I’ve always wanted to start a blog to share my wonderful travel adventures, but I’ve been too lazy to do so. So yeah, here we are now after years of self-persuasion, I finally convinced myself to make one!
So for my 1st travel post, I decided to start with my top blog-worthy destination — the beautiful paradise of The Maldives! *..sigh..*
My 15 year old me couldn’t be anymore prouder. Until now, it felt surreal that I was able to go to the place I thought I won’t ever get the chance to visit. I’ve always equated Maldives to luxury and considered it as a far-fetched dream.
Last June 2015, my sister and I decided to go for it. It was all her idea because my parents promised to pay for her fare as her reward for obtaining the highest GPA in the School of Business at her previous college in Qatar. Ofcourse who am I to pass up this opportunity? Besides, I only have to pay for myself.
It was a little adventure because we would be coming from different flights. I would be departing from Bahrain, and she from Muscat with connecting flight in Doha. Good thing our ETA in Maldives were just 30 minutes apart. I just instructed her to wait for me at the most visible place I could see her once I exit immigration. Also, Male airport is just small (to which I had no idea that is why I was a bit worried).
Upon arrival, I was welcomed by our hotel contact and he showed me where my sister was. We waited for our boat to arrive which would transfer us to our hotel. I didn’t bother to buy their local currency as USD is widely used and accepted here.
I thoroughly researched on how we could squeeze in Maldives for 4d3n at a lower cost. I found out that this country only allowed guesthouses to operate from 2009 (all guesthouses were abruptly shut down by the Government in May 1984), so tourists are no longer limited to stay at privately owned islands and resort hotels. Now, it is very much possible to experience Maldives on a budget.
Video highlights of our Maldives trip made by my sister.
We opted to stay at a local island, Maafushi, and spent our three nights in a guesthouse: Stingray Beach Inn. It was a good find because Mr. Ibrahim, the owner-manager was such a helpful and nice guy and their staff were very accomodating. They also offer tour packages at a reasonable price and operate speed boat transfers, so everything became easy for us. In my communication with him through email, he sent me a price list of all the possible excursions to do in Maldives, so I already had the idea of the approximate amount we would be spending.
Do not expect much from Maafushi because it has not been fully developed. But if you are after experiencing Maldives on a budget, then I suggest you do the same. You can always go to the luxury resorts on a day trip anyway.
ANANTARA DHIGU RESORT
So we’re in Maldives, why not take advantage and experience what it is best known for? Luxury. On our second day, we chose to go to Anantara Dhigu Resort for a day tour.
Just as soon as we arrived at the resort, I thought to myself, this is exactly how I imagined Maldives! If only I could make it my home.
Yes it is expensive. But you will get the value of the money you paid for. View pa lang, tiba tiba ka na! Worth every penny. Besides, the minimum consumable credit could be spent on food and massage.
A perfect playground: swing your way to the waters.
Another thing which Maldives has to take pride on is their rich marine life. Because we wanted to do snorkeling and see corals and fishes for our third day, Mr. Ibrahim advised us to go to Biyadhoo Island Resort. Indeed, it did not disappoint. The island was surrounded by good snorkeling sites. Even on their shallow waters, you could already see beautiful corals.
If only we were professionals, we would have gone to deeper reefs to see the turtles and sharks, but since we didn’t have a tour guide with us, I didn’t want to take risk of endangering ourselves.
Male is the capital city of Maldives. We had a pleasure of taking a glimpse of the capital by taking a public ferry from Maafushi instead of private speedboat which would take us straight to the airport.
The city was crowded. I perfectly understand since most islands in the country were made into hotel resorts, so they have limited area for their people. And as expected, their apartment rentals are quite expensive, just as confirmed by one of the locals I interviewed. It is also considered as one of the most densely populated cities of the world.
Because we have time to spare awaiting our flight back, we visited Hulhule Island Resort before finally bidding adieu to this paradise.
Maldives is a muslim country, but although we came during Ramadan, considering that their main industry is tourism, restaurants were still open for business. Also on some of their local islands, wearing bikinis is not allowed.
There are more to do in Maldives, besides we just went to four islands out of more than a thousand they have. If you have the budget, I advise you to visit this beautiful country as soon as you can because it is already ranked the third most endangered nation due to climate change. In 2012, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed stated,
“If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be under water in seven years.” (source: Wikipedia)
So if his projection is true, then you only have four years left to plan your own Maldivian adventure.
To give you an idea of the cost, here it is (note that we came at a low season, so the prices they quoted us were slightly below average, if not the average):
BAH-MALE-BAH via Srilankan Airlines : US$ 608
Room rates for a double deluxe room is US$ 60 (B&B)
Additional cost involved are; + 10% Service charge + 12% TGST
Speedboat Transfer (to/from airport):
Private: US$ 175/pax + 10% Service charge + 12% TGST
Shared: US$ 45/pax + 10% Service charge + 12% TGST.
Day tour in Anantara Dhigu: Per pax entry fee is US$50++, US$100++ is a minimum usable credit towards final bill payable at the resort. Speed boat transfer is at US$ 35/pax for 2 persons.
Day tour in Biyadhoo: Per pax entry fee is US$35++. Speed boat transfer is at US$ 25/pax for 2 persons.
If you want a copy of the full price list of the excursions Mr. Ibrahim sent me, drop me a message and I’ll email it.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta