The islands on the Indian Ocean, Seychelles and the Maldives have all the makings of a classic tropical island vacation, but each offers surprisingly diverse experiences to its visitors. One of the most daunting questions we are asked is, Maldives vs Seychelles, which is better? When the question clearly needs to be, which one will suit me better! If you compare the two islands, the Maldivian vacation will cost you less than a holiday in Seychelles.
Here are a few more questions that should arise in your mind. Where can you find the best beaches? Where should you dive? What if you are not a water person? Which one will deliver the most value for time and money? Fret not. Behold our handy guide to planning your next island vacation in the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives grants a tourist visa for all nationalities upon arrival, and Seychelles gives a visitor's permit. So none of the islands requires a prior visa. However, you must meet the basic entry requirements to get clearance upon arrival - A valid passport, booking confirmation of stay and onward travel, and adequate money to cover all expenses for the entire trip duration.
Maldives: A tropical country located across the equator, Maldives sees an average temperature of 30-degree Celsius. While the weather is mostly sunny and humid throughout the year, one can expect tropical rain showers from May to October. The best time to visit the country is between November and April. December-March is the peak season, and May-November is a relatively lean season. Christmas-New Year is the busiest and most expensive period of the peak season.
Seychelles: The weather in Seychelles is usually warm and beach-perfect year-round. However, the best time to visit the country is from April to May and October to November. May-August is the peak season, December-April is the hottest, and January-March is the wettest period and naturally the off-season. The short tropical downpours are then followed by sunshine.
Maldives: Malé International Airport (MLE) is the main airport, connecting the Maldives to all major countries in South-East Asia, including India, China and Sri Lanka. Despite its geographic isolation, the Maldives is easily accessible by air from anywhere in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Hence, it is served by all major airlines in the region and several charter flights from Europe Scandinavian countries. Best rates for this route are possible when you book 6-7 months before your travel dates. The Maldives is a five-hour journey from India, forty-five minutes from Colombo, three hours from Dubai, four hours from Singapore and nine to eleven hours from London.
Seychelles: Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) in Victoria is the main airport, connecting the country to all major countries in South-East Asia, including India, China and Sri Lanka. Best rates for this route are usually available when you book 6-7 months before your travel dates. There are frequent transportation modes available from Seychelles to Bali, Auckland, Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam. The journey takes nearly four and a half hours from India, Colombo, and Dubai and ten hours from London.
Maldives: Following a 'one island, one resort' approach, the Maldives bears a promise of exclusivity. The charm of Maldives is in its islands, its resorts, each displaying a unique character and a taste for luxury. Serving over-the-top luxury on a platter, the Maldivian experience entails a private beach, infinity pool, dive centre, house reef, indulgent spas, gourmet cuisine, and exceptional overwater villas. Floating breakfasts, over-water hammocks, overnight stay in private islands, excursions on liveaboards, and dining on the meals prepared by Michelin star chefs, think of an experience, and there will be a resort offering just that.
Seychelles: Home to rare ecological marvels such as giant Aldabra tortoises, coral reefs, and natural reserves, live out your adventuresome tropical island fantasy at Seychelles. Visit the renowned Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Praslin, which harbours black parrot, the rare national bird and the primitive Coco De Mer Palm, which bears the world's largest and heaviest seed. Hike to the humble abode of giant Aldabra tortoises and indulge in another immersive ecological experience. Ideal for the active traveller that loves exploring on vacation, Seychelles is a perfect mix of bustling towns and large islands, coupled with a slice of tropical paradise.
Maldives: Carnival of tropical fishes and hawksbill turtles have been recorded as living around the islands. All resorts have their diving school, and most have access to the house reefs. Go snorkelling in the lagoon, watch an open-air cinema on the beach, or try stand-up paddleboarding at sunrise, or ride those mighty waves. Or you could simply loll about, sipping Pina Coladas or receiving the Maldivian signature massages. Swim with whale sharks in the south and feed hammerhead sharks at Hammerhead Point in the north. No matter how you go about the day, settle in for one of the most transcendently beautiful Maldivian sunsets.
Do you fancy an island to yourself? This is for you.
Seychelles: Haven for sailing, parasailing, fishing, snorkelling and diving with dive sites varying from 8-30 metres, Seychelles is an adventure hub for travellers. For a riveting experience, why don't you go on a spice trail across the 'Vanilla Islands', a nature reserve, botanical garden and a heritage museum? You can also cycle around La Digue island or hop on quaint hooded oxcarts adorned with coconut leaves and flowers. At the 200-year-old rum distillery Takamaka Bay, watch how sugarcane transforms into rum and learn how tea is made at Seychelles Tea Factory. Dance the Sega and traditional dances like Mutzya or Moutia, or hike across the myriad reserves. Do you fancy an immersive vacation? This is for you.
Maldives: The cuisine that the Maldives offers derives familiarity from East Asia, East Africa and Arabia. Several dishes imbibe the flavour of the rich spices of India and Sri Lanka. Smoked fish, spicy soup, chicken and vegetable curries with local flavour are delectable. For breakfast, locals swear by 'Mashuni' prepared by mixing coconut, onions and chilli with freshly caught tuna.
Seychelles: The cuisine that Seychelles offers derives familiarity from French, African, Indian and Chinese flavours. Locals swear by chicken curry, dhal (lentils), seafood and curries with rice. Fish is a staple to the cuisine. It is steamed, grilled, baked, salted, smoked or wrapped in banana leaves.
1 Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) is about 4.61 INR, and one Seychellois Rupee (SCR) equals 5.23 INR.
Maldives: Maldives is an Islamic country, and public display of affection is frowned upon in the local islands. Beach exposure and nudity are strictly prohibited, and you can wear bikinis on the resort island but not on the local islands.
Seychelles: When in Seychelles, remember to not click pictures of strangers without their consent as it is deemed an invasion of privacy and has repercussions. Nude bathing is forbidden in the country.
The competition between the two destinations is not really fair, so we hope the comparison helped you better understand your preferences. While the visa requirements, weather and tropical vibes remain the same for both of these island nations, the primary difference lies in how much you want to explore.
As they say, Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Give it some time, some research, and sure you will find precisely what you were looking for. If you choose the Maldives, reach out and let us plan your dream island getaway.