We’ve been a little away penning down our travel journals for some time now. It could be because, we’re either packed with so much to do or we’re busy mind plotting about where to go next! There are 195 countries, the choice is difficult! To make it simple for ourselves, we’ve narrowed down to just islands. Islands, why? Well, we need to run away from this scintillating heat in Mumbai. One would argue, Mumbai is also an island, but hey, we’d like to leave the city for some time and get a taste of nature’s wonders away from the country. Also, more than anything we’d love to share our travel experiences with you. So, before any of that happens, here’s our best pick for 2018’s island trip. HELP US DECIDE!
Seychelles is the perfect answer to us finding our little paradise on earth! Turquoise Waters? Check. Nature Trails? Check. Corals for the perfect gram? Check. Water Sports? Check Check. Yummies in the tummies? Check, Check, Check! Well, this one small country off the east coast of Africa, has a 115 islands and most definitely our heart. But besides sandy beaches and skies that merge with the ocean, we want to visit Seychelles to discover its abundant wildlife.
Aldabra Atoll, where you can find corals above the ground. High-rise reefs, encircling lagoons that house smaller islands. If this isn’t the perfect Instagram-able picture, then what is? Also, the Coco-de-mer palm trees are calling out to us! Why? Because, these trees that bear the world’s largest seeds and they have found a home in Seychelles’ Vallee de Mai in Praslin Islands. Varun is rather more interested in clicking pictures with world’s largest population of giant tortoises! He’s going to be disappointed when he can’t pet any. (Apparently, you cannot absolutely touch them). Hope, it’s not entirely true. Well, for me, I imagine myself sunbathing at Anse Source d’Argent surrounded by grey granite boulders set to the backdrop of cool blue skies palm trees!
Since we do not plan on being just lazy beach bums, we are going to have to pick our battles – Nature Trails or Deep Sea Dives! Who is to say no to outdoorsy sunny woods complimented with sun kissed pictures and to the deep dark ocean? I believe, we could end up doing both. That’s one advantage of vacationing at Seychelles, your decision making gets simpler, because this place has freaking everything!!
Cash to splash?
A vacation in Seychelles is best defined as luxury on a budget. Rs. 1 equals 0.21 Seychellois Rupee. How about, we see some of you there, if we ever decide to go there?
When to go and How to go?
Lucky for us, Seychelles is splendid all year round. And visa? Well, Indians get a Visa on arrival and a flight is just four hours away! WHAT MORE?
2. Havelock Islands, Andaman and Nicobar
If we were to pick an island that was well within India borders, there’s no place like Havelock Islands. Some say that this is India’s Seychelles, but we don’t want to judge too soon, because well we want to experience both! Like every utiopic island, this one too comes with its share of pristine aquamarine waters, white sands, lush forests and a diverse ecosystem. Andaman and Nicobar have been on our to-do list and we’re damn sure, Havelock is the way to begin!
I would say swimming with the elephants, watching the sunshine glimmer on black rocks at Kala Pathar while it rises, and spotting colorful corals. Bu, but, but what takes the cake here, is the range of water activities the beaches provide. Well, we’re excited to experience snorkeling, scuba diving. ALSO, we want to add to our file of certificates (you know you get one for scuba, even if you take a four-day course!). Besides snorkeling and diving you even get to WALK, yes WALK underwater. Somewhat like Jesus, but underwater. How can I forget, the most important reason to go to Havelock is to get beach-y vibes on Radhanagar Beach. It’s the one that has been nominated by TIME Magazine as the seventh most beautiful beach in the world!
Let’s talk money:
The thing with islands is, you’re tempted to live on one of those water villas or rooms that open to infinity pools, while, and there are some you’d want to stay at because of its cultural vibe. Whatever you choose, Havelock gives you best of both. And here you don’t have to rely on math skills for conversion, cuz you’ll be living the international dream on Indian monies!
When to go and how to go?
All the weather apps suggest, that October – April is the best time, but November – January is peak time. Getting there is pretty easy. You just get yourself to Port Blair and from there on a ferry takes you to Havelock.
3. French Polynesia
Bora Bora is most definitely touted as the ‘Jewel of the South Seas’, but we have our eyes on the other gazillion islands in French Polynesia. From Tahiti, Mo’orea to Rangiroa and Rurutu! These south-pacific islands are everything we need for a sun-soaked vacay.
Each island has something unique to offer, God knows how we’ll ever be able to experience all of it! Well, we’d surely want to visit Rangiroa, because it happens to be one of the largest atolls in the world. Besides, it has infinite lagoons, hammerhead sharks, dolphins and green turtles, and it also happens to be the wine hub of the country! WHAT MORE DO WE NEED? IT IS ALSO A FAMOUS DIVE SPOT. Nuff’ said, we’re going in. Tahiti on the other-hand satiates our desires to bather under cascading waterfalls, dip in translucent waters, lay on black sand beaches and go mountain hiking. It is also the cultural hub of the country and home to the buzzing capital of Pape’ete. 30 minute ride from Tahiti we will find ourselves in mountainous lands, coffee fields and hibiscus gardens. Mo’orea is upping the game and soon becoming the to-be honeymoon destination! It can’t get better than this for us!! Rurutu is for ancient coral reefs, whales and biking tours. There’s so much more on offer from Nuku Hiva’s thousand foot waterfalls and volcanic cliffs to Marquesas’ art scene, Huahine’s glass bottom boats to getting black-ink tattoos in Pape’ete.
Budget or Luxe?
Unfortunately, visiting these islands is going to be a teeny-bit expensive. You know, with 5-star resorts, canoeing trips, roundtrip airfare costing 2 lacs…you catch the drift right? BUT HEY! The currency is 1 CFP Franc, which converts to 0.68 rupees! Something to gloat about, no?
When to go and how to go?
June to August are considered as peak months, which also means high prices! But, we can visit from Sept – October as well, minus the high prices and comfortable weather. Pape’ete in Tahiti is the major international airport in the French Polynesia. There aren’t any direct flights from India, which means more travel time as more layovers!
Another, Andaman sea gem is Langkawi. This Malaysian archipelago has around 100 islands. It’s not too close and not too far, for an islandic vacay vibe. Clad with ancient jungles, hidden waterfalls, teal ocean waters and blooming exotic fauna and flora – Langkawi is a dream land!
Aptly named, the Panorama in Pulau Langkawi is a cable car that gives you panoramic views of the dense canopy of the Gunung Machinchang. This forest also offers, hiking opportunities. We’re not sure if we are ready for a bird’s eye view from about 100 meters! Next up on our to-do in Langkawi is chilling on 2km long stretch of beach – Pantai Cenang. White sands and lots of tourists is not exactly secluded, but hey, we want to try all the cool cafes and restaurants. Also, race each other a jet-ski. We aren’t sure how much of Bears Grylls, we are, but the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park is piquing our interest – you know with the hanging pythons, macaques, bat colonies, oriental hornbills and the likes. The Indiana Jones in us is more interested in visiting the Kilim Geoforest Park for its limestone structures and the Dayang Bunting Marble for its lake! We thought, we’d do Malaysia differently and we believe Langkawi is the place to do so!
Travelling to Malaysia is quite reasonable with round trips costing about INR 40,000! The Malaysian Ringgit equals 16.83 INR, which we think is a pretty good deal. Not too expensive not too stringy! Also, we could maybe pass the luxe resorts and go for something more homely? What say?
When to go and how to go?
April to August is the best time to visit this tropical paradise! And reaching there is pretty simple as there are direct flights from Mumbai to the island.
So, guys! Please help us pick our Island get-away and let us know if our research has helped you at all. We could then come up with more content before, during and after our travels!!!