Getting Your Seychelles Visa on Arrival

Seychelles Visa on arrival
Seychelles Visa on arrival

Seychelles is one of the most beautiful places on earth, blessed with some of the most breathtaking beaches, lagoons, coral reefs and a diverse multiracial and cultural population. Usually known as a preferred destination for couples on their honeymoons, it also has a lot to offer to the solo traveller. 

According to the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs,

Seychelles is a visa-free country which means that there are no visa requirements for any persons wishing to travel. Although a visa is not required to enter Seychelles, visitors should nevertheless have in their possession a valid passport or other travel documents recognized by the government of Seychelles in order to gain entry. The passport must be valid for the period of the intended stay until arrival back in the holder’s country of origin or residence.

A visitor’s permit is issued on arrival in Seychelles to travellers visiting for the purposes of holiday, business, visiting friends or family and who also meet the following criteria:

  • is not a prohibited immigrant;
  • is not a holder of a valid permit which entitles the holder to reside in Seychelles;
  • holds a valid return ticket or ticket for onward travel for the duration of the visit;
  • has confirmed accommodation;
  • and, has sufficient funds for the duration of the stay (minimum of US$150 or equivalent per day).

Based on my experience here are additional things you need to take into account so you do not get into trouble and get denied entry:

  1. Have some cash with you, either US dollars or Euros. They will actually count to make sure you have enough money to cover your stay. If you do not want to carry too much cash with you, make sure you have paid for your hotel in advance. The US$150 requirement above includes accommodation, food and transportation around the island. In my case, I actually failed to realize that I need that much per day and only had US$700 with me. As I was going to be staying 7 nights I was a bit worried. However, if you have a credit or debit card with you, you can also tell them that you will be using that as well. 
  2. For your accommodation, book a hotel instead of an Airbnb. I know, Airbnb is much cheaper and hotels are really expensive in Seychelles, however, you don’t want to take the risk of getting denied entry. If you really want to go with Airbnb, make sure it is a licensed one. I read in forums that the government is clamping down on unauthorised Airbnbs. In my case, I used a combination of both. My first 3 nights in Mahe Island were in a hotel, then I used Airbnb for Praslin and La Digue. Praslin was a licensed Airbnb but I don’t I am not sure about La Digue. You can find cheap hotels with Booking.com
  3. Again concerning your accommodation, make sure you have the phone number of the hotel, licensed Airbnb or wherever you will be staying. The immigration officers will likely want to call and verify that you will be really staying there. 
  4. Print your return ticket and hotel or Airbnb bookings. I do not think this is a requirement however, it will make the job easier for the Immigration officer and fewer questions for you. 
  5. Have your Yellow Fever Card. Whatever you do, do not forget this. This is especially for countries with risk of yellow fever. Immigration authorities are quite tough on this. 

I hope you will find this article useful. Leave a comment below if you have any questions or would like to add something I forgot to mention. 

Mahe Island, Seychelles

79 °F broken clouds

Why you should get a Priority Pass

If you are a frequent traveller like me, you certainly spend a lot of time at the airport. Usually waiting for a flight or waiting for your next flight during a layover. This would be anything between 1 to 8 hours or even more some times if you have a really long layover. Now, as a millennial, if I have internet access and coffee/tea, access to a power plug,  then I could wait for days. Well, not days, but you know what I mean. 

Though in many airports, you have a free internet connection, it’s usually limited, slow (everyone else is one it). Not to mention the fact some airports do not offer free internet. I am talking about you Istanbul International Airport. 

And we can all agree that food and drinks are seriously overpriced at airports. Try getting a simple juice for $10 at Dubai International Airport. 

What if you can get good internet access and free food and drink? The Priority Pass comes to the rescue. It gives you access to up to 1200 VIP lounges around the world. You will get free internet access, complimentary food and drinks (coffee, lot of coffee), power plugs to charge your laptop and phones, a nice environment to sit in and work, and sometimes even showers and a sleeper couch. 

The Priority Pass comes at a cost, $99 for a standard membership up to $499 for a Prestige membership, which comes with unlimited free access to all lounges. 

 

Why I hate travelling internationally from Nigeria

I have been living in Nigeria for a bit over 2 years now and as my principal place of residence, for the time being, Abuja and Lagos are my principal points of departure for my international flights. However, flying from these 2 airports with an African (Subsaharan) can be a very frustrating experience, especially when travelling to a first or second-world country with no visa requirement or with visa on arrival.

While holders of western passports are usually welcomed with a smile and barely asked any questions, we, as Africans, are subject to an FBI-style interrogation from airlines ground staff. If you have ever gone through this experience you should have heard questions such as  “What are you going to do in [insert destination]?“, “Can I see your hotel booking and your return flight?“, “How long are you staying there?“, “How much money do you have with you and can you take it out so we can count it?“, “Do you have any other proof of your nationality apart from your passport?“, and so on.

To be fair, it’s standard for the airline to ask these questions as they can get fined for letting aboard someone without a visa and I have been asked a couple or so questions while travelling from both Senegal and Guinea. However, the degree to which this is done in Nigerian can be unnerving and sometimes, simply embarrassing.  

And here is the irony. Every single time that I arrived in the country of destination, I was barely asked any question

Let me share with you some of my experiences with you.

USA from Abuja International airport:

In November 2017, I had to go to the US for the funeral of someone close to me. By then I had already been to the US 3 times already on the same visa (3 years validity) and I had always flown from Guinea. In all 3 instances, the ground staff would check my visa in my passport and my return flight and then that’s it. No further question. However, this time, at Abuja International airport it was different. I was asked to take my hotel booking and was asked other questions I can no longer recall clearly. The Turkish Airline staff gave my passport and other documents to a colleague for him to check it, which lasted about 10min. Growing impatient I asked them why they were keeping my passport. They went through my documents again without answering. I then told them to go through my passport and all the trips that I have done to the US, plus all the visas to other countries. Only after seeing those, they gave me back my documents and let me through to check-in. 

Singapore from Lagos International Airport:

In April 2019, I decided to visit Singapore and Malaysia. As a Guinean national, I do not require a visa for both countries for 30 days and this is valid for most African passports, except Nigerian. This time I was flying with Ethiopian Airlines. As soon as I got to the airport, I went to the check-in counter. I gave my passport to one of the ground staff. She asked me for my visa for Singapore and I responded that I did not need one as a Guinean. She was sceptical and then asked me for other documents proving that I am actually Guinean. Luckily for me, I had my national ID card with me that day (I always travel with it now). I also had to provide my hotel booking, return flight, etc.  She took my documents to her colleagues and they discussed for a couple of minutes. The colleague approached me and told me that I had to sign a document stating that if I was denied entry to Singapore I would be responsible for my return flight to Nigeria. With a confused look, I asked them why I would be sent back. She responded that she did not know. I decided to not sign a document unless they can give me a good reason. She then walked away with documents and came back later with another colleague I assumed to be her supervisor. The latter did not even bother talking or looking at me. He just starting yelling that they should not let me aboard unless I sign the document. First, I let him that he should be talking to me, and not shouting and two, I explained that I cannot sign a strange document without any valid reason. He then told me that the reason might be because my passport could be a fake one. They seemed to think I was a Nigerian with a “fake” Guinean passport. I reassured them I am Guinean. They discussed among themselves for 5 more minutes or so and then decided to let me check-in without signing the so-called document. 

Seychelles from Lagos International Airport:

This happened today. To my knowledge, nationals from all countries can travel to Seychelles without a visa. You get a tourist card on arrival, valid for 90 days. Based on the information  I obtained from Wikipedia,  you will need to have a valid passport, a return ticket, confirmed accommodation, sufficient funds.  In this case, the Kenya Airways staff asked for all the above. I was asked to take out the cash I had with me and count it in front of everyone, on two occasions. It was a bit embarrassing then however as I am writing now, I have had the chance to see the information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I understand that the sufficient fund requirement is quite important and is actually fixed at a minimum of $150 per day. So it’s understandable in this case, though still frustrating. 

One important thing to note in all of these 3 cases, is that once I arrived at the country of destination, I was barely asked any question by the immigration officer(s). Which means it was actually harder to check-in than to be authorized to enter the country. 

As I stated earlier, I understand that it’s the job of the airline to ensure that only people authorized (with or without a visa) to enter a country are allowed onboard the plane, otherwise, they will get fined as well being responsible for bringing the passenger back to the country of departure. However, it is still annoying and embarrassing whenever it happens. And for the simple reason that you have a 3rd world passport, regardless of whether you financially better off than most people with western passports or not. 

-1° 19.835 S 36° 55.577 E

63 °F broken clouds

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 4 days: Day 04

Petronas Twin Tower

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: RM80

The Petronas Twin Tower are amazing buildings however the experience is not what it promises. The duration of the visit is about 30min and it is quite structured. You start with first SkyBridge, level 41 where you get a 5 min security briefing. You then walk around the Skybridge for 15min, enough time to take some pictures. 

Next, the second Skybridge on level 86. Again a security briefing and 15min to get a good view of Kuala Lumpur. 

Note: there is a specific timetable to gain access to the Skybridges so get informed before turning up. 

Berjaya Times Square

How to get there: Google map

Berjaya Times Square is a 48-storey, 203 m twin tower, hotel, condominium, indoor amusement park and shopping centre complex in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was opened in October 2003 by the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Sri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad. Wikipedia

Tip: Because of the location, things can be quite expensive. Go to the Central Market or Chinatown for bargains. 

The buses to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur departs from Times Square.

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 4 days: Day 03

Batu Cave:

How to get there: Google Map – From Bukit Bintang Pavillion station take a train to Pasar Seni. Walk for about 15min to KL Sentral. Take another train from KL Sentral to Batu Cave. The fare from KL Sentral to Batu Cave is RM2.50, exceptionally cheap for a 30min ride. Note: There is a specific departure time for the train so you need to get informed beforehand.  

Entrance Fee: Free (there is a section you might pay for but the main cave is free to enter)

Batu Caves is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples in Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia. It takes its name from the Sungai Batu, which flows past the hill. It is the tenth limestone hill from Ampang. Batu Caves is also the name of a nearby village. Wikipedia

Visiting the Batu Cave will be the highlight of your travel in Malaysia. Go up the multi-coloured stairs. It’s a long climb (15 to 20 minutes or so) but the view from the top is breathtaking. Once you enter the cave at the top, you will feel like you are in an entirely new world. A once in a lifetime experience.

Watch out for the band of monkeys. If you have any food, they might attack and steal it from you. 

Tip: Get a pao (red bean) from the old lady at the station. It’s absolutely delicious. 

Bukit Bintang – Ramadan Street Food Market

How to get there: Google Map

Entrance Fee: Free

A lively street food market where you can find the best of Malay, Indian, Chinese and Malay street food. Try out the Coconut shake, Popae and Grilled Prawns and other local delicacies. 

Coconut Shake

Bukit Bintang is known for Jalan Bukit Bintang, a busy thoroughfare with upscale malls and luxe fashion boutiques. Al fresco bars and live music clubs line Changkat Bukit Bintang street, while Jalan Alor is a lively strip known for sidewalk restaurants serving Chinese fare like clam soup and buttered prawns. Nearby, KL Forest Eco Park has nature trails and an elevated walkway.

 

 

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 4 days: Day 02

Jamek Mosque:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

Jamek Mosque, officially Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque, is one of the oldest mosques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak River and may be accessed via Jalan Tun Perak. The mosque was designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, and built in 1909. Wikipedia

Sultan Abdul Samad Building:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is a late-nineteenth-century building located along Jalan Raja in front of the Dataran Merdeka and the Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Wikipedia

Countdown Clock:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

Landmark attraction with a clock counting down to the year 2020 & an illuminated waterfall.

Walked around here around 2 pm however the clock was not functioning. I think it might be better to visit when it’s dark.  

Dataran Merdeka:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

Merdeka Square is a square located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is situated in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Literally Independence Square, it was formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang or simply the “Padang” and was used as the cricket green of the Selangor Club. Wikipedia

When I visited the square there a Ramadan Bazaar. There were mostly clothes for sale.  The square itself is not so interesting.

Central Market:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

Cultural heritage site with restored art deco facade offering shopping, eateries & an outdoor stage.

There are so many souvenirs to buy and the price is quite low compared to Singapore. I got some natural handmade soap. 

If you have never experienced it before, get some Fish massage/therapy. As soon as your feet enter the water, the fish rush to your eat the dead flesh from under your feet. If you can handle the first 30s, then you will make it to the end. It was hilarious seeing the other girls struggling and laughing.

My phone fell when I stepped out of the Central Market. I walked to Petaling Street and then Low Yat Plaza to get it repaired. 

Low Yat Plazza:

How to get there: Google map

Entrance Fee: Free

Low Yat Plaza is the oldest shopping centre specializing in electronics and IT products in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2009, Plaza Low Yat was named “Malaysia’s Largest IT Lifestyle Centre” by the Malaysia Book of Records. Wikipedia

Tip: Haggle every price, even if you think it’s low. I was able to get a lower price on all the items I purchased by haggling and also visiting different shops and comparing the prices.