Sun & Sand … Seychelles

Beachy destinations, tropical islands and white untarnished sands have enriched our planet since time immemorial, and yet my dogged search for that perfect elusive destination remained -the Utopia DiCaprio so feverishly sought in the 2000 Hollywood thriller ‘The Beach’.

Lucky enough to have dipped in a few oceans and earned myself a tan at some picturesque locales, the picture-perfect blend of tranquility and majestic seascapes, baked to the perfect mercury level, lingered on my bucket list for a while. But when the Twin Otter – 400 aircraft carrying the Air Seychelles logo touched down in Mahé, Seychelles, 1,500 kilometers off the African east coast, I could have sworn the runway, peppered with mountains on either side, seemed alarmingly identical to the landing strip on Isla Sorna (of the Jurassic Park fame)!

Home to the capital Victoria and the international airport, Mahé is the largest of a 115-island archipelago that collaboratively constitutes the country of Seychelles. A relatively quick taxi ride through the winding streets and vibrant bazaars, that offer a hint of cosmopolitan touch, soon made me realize the luxuriating tone for what was yet to come. A short while later, I found myself cozying up at the Bel Ombre jetty lounge sipping welcome coconut drinks, as I waited for my ride to the 3rd largest island in the archipelago, Silhouette Island, that resided 20 kilometers northwest of Mahé. The Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa journey was a mesmerizing 35-minute ride away across the choppy, but bluest welcoming waters I’d ever seen. As the speedboat bounced across the Indian Ocean with the finesse of a dolphin, we soon arrived at the island, sprayed by the occasional mist along the way. The island itself was untouched and pristine.

With a welcoming cup of soothing citronella tea in my hand, the organized staff swiftly whisked me away to the King Beachfront Villa I had so ardently, and somewhat spontaneously, splurged on. To be honest, I enjoy travelling alone, and the serenity slash ‘me’ time that comes as an added bonus fuels my very sanity and gives me the patience the spend the next couple of months confined to a cubicle. And boring as it may sound, I like to plan my holidays in advance with ample time set aside for water activities such as scuba diving, writing assignments and infinite lazy time. Indulging in one outdoor activity a day, I utilized the afternoons to tax my creative juices before exploring local cuisines and dinner spreads.

But while admiring the high wooden ceiling, the indoor and outdoor rain shower, the spacious daybed ideal for an afternoon siesta or the lavish patio that opened up into a private beach, I stepped onto the untarnished sands and casually strolled towards the turquoise-shaded, glistening oceanic water. That’s when it struck me.

The idyllic beachy paradise I had been so passionately seeking all this time was right here. The magical realm of picturesque beauty was Seychelles indeed!

Swimmer or not, I would definitely recommend scuba diving or, at the bare minimum, snorkeling along the coastline, especially since clear waters allow for unparalleled views of the aquatic flora and fauna. Dolphins, turtles and other aquatic species are just a few captivating sights you could never experience through your 3D wallpaper. For the less adventurous, or when one might feel too lazy for a sporty event, the Flintstone-like Silhouette Spa could be an excellent choice for the honeymooning couple that is looking to be pampered, or even for the solo traveller who has been craving that hot basalt stone massage. Carved in rock and built around the au naturel sprawling jungles, the wooden floorboards perched atop granite and swaying palm trees outside the window almost entirely rejuvenated my aching spirit in all of 60 minutes.

Falling in love with Silhouette Island, Seychelles is not an option. If you’re not charmed yet, walk back from the spa and look for nature’s finest architecture. Pristine white sands dissolving into blue ocean waters, with the most splendiferous assortment of jet black rocks peppered against the white backdrop.

It’s been three years since I last stepped on that paradisiacal beach, but not even the most stunning of Ultra HD 4K wallpapers even comes close to the idyllic sun and sand of Seychelles.

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