We hope you are enjoying our weekly travel reads as much as we our enjoying posting them. Here’s yet another travel story that is going to take you all the way south of the equator. This destination has been an inspiration for works of some of the great writers of this century such as Ian Fleming (author of James Bond) and a popular holiday destination for many celebrities such as the ‘The Beckham family’ – SEYCHELLES.
A big thank you to one of our most adored readers, Mrs Nomita Khanna for sharing this with us! Here’s what she has to say about her adventures to SEYCHELLES :
“On the world map, Seychelles shows as a tiny dot in the Indian Ocean as if it was a single island. However, 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 make it every traveller’s dream.
Day 1: After a direct flight from Mumbai to Mahe (the main island of Seychelles) and a 30-day free of charge Visa on Arrival, we check into The Banyan Tree resort. In Intendance Bay along the southern western coastline of Mahe, Banyan Tree Seychelles has direct access to the beach, and luxuriously furnished villas (with a private pool), combining the Seychellois architecture with the contemporary décor. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, each of the air-conditioned villas has a satellite TV. Looking out at the Ocean, a feeling of tranquility sets in the moment we arrive.
For breakfast, I am on a wooden deck overlooking the ocean; the gentle breeze plays with my hair while I pile my plate high with mangosteens, ruby-red strawberries, rambutans, and juicy blueberries. Not surprisingly, the beauty of the azure waters takes my breath away.
The weather is a pleasant 26 degrees and we walk around the property to get our bearings. The resort’s restaurants serve a variety of local and international dishes. La Varangue, a casual bar which provides a selection of light snacks and pizzas, is where we have lunch. It doesn’t take us long to slip into the languid island pace of life.
What’s next? Snorkelling, scuba-diving or a stroll along the beach? The stroll wins hands down as we haven’t slept a wink the previous night. Again, our senses are entranced by the phenomenal beauty of nature. Later, we dine at Saffron that serves Thai cuisine and Southeast Asian specialties; jasmine rice, red thai curry, tofu and asparagus paired with the finest Scotch.
Back in the room, I check to see if we have Netflix on the TV. I hold my breath and let out a whoop of delight when I see the familiar logo flashing on the screen.
Day 2: We take a coach for our excursion for the day to the port from where we get on to a ferry to go to Praslin Island to visit Vallée de Mai. 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 legendary double-lobed Coco de Mer – the world’s largest coconut (weighing up to 20 kgs), famous for its resemblance to a woman’s pelvis. We walk along meandering pathways beneath the canopy of century-old palm trees, all the while serenaded by the songs of rare, endemic birds.
The tour continues with another ferry ride to La Digue, where we drink the juice of freshly-picked coconuts, before visiting L’Union Estate to witness the old plantation life through a copra mill run by bulls, a giant tortoise pen, and a time-honored plantation house. As we walk further, we are welcomed by giant boulders of granite nestled on the pristine, world-famous beach of Anse Source d’Argent; the most photographed beach in the world. After a refreshing dip in the rippling blue waters we have a sumptuous Creole lunch at La Buse restaurant.
Back at The Banyan Tree we are so ready to experience a healing ritual at one of the luxurious hillside pavilions of their renowned spa.
Day 3: We relax around the infinity pool with a fruit cocktail, before going for a short bike ride. Free bikes are provided on site.
Lunch is simply awesome. We have chosen to eat at Del place restaurant, a few miles away from our hotel. Seychellois cuisine deliciously blends African, Chinese, English, French and Indian flavours with rich Creole influences. We sample classic dishes and finish with a pudding made from fresh coconut meat.
Next, we head to Raffles for tea. Music from the ocean waves floats up as I nibble on a tiny samosa and sip a cocktail: Planter’s punch.
Dinner is a magical affair under the stars on the pink sands, surrounded as we are by expansive views across the bay.
Day 4: After gorging on large, ripe avocadoes bathed with olive-oil and sprinkled with salt and of course the hash browns, waffles with maple syrup, pillow-soft breads, we are ready for the next activity: To eat yet another meal. My stomach protests and I promise not to eat at lunch.
We are in Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, situated on a lush hillside. Mesmerized by its white powder beaches and dramatic rock formations we are in its casual, indoor-outdoor poolside bar and restaurant, Kannal. The Spring Sangria, an exciting mix of vedrenne raspberry, watermelon, rose wine and lemon soda has me in raptures. I wash down a sumptuous meal, with my delicious drink, completely disregarding the promise I made in a foolish moment.
As night falls, we are back at the Banyan Tree, walking along the sea. The waves shimmer in the moonlight and the rum shack looks inviting and expectant. A few drinks later, we dine at the casual bar La Varangue, which had become our favorite hang out at the resort. I feed the already over fed tummy, soak in the magic of the place, watch the night sky and the sea and feel more alive than ever before. ”
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Have a great weekend!
PHOTO CREDITS : MR RAJINDER GUPTA