Seychelles: From the perspective of a non honeymooner.
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of my reality is that I am both a hopeless romantic and a hopelessly unmarried person. This is not to imply that I don’t get into relationships but rather to underline that I have always been interested in romancing myself first and foremost.
I decided to go to Seychelles, a well-known honeymoon destination, to celebrate turning 26 and graduating with a Master’s degree. These both happened on the same day, January 20, 2017, making it an eventful day for me. That day, Trump was sworn in as president. It was incredible that while America got dumber, I got smarter with my Master’s Degree!
I’ll be honest about my intentions for choosing Seychelles as a destination to visit. As you all know, the entire premise of my blog is about traveling with a third-world passport. And as it happens, Seychelles is one of those very few countries in the world that allows unrestricted and unquestioned entry of Bangladeshi passport holders so long as you can provide proof of an accommodation you have booked. My mother was kind enough to offer to meet me on this honeymoon island while on her RnR, so I set off in February 2017 to this tropical island to meet my mother #singleAF.
I bought a flight from Kathmandu to Seychelles with jet airlines. When I got to the airport, I realized a glitch in the system meant my entire trip from Kathmandu to Seychelles had been upgraded to business class (yeah, I know, my life sucks 🙂 ). I waited in the business class lounge, excited about this trip I was about to take when the airlines announced that they would delay the flight. After a couple of hours of waiting, we boarded the airplane only to be offboarded and taken back to the airport terminal. The flight to Mumbai had been canceled. Much chaos ensued, and after a lot of negotiation and a lot of channeling my inner Karen, I managed to get Jet Airways to put me on the earliest flight to the Seychelles – which happened to be through Etihad airlines. As luck would have it, the gods of travel took pity on me once again and upgraded me to business class, on what I would till this day call the most luxurious flight experience of my life.
I essentially floated my way to Seychelles, and when I arrived on Mahé island, the weather was a balmy 28 degrees with a beautiful breeze. I was welcomed by the smile of wonderful Seychellois immigration officers. With next to no questions asked (which is a shocker for a Bangladeshi passport holder), I was out of the airport and on my way to the beautiful resort I had booked for my mom and myself to spend the next few days on a beach chilling.
A bit of background: Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, somewhere between Africa and Asia’s continental landmass. The country experiences beautiful tropical weather with intermittent rainy seasons earlier in the year. It is one of the smallest nations in the world – there are two main islands (and several other small ones) in Seychelles; Mahe – where the capital Victoria is located, and Praslin. We made it a point to visit Mahe and Praslin during our trip. The country’s history is rather fascinating, as it falls within the migratory route between Africa and Asia. Many foreigners have visited, exploited, colonized, invaded, and explored, including the Portuguese, French, Arabs, Malaysians, British, Indians, etc. The country was a French colony initially and was later taken over by the British. There is a lot to be said about the country’s colonial legacy. It lingers in its architectural history, the mixture of people and politics till this day. However, that is an article on its own. Creole, also called Seselwa, is the mother tongue of most Seychellois. Under the constitution, Creole, English, and French are recognized as national languages.
In Mahé, we lounged in front of turquoise waters that grazed our beachfront rooms. We ate delicious seafood dinners under starry skies and lovingly spoke about how I had never been more single in my entire life. We also visited the capital Victoria walking around the beautiful streets, visiting museums and the market, and conversing with people to understand the life of a Seychellois. I wouldn’t know this until a little way along the line, but the markets and the streets of Seychelles would play in my mind while I wandered the streets of Cabo Verde and Cuba.
We ventured to Praslin, the second biggest island in Seychelles. You must get yourself to the jetty from Victoria and buy yourself a ticket to get on board the boat that will take you two Praslin. There, we stayed in a lovely B&B called the Mango Lodge. Birched on top often emerald Hill, the mango lodge provided a panoramic view of the crystal-clear waters in Praslin Gold Star. It houses several little cottages built with wood with the patio slash terrace where you can sit on a sun-bed, enjoy the breeze and watch the waves slowly caress the white sand. True to its name, the mango lodge is home to dozens of lush mango trees, and its grounds are covered in delicious mangos that have fallen, having ripened just enough.
From Praslin, we decided to take a day trip to La Digue, an island simply a boat ride away. La Digue is truly Beautiful. It is home to vanilla farms, sandy beaches studded with rocks, delicious seafood restaurants, and many a wedding photo-worthy spot. These did not go unused by the multiple people shooting wedding photos there (all white, not sure if that’s relevant, but…). Mum and I decided I’ll do a solo shoot because you know what- why not? Afterward, we sat under a straw roof and ate fish to our heart’s content (sorry, did you forget I am Bengali for a moment? There’s your reminder) before getting back on the boat back to Praslin.
Once back in Mahe, I decided to go diving once to experience whether or not living under this side of the Indian ocean could compete with the emerald hills, white sand, and turquoise waters on land. My grandfather, who was in the navy, always told us that life underwater offers far more beauty than the human mind could conjure, and boy was he right! The underwater life in Seychelles overtook anything else that was on land. In 2017, under the crystal clear waters of Seychelles, I saw a shark for the first time in my life, swimming freely – simply a few feet away. I saw fishes of color combinations beyond my wildest dreams and coral reefs that dressed the ocean floor with a medley of colors and textures, dancing to the rhythm of the water amidst which it flourished. Even to this day, I remember the vivid colors and the feeling of utter awe I experienced. In his book “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle speaks of how he experienced it in nature for the first time. My first memory of experiencing the ‘now’ was on that scuba diving trip in Seychelles.
Seychelles are a cluster of stunning islands, they offer breathtaking views, chill island vibes and lovely food. There is not a lot to do in the island nation and I can imagine perhaps therefore it is the perfect honeymoon location. Seychelles is a cluster of stunning islands. They offer breathtaking views, chill island vibes, and lovely food. There is not much to do in the island nation, and I can imagine perhaps. Therefore it is the perfect honeymoon location. Disclaimer: it is also crazy expensive. As is the case for most honeymoon destinations. I look back at my experience in Seychelles, and it was a charming one – but as a culture and history drew traveler, I don’t know if I would return to the place again. Still, it holds some particular and beautiful memories, which helps me keep the place close to my heart.