in Victoria. They have a tortoise enclosure and you can step inside for an extra fee. Iy totally loved them.
Coco de Mer is a local fruit that only grows in Seychelles. You can find a tree in the Botanical Garden and see them first-hand. They have a fascinating life cycle too.
Seychelles Vs Maldives
We honeymooned in the Maldives and for us nothing comes close to the experience of living in a Water Villa (villa in the middle of the ocean) in our own island shared by only the residents. You need that on your honeymoon right- being cut off from the whole world. The Seychellois experience was very different but so apt for right now- our nomadic spirit. We drove around, experimented with food and beach hopped with the little one in tow. Both have amazing white sand beaches, blue waters and beautiful sunsets. However, at Maldives you have to necessarily stay at a resort and you’re stuck at the island unless you choose to island hop which is quite expensive. In Seychelles, you can move about, explore the town and yet be on your own. I would leave the decision to you depending upon the kind of vacation you have in mind.
Some other things to keep in mind
While the local transport is conveniently available by way of TATA (yes you read it right) buses, I will definitely not recommend the experience. The drivers drive pretty much like the Haryana Transport buses and you don’t want that on a holiday right? Renting a car is very easy and affordable. You don’t need an international driving permit as long as your Indian license is in English. The roads are narrow and winding but the view is just amazing. The distances are not too much and parking space aplenty. You will love driving in Seychelles.
Anywhere between 15-20%.
Self-catering is very convenient and cheap in Seychelles especially for Indians. Almost all supermarkets are owned by Malayalis with Indian lineage. They keep things like masalas, ready to cook food and even namkeens etc (cheaper than India in most cases). Restaurants are aplenty and you will not face problems even if you eat vegetarian or vegan food.
Don’t forget to carry sunscreen, sun block, mists and other skin care items. Sun is quite strong most times of the day in Seychelles. Also make sure you pack multiple bikinis and swimwear.
Please write to me if you have any specific questions about Seychelles or planning a trip there. Happy sunning!
PS: All pics were clicked by our cell phones. We do not like to carry big cameras on vacation (or anywhere else!).
Pink Bikini: Nidhi Munim
Black Swimsuit: Pretty Secrets
Black Tankini: Zivame
Cover up: Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary