Tag Archives: sunset

Five Days in Paradise – On A Budget!

Roughly a thousand kilometres off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean lies the island nation of Seychelles. With human occupation coming relatively late in the 16th century, Seychelles is a “young” country with a cultural mix of French, British, African and Indian influences. There are around 115 islands which consist Seychelles – these are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world as well as really diverse landscapes and ecosystems.

As we scoured the map for possible “5-day trip” destinations, we didn’t think beyond a domestic location initially. We happened to stumble upon Seychelles while looking for flights. It ticked all our criteria for a short trip – can be covered properly in a 5-day trip, cannot be clubbed with any other country nearby, Visa on arrival, a 4-hour flight – it was perfect!

Some quick research and bookings later, we were on our way. We were planning to visit three of the main islands – Mahe (which has the airport and capital – Victoria), Praslin (home to the Coco de Mer) and La Digue. So, let’s get started on how you can plan your perfect holiday in Seychelles!

Best Time to Visit

Being very close to the equator, Seychelles experiences warm climates throughout the year. Peak tourist seasons are December-January and July-August. The best months which are generally recommended are the shoulder months between the switching of the trade winds – April-May and October-November. The trade winds can also determine the amount of seaweed washing up on the beaches – keep an eye out for this if your hotel is on the beach.

We visited in early March and the weather was pleasant and perfect for a beach holiday!

Getting Around Seychelles

There is a direct flight of Air Seychelles operating from Mumbai – which is the one we took. You can also find direct flights from Dubai, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, South Africa and London (and some more locations).

Once you are in Seychelles, you can choose any of the following four modes of travel: flight, boat, bus and car.

Domestic Flight: You can fly from Mahe to Praslin (and back) on one of the tiny Twin Otter 19-seater planes operated by Air Seychelles. The flying time is hardly 20 mins and is definitely a ride worth experiencing! To reach other more remote islands, you can opt for charter planes as well.

The last time I sat on a plane this small, I jumped right out at 13,000 feet.

Boat: There are ferries operating between all the main islands – you can easily book them online here. It takes about 60 mins to travel between Mahe and Praslin. Praslin to La Digue is about 15 mins – the ride is so smooth that it gets over before you realize it!

Bus: There are buses running in Mahe and Praslin which you can climb on and buy tickets. Praslin is very simple – you either go around the island or take the route which cuts through the hill in the middle. Mahe is relatively bigger – grab a route map and get started. Buses are sparse and run on limited frequency during weekends – you can beat that by taking a car!

Car: One of the more preferred options to explore the islands is by renting a car. You can easily get one at the point of arrival – ferry jetty or airport (advance booking would be good as we found that most agencies run out of cars on the travel date). We went with Scenic Car Rental. It was a good decision as we discovered that our homestay was on the top of a steep hill and we would have struggled to walk all the way up! A car also gives you the flexibility to stop wherever you find a nice spot and explore the island better. We recommend this!

Visa and Currency

Indians have Visa on arrival at Seychelles along with 140+ more countries. So, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of applying for visas! The currency of Seychelles is the Rupee (SCR). 1 SCR = 3.5 INR as of Dec 2020 (it was 5.25 INR in March 2020 when we travelled).

How many days to spend in Seychelles?

The BIG question when it comes to any itinerary – how many days is good enough? For Seychelles, it depends on how many islands you’d like to cover. For Mahe, we would recommend atleast 2 days – you can spend upto 4 days for a relaxed vacation. Praslin is more laid back – you can spend 1-2 days here and add one more day for an excursion to La Digue. Our itinerary covered these 3 islands over 5 days. If you have more days in hand, you can visit the giant tortoises at Curieuse Island (day trip from Praslin), the Bird Island or the Cousin Island.

Our Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Mahe. We flew in from Mumbai. Fly to Praslin. Explore the beaches – details in our blog on the beaches and hills of Praslin and Mahe.

Day 2: Morning boat to La Digue. Explore the island on bicycles – this is a must-visit island and a one-of-a-kind experience. Say hi to the giant tortoises and the most photographed beach in Seychelles.

Back to Praslin and bus to Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve (home of the Coco de Mer). Explore more of Praslin (bus to Mt. Plaisir) and back.

Day 3: Boat to Mahe. Spend the evening exploring the Beau Vallon beach area.

Day 4: Explore Victoria and the local markets. Hike to the top of Morne Blanc. Enjoy a swim at Grand Anse. Have an authentic Creole lunch. Drive around the northern roads of the island.

Day 5: Explore the beaches in the south of Mahe island – Anse Intendance, Anse Royale. Complete the drive along the entire periphery of the island. Fly back at night.

You can pay a visit to the Takamaka Rum Distillery or visit some of the art galleries if time permits. There is also the Victoria Botanical Garden – you can check out the tortoises and Coco de Mer if you missed them on the other islands.

This should help start your planning for that long-awaited trip to Seychelles. You can read more about each of the islands and the must-visit places in our other posts – Mahe and Praslin, La Digue.

If you have any questions on how to plan your trip, please leave a comment below and we’d love to help! You can subscribe to our blog for all the updates and travel tips. For a lot more pics and stories about our latest travels, follow us on Instagram @fridgemagnet.tales

Havelock – Part Two of “A Tale of Six Islands”

Last time we met, we had completed part one of our journey – Port Blair and Jolly Buoy islands. We continue our journey here to explore our next island in the Andamans – Havelock. I couldn’t club any other island with this one as this island tells an interesting tale of its own.

We left early morning to catch our ferry to Havelock Island – one of the most famous islands here.

IMG_8650We had tea near the port where Papa (nickname) brought tea for us in the classic chaiwallah-boy tea-tray.

We entered the port to see huge boats waiting to sail out to different islands. The inside of the boat was quite stuffy with round glass windows (all locked) and life jackets placed in the racks above. The inside was air-conditioned but it wasn’t too comfortable as the boat was jam packed. We explored the boat and went outside to the deck. There were stairs leading up to an upper deck. The weather was pleasant and the sun not too harsh, so we climbed up. The view was amazing.

IMG_8652It was the first time I was travelling on such a huge boat and it was amazing how fast the thing was moving – cutting across the waves. The water was clear as ever and it turned a deeper shade of blue as we entered the deep sea. We soon left land behind and there was nothing but sea on all four sides.

IMG_8668The feel of the moment is something that is difficult to be put into words. Absolute tranquility interrupted only by the sound of the engine of the boat and the waves hitting it. Complete solitude leaving aside the crew and people below. The sun peeked out with its warm rays while the salty wind blew across our faces.The occasional spray as the boat jumped in and out of the waves. Water everywhere – as far as the eye could see.

As we stood there in silence taking in the beauty of the ride, something cut across the water. Just then someone shouted – flying fish! True enough, there were scores of flying fish all around our boat. The little things would jump high in the air and follow the contour of the waves, making sure not to touch the water, and finally dive right back into the sea. It was a truly amazing sight – reminded me of the movie – Life of Pi. I tried hard to click a few pics but sadly, it didn’t work out – they were too quick. After a few attempts, I gave up on it and thought it would be better to enjoy the moment.

We thought we’d push our luck a bit more and ask the captain if we could get onto the front deck. Nam took the lead and soon enough we were all lounging on the front deck.

IMG_8759The captain’s room had a windshield with wipers on. On a nice and sunny day, there was no need to have the wipers running. Or was there? The thing is – Boats move in and out of the deep sea waves – like in and out of “phase” with them (pardon my ECEness). And the moment it goes “out of phase”, the front of the boat falls straight into a trough and water splashes all over (we got sprayed many times!) The wind blew hard and overall it was an amazing feeling!

We docked at the Havelock port, which was at a considerable height and we disembarked the boat from the upper deck itself. We took taxis to our hotel – Dolphin Resort.

IMG_8881It was a beautiful place with cottages all along the Vijaynagar beach (numbered here as Beach #5). A cottage with full glass windows overlooking this beach – absolute bliss! There was a boat tethered a bit into the water – looked like a tourist attraction. Some people waded into the water and climbed on to the boat while some others went to book our slots for the most awaited part of the trip – scuba diving. We got a really good deal at Andaman Bubbles (one of the many scuba diving guys in Havelock). After completing the formalities (which included a statement that they won’t be responsible if we drowned :P), we returned to a shock at our resort. The sea was nowhere to be seen! The water had receded by a long distance and the boat that was floating in waist-deep water was grounded. My first thought was – tsunami! Bah – sometimes I just over-react! 😛

The beach was beautiful with a lot of trees and on many of them were hammocks.

IMG_8748But then, we had a bunch of really young guys in our group – Papa, Mr. Apple and Guru (Guru was called so as he had a much disciplined disciple in Jetha). So we ended up climbing up the trees, doing somersaults on the beach and of course, clicking away. We then decided to have a swim in the sea. It was afternoon but the sun was forgiving. However, the only problem was that there was no water. The sea bed which had just come up was slushy with many holes, seaweed and giant black leeches.

IMG_8707Treacherous ground indeed. We walked and walked in the slush till we reached deeper water. Just being here was an amazing feeling – standing out in the sea after the walk through the treacherous beach and with various shades of blue water all around, knowing that this very spot would be flooded with several feet of water in a few hours.

IMG_6960

We returned and took taxis to the Radhanagar beach (Beach #7). This beach is widely considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We bought Frisbees on the way. It was indeed a marvelous beach! There were 3 yachts anchored in the water (this was in really deep water and the water didn’t recede that much in the afternoons) and the sun was beginning to set. This beach was more like the beaches we see in Kerala – with the waves rolling into the sand.

IMG_8791And waves mean only one thing – jump right into the water. I preferred to stay dry on this occasion – clicking pics as I explored the beach. The sunset was beautiful – we clicked a lot of the classic “eat-the-sun” and “hold-the-sun” pics (can’t waste sunsets, can we? :P). On our way back, we bumped into yet another group from our college – they had enrolled in the same place as us for scuba diving.

IMG_8888

Next morning, we woke up with jitters – it was scuba day. We walked to Andaman Bubbles where our pick-up truck waited for us. Yes, a pick-up truck. We got loaded on it like cattle and held on for dear life as we were taken to the fitting area. We all changed into our black scuba costumes and got back on the truck.

DSC00977The anticipation was building with every second and it could be seen on everyone’s face. The dive had been arranged at a beach near the port where we landed. After a quick training exercise, where we were taught the basics of breathing underwater, we proceeded underwater. The equipment was heavy and the fins attached to the feet made it difficult to move the legs. Each of us got one diving companion each who would guide us and be with us at all times. The surprising part here was that you don’t need to know even an ounce of swimming. All you need to do is remain calm, not panic and keep breathing. That’s it! It was a beautiful experience.

DSC01026Colourful coral all around, fish swimming in and out of them, clear water everywhere and the sun rays shining right through to the bottom. It ended faster than I expected though – just about 20 mins.

It was almost noon by the time we came out. We rented scooters to explore the island. We first had lunch at Anju Coco – bumped into 2 more groups from our college (different ones). We decided to go snorkelling at the Elephant beach. We reached there at about 3.15pm and found out that the beach was closed – it only remained open till 3pm. Slightly disappointed (not much though – snorkelling couldn’t beat scuba), we decided to go to Radhanagar again.

IMG_8833After all, it wouldn’t hurt to visit the most beautiful beach in the Andamans one more time. This time I plunged into the water as well. It was a wonderful evening which ended with a long scooty ride in the dark and curvy roads of Havelock. Most people were quite tired after the exhilarating day. Few of us went out to Charcoal restaurant for dinner and we called it a day. We spent some time walking along the beach in our resort while the sea gently lapped at the sands.

Next morning, we decided to go to the Kaala Patthar Beach for the sunrise. It was a tall ask to wake up early after having slept late.

IMG_8924But again, 6 of us took out our scooters and rode to it. It was a beautiful ride – the roads were narrow but it was a scenic ride in the cool morning. We didn’t really spot any black rocks there, but arrived just in time for the sunrise. We lazily sat on the beach as the sun rose and soon, it was time for our boat.

IMG_8971

We hastily packed up and rushed to the dock – we survived a petrol outage scare thanks to Guru’s resourcefulness. We rushed into our boats and soon set off toward our next island – Neil.

Click here for the concluding part of “A Tale of Six Islands”