Battle of the Romantics: The Maldives vs. the Seychelles
Here are two destinations that conjure up images of endless days sunning on pristine beaches with breaks for snorkelling, swimming, and a lot of romance. But for most of us, these destinations are far away and wishful bucket list romance travel at best.
If one had to choose between them, which one would win out? Though much the same in many aspects, there are important differences. Here’s a quick look at each of these romantic hot spots. Whether a particular attribute is positive or negative depends on individual taste and expectations – we’ll leave you to decide!
Island Resort, Maldives (Image: Pixabay)
Seaplane Transport (Image: Shifaaz Shamoon on UnSplash)
Felidhoo Harbour, Maldives (Image: Amid Creation on UnSplash)
The Maldives – Where Is It?
The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of islands – 1192 to be exact – in the Indian Ocean southwest of Sri Lanka. The islands are distributed over 26 atolls, and only about two hundred are actually inhabited. It is the flattest country in the world with one of the most vulnerable environments.
Travel is easy as there are flights from the Middle East, Europe, India, etc. Velana International Airport is close to the capital city, Male, on the island of Hulhule. If your resort or hotel is on another atoll island, you will most likely be transported there by seaplane or small boat. Ferries also ply their way between the major islands.
Reefs off Maldives (Image: Sebastien Pina on UnSplash)
Roof of the Islam Center, Maldives (Image: Ishan SeefromtheSky on UnSplash)
What To Expect
Expect a lot of fish in your diet as, after all, these are islands. The cuisine is influenced by nearby Arabia, India, and Sri Lanka, with some Asian touches. Pack smart but casual clothes and US dollars – many dollars and your credit cards as the islands are expensive. Tourism is taxed, and the fact that most everything must be imported drives costs up even for everyday items. May is the cheapest month to visit but it is also the start of the wet season which lasts until August.
The Maldives is a Muslim country. That said one needs to be aware of and conform to the cultural restrictions. Many things are prohibited such as drinking alcohol, displays of affection (even an innocent kiss), skimpy bathing suits, smoking, and pork. If you are staying on a private resort or off shore on a “liveaboard” which is a yacht for rent, you can drink, smoke, wear a bikini, etc. – to your heart’s content. Unmarried couples can vacation together too. Don’t plan on having a legal destination wedding in the Maldives though unless you take up residence. But it’s a popular choice for a “show wedding”, vow renewal, or a honeymoon.
Rocks on a Beach in the Seychelles (Image: Bigstock)
The Seychelles – Where Is It?
Just like the Maldives, the Seychelles is a republic consisting of an archipelago of islands, in this case only 115. It is situated off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean too. The capital city is Victoria on the largest island of Mahe.
The main airport near Victoria is the Seychelles International Airport and there are numerous other airports servicing the country so it is not an issue getting there or getting around once you arrive. The various islands can be reached by boat or by renting a yacht. Bus and rental cars are also an option on land so inter-country transportation is relatively easy.
Grande Anse Beach (Image: Datingjungle on UnSplash)
Yachts in Eden Island Harbour, Seychelles (Image: Datingjungle on UnSplash)
Baie Sainte Anne, Seychelles (Image: Secret Travel Guide on UnSplash)
What To Expect
Because the Seychelles are islands, fish is once again a prime staple of the cuisine. Your vacation stay can also be expensive because again, being islands, most everything is imported. You can use either the Euro or American dollar for purchases: both are accepted. The general population is relatively poor because of the import prices and being dependent for the most part on the fickleness of the tourism industry. Perhaps this disparity between poorer islanders and “richer” tourists drives the petty crime and burglary as this destination is more prevalent to crime than the Maldives.
May is a good time to visit, the same as the Maldives, as well as April, October and November – all months that benefit from cooling trade winds. Whereas the beautiful white sand beaches, snorkeling and diving are the draws for both countries, the Seychelles has many more activities for the active visitor. Its topography is vastly different from the Maldives being quite hilly, some would say mountainous. You can visit Morne Seychelles National Park, explore museums, take tours, hike and bike to name a few things to do. You might be lucky and see one its rare animals, the giant Aldabra tortoise.
The Seychelles is a Roman Catholic country as approximately 75% of the population practise this religion. Therefore, you are not as restricted in your public activities and dress as in the Maldives. Drinking alcohol is actually an important part of the male culture and you can often find home brews too.
Wanting to get married in the Seychelles while you are there? It’s fairly hassle-free but you need to apply eleven days prior, show a passport and birth certificate. A destination wedding therefore is always a great choice, and the Seychelles is a definite romantic honeymoon option too for the more active couple.
Feeding a turtle, La Digue, Seychelles (Image: Philipp Meeh on UnSplash)
Near Victoria, showing hilly terrain of Seychelles (Image: Datingscout on UnSplash)
Arul Mihu Navasakthi Vinayagar Temple, Seychelles (Image: Pixabay)
In conclusion, it seems the Maldives is the place to go for relaxation and a quiet beach getaway – perfect for a honeymoon or romantic vacation. In the Seychelles which has more dense tropical vegetation and hills, you can combine your actual wedding and a honeymoon, or enjoy a more active romantic vacation. Either country is a breath-taking beach paradise (and a perfect place to pop THE question if you haven’t already)!
Contact your travel professional at this agency if you are contemplating a destination wedding, vow renewal, honeymoon or romantic getaway to either of these far-away Eden destinations. It’s advised to have an expert on your side to arrange all the details required – even if it is not a wedding you are contemplating!
Header image of a couple strolling on a Maldives beach courtesy of Muhammadh Saamy on UnSplash. Footer image of couple kissing in front of over-the-water bungalows in the Maldives courtesy of Oliver Trimanova also on UnSplash. Article first appeared on Real Travel Experts.