Live the island life

Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles

Sunny shores, sandy beaches, scintillating coastlines, frothy waves, swaying coconut palms... islands are the stuff your dream tropical vacations are made of. But islands are so much more than just the beach and coastline. Across the many island nations of the world, you can explore rich cultures, melting pots of cuisine, heritage landmarks, ancient sites, and even spiritual monuments. Here are a few top island nations of the world where you can live the island life within a budget: 

Seychelles

Although it’s just a tiny blob on the map, Seychelles is a vast galaxy filled with countless star attractions, including world-famous beaches, exotic jungles, lush mountains, and picture-postcard-worthy landscapes. This tiny island nation could be your personal tropical paradise. Laze around the stunning beaches such as Anse Source d’Argent (one of the most widely photographed beaches in the world), Anse Lazio, Anse Intendance, and more. For those who love to sweat it out on their holidays, Seychelles offers plenty of hiking trails. Apart from burning all those extra calories on this hike, you can also expect to enjoy stunning views from the top. Hop, skip and jump between the 115 islands of this archipelago that also house rare flora and fauna such as Coco de Mer (sea coconut) and giant Aldabra tortoises. Of course, the neighbouring islands of Praslin and La Digue are equally stunning and a must-visit.

Best time to visit: April-May & October-November

Budget: Rs 80,000 per person

Visa: On arrival

Reunion Island

Located a little further ahead of Mauritius, 700 km east of Madagascar, is a tiny speck of an island called Reunion, a tropical paradise like no other. Geographically, this island is a volcanic one, just like Mauritius, which means that the interiors are dotted with basaltic hills and mountains covered with lush rainforests. These forests are surrounded by well-planned towns and cities filled with many attractions. A shimmering coastline outlines the island which is a French colony. Since it offers varied landscapes, there’s lots to do here: you can check out one of the world’s most active volcanoes — Piton de la Fournaise; you can go hiking in the many ‘cirques’ or valleys such as Cirque de Cilaos and Cirque de Mafate; you can swim with the inhabitants of the Indian Ocean; or you can laze out on the island’s many white & black sandy beaches.

Best time to visit: May- October

Budget: Rs 60,000 per person

Visa: On arrival

Mauritius

This tiny island in the Indian Ocean is the perfect mix of beaches, culture and cuisine. The central part of this 720-sq-mile-long nation is topped with mountains where one can find rivers slithering like snakes through the hills before tumbling down jaw-dropping cliffs, lush rainforests with exotic animals like flying fox and pink pigeon, and even a rich cultural scene dominated by Hindu temples. As you begin to move away from the mountains and closer to the coastline, you will come across white sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, bluest of the blue lagoons, and rich reefs where many dolphins and sperm whales and other aquatic life reside. Don’t miss out on this island’s lip-smacking cuisine.

Best time to visit: May-December

Budget: Rs 65,000 per person

Visa: On arrival 

An underwater waterfall in Mauritius
An underwater waterfall in Mauritius

Phi Phi Islands

If you take off in a speedboat from Phuket and head in the southeast direction, after about 45 minutes in the Andaman Sea, you will eventually come across a sickle-shaped group of islands called Phi Phi. Home to world-class beaches and stunning bays, Phi Phi Islands is a group of six islands — Bamboo Island, Koh Khai Nok, Koh Bida Nok & Nai, Koh Yao Yai, Mosquito Island and Koh Phi Phi Leh. Go on an island-hopping tour, snorkel in the marine-rich waters of the Andaman Sea, pitch a tent in the national parks, and swim with sharks here — there are a lot of things to see and do. While the most popular attraction of the island, Maya Bay (made famous by Leonardo di Caprio’s film ‘The Beach’) is closed due to over-tourism, other attractions are definitely worth visiting. 

Best time to visit: November-April

Budget: Rs 45,000 per person

Visa: On arrival/online

Maldives

The most preferred getaway of Indians in recent times, Maldives has become as accessible as Goa today. And why not? It offers visa on arrival, has great connectivity, and accommodation across budgets. Maldives is for vacationers who are total beach bums. For, this tropical nation is a hotbed of isolated beaches, exotic blue lagoons and rich coral reefs. While there’s not much to explore on the cultural side, you can go crazy trying out all the water sports: snorkelling, scuba-diving, kayaking, submarine tours... For those who want to ‘get away from it all’, the island also offers sandbank and island-hopping tours. If you are seeking a luxurious experience, stay in a water villa which offers accommodation right over the blue waters. In the mood for a swim? Just jump out of your bedroom and enjoy swimming with fishes in the crystal-clear waters. 

Best time to visit: November-April

Budget: Rs 40,000 per person

Visa: On arrival

Sri Lanka

One of our closest neighbours, Sri Lanka is a world bubbling with culture, food, travel and history. It has everything you could ever wish for from a holiday: scenic hill stations, thrilling adventure sports, a coastline to die for, historical landmarks, lip-smacking cuisine, and a wild wildlife scene. For those seeking tranquility, there’s Kandy, a city nestled in mountains and dotted with tea plantations. For thrill-seekers, there’s Hikkaduwa, a seaside town famous for deep-sea diving and surfing. For heritage-lovers, Sri Lanka offers Dambulla and Galle, towns teeming with Buddha shrines and Dutch-era remnants, respectively. Don’t forget to dig into the fantastic food scene of the country that offers everything from fresh seafood to spicy curries to the world-famous hoppers. 

Best time to visit: December-March

Budget: Rs 40,000 per person

Visa: Online

 

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