I very much appreciate other people’s travel reviews and advice that I read and rely upon when planning and booking my trip(s) so I have decided to share my journey.
I recently traveled to Dubai and the Seychelles and recommend several “must do’s”.
In Dubai tourists can use credit cards for most things, but it’s a good idea to have some local currency, Dirhams. If you order some from your bank make sure they know to provide small denominations. When I went to pick up 500 Dirhams my bank handed me one 500 Dirham bill! Can you imagine a tourist landing in Canada and asking someone to change a 500 dollar bill?! But, no worries, I was able to change the Dirhams at the Dubai airport into smaller bills.
I travelled with US dollars, Dirhams and Euros and was happy I did so. I used my US money to convert to more Euros in the Seychelles as cab drivers were happy to receive the Euros. I converted some Euros to 3,000 Seychelles Rupees at the Mahe Airport for small incidentals. I also bought 12 GB of data (SIM card) from Cable & Wireless at the Mahe Airport.
During my first visit to Dubai I stayed at the Habtoor Grand Resort which has a huge gym, fabulous pool and a beach where guests can walk for miles or ride a camel. It is located at JBR Walk which is a bustling waterfront promenade known for its shopping and dining choices. One negative is the night club nearby which booms loud music most nights. However, the resort was very accommodating when I asked for a quieter room and I ended up with an entire suite!
In Dubai don’t miss the following: the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building). The views are spectacular! Try to visit just before sunset and watch the Dubai fountain from above; Burj Al Arab hotel for cocktails; the View at The Palm to see the Palm Jumeirah, an archipelago of artificial islands; the Museum of the Future; the Dubai Mall (personal favs are the aquarium, Angelina, Tiffany inspired Blue Box cafe & Zenon to name a few!); Miracle Garden; the beach.
I also recommend the following: GetYourGuide Grand Mosque & Louvre tour (Abu Dhabi); GetYourGuide Sunset Camel Trip with Belly Dancers & Tanoura; Frying Pan Adventures - Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage and Dubai Souks & Creekside Food walk(s). All Fab!
This trip I stayed at Dukes The Palm and enjoyed the lazy river, pool, the beach, Khyber for Indian food (15th floor) and visiting The View at The Palm accessed from the Nakheel Mall.
Then off to beautiful Seychelles - a 4 hour flight from Dubai. I stayed at Fisherman’s Cove on Mahe in a splendid ocean view room which was designed to enjoy the view from every angle - including from the glass shower, the tub and even the toilet! The resort features a infinity pool, two top notch restaurants, a sunset bar and a lovely long beach that I walked twice a day.
Please note that there are many self-catering options on the islands to choose from but, as I was traveling solo, I chose to stay at resorts for my own comfort level.
I toured Mahe with Michael Thomas @seydiscoverytour. I contacted Michael prior to my arrival to discuss what I wanted to see and booked him in advance. His tour was fabulous and he provided great insight into the island. Must do’s: Marie Antoinette for Creole food and their passionfruit mojito!; Victoria (smallest capital city in the world); the Natural Museum of History; the clock tower; Hindu temple; hike the Anse Major trail and visit the Botanical Gardens (ten minute walk from town centre) for an initial encounter with the Aldabra giant tortoises.
After 3.5 days on Mahe I took the Cat Cocos ferry to Praslin for 4 days. Book the ferry ahead of time (plus your transfers to and from the terminal). It’s a high speed ferry which takes one hour to get from Mahe to Praslin. I went in October - the calm sea season.
I stayed at Paradise Sun Hotel which I felt had a Robinson Crusoe vibe with wooden sliding balcony doors that guests locked at night and softly lit winding footpaths. Upon arrival the receptionist asked, “Did anyone tell you about the sand flies”? Nope. But, I was prepared for this trip. I had deet wipes (I can’t carry aerosols in my carry-on bag), afterbite, cough and cold meds (just in case), Benadryl, Band-Aids, sunscreen and UV protective swim tops! Upon her advice I did purchase a small bottle of coconut oil which supposedly repels sand flies. I had no issues - except for the large, speedy spider that darted into my room one evening. He didn’t last long as I recalled seeing a can of Raid in the bathroom which was quickly put into use!!!
The resort was nice - with loads of sun loungers and umbrellas by the beach. The beach was stunning - 3km - great for walking. There were a couple of convenience stores about half way along which were handy. The pool was small for the size of the resort - and, full of kids with beach balls except for around tea time (great scones) between 4-5pm each afternoon, which luckily coincided with my return times from my excursions. The food was excellent.
From Praslin I toured by boat to St. Pierre (snorkeling), Curieuse (giant free roaming tortoises) and ferried to La Digue to see the world famous Anse Source D’Argent beach. All must do’s. I booked the boat tour to Curieuse and organized a bike rental for La Digue prior to arriving.
Seychelles are mostly known for their stunning beaches but, it is also home to Vallee de Mai on Praslin - a UNESCO World Heritage Site which consists of a palm forest of island endemic coco de mer palm trees which produce the largest seeds (double nut seeds) of any plant in the world. Awesome to see and I highly recommend hiking with a guide to learn about the forest.
My favorite island was La Digue, which has a very laid back island feel. Touring around on my turquoise bike was a true highlight and easy peasy. To the south there is a plantation to visit and Anse Source D’Argent - famous for the large granite boulders along it’s sandy shores. There’s a nice beach bar on the plantation - I stopped for the tiniest scoop of ice cream I’ve ever had! Traveling north of the ferry jetty I came upon the best beach bar ever - Bikini Bottom.
There is so much more to say about the Seychelles - the food was amazing everywhere (I had Barracuda, Job fish and Parrot fish - felt a little guilty having snorkeled with the latter), the fruit bats and large land crabs where cool to see and the islanders were very welcoming - go if you can.
I recommend 8-10 days for the Seychelles and definitely island hop.
I finished the trip back in Dubai and stayed at the Shangri-La. Awesome Burj Khalifa views from the room and the pool and very convenient to the subway, the Museum and Dubai Mall.
For those considering Dubai and/or the Seychelles I hope this BLOG helps ✈️