Hello, people! Ever since I have been back from Seychelles, my inbox has been flooded with queries. Most of you want to know the cost of planning the trip, some of you are wondering about the type of activities the place has to offer, etc. I know I should have written this how-to guide a long time ago but I took the time because a) I wanted to know the general interest of people as to what they want to know, b) I wanted to first introduce the place to all my readers.
If you want to know what and where Seychelles is please read my very first post on the topic: Travel with Me to Seychelles.
If you want to know all that we did in Seychelles along with other tid-bits about every activity, please read my recollection here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. Although not necessary, but I highly recommend that you read these first 😉 You can also watch the vlogs on my Youtube channel here.
Now we will just get to the point.
Arriving in Seychelles
Like always, it is best for you to check Skyscanner for updated fares from your country. I can only speak for people travelling from Pakistan, specifically Karachi, so all others should definitely check Skyscanner for a rough estimate. In general, I would say it’s a little expensive for us Pakistanis to travel to Seychelles as compared to the far east and ticket fare is one major factor in that.
If you are travelling from Karachi, then Emirates, Eithad, Qatar Airways and Sri Lankan are the main contenders here. Each have their own pros and cons, you can easily check rates and flights online to get an estimate. In my opinion, Emirates/Eithad are the fastest options from Karachi but are a little costlier and Sri Lankan Airlines is the cheapest but it has less flights per week and also a long layover in Colombo.
Here is a per passenger price breakdown of a round trip flight from KHI to SEZ on different carriers as of today. Of course, it is a rough cost and prices can vary by the time you read this post:
Emirates: PKR 137,000
Eithad: PKR 107,000
Qatar: PKR 137,000
Sri Lankan: PKR 72,000
Visa Cost: Free and On-Arrival! 🙂
The second most important thing that determines your expenditure is the kind of accommodation you’ll book. You are more likely to get a good rate if you book months before your actual travel dates. Alternatively you can even plan your travel based on whenever your favorite place has the lowest rate. You’ll have to do a little bit of research on TripAdvisor for that.
You can choose from three kinds of accommodations:
1) Luxury Resorts:
In Seychelles, resorts prices start from USD 350/PKR 40K per night (Constance, Hilton, Kempinski, Banyan Tree, Four Seasons and the likes). The view from the rooms is worth the price, if you are into luxury vacations. Everybody has the right to spend their hard-earned money and if you can afford it, I would say go for it. It’s really a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Also if it’s your honeymoon and if you have that kind of a budget and if you love your better-half A LOT then you should definitely go for it! 😉 But if you’re looking for something that doesn’t put a dent in your pocket, read on.
2) Mid Range Hotels:
Mid-range accommodation in Seychelles would cost you roughly USD 200-300/PKR 25-30K per night. You can check out Savoy, Avani and Eden Bleu Hotel in Mahe for this. These have a really good value for the money. I have read amazing reviews of Avani from a couple of people who went there recently.
3) Low-priced Hotels:
These include places like Berjaya and Coral Strand Hotel. These cost roughly USD 150-180/PKR 17-20K per night. And if you want to go even cheaper, then you can check out some of the hostels/homestays/guesthouses and cheap Airbnbs for a very reasonable price but without any glamour.
A little disclaimer would be good here:
When I said you should go for option 1 because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I am definitely not endorsing over-spending. The point is, you can have a lot of fun in whatever amount of money you have! We booked Airbnbs in Mahe and Praslin because we wanted to save money hence we used to cook our own food (and some days eat out), wash our own dishes and at the same time had a whole lot of fun! At a hotel, you usually book breakfast-included deals or half-board/full-board packages so you get the price of food and other services included in your booking hence the cost goes up. If you want to book an entire villa in a resort with mindblowing views etc, you would get it for double the price that we got on Airbnb, so we decided to compromise on resort food and amenities and prioritised the comfort of having our own place. It’s all about what works for you and what doesn’t. We’ve had our fair share of staying in hotels, so we were comfortable experimenting with something new.
The two amazing properties we stayed at are listed below. I can personally vouch for them that they were super clean and felt like home:
Luxury Resorts: USD 350/PKR 40K per night
Mid-Range Hotels: USD 200-300/PKR 25-30K per night
Low-Priced Hotels: USD 150-180/PKR 17-20K per night
Want even cheaper? Check out hostels/homestays/guesthouses on Airbnb.
The best way to commute for tourists is by renting a car. You do not need an international driving license, but you should have some sort of driving license from your home country. Cars drive on the left hand side. Speed limit is upto 40 km/h in most of the areas, I think only on Providence Highway in Mahe you have a speed limit of 80 km/h.
Because taxis are expensive in Seychelles so everybody rents a car. Driving is amazing there, in fact quite therapeutic with tree lined roads and coastal views! My husband who hates driving in Pakistan happily drove everywhere in Seychelles. Renting an automatic car is ideal as the roads uphill get windy. The cost of renting a car is around EUR 45/USD 55/PKR 6000 per day. Fuel charges are not that expensive either. Finding a spot to park is also not an issue and traffic is very less. It’s an ideal island getaway and having a car really sets you free, trust me 😉
You can ask at your hotel if you wish to book a car or contact the following companies I recommend:
Mahe: Ryan of St Louis Car Hire – 002482771113 / 002482590879Praslin: Century Proprietary Limited – 2560611 / 2524600
Food and Groceries
I can’t really give you a definite cost because we used to eat out less often and cook ourselves. But I think one meal at a very good restaurant could cost you around SCR 500-600/PKR 4-5K approx for 2 people. Now this is only for ONE meal. Seychelles IS expensive when it comes to food.
I can, however, give you tips for saving money on this front. Look out for takeaway stalls and shops, they are far cheaper than restaurants (a meal of simple daal rice and chips costed us around approx SCR 110/PKR 1000 for 2 people). If you cook yourself you save up A LOT. Finding halal restaurants is a challenge so you’d have to eat veggies or fish only and if you get bored then you won’t have many options.
I highly recommend that you try The Maharajas at Eden Island (Mahe) if you’re into Indian/Desi food. People say that it’s halal but I am not sure. They have a scrumptious veg menu too!
Another great place to try in Mahe is Baobab Pizzeria right along Beau Vallon beach. They serve piping hot pizzas straight from the oven. We tried their veg pizza and it was delicious! Also we were VERY hungry 😀 Location: https://goo.gl/maps/PKi59TTs42y
If you are all in for cooking your own food, then you can get ample groceries in Mahe from STC Hypermarket or Spar at Eden Island. The rates at Spar are a bit high as compared to STC though. Also Spar is open on Sundays as well. Both stores have everything you’ll need. If you want halal chicken then look for this brand named “Sadia’s” – it’s imported from UAE and is halal. We also discovered that our good old Pakistani Olper’s Milk is also imported in the Seychelles. Haha.
If you want to buy fresh raw fish, you can go to Sir Sewlyn Sewlyn-Clarke Market on Market Street in Victoria (click for location). Most streets in Victoria are one-way so it’s advisable to go there and park your car and then explore the area on foot. There’s a designated public parking area on Francis Rachel Street where you can park for a small fee. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TUVYN3aPvrN2
In Praslin, you can buy your groceries at a small store called MAS. It’s owned by some Indian guy and they have almost everything you will ever need. You can even buy a SIM card and exchange money from here. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/V7RGyMWxhoK2
For activities, driving around and chilling at the beaches is something people usually do. You would find most people lazying out on the beaches on their beach mats, swimming, and kids playing with sand. Snorkelling, scuba, parasailing and other water activities can also be done. You can check Beau Vallon beach area in Mahe for a bunch of operators offering such adventures or check with your hotel. We didn’t opt for any of these so I cant guide you much on this. I think there’s more trend of these things in Thailand or Maldives. Also, do not expect a lot of night life in Seychelles. Things close down around 8 PM.
A couple of places that are worth exploring in Mahe are listed below.
Warning: There’s a bit of repetition of information from my Seychelles Trip Part 4 post. I just thought it will be easier for someone who is genuinely interested in going to Seychelles to have all the information in one place as well so that they don’t have dig out information from several posts.
The captial city of Seychelles which is small and low-key, and probably the only area which is a tad bit commercial. As mentioned above parking is easy over here with a nominal fee. Our car rental lady gave us a free token for SCR 5 (valid for one hour parking) so we utilized that. Here’s the location of the parking space: https://goo.gl/maps/TUVYN3aPvrN2
2) BEAU VALLON:
This is a nice area. It has got some really good hotels as well. We explored mostly the area around the beach. The beach itself is 2 KM long! So if you’re into long walks, what you can do is, head to the Berjaya Beau Vallon Hotel and park your car there (for free!). Then walk past the reception of the hotel straight onto the beach. This is a very good beach and also recommended for swimming and water sports. In fact, once you are there you will find many operators who will offer you boat trips, water sports like para sailing, jet skiing etc. We were not into adventures on this trip, so we skipped this and politely refused.
Another good place to park is if you head to this restaurant called “The Boat House“. There’s a little parking space there and there are a few restaurants there where you can chill such as: Baobab Pizzeria (scrumptious and affordable as mentioned before), La Plage Restaurant (expensive), and The Boat House itself offers some creole buffet experience that could be interesting to check out. Other than these three, there are several take-away stalls on the street behind La Plage Restaurant from where one can buy a sufficient and affordable meal (we of course couldn’t check many things out ’cause halal food issues). On the other hand, you could also get some juices and coconut water there so that’s the good part. Also I’ve been told that every Wednesday there’s a market sort of thing along Beau Vallon (same area behind La Plage Restaurant), where you can enjoy lots of street food, fresh produce, local art and handicrafts as well as live music.
We were also recommended to check out Marie Antoinette Restaurant in Beau Vallon but couldn’t, so I thought it might be a good idea for you to explore and let me know? 🙂 It is in a historic old homestead and the food is typical Creole. I have heard that its a 5 course meal and they bring it all at once and it’s probably just about SCR 285 – which is a good value considering eating out in Seychelles can cost a lot.
3) SAN SOUCIS PASS / THE MISSION LODGE:
We went here on recommendation of our host as well! And we really did not regret it. This is basically a road, however, quite scenic all the way! At the end of the road you reach a view point/sanctuary sort of place called “The Mission Lodge”. We simply LOVED this place. It’s not a commercial type of place, nor is it a touristy kind (although tourists do come here). It was a heritage sanctuary that offers beautiful walking trails lined with several trees such as guava, mahogany and sandal. The whole place smelt like vanilla or cinnamon – HEAVENLY! There is a small sheltered view point as well that offers spectacular views of central Mahe and the west coast.
Some other places listed below were recommended to us in Mahe by our host, Marilyn, but we couldn’t check them out 😦
– Jardin du Roi: This is a spice garden with an interesting history. The forest walk is particularly nice with large Coco de Mer palms growing wild. A little restaurant there, I have heard, has the most fabulous cinnamon ice-cream.
– Botanical Gardens
– Anyone interested in hiking/walking – there are some lovely walks in the forest (Le Morne Seychelles National Park) – tickets and maps available from the Botanical Gardens.
4) ISLAND HOPPING:
The main island where you land from your flight is Mahe. If you wish to stay there for the entire time that’s okay. But if you are on a longer trip, say 6-8 days, then you might get bored. In my opinion, (depending on how speedy and energetic of a traveller you are), you can cover Mahe in just about 3-4 days. If you wish to explore more, I highly recommend that you go island hopping and visit some of the other islands as well. If not all, at least try to accommodate a tour of Praslin and La Digue.
Tiny, quiet La Digue, Seychelles
Praslin has some of the best beaches I have ever seen. You can read more about Praslin in this blog post. La Digue is popular for its village-like vibe. Its quaintness is exemplary and the serenity in the air is something to really die for. You can explore the entire La Digue island on a rented bicycle and that’s a whole lot of fun! Details about La Digue are in this blog post.
Beaches of Praslin, Seychelles
Sunsets in Praslin, Seychelles
Trips to these islands can be arranged by your hotel (just ask them to help you out) and if you want to DIY then just drop in at the Cat Cocos Berth in Mahe (location) and book a round trip ferry ticket for Praslin or La Digue. You can check their website for updated rates and can even book online at: https://booking.catcocos.com/
If you don’t wish to stay long here then only a day trip to these islands can also be done. You might have to check the ferry schedule and duration of the journey for that and plan accordingly. Also the ferries are mostly on time.
Q) Is Seychelles just like the Maldives?
A) Well, it’s a collection of islands, like Maldives. But it is not exactly like Maldives. A lot of people have this misconception that if you’ve already been on an island getaway, then what’s the point of doing another. I feel that when you go to Maldives, you are bound to the resort or island only as most islands are owned by resort chains. Island hopping becomes a bit costlier in Maldives. In Maldives, you might have to go exclusively to some islands to learn about local life. You will not be able to easily access the main city from your luxurious water villa. Seychelles is better in that aspect that you can rent a car and roam around freely on the entire island, interact with locals and then return to your accommodation after having a unique cultural experience.
Q) Whats the best season to visit Seychelles?
A) In my opinion, you can go here all year round! Because the country is located in a tropical belt, therefore the weather is not too hot and not too cold. April to October is a good time to visit when the weather is slightly warm and the skies are the crispiest shade of blue. From November to May, you can expect a lot of overcast skies and rainfall on and off with short gaps of warm golden sunshine. I visited in November and although it rained quite often, it was never always raining.
Q) Who should ideally visit Seychelles?
Young couples looking for an escape from work-life. Old retired couples looking for quiet time. Honeymooners. Group of boys (who want to chill). Group of girls (who want to chill). Anyone who wants to chill. Art and culture lovers – there are art galleries all over Mahe! Families with babies who don’t care where they are and only want food and a diaper change. If you have toddlers, they might get bored because there are not much activities for kids like malls and amusement parks.
Q) Is it good to hire a car or explore through bus?
If you can drive, I recommend you rent a car and freely explore the place. But if you want to travel by bus, there are bus stops all across the island.
Q) Is it tough to drive at Mahe because of the windy and curvy roads?
Not at all! As I mentioned above, we had the best time driving all over the coastal roads of Mahe and Praslin. The drive only gets a tiny bit windy when you go uphill or pass through the Valle de Mai road in Praslin, but otherwise it’s cool breeze.
One of the best driving experiences ever
Q) Is it safe to drink tap water in Seychelles?
Tap water is totally safe to drink. However, it has a slight chlorinated taste due to which most people like to boil it first. If you don’t want that hassle, you can buy bottled water.
Q) Is it safe for solo female travellers?
The entire country is absolutely safe for solo female travellers. Women have no issues moving around at any hour of the day. Practice basic safety measures like you would in any country and you’ll be good to go. The people are friendly, speak English and French, and never really mess around with you. It gets a little dark at night so carry a flashlight with you if you plan on staying outdoors till late (which you most likely won’t because things close down around 8PM).
Q) How much is the visa cost?
The visa is free and on-arrival.
Q) What are the major cons of a vacation in Seychelles?
If you hail from a South Asian country like me, you’d find it costlier than many far eastern countries like Thailand and Malaysia. Also if you are a Muslim, finding halal food can be a big challenge.
Q) I am a big adventure junkie and I want to go to Seychelles just for the water sports. What is your opinion on this?
You are making a mistake. You will find better water sports and activities in Thailand. Also do not expect to find beach parties and night-life in Seychelles. There are certain “events” that do happen in Seychelles at some time in the year, for example, the Seychelles Sailing Cup and International Fishing Competition.
Q) What budget should I keep in mind for a vacation in Seychelles?
For starters you can do your own math (I have listed cost of each and every thing above). Decide how many days you want to go for, multiply the per night cost of your chosen hotel, add in the ticket fare, ferry cost (if you’re opting for island hopping), keep some extra for food and emergencies and there you have your total cost of the trip! Roughly for two people a very comfortable trip of 7-8 days would cost around PKR 400-500k.
Q) How can I bring the cost down?
You can plan for less number of days, stay in a cheaper hotel, opt out of island-hopping, and cook your own food to bring the cost down.
Good to Know
- Keep an umbrella just in case it rains 🙂
- Everything (money changers, shops, restaurants – EVERYTHING) is closed in Seychelles on Sundays so plan accordingly. Only Spar supermarket and Chatterbox Cafe were open on Sunday at Eden Plaza.
- In Praslin, MAS is a good store if you are looking for Indian spices for cooking etc. The guy also exchanges currency and provides local SIM cards. It’s also open on Sundays. Location: https://goo.gl/maps/pKD2Ri8i7nM2
- For ferry transfers, opt for Upper Deck seats for the most amazing experience. Also a good way to avoid motion sickness.
- When you arrive, the immigration queue at Mahe airport is very long! If you have immediate transfers after the flight, do keep some time margin in between. I don’t know why the queue was so long, it was only one flight that had landed – ours. We almost missed our shuttle to the jetty.
- If you plan to visit Victoria, keep in mind that you might have to pay for parking if you have a car.
- Some beaches don’t have restaurants around, so do your research ahead of time and pack a light picnic lunch with you. Also carry water as the sun can dehydrate you.
- Most of the beaches are free to visit except for Anse Source d’ Argent in La Digue which charges you a fee of SCR 100 per person.
- Anse Georgette in Praslin requires you to book beforehand at Constance Hotel. Just call them up and let them know you want to come. It’s a beautiful beach!
That’s all folks! If you like this post, please comment below and let me know! Share it with your friends and family and bug them to go to Seychelles with you! It’s worth everything. If there is anything that I missed out or if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me or message me on Facebook/Instagram.
Until next time 🙂