AWAY FROM THE BUSTLING ACTIVITY OF METROPOLITAN LIVES ARE THESE ISLAND JEWELS TUCKED AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC EYE. PLAN A WEEKEND OR LONGER BREAK AS YOU RIDE THE WAVE
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Discover Asia Across The Indian Ocean
AWAY FROM THE BUSTLING ACTIVITY OF METROPOLITAN LIVES ARE THESE ISLAND JEWELS TUCKED AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC EYE. PLAN A WEEKEND OR LONGER BREAK AS YOU RIDE THE WAVE, RIGHT FROM MYANMAR AND THE ANDAMAN TO LANGKAWI, SEYCHELLES, MADAGASCAR AND MAFIA ISLAND.
The natives are the island’s gatekeepers, guarding the best spots of maritime fishing and exploration of colorful reefs beneath the water’s surface
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
The beautiful Mergui Archipelago within the Andaman Sea is located in Southern Myanmar, part of the Tanintharyi Region. Consisting of more than 800 islands, this place is perfect for diving, snorkeling, fishing and nature research.
Visit the People of Myanmar’s Waters
The natives are the island’s gatekeepers, guarding the best spots of maritime fishing and exploration of colorful reefs beneath the water’s surface. Meet the locals by booking a Salone Festival tour that takes you through the archipelago and to the larger islands that are home of the Salone inhabitants. Spend a day at Myuak Ni Island, also known as Red Monkey Island, with its white sand beaches, corals and a rich biodiversity. The Ma Kyone Glaet Salone Village located on Bo Cho Island is where the annual Salone Festival is held.
Take a Daring Tour into the Burmese Rainforest
In contrast with the neighbouring Thai islands, these Burmese islands are mostly untouched. Take an Island Safari Trip that sweeps the best locations in the Archipelago with the option of exploring Kawthaung or Myeik for 5 days 4 nights with a zone fee of US$100 and US$150 respectively. Catch glimpses of mouse deer, jungle cats, armadillos, Burmese pythons and rare tropical birds such as the exotic Asian hornbill.
Dip into the Burmese Waters, which may Just be Asia’s Best
Sailing, dive trips, snorkeling, beach-combing and kayaking are some of the many activities visitors can partake as part of their island exploration. Take a cruise on the Mergui Princess that can charter up to 16 pax at US$2,083 per day. With 3 air-conditioned private cabins, the live aboard is the most comfortable form of travel as it sails through the Mergui Archipelago. Visitors have the luxury of hopping off to any islet in sight or simply cruising on blue waters for days on end.
North of Surin Islands, a fine line divides the waters of Thailand and the Mergui Archipelago. Fortunate visitors get to watch marine life such as octopuses, other invertebrates, rays and even sharks. Each scene is different from the next as one wades freely underwater to soak in the scenic reefs. Shark Cave Island is a popular diving spot where despite the abundance of harmless sharks, its depths will take one through a tunnel that will eventually stumble upon a rich coral reef.
Indulge in Burmese Island Living
The Thahtay Khun Island is a 1,800 ha island paradise exclusively for guests of the Andaman Club. There are not many hotels within the distance of a hundred islets, hence this private island is a perfect base for exploring this entire region. The Casino & Golf resort also houses two restaurants, a lounge, pool bar and the exclusive Oasis Bar.
Located very much in the middle of nowhere, the Andaman Islands of India are home to legendary beaches and exquisite diving experiences.
Havelock Island – Andaman’s Prized Jewel
Out of the 300 islands, only a handful are open to tourists, Havelock Island being one of them. Havelock Island is Andaman’s best gem, teeming with opaline glass beaches, teal shallow waters and further out into sea, exquisite diving spots. Sign up for an excursion with Barefoot Scuba at Café del Mar at No 3 Village and explore Andaman in the deep.
Explore Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Take a day tour around the islands with Andaman & Nicobar Tour & Travels. Climb up Mount Harriet, the highest peak in the South Andaman archipelago. Soak in the view of the nearby towns below, namely Port Blair city, Ross and Havelock Island. At the mountaintop, trek through untouched wilderness and revel in the region’s flora and fauna.
Hop off islets as you explore en route and discover tranquil mangrove forests, admire towering limestone mountains and wander through tropical jungles whilst catching glimpses of monkeys, eagles and other wildlife.
Visit spice and rubber plantations in Wandoor, the limestone caves in Baratang and engage in snorkeling trips to Jolly Buoy or the Redskin Islands.
Live by the Beach
Live it up at the Sea Princess Beach Resort at Port Blair. The beachfront of Wandoor Beach is literally a step away with the resort’s Beach Front Suites, furnished in natural wood so as to blend in perfectly with the serenity of the atmosphere. With the option of Port Blair, Havelock Island or Neil Island, one may choose to book accommodation with SeaShell Hotel. The hotels in each of the places offer modern island living with a touch of rustic appeal. Choose to stay in a private Luxury Tent at Sea Shell Neil and be in the heart of Neil Island’s best spots. Sail through Neil Kendra, a beautiful crystal mangrove curving the jetty or coral-watch through glass-bottom boats parked at Bharatpur Beach, a mere 2km from the jetty. The private operators here charge INR150 per ride and INR400 for a round of snorkeling.
SERENDIPITY AT ITS LUXURIOUS BEST
Far away from the city, this idyllic slice of Malaysia bears no lack of spas, seafood restaurants, beach bars, pristine beaches and clear waters.
Sample the best of Langkawi’s Air and Sea Fare
Take an Oriental Village Tour and shop to your heart’s content with a lake and the grand mountains as a backdrop. Thereafter, watch the little town of Langkawi from the sky via a cable car ride. The cable car takes one to the peak of Mount Mat Chinchang, at 72 meters, for a breathtaking view of the island. The tour package by Viator starts from USD46 per person.
Head to the sea and visit Langkawi’s many offshore islands while sailing on a luxury yacht. From USD142 per person, hop off onto the islet’s pristine beaches and enjoy the white sand underneath your feet before watching some wildlife on the islands of Pulau Dayang Bunting or Pulau Singa. While on board, delight in a seafood barbecue and party with free-flow of beer, wine and cocktails. Hop off islets as you explore en route and discover tranquil mangrove forests, admire towering limestone mountains and wander through tropical jungles whilst catching glimpses of monkeys, eagles and other wildlife.
Check out Langkawi’s Best Resorts
The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi provides a quiet refuge out in the Andaman Sea where protected mangroves is a labyrinth that separates land from sea. Boasting 91 villas and pavilions flanked by cliffs and rainforest, the lush flora of its garden and beachfront settings is an all-pervading serenity for a place to call home in this getaway. Four Seasons Resort Langkawi provides exclusive excursions to the nearby Kilim Karst Geoforest Park where it delves into the well-preserved nature of one of the most diverse tropical ecosystems on the planet. From mangroves to Malaysia’s most ancient geological formations, this beautiful corner of Malaysia is truly an experience to be had.
The award-winning Danna Langkawi hotel is a sight to behold amid the immaculate splendour of sandy beaches, the marina and verdant greenery. Its architectural beauty makes staying here look picture perfect no matter the occasion. Its private beach houses the largest three-tiered infinity pool on the island that lies against a backdrop of nature’s enveloping beauty. Perfect for honeymooners or the leisurely traveler, the Danna Langkawi is a timeless luxury vacation spot to soak in the island’s raw beauty.
Located 1,500km off the continent, Seychelles is home to gorgeous marine flora and fauna, as well as artistic places of interest. With more than 10 art studios and galleries, Seychelles makes a charming getaway for all occasions.
Revel in the majestic view of what once were beautiful cathedrals that now sit quaintly on the seabed, listlessly entertaining visitors who swim through its windows.
Victoria, Seychelles – A Town with Rustic Charm
Victoria, Seychelles is a buzzing capital teeming with intense activity. The town holds one third of the country’s population and promises something for everyone. The marketplace in Victoria isn’t grand in size but the weekend lifestyle more than makes up with its mesmerizing appeal. Apart from typical market goods like fresh produce, souvenirs and apparel, they also sell local herbs, spices and fresh catches such as marlin, milkfish, yellow fin tuna and barracuda.
Explore the Best of Seychelles
Visitors can get a proper introduction of the island with a day tour of the town. Seyvillas offers an 8-hour full day journey with Creole Travel Services that takes guests to the south of Mahé exploring the Victoria marketplace, visit to a tea factory and ‘Cap Lazure’ Nature Reserve that is home to exotic marine life and giant land turtles. Be awed with the underwater world as you indulge in a Creole buffet while basking in the surrounding midday wonders. The drive is €129 per adult with a minimum party of 10 pax. Located in La Digue, Anse Source d’Argent is a stunning enclave behind the old L’Union Estate coconut plantation. The beach boasts naturally sculpted granite boulders that give pass is required prior to access the plantation.
Find Hidden Treasures in Seychelles’ Waters
Of course, no one would pass the opportunity for a dive in the surrounding pristine waters of Seychelles. There are several dive centers that organize trips to renowned diving sites such as the White Tip Dive Center, which charters to diving spots around Praslin and La Digue. What once were huge granite rocks on Seychelles’ shores are now submerged and covered with sponges and corals, providing refuge to the creatures of the ocean. Explore crevices and watch barracudas, sharks and eagle-rays who are without doubt, observing their two-legged visitors with just as much interest.
Take that chartered boat trip up a notch with glass-bottom boat tours, like Teddy’s Glass Bottom Boat located at Beau Vallon & the North Coast. This particular boat tour allows visitors to observe the reef beneath their feet as the boat skims across the water’s surface. At €85 for a full-day trip, they do pit stops at various snorkeling spots around Baie Ternay and Ste Anne Marine National Park. The area has a quiet, pristine beach that is a rewarding find for those hunting for seclusion.
Seychelles Is Its Own Work Of Art
Seychelles is an artistic island brimming with more than 10 art galleries and studios. On the West Coast lives Michael Adams, Seychelles’ best known artist. His artworks comprise of silkscreen prints in color and black & white, usually with depictions of nature and life on Seychelles. His works are on display and sale at the Anse aux Poules Bleues.
Party in Seychelles
The island is not just a master of beaches and tranquil diving spots, its nightlife has its own calling card too. Situated in the capital, Level 3 Bar has a reputation of being a place with foot tapping music and drinks at a great price. For old-school entertainment, Katiolo Night Club is the only discotheque by the beach and is a hot spot outside Victoria. En route to the nearby airport, tourists get to rub shoulders with locals one last time as they groove to reggae, oldies, rock and other hits. High rollers can look forward to trying their luck at Casino des Iles, in Praslin. Its façade is decked in Creole architecture, presenting itself as a classy venue that produces humble wins.
Make Seychelles Your Second Home
Feel at home in the island’s northwest, boasting top-of-thetier resort living at Constance Lemuria with Constance Hotel & Resorts. Housing a three-tiered infinity pool, restaurants, an 18-hole golf course and three beaches in the vicinity, these indulgent suites and villas come with their own vistas of the surrounding island in the modern yet cozy interior of marble, granite and wood. For those who prefer to be closer to the capital, the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles located at Petite Anse, Mahé is a perfect option to explore. Nestled in a natural jungle setting,
Madagascar’s waters offer an abundance of exhilarating exploration with vast blue waters teeming with marine life.
one will find solace in tree-top villas and deserted beaches. The resort is in the vicinity of an abundance of shops and art galleries displaying the rich culture of Seychelles, with artworks of renowned artist Michael Adams which are furnished in the lobby and suites.
North Island Resort is Seychelles’ Noah’s Ark. Thanks to the ambitious conservation projects on the island, an abundance of marine life can be witnessed from one’s doorstep here. Boasting 11 villas, one is guaranteed exclusive services, privacy and facilities at this luxury lodge. In its own corner of the peninsula lies Maia Luxury Resort & Spa. The villa to look out for in this resort would clearly be the Ocean Panoramic Villa. In addition to the 180-degree vistas of the Indian Ocean, the lush greens provide a luxurious enclave for honeymooners and seasoned travelers alike. Zil Air offers helicopter rides to and from Maia, providing scenic aerial safaris over what is undoubtedly a gorgeous region. All excursions can be effortlessly arranged by a butler on call.
UNDERWATER CREATURES FOR COMPANY
Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island. Its lands are dangerously fascinating. The most satisfying way to explore its enclaves is by travelling via a private plane or boat.
Explore Madagascar’s Nature Trove
Going off on wheels is a vital step to take when in search for Madagascar’s trove of kaleidoscopic nature. The reward one reaps is in the form of an exclusivity of flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In a short span of a few hundred kilometers, one would find oneself in different terrains, switching dramatically from deserts to the rainforests.
Walk amongst the grandeur sandstone formations at Isalo Massif and visit the rich national parks in Andrigitra and Ranomafana, the former covered in granite rock valleys and the latter showcasing cloud forests. Visit people on this side of Africa at the Ambrositra wood carving town that is a quaint settlement with a jaw-dropping backdrop. World Expeditions organizes an 11-day tour from US$2,089 which is inclusive of lodging, food and travel and caters up to 12 people.
Visit Underwater Cathedrals and Shipwrecks
Madagascar’s waters offer an abundance of exhilarating exploration with vast blue waters teeming with marine life. Go sight-seeing underwater and revel in the majestic view of what once were beautiful cathedrals that now sit quaintly on the seabed, listlessly entertaining visitors who swim through its windows.
When snorkeling, come face-to-face with colorful reefs, sea turtles and fish. Above the sea, Anakao is home to fishing villages and diving spots. One can go fishing with a local fisherman whilst drifting on a pirogue, visit different islands, and at the end of the day, go whale-watching as the red sun sets into the horizon. A marine reserve fee of Ar 2,000 is required to visit the island and gain access to Nosy Santrana, 7 km off the coast of Anakao.
Soak in some Sea n’ Sand in the Villas of Madagascar
Off the east coast of Northern Madagascar lays the Saint- Marie Island with a white sandy beach and Princesse Bora
Spa & Lodge. Private villas overlook the blue lagoon, each decked up with hammocks on terraces to spend a lazy afternoon in. Better yet, take a dip in the outdoor pool or be pampered with an aromatic massage at the spa.
Showing off Malaysian and Creole architecture is the Royal Beach Hotel in Nosy Be that watches over Madirokely Bay. A stunning sea vista can be seen from each room through its large window glass panels and open-air decks enticing one to enjoy the sea breeze. Royal Beach has two restaurants that serve both local and international cuisine as well as a pizzeria and bar by the hotel’s swimming pool.
Keep an eye peeled out for a small hippopotamus colony, which is rumoured to be sighted in the remnants of this old lagoon.
Just off the coast of Tanzania lies Mafia Island. It is a popular destination in the Indian Ocean known for its deep sea fishing and scuba diving activities. This popularity is much attributed to its abundance in aquatic life and pristine coral gardens that are waiting to be explored.
Live in Indian Ocean Paradise
Enjoy the grandeur of the Indian Ocean when making Kinasi Lodge a home away from home. With a veranda in each room, one gets to soak in the views when staying in either the Sea Front or Garden Sea View Cottages furnished in Shirazi-inspired culture.
With an open Pool Bar & Grill, one has the luxury of sipping cocktails during the day and by night, enjoy a gastronomic experience of delicious seafood barbecue under the stars. Ideal for honeymooners and seasoned travellers alike, travellers get to kayak, windsurf, snorkel and dive in and around Chole Bay waters. Blue World Diving and Water Sports Centre organises diving trips to nearby diving spots like Kitutia Reef, just south of Mafia Island.
Take a Road Trip around Mafia Island
A small island measuring only 49km in length, Mafia Island is easy enough to explore in a day. Book a Land Rover near the market in the center of Kilindoni for US$8-US$15 a day and start off by venturing to The Ras Mkumbi Lighthouse at the northernmost tip of Mafia. Next, head down towards Kanga Beach which is a great spot for picnicking and barbecuing with fresh catches like lobster and fish but not before enjoying a dip in its crystal waters. Make a stop at Ras Mbisi and keep an eye peeled out for a small hippopotamus colony, which is rumoured to be sighted in the remnants of this old lagoon. Finally, make a pit stop back at the town of Kilindoni and get a dose of island culture with its shopping stops, eateries and local artisans.
Go Diving with Whale Sharks
The best time for holidaying is between November and February where one can spot whale sharks burst through waters near Kilindoni Harbour, just outside the gazetted area of the Mafia Island Marine Park. Be awed at the naturally rich marine life attributed to protective marine conservation housing 400 fish species and the island’s only natural forest. An entrance fee of US$20 for adults and US$10 for children also entitles admission to diving spots, through diving excursions with Chloe Bay operators. Mafia’s coastline weaves in between mangrove forests and white sandy shores. Its offshore islets boast rich marine life teeming with green and hawksbill turtles that breed on the shores of Juani and Jibondo.
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