If you ever tried looking for Seychelles on the world map, you’d see it as a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean. But you’ll be surprised that on the contrary, this island nation comprises of 115 islands! Located off the coast of East Africa, it is one of those isolated, dreamy locations one often sees in movies. The white sand beaches and turquoise waters surrounded by forest-clad mountains makes it every travellers dream.
Seychelles has been known to attract newly weds, including the likes of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan, and discerning travellers looking for a beach holiday away from the maddening crowds.
With the launch of Air Seychelles’ direct flight from Mumbai to Mahe (the main island of Seychelles) and a 30-day free of charge Visa on Arrival, the destination has become more accessible for Indian tourists.
Here’s what sets Seychelles apart from other beach destinations:
1. Pink Sand Beach in La Digue
Seychelles boasts of some of the most beautiful beaches. Amongst them, Anse Source D'Argent located on the island of La Digue remains ones of the most photographed beaches in the world with its pink sand. The extraordinary granite boulders and azure waters form the backdrop of the beach.
2. Two UNESCO Sites
Virtually untouched by humans, Aldabra is the second largest coral atoll in the world and has distinctive fauna, including the largest population of Giant Tortoises in the world. Visitors need prior permission to visit this remote atoll. Vallée de Mai, on the other hand, is located in Praslin Island and is easily accessible by ferry. Many believe it to be the original site of the Garden of Eden, owing to its secluded location and somewhat mystical ambience. A trip here is a must to see the wild Coco de Mer – the world’s largest coconut (weighing up to 20 kgs!), infamous for its resemblance to a pert posterior.
3. The Rare Black Parrot
Considered to be the national bird of Seychelles, this rare species can be seen in only one place around the world, and that’s Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve and the lower part of Fond Peper in Praslin National Park. With as few as 200 black parrots in the area, don’t be surprised if you end up walking for hours without spotting one. Keep your fingers crossed and your ears open for a high-pitched whistle.
4. One of the Best Scuba Diving Destinations
Seychelles’ stunning topography of coral reefs, drop offs, wrecks and canyons, coupled with the rich marine life, makes it one of the best diving sites around the world. Perfect for diving year round, the destination has dive sites for both beginners and experienced divers. Some of the popular ones include Brissare Rocks, Fishermen's Cove Reef, Shark Bank and Trompeuse Rocks, among others.
5. World’s Smallest Capital City
Slip into a languid island pace of life in Mahe, the capital of Seychelles. Despite being densely populated, it has managed to preserve its beauty and charm. Mahe is home to over 70 beautiful beaches, the best restaurants and shops, as well as the splendid Morne Seychellois National Park. As you walk along the extensive trail network, admire the flora and fauna and also see the island’s highest peak, Morne Seychellois.
6. Takamaka Bay Distillery Tour
Take a trip to the Takamaka Bay rum distillery in La Plaine St André to learn about the rum-making process. As you go around this 250-year-old plantation estate, you will not only get to see the fermentation and distillation process but also try five varieties of the local rum. Later, head to the restaurant-bar situated in a vintage wooden house.
7. 6th Best Beach in the World
Anse Lazio, situated in Praslin is postcard-perfect beauty everywhere you look. Rated as the sixth best beach in the world by TripAdvisor and other travel websites, it is a must on every traveller's list. The abundance of underwater life has earned praise from snorkelers, and one can occasionally find sea turtles feeding here.
When to Visit?
This year-round destination is blessed with warm, tropical climate and the temperature ranges from 24°C to 32°C.
Things to Keep in Mind:
The local currency is Seychelles Rupees. 1 SCR = Approx. 5 INR (subject to change)
Most of their prices are in Euros owing to the large European population.
English and French are widely spoken.
It is one of the safest places to visit and the people and warm, friendly and helpful.
You can take a ferry to get around from one island to the other. When in Mahe or Praslin, renting a car is a good idea, although you have an option for buses and taxis. In La Digue, you are better off renting a bicycle since the island is small enough to discover all the beautiful sights while cycling.
There are 3 Indian restaurants in Seychelles that serve authentic Indian specialities.
Airtel Sim cards can be bought at various outlets and local stores around the three main islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue and at the International Airport on arrival.
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