We often get asked by our customers what the difference is between the Seychelles and the Maldives and which is the better place to go to. It can be tricky to compare the two island nations as they seem so similar so we’ve provided a guide so you can see which destination suits you the best.
A seaplane in the Maldives
The first thing that you should consider when deciding between locations is how happy you are flying and if you want to fly directly to somewhere. If you are based in the UK then British Airways is beginning direct flights to Mahe Island in the Seychelles from London Heathrow from March 2018 with a travel time of around 10 hours. The travel time to the Maldives is around the same and you can again fly direct to Male island in the Maldives from London Gatwick. However, a lot of people travel here via Sri Lanka if they want to combine two destinations in one holiday.
If you are travelling from the US the travel time is equally long for both locations at anything upwards of 24 hours with a stop along the way. Emirates offer flights from JFK International New York Airport that fly via Dubai to both the Maldives and the Seychelles.
So if it’s accessibility you’re considering, both the Seychelles and the Maldives are on an equal playing field whether you’re flying from the UK or the US.
An outdoor restaurant at the Domaine de L’Orangeraie in the Seychelles
The Seychelles is an archipelago made up of 115 islands just off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. This makes the Seychelles the ideal place to pair with a safari trip to South Africa, Tanzania or Kenya for a relaxing end to your holidays. There are many different options of islands to stay on, however, the most popular options are Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Bird Island and Denis Private Island.
The landscapes found on the islands of the Seychelles can differ greatly from one another, meaning there are new horizons to be seen almost anywhere you go. The Seychelles is renowned just as much for its lush greenery as it is for its picture-perfect beaches where you’ll find luxury resorts nestled into the hills to give you the best views over the beaches and the sea. The beaches found in the Seychelles have been voted among some of the best in the world and are perfect for those longing for powdery, white sandy beaches they can lay on all day soaking in the sun.
The Seychelles isn’t just for relaxing though as there are many small little villages and towns you can visit on some of the islands where you can mix with locals, soak up the local culture and find areas of authenticity in a tourist-y destination. It is also definitely the place for those who love animals and wildlife as the islands are home to some of the most fascinating creatures on earth such as the giant Aldabra tortoises on Praslin island. The islands are perfect for snorkelling to explore the coral reefs, and you can explore on land via the many walking trails that can be found or by bike. Some islands here are completely private with only one resort offering plenty of privacy and seclusion whilst others share the island with other resorts, giving you more choice if you want to explore or wish to eat somewhere different for example.
When it comes to the Maldives, seclusion and privacy can be found much more here as the majority of the islands only have one resort on them. This collection of over 1000 coral islands is also just as famous for its vast array of beautiful, picturesque beaches – making you almost spoilt for choice. Due to the resorts being on their own individual islands this is the place for those looking for utmost privacy and to get away from crowds of tourists. You can pretty much step outside the resorts straight onto the beach where you can find your own little spot to enjoy all to yourself.
There aren’t lots of different places to explore in the Maldives like towns, villages or mountains to hike, and so is much more suited for those who like their holidays to consist of kicking back, relaxing and taking some much needed ‘me-time’. You can, however, enjoy lots of different watersports here with dolphin watching, catamaran sailing, scuba diving, snorkelling and more regularly on offer at the different resorts and this is one of the most beautiful places in the world to come and snorkel.
If scenery and exploring is for you, definitely choose the Seychelles, but if relaxing, privacy and TLC are your thing then the Maldives will be much more up your street.
An overwater bungalow at the LUX South Ari Atoll Resort in the Maldives
One of the most asked questions we get is whether people can stay in the beautiful overwater bungalows that are often seen on many an Instagram feed, tempting many with the direct access to crystal-clear lagoons and the stunning marine wildlife below.
These awe-inspiring structures can be found in the majority of the resorts in the Maldives. Whilst not necessarily the most budget option to stay in, they are definitely a must for that ultimate Maldives experience. Some offer private pools and jacuzzis, slides into the lagoons, bedrooms with glass doors that open up to the ocean, rainfall showers and private deckings from which to watch the most spectacular sunsets. We would normally recommend spending half the trip in a beach bungalow first to keep it more cost-friendly before moving onto an overwater bungalow for the remainder of the holiday. If you really want to splash out though you can, of course, spend the whole time in an overwater bungalow if you wanted to and live the ultimate island-escape fantasy.
In the Seychelles, overwater bungalows are not yet a thing and so there isn’t actually anywhere you can enjoy these amazing accommodations in this region. That isn’t to say the accommodation options here aren’t as amazing though. A lot of the resorts offer private villas resembling treehouses that are built into the green, forest-covered mountains high up giving you the best views of the sun setting over the ocean. Most of the rooms offer balconies, private pools with extensive space on the inside, decorated in a much more modern fashion. The hotels found here are some of the most luxurious on the planet.
In regards to getting to the resorts, in both locations, a seaplane or a speedboat is normally required. After arriving at the main airport on either Mahe island (the Seychelles) or Male island (the Maldives) you would be met by a representative of the resort who will guide you either to your seaplane or speedboat. Sometimes you can have the option of what kind of transfer you would like to experience (depending on the resort in question) and so you can personalise your trip a little more. These transfers can normally take from anywhere between 15-45 minutes and only operate during daylight hours. This means if you have a flight arriving or departing at a less sociable hour that you may require a night on the main island of either location in order to ensure you make your flight.
In the Seychelles, the influence is distinctly East African and so you’ll find traditional Creole cooking alongside more familiar dishes. In the Maldives, the cuisine is quite varied but the majority of influence derives from Asian and Indian culture.
When it comes to privacy the Maldives is normally recommended as the majority of the islands are very private and intimate, however, the Seychelles offers both islands for privacy and islands for those that like to explore and socialise.
Maia Resort in the Seychelles
At OutOfOffice.com, we’ve successfully sent LGBT clients to both resorts. When it comes to choosing a destination based solely on its gay-friendliness then the Seychelles slightly have the edge over the Maldives.
That’s because it’s not actually illegal in the Seychelles to be gay whereas it is illegal in the Maldives. The Seychelles is one of the only places in Africa where this is the case and the locals here are very friendly and used to accepting LGBT tourists. In terms of checking into resorts, you’ll have no problem enjoying a gay honeymoon in the Seychelles and will be able to enjoy the same honeymoon benefits as straight couples when booking through us (as we only work with LGBT friendly properties), however, gay marriages and civil unions are not legally recognised here.
In the Maldives, it is a little different. Technically it is illegal to be gay here, however, with it being such a hub for tourism accepting people of all kinds from around the world it is very relaxed regarding LGBT couples and so the culture here differs from the law in that sense. All of the resorts we work with in the Maldives are LGBT friendly and are thoroughly vetted by us to ensure the utmost respect for our customers. The worst sort of discrimination you may get here is the occasional hints of ignorance from a minority of resort workers however this is very rare. We send many gay couples to the Maldives who have the most fabulous time and come home having not had any problems at all. Again, same-sex marriages and civil unions are not recognised here but the resorts we work with offer all of the same honeymoon benefits to LGBT couples that they do to straight couples.
If you are someone who is very cautious of LGBT laws in countries you are travelling to then we would definitely say the Seychelles is a better option for you. If you are someone who is willing to explore a place where the law and culture can be different then we would definitely say the Maldives is a great place to experience that.
Whichever option you decide to pick for your next trip, both are absolutely amazing options and should be at the top of everybody’s bucket lists. To find out more about either location or to find out more about holidaying in either destination call one of our specialist Travel Concierges who would be more than happy to assist with giving you all of their valuable knowledge and experiences.