The Indian Ocean offers a wealth of destinations, from the main lands of India and Malaysia to the island nations of Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Thailand. These exotic locations require the heart of an explorer, in order to fully enjoy the archipelagos and nature reserves of Seychelles, the French-Creole culture on the island of Reunion, the scuba diving expeditions off the coast of Malaysia, the bustle of Indian cities, and the sport and game fishing of Thailand. These destinations offer some of the most pristine beaches and untouched forests in the world and are yours to discover.
A juxtaposition between modern and historic, Malaysia offers a colorful cultural experience through its summer festivals, parades and cuisine. Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, which overlooks the traditional wooden stilt houses.
Malaysia offers a tropical adventure rich with unusual sights, striking temples, and Colonial style architecture, located in an area called Georgetown, as well as ancient mangroves, white sandy beaches and deliciously exotic foods.
Composed of 1,190 coral islands, the Maldives’ reefs support a scintillating variety of marine life in the turquoise waters surrounding each island, perfect for diving or snorkeling. An assortment of fish finds their way each day to the local bustling markets, creating an energetic display of the Maldivian lifestyle.
The curved coral mosque of Huskuru Miskiiy, built in 1656 on the island of Malé by the Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar, stands as a testament to the island nation’s long history and to the natural beauty of the islands’ resources. Maldives promises an interesting excursion, by land or by sea.
The islands of Mauritius mix a land of luxury and sport fishing, with a fusion of culture, from Dutch to French-Creole and Hindu. From the Baix of Tortues, named for the native tortoises, to the Marlin World Cup held each December, Mauritius is known for its wildlife.
Alternatively, the metropolitan area of Grand Bay offers shopping, leisure and nightlife, along with the La Cuvette beaches. Each town offers a different cultural flavor and identity from the Hindu temple in Triolet to the Dutch ruins in Vieux Grand Port, and the game reserve in Yemen. The islands of Mauritius extend an uncommon mixture of activities, events and life.
Culturally diverse, Seychelles offers a unique blend of African, Indian, Chinese and European cuisine and festivities. With their outdoor kitchens, the air fills with the scent of racy aromas and encourages outdoor living. Nearby Praslin, a former haunt for Pirates, features Vallé de Mai’s prehistoric palm forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and once thought to be the original Garden of Eden, as well as some of the area’s most beautiful beaches.
While, Mahé offers soaring stone edifices and all of life’s modern luxuries, such as the local airport. On the rustic island of La Digue, traditional boat building and colonial architecture, a style found throughout the island chain, still thrive in this fascinating island nation.
Summer festivities include the Thai New Year’s “bathing Buddhas,” a ritualistic Rocket Festival in June to celebrate the rice-planting season, and the Elephant Round-up, where you can watch massive pachyderms play soccer. For scuba diving, visit one of Thailand’s Marine Parks located off the coasts of Satun or the Similan Islands.
For land based ecotourism, travel to Thung Salaeng Luang National Park. Modern entertainment and marvels can be found in Phuket, Thailand’s “pearl of the south,” which is loaded with amenities and nightlife.