I am a hopeless romantic. Watching the sunset while hearing the waves play their music is my idea of a perfect evening. Add to it a glass of champagne and some cheese – life can’t get better!
Obviously, the perfect sunset and accompanying luxury come at a cost. And while Maldives did seem like an expensive destination, we took the plunge and booked our air tickets and our resort. It was on the bucketlist and global warming isn’t resulting in any more islands sprouting.
Perfect sandy beaches… here we come to click some postcard pictures!
Off-season is the best time… at least on your pocket!
There is no ‘budget’ holiday to paradise, unless you want to stay in a smallish hotel/B&B at Male itself, which is not the picture that you had in mind! However, not all trips to Maldives have to drill a big hole in your pocket (expect a small one at least) if you plan well.
I have a notional currency in my head called ATT ‘Airticket to Thailand’, which roughly translates to USD 350. Plan in advance and ensure that you land in Maldives on day one of the off season – you will be able to save at least two units of ATT in a three night stay. And seriously, how much can the weather change between last day of the high season to first day of the low season. Celebrate May Day in Maldives (1st May – day one of off season) and enjoy the sun… at lower prices!
Room categories: Which is the one for you?
Book a water villa if you want to lounge all through the day, stare at the sea from your balcony and feel the bubbles burst against your skin while sitting in a jacuzzi. We booked and overwater villa – I gaped at the blue waters from the balcony and ran up and down the deck stairs, straight into the sea for the first one hour. Then, I did not know what to do! I looked at Ankur and tried to send telegraphic messages ‘Read my mind – let’s go to the pool’. Message received. We were soon at the pool and wondered why had we paid twice the money to stay in the water villa when we could have stayed in the garden villa at half the cost. I know why! The bucketlist… and this was my item on the list – ‘Vacation in an overwater villa in Maldives’!
Moral of the story – if you want to spend all the time at the beach and pool or snorkeling and diving, the beach villa or garden villa is apt. Staying in a garden villa versus an overwater villa will save at least USD 250 in a 3 night stay.
Getting there by Seaplane: Fly high in the sky!
The sea plane – sounds really exotic. But in all honesty, it isn’t a pleasant flight in the small plane that barely accommodates 6-8 passengers. Its a noisy piece of technology – by the time we disembarked, I am sure I had perforated ear drums, despite the ear plugs. There is also a tiny fan inside the plane (it isn’t air conditioned). Safety engineers would create a pandemonium here!
The views from the sea plane are awesome, especially if you are camera crazy. However, you get similar views when you land at Male. The sea plane takes you to the distant island resorts and gets you a step closer to the Robinson Crusoe experience, at a fairly steep price (USD 300 -500 return fare for two people – from Male airport to the island). While we did use the plane to go to our resort, I am sure the next time we will settle for a resort which is close to Male and can be reached by a short boat ride.
Packages: Pamper yourself!
Maldives is a honeymoon destination as it’s not often that we would want to spend so much on a short vacation. However, its luxury at its best. There are loads of packages – breakfast only, all inclusive, meals only etc. The all inclusive package would make sense if you want to have a few drinks during the day, else any other package would work out similar. However, each resort has its own restaurant prices and alternatives – its best to spend a while contemplating this when you book the resort.
Housereef: Diving and Snorkeling on the cards?
Baby shark! Baby shark! Five steps away from us! Yes yes…baby shark …baby shark! Vilamendhoo had a house reef! Not all resorts have a house reef. In such places, you will have to take a boat to a snorkel site. The house reef was teeming with life – colourful fish and bright coral. Don the snorkel and mask and jump in!
The Indian Ocean is home to mega marine life – manta rays, turtles and whale sharks. We took two half day trips:one to snorkel with the manta rays and the other to snorkel with the whale shark, whence we blew a few kisses to a few flying fish who had stepped out of dream land and were gliding around our boat.
On the manta ray trip, I jumped into the water without a life vest, assuming that I am Superwoman- Yeeeeehhhhaaawwww! I gulped loads of salty water until I almost choked. I am sure the mantas (three of them) saw poor me and had a good giggle. They then took a fancy for Ankur and all three of them swum around him wondering whether they should swallow him or not. I guess they decided against it!
The second trip was to snorkel with the whale shark. It is a MEGA life form that makes you feel puny -the whale shark is approximately 20-25 feet. I had my few minutes of glory when I was swimming next to the majestic creature – an adrenaline rush of a different kind! I am glad they are vegetarians… or… do they eat only vegetarians?
Ensure that you raise your hand for the trips a day in advance! It’s a pity when your visit is short and the trips get booked because you overslept!
Vegetarians go fishing!
Every resort has plenty of vegetarian food, expensive, but the options are there and you will not starve. Neither will you be forced to hunt or fish!.
It’s a pity we had not done our Open Water SCUBA course when we visited Maldives! I am sure we will get back soon with the cylinders on our back!
As always… send me an e-mail if you need any further details. Glad to help!
Let the travellers’ tribe grow!