London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies

Seychelles versus Maldives – which one is for you?

Glorious Indian Ocean islands – Seychelles versus Maldives are a difficult pick.  They may be both bucket list material with their dazzling pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and luxury hotels gracefully spread around. Take a closer look and you may find however that one suits better your circumstances and fancies, than the other. We’ve been twice to both, 8 years apart and these are our findings.

1. Geology 

Seychelles central island group , including Mahé are granitic and dotting the Indian Ocean. Huge granite boulders adorn beaches and have been sheltering marine life since time immemorial.  We fell in love twice with Mahe lush mountainous centre whilst the beaches are flat white stretches. But even more enchanting, Seychelles is a leader in sustainable tourism with over 50% of the total land area under nature conservation – one world record!

The Maldives, are fragile rings of sand and living coral. The islands are flat, surrounded by pristine white sand beaches, and vary in size. Many of Maldives islands here are uninhabited, book unforgettable Robinson Crusoe-style experiences but in real life may feel rather elitist and secluded.

2. Size & proximity to landing point matters

Our favourite Maldives islands: Taj Exotica was 30 minutes boat transfer from Mahe and Angsana Velavaru – 30 minutes private plane from Mahe. Both could be walked end-to-end 20 minutes. At their narrowest parts, Taj Exotica is about 8 meters. Many of Maldives islands have a house reef, with incredible marine life just moments from the shore – perfect if you prefer snorkelling on your own terms.  At Taj Exotica we’d go snorkelling from the privacy of our own water villa and we’d know the resident fish by day 3. At Angsana Velavaru we loved the baby sharks by our own shore, but we’d prefer the daily snorkelling cruise trip to snorkelling in front of the beach villa.

3. Best activities

In the Maldives you go sightseeing underwater. The marine life is colourful and we have been blessed on our times to see manta rays at their feeding station close to Taj Exotica, sharks, dolphins, turtles and a tone of exotic beautiful fish . Dive sites are everywhere in the Maldives 26 atolls and 1000 islands. And join one of the sunset cruises for once in a lifetime dazzling experiences, very likely lots of dolphins will join!

Seychelles is playground for thrill-seekers, from rock climbing, to nature reserves, hiking the mangrove and blending with the locals,  kayaking and snorkelling and diving. Island hopping is popular here, whether it’s on board a boat from Mahe to Praslin to La Digue or splitting your time between a couple of resorts. The wildlife and flora in Seychelles is out of this world: Aldabra giant tortoises, flying foxes, huge spiders, Sechelles birds.

4. Things to do for kids

Both Seychelles and Maldives are the perfect destination for honeymooners but also extremely family-friendly and great for multi-generational travel. Pick the right resort, you may be like us begging your kids and toddler to get out of the kids club and join you on the beach to build a sandcastle!  With young kids or toddlers in Seychelles we loved Kempinski, whilst in Maldives we swear by Angsana Velavaru.

Seychelles versus Maldives with kids in tow may incline more towards an island like Mahe – tones of treking, hiking and exploring, plus wildlife and flora to be observed!

5. Rooms, hotels and villas

Maldives is home to more than two-thirds of the world’s overwater bungalows, built on stilts, direct access to the warm ocean and private swimming pool. We loved it pre-kids at Taj, and we tried one night at Vilu reef, it may have been good fun for the 4 years old but too stressful to let the toddler loose on the outside deck. Angsana Velavaru beach villa setting was perfect with young kids: the most pristine beach just in front of our villa, sunchairs and tables; in the back with the privacy of our villa the swimming pool, beds, outdoor and indoor showers, and garden. We spent the nights stargazing once children were in bed, sipping wine and listening to chill out music.

Accommodation in Seychelles is often built on a hillside or into the granite outcrops with views out over the ocean. Surrounded by tropical forests, the luxury villas are secluded and feel very private – an epitome of barefoot luxury with their sunken baths and private infinity pools. Four Season Seychelles and Banyan Tree fit exactly this bill and were such a treat.  But there’s also more hotel rooms for the budget conscious traveller keen to get to know Seychelles wonders without emptying the bank account. Décor styles range from Creole through to colonial and contemporary, and the types of rooms includes hillside and facing lush wetlands, rooms overlooking the ocean, beachfront suites and pool villas.

6. Hospitality and blending with locals

The Seychellois are laid back in their tropical  island paradise and have a charm of their own. We loved the taxi drivers, rent a car, hotels personnel, diving and conservation centre. So passionate about their country and protecting their own slice of paradise, Seychelles’ locals will easily persuade you that their country is the best! Former French and English colony, most of them speak well both. Majority of the population is Christian, with a small percentage of Hindus and Muslims; so one is free to wear whatever they like in Seychelles.

Wildlife & conservation Anse Intendance Mahe - Seychelles or Maldives with kids

Wildlife & conservation Anse Intendance Seychelles – feeding tortoises with the loveliest Seychellois lady at the pool bar

We also understand that local Maldivians are super friendly, but after 20+ days on different occasions we are still yet to meet one! Please also bear in mind this is a Muslim nation and one should dress conservatively in Male. Swimwear also not allowed on the beaches around the local villages but of course one is free to wear bikinis at the resort islands or on private beaches.

7. Dining & wining

Seychelles eclectic mix of cooking has deep roots from various colonies over the years. From French to African spices, Pan Asian to amazing sushi it’s created something uniquely Seychellois.  In January 2020 we found again the dining at Banyan Tree Seychelles outstanding: from the colonial house Chez Lamar, Thai signature Saffron and international Jardin d’Epices. We also absolutely adored Michelin star quality sushi at Koi, Four Seasons Sechelles. And for barefoot luxury and convenience with kids,  Windsong on the beach at Kempinski does it! All about fine dining to barefoot luxury gastronomy in here – it’s lovely hopping around Mahe and enjoying so much variety and fine cuisine! Seychelles versus Maldives on this topic is a winner.

Dining in the Maldives is an international affair, with most types of cuisines covered. Taj Exotica spoilt us with romantic candlelit dinners and with kids we loved the easy Angsana Velavaru beach bar – happy hours for grownups, early dinners, followed by early bed time for monkeys and villa dining for us.

8. Conservation and sustainability

Seychelles is a living museum of natural history and a sanctuary for some of the rarest species of flora and fauna – Anse Intendance for example is a great place to observe it in awe. Our kids loved the huge crabs by the shores by sunsets; the wetlands just few metres away are beaming with life: from common frogs, to tiny Seychelles sunbird and red flamboyant ones, to egrets, fodies and flying foxes (or fruit bats) The flora and Banyan Tree garden by the Conservation Centre is stunning: frangipani trees and exotic flowers, lemongrass, baby banana trees, green orange trees, papaya, mango, passion fruit, star fruit and even sugar cane.

Banyan Tree Seychelles tortoises at conservation centre

Banyan Tree Seychelles tortoises at conservation centre – feeding starfruit on a stick 🙂

Banyan Tree conservation centre closely monitors the activities for seaturtles and plenty of other wetland species which are under serious threat of extinction. The terrapins are one of them (in 2005 there were just 120 in the wild), so we considered ourselves super lucky to have met a couple! The conservation centre had also a veterinary Xray machine – broken wings for bats (or flying foxes) can be detected and fixed, terrapins and seaturtles injured and so on.

Angsana Velavaru Marine Lab runs talks twice a week on corral conservation and marine life protection. It’s thrilling and reassuring to see Banyan Tree and Angsana in action – best of class business practice about sustainability and protecting the environment. Also the Marine Lab runs daily sting rays feeds and talks every day at 5pm – 20 minutes of sweet engagement with graceful sting rays and very often baby sharks, very educational and spectacular. As a parent and passionate diver, Banyan Tree and Angsana are exactly on our street of philosophy and values and ultimately the dream responsible luxury resort.

For best of Seychelles island hopping head here, for Silhouette island here, or Christmas in Maldives head here. Dreaming about heading back, there’s so much more we’d love to explore and report back ! 


16 comments on “Seychelles versus Maldives – which one is for you?

  1. Pingback: Anse Intendance Seychelles & luxury villas Banyan Tree - Zenbabytravel

  2. Helen
    February 6, 2020

    They both look absolutely amazing – I love huge granite boulders and electric blue oceans. What I found interesting about the Maldives was how they had a different island for different purposes – the main town, the airport, even the rubbish. Gorgeous and quirky.

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 6, 2020

      Indeed Helen! Have done some topical reading about waste management in Maldives and some islands and hotels do so much better than others at being green and ethical! Angsana Velavaru for us had amazing standards, next door at Sun Aqua Vilu Reef so much plastic that could have been avoided – very dissapointing. For discerning travellers it makes a huge difference and they will ultimately vote with their feet – dare I say it will be key to their future as viable hospitality businesses.

  3. Bright Lights of America
    February 6, 2020

    They both sound great though! Do I have to choose? I think I’d go with the Maldives for the over water bungalows and small sized islands so I’d be more inclined to relax as opposed to running around trying to see everything. #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 6, 2020

      Yes yes fully with you especially this evening!

  4. Tanja
    February 6, 2020

    I think they’d both be for me:)just need to save up a bit:)) #farawayfiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 6, 2020

      Yes that’s for sure, paradise and sustainability don’t come easy 🙂

      • Tanja
        February 6, 2020

        of course:)

  5. Angie Vincent
    February 6, 2020

    Seychelles or Maldives, what a wonderful dilemma to have! I have been lucky enough to visit the Maldives a couple of times and absolutely adored it. Would love to visit the Seychelles too though! #farawayfiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 6, 2020

      Hehe Angie, this post was prompted by friends like you – who year after year they go to Maldives (nice to have addiction!) and asked me to detail how’s Seychelles better / different 🙂

  6. Clare Thomson
    February 7, 2020

    Ooh it’s a tricky one. We’ve been to the Maldives (before kids) and I’d love to take them one day. But the Seychelles might just have the edge because we’ve never been and I’d love to see the tortoises. How do they compare on price from the UK? Thanks for sharing this on #farawayfiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 7, 2020

      BA flies directly to Seychelles now and on their sales I found the tickets better than Maldives (plus shorter, just 10 hours to go, 10 hours & 40min to come back). Have a look also with miles & companion vouchers, we were in luck and will go back again 🙂 For the hotels & islands there’s a huge range, Banyan Tree doesn’t come cheap for example but then looking at their expansive sustainability agenda and conservation centre, I am happy to spend it with them! Kempinski was brill with our young kids and I’m sure yours will love the jungle trekking. Praslin, La Digue are some other options, keep us posted!

  7. Shelley (Wander & Luxe)
    February 7, 2020

    Eeeeeek – so difficult to choose between the two! However I think Maldives is still firmly at the top of my list 🙂 Great to know that it is kid-friendly … I thought we might have to wait another 20 years, ha! #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      February 7, 2020

      Absolutely not, they got it covered, just look for hotels with a brill kids club like Angsana Velavaru!

  8. Pingback: Heaven at sea level: luxury villas Elounda Beach Hotel - Zenbabytravel

  9. Pingback: 10 fab things to do in Silhouette island Seychelles - Zenbabytravel

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2020 by in Beach & sightseeing holidays, Beach holidays, Maldives, Seychelles, travel, Wild side.

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