I am now 30 weeks pregnant and because we wanted a last hurrah before the second baby came, we decided to take a “babymoon” in one of the top destinations on my bucket list-the Seychelles! We first considered going someplace closer like Egypt but the pull of Seychelles was just irresistible. Flying to the Seychelles from Jeddah only takes about nine hours via Ethiopian Airlines (including the layover in Addis Ababa) so it wouldn’t be such a long flight. Seychelles is also visa-free for all tourists, which is great.
We flew from King Abdulaziz International Airport to Seychelles International Airport in Mahe where our pre-booked car was waiting for us. It took Jose a while to get used to driving on the left side of the road and we had a few close calls but we survived!
We decided to stay on two islands – Mahe, the biggest island, and Praslin, the second biggest. On both islands it’s advisable to rent a car if you plan on visiting other beaches and points of interest because it’s so hilly in the Seychelles that riding a bike takes a lot of effort. Although taking a bus is cheap, we wanted the freedom of going anywhere at any time.
We booked the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino despite some bad reviews because it was right in front of Beau Vallon Beach and was relatively cheap. It’s not the best hotel but they have a (sad) tortoise pen, a swimming pool, several restaurants and even a (small) casino.
We spent a lot of time checking out other beaches and they were amazing! My favorite is the Port Launay Beach close to the Constance Ephelia resort. The white sand, trees that provide ample shade and blue waters with a backdrop of hills and islands were just incredibly relaxing.
We took a one-hour ferry ride to Praslin. It was incredibly expensive – $260 roundtrip for 2 adults (Jasmine was free). Apparently it is cheaper to book online.
Praslin is definitely nicer than Mahe because it is smaller and has fewer people. We stayed at the Acajou Beach Resort, which was fantastic. The only complaint I have is that the waves were quite violent so the beach was unsuitable for Jasmine. Some people told me that it was because of the full moon and it’s pull on the waters.
We went to Vallee de Mai, a coco de mer nature reserve. The coco de mer is a kind of palm that has the largest seeds of any plant in the world.
We also went to Curieuse Island, a natural park that has giant tortoises. They were wonderful to see but they were like old furniture as they made creaking noises with every movement.
Jasmine was scared at first but loosened up when we gave her leaves to feed the tortoises. There’s something calming about feeding animals, I guess.
We then went snorkeling near St. Pierre Island and the waters were just brimming with fish…and tiny jellyfish. I got stung A LOT but thankfully did not have any sort of allergic reaction. I also visited my doctor when we got back to KAUST and everything is okay with the baby, thank God! It’s a good thing we didn’t didn’t put Jasmine in the water.
The Seychelles is truly an amazing place and a once-in-a-lifetime destination for us. I’m glad we went. At KAUST Jose works non-stop and into late hours of the night. But on our holiday we took afternoon naps with Jasmine, watched movies on the laptop on the balcony, and rested like there was no tomorrow. Of course we had to deal with toddler drama (of which there were many) but overall, no regrets!
One thing to note though is that food is generally expensive in the Seychelles. It costs around $25 per person for a cheap meal at a restaurant and that figure only goes up, not down. A cheaper alternative would be to buy from take-away restaurants but even then it’s around $10 for a take-away box of rice, meat and some vegetables that would be equivalent to $3 in Taiwan.
Oh yes, another thing is to note is that if possible, have your dollars or euros changed at the bank, where the exchange rate is probably around 13 Seychellois Rupees to 1 US dollar. You can use dollars or euros there BUT every single place has their own exchange rate. Can you imagine one restaurant at the Berjaya charged us 9 Rupees to a dollar? Strange but another restaurant at the same hotel charged us 12 I think. Every single establishment has their own conversion rate and it was hard not to feel ripped off at times. So yes, get your money changed to rupees if possible.