Singaporebrides | Editors' Notes

March 2017

5 Reasons Why Mauritius Can Be Your Next Island Getaway

Beautiful beaches, friendly people and stunning scenery make Mauritius more than just a luxury resort getaway. Although you can be sure to see the most breathtaking sunsets ever, you’ll also find grand colonial mansions, national parks abundant with exotic wildlife, and delicious fusion cuisine.

Mauritius is a fairly foreign island to Singaporeans because of how far away it is from us. When we think about beach holidays, we are spoiled by the choices our neighbouring countries offer, and they are less than five hours away. However, Air Mauritius shifted its base of operations in Southeast Asia from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore last year, which means we now have a direct link to the island paradise! Departing three times weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the flight takes just over seven hours.

We were invited by Club Med La Plantation d’Albion to experience the island life on Mauritius, and the weather, food and scenery simply blew us away. Imagine any of the Indonesian or Thai islands you’re familiar with, but with cooler temperatures, larger villages to explore, and in Africa! For those who are still sceptical about flying seven hours to another island getaway, here are some reasons we think you’ll love Mauritius.

1. Mauritius and Singapore could have been sisters

The island nation, located in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the coast of the African continent, has a history actually very similar to us. Mauritius was colonised by the British after the French in 1810 before gaining independence in 1968, and became an important stop for traders from Europe to the East before the opening of the Suez Canal. The people of Mauritius are multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multilingual. While English is the language used by its government, most Mauritians speak Creole, and are fluent in French and English.

Mauritius Travel Guide

Although the island is technically a part of Africa, the Mauritius’ population is predominantly Hindu, yet alongside shrines to Shiva are beach-side chapels and mosques, and Chinese New Year is celebrated as a national holiday! Mauritians, a fusion of French, Indian, Creole and Chinese peoples, are renowned for their hospitality and pride for their country.

2. It is not like the Maldives at all

While the Maldives is nearer to us and is a popular honeymoon destination, it is not a destination with a variety of attractions for the more adventurous traveller. Mauritius, on the other hand, has heavily promoted attractions, including botanical gardens, national parks, nature reserve. There would be no shortage of activities to indulge in if you get bored of sun-bathing.

The Maldives consists hundreds of islands and pristine beaches. Almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands are consistently perfect. There are only two main towns in Maldives, Malé and Seenu which make for a day trip. The towns are small enough to walk around in an hour with almost all sights are concentrated on the North shore. Mauritius’s beautiful beaches are all public, with parking areas and toilets. The northern part of the island has the most number of beaches, while the most celebrated stretches are found in the east. The cities including Port Louis, Beau Bassin, Curepipe, and Grand Baie all provide much to see and do and shop.

Mauritius Travel Guide

Maldivian resorts are generally expensive, but of a high standard. For those with a modest budget, the best option is to get an all-inclusive package (including food, and drinks) that includes flights and transfers. It is not known to be a bag-packer friendly destination. (Check out our review of the gorgeous Club Med Finolhu Villas.) Mauritius has better value deals for travellers who want to venture out of their resorts. The food on the island are moderately priced and it is entirely up to you to decide how much you want to spend.

Unlike the Maldives, which is popular for its beautiful beaches and clear waters, Mauritius is known for its flora and fauna. The island is the only known home of the famously extinct dodo! The island is, however, also surrounded by more than 150 km of white, sandy beaches and surrounded by the world’s third largest coral reef.

The most pleasant times to visit Mauritius is in the months of April to June and September to December, while peak season in the Maldives is between November and April. April is the best time for diving because of clear waters and hot weather.

3. You don’t have to be a water sports fanatic or sun worshipper to appreciate the island

We booked a day tour and visited Chamarel, a village surrounded by lush coffee and pineapple plantations. The town is best known for its space-like landscape of seven different colours of earth atop a valley, thought to be created by the uneven cooling of volcanic rock. Chamarel Waterfall – the highest waterfall in Mauritius plunges 85 meters down against a backdrop of forest and mountains. Somewhere east of Chamarel is the Black River Gorges National Park, where the Black River waterfall thrusts into a gorge of steep forested inclines. Apparently, on a clear day, you can see as far as Tamarin beach on the west coast.

Mauritius Travel GuideWe had tea and biscuits at Domaine des Aubineaux, a colonial house built in 1872, which has been converted into a museum dedicated to the history of Mauritian Tea Mauritius Travel GuideSir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, commonly known as the Pamplemousses Botanical Garden Mauritius Travel GuideBois Cheri Tea Plantation Mauritius Travel GuideBlack River Gorges National Park Mauritius Travel GuideThe Rhumerie de Chamarel Mauritius Travel GuideSeven Coloured Earth at Chamarel

The island’s colourful blend of immigrant communities has sprouted a cuisine that’s part Indian, part Creole, part Chinese and part French. Most hotels offer superb food, but for a more local flavour, head to the markets in Port Louis. In Port Louis’ market, you can stock up on vanilla pods, sugar, spices and tea, which Mauritius famously produces. You can even tour a tea factory at the Bois Chéri estate on the south of the island.

While traveling along the road, you’ll see that sugar cane remains a vital means of trade, so everywhere you go, rum is the tipple of choice. Visitors to the Rhumerie de Chamarel can take a guided tour of the distillery, and learn about the rum-making process from plantation to bottle, and even have a tasting session at the end.

4. You can now fly to Mauritius directly in just over seven hours

We flew Business Class to Mauritius and back. Service and food on board was excellent. We spent our journey to Mauritius catching up on entertainment and our flight to Singapore flat on our backs fast asleep!

As mentioned earlier, Air Mauritius launched its first non-stop flight to Singapore early last year. Previously, passengers had to stop over in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Port Louis, the capital of the island nation. The seven-hour flights between Singapore and Mauritius now run three times a week. Singapore Airlines and Air Mauritius have also recently inked a codeshare agreement, giving passengers more choices when flying to Mauritius. Flights on Air Mauritius are available from $980.

5. It is worth visiting just for the resorts

If you are planning on a honeymoon to Mauritius and need someone to take care of all the details especially since it’s your first time there, why not choose to stay at a resort with an all-inclusive package? We stayed at the Club Med La Plantation d’Albion, and it is practically a destination in itself.

Mauritius Travel GuideView from the bed Mauritius Travel GuideAmazing breakfast at The Distillerie buffet restaurant Mauritius Travel GuideThe beach is right at your doorstep Mauritius Travel GuideLate lunch at The Phare fine dining restaurant Mauritius Travel GuideA quiet day at the Zen pool Mauritius Travel GuideRelaxing after a treatment at Cinq Mondes Spa Mauritius Travel GuideNightly entertainment and parties

The suite rooms are designed with exotic colours and has a very tropical, beach-like ambience. There are two very good restaurants with an amazing variety of food every night, and nightly themed parties at the three bars. There are also two pools, but I personally recommend the adults-only infinity pool. Get there before sunset and watch the gorgeous orange yolk make its descent right before your eyes.

The all-inclusive package at Club Med includes the accommodation, food and drinks, all activities within Club Med, and fun nightly entertainment. The off-peak season rates start at $1292 per adult for a 5D4N Club Room, resort-only stay. If you want you can even book your flights with Club Med and they will arrange your transfers for you.

Mauritius Travel GuideThe view of the sunset from the pool at Club Med is amazing

One cannot write an article on Mauritius and not end it with a quote from Mark Twain, who once said: “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven was copied after Mauritius.”

The tropical island, with its luxury hotels on white, sandy beaches with mountain backdrops, is just the place for couples who want to explore new places for their honeymoon. It truly is an island for exploring, with Indian temples, colonial houses, tea plantations, and botanical gardens. Step out of your comfort zone and discover Mauritius!


Watch a short video on our trip to Mauritius!

TIPS!

  • Peak season in Mauritius is from October to April, which is hot and humid like Singapore. From May to September, the island is warmer and drier, and rates are cheaper.
  • You’ll get a better exchange rate for Mauritian Rupees in Mauritius, but use USD for easier exchange. Credit cards are accepted in hotels, large shops and restaurants.

Credits:
All images and video copyright of SingaporeBrides.
Special Thanks to Club Med and Air Mauritius.