There were a lot of places we were considering for this trip but due to my condition (I am currently pregnant!), we decided to go to Seychelles instead as it is just 5 hours away from Doha.
Seychelles is an island in the Indian Ocean just east of Africa and the Maldives a little farther east. It is famous among its African neighbours as well as European visitors due to its amazing and calm beaches. It is not as popular as the Maldives but I think it is for the better as it is not so commercialized yet. It almost has the same tropical vibes of rural Philippines with its trees and environment.
Philippine and Moroccan passport holders are visa-free to enter the country for 90 days so we didn’t have that issue of acquiring visas. We just have to get our tickets and hotel accommodation and pack our bags and we were ready to go!
Since purchasing separate airfare and hotel accommodation are quite expensive — it costs around QAR 4,500 (Php 66,500) roundtrip per person — we decided to get a holiday package from Qatar Airways Holidays (www.qatarairwaysholidays.com). They have flight+hotel packages to a lot of destinations and you can decide how long your vacation is, how many persons travelling and what type of hotel you want to stay.
We chose to stay for 5D4N with breakfast at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Resort (www.berjayahotel.com/mahe) in the main island Mahe on a Standard Room. Also, there is only one scheduled direct flight every day going in and out of Seychelles — 2AM from Doha and 630PM to Doha. The total package for two people is QAR 10,500 (Php 156,000) which is already a good deal to consider since the resort is 4-star and is very known in the area. Roundtrip airport transfer is optional at $110 (Php 5,900) for two people.
The hotel is nice and the staff were very accommodating especially the Filipina Duty Manager Tere Dullan. She was so helpful to us all throughout our stay and answered our queries with a smile. Her Filipino husband is the F&B Manager of the hotel and another Filipino guy (I’m sorry I forgot the name!) who is the Assistant Manager of the main restaurant there. They are so approachable not only to me but to other guests as well and they made us feel at home with their presence. There is also another Filipino lady at the massage place who accommodated my request for a maternity massage and made me feel so relaxed.
However, I felt that Seychelles is only for those who want pure relaxation and not much nightlife. The establishments along the main road close as early as 6PM while the hotel bars and restos along the beach close around 10PM or 11PM latest. I tried walking alone along the main road at 830PM after I went to an acoustic bar in another hotel, and I greatly regretted it. I was alone on the road and there were locals who somehow will freak you out as they were walking unsteadily while singing loudly and will try to grab you. After that incident, my husband forbade me to go alone outside the resort. And going to the capital Victoria is also not an option as you can only either ride a bus at 945AM going to and 5PM going back to the resort. It is a cheap 20 minute-ride at SCR 7 (Php 28) per way but you have to reserve your seat a day prior. Taking a taxi will cost you SCR 300 (Php 1,200) per way which was a no-no for us as there wasn’t much to see in Victoria anyway. They say the best place to go is the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market but mostly the items to buy are fresh produce and we can’t cook at the hotel.
Almost all resorts are fully equipped with all you need for your stay — different restaurants, play area for the kids, pools, souvenir shops and diving/snorkelling packages. They even all have a mini zoo where the Aldabra Giant Tortoises, one of the largest tortoises in the world and endemic in Seychelles, are taken cared of. And if you are a watersports enthusiast, they have lots to offer here and you will enjoy the serenity of the beach and the clear blue sky. You can also watch people playing beach volleyball or just try to sunbathe and get some tan.
I can say the prices are a little bit expensive compared to other countries I’ve been to but still worth it if you just want some peace and quiet moments. The beach is superb and the hotel is great too and all we needed were there so nothing to worry about. Just spending time at the pool area after brunch was already a good time spent for me while my husband liked walking along the beach or just watched the people playing volleyball.
After all the stress and challenges we encountered this year, I am still so thankful that I get to travel as I have intended to do so yearly. I was a little bit sad when I had to cancel my trip to Jordan and Israel in November due to my pregnancy and this trip is the replacement. Well, it wasn’t a smooth plane ride but still worth it.