Maldives Trip – 2017, July 30 to Aug 3
If you asked me a few months back if I would be travelling to Maldives, I would have given you be a big laugh and shrugged it off. I wouldn’t know where to find the time nor the way to do so. I guess a lot has happened these past few months. I am glad to say that this is one of them.
When you ask people about their dream destination, Maldives would most likely be on their top 5. For travellers who likes beaches, the top choice would most likely be just either the Caribean or Maldives. Beaches around the world are compared to and dubbed as Maldives of the East, Maldives of the West, Maldives look a like, and others. Buf of course, nothing would really beat being able to go to the real Maldives.
I first thought about it as somewhere really far and out of reach. I could never even imagine myself being there that I never even bothered looking it up on the map. I could only dream. Until I met a friend when I was in Malaysia who was in a connecting flight to Maldives and told me it was just about a 4-hour plane from Kuala Lumpur. I gasped and soon enough I was in Google looking up the place and everything I need to know. I knew I had to go back to Malaysia on a business trip in a month, plus my birthday was coming up, so I could not think of a better way to spend my special day.
The Maldives or officially known as the Republic of Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea with the city of Male as their capital. Maldives is an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts). They are called atolls as they are more of coral reefs surrounding small islands.
Here’s the itinerary of my Maldives Trip:
Day 1 – Plane Travel and Check-in to Hotel
- Flight from Philippines NAIA 3 to Malaysia’s KL International Airport – (about 3 hours)
- Flight from Malaysia’s KL International Airport to Maldives’s Velana International Airport (about 4 hours)
- Van Transfer from Airport to Hotel (about 10 mins)
- Checked-in at Noomoo Hotel in Hulhumale, Maldives
Day 2 – Hulhumale City and Maafushi Island
- Breakfast at Noomoo Hotel
- Hulhumale City Tour
- City Seaside Beach beside the Hotel
- Transfer to Male, Maldives
- Transfer to Maafushi Island (about 90 minutes)
- Check-in to Ethereal Inn, Maafushi, Maldives
- Speedboat Rent – Island hopping and snorkelling
- Biyadhoo Islands
- Maavilaath Reef
- Maafushi Floating Bar
Day 3 – Maafushi Island Hopping
- Breakfast at Ethereal Inn
- Island Hopping and Snorkling
- Kuda Giri Reef
- Heart Sandbank
- Gulhi Island
- Maafushi’s Bikini Beach
Day 4 – Adaaran Prestige Resort
- Breakfast at Ethereal Inn
- Maldives Sunrise + Fishing in Maldives
- Adaaran Prestige Resort
Day 5 – Flying back Home
- Flight to Malaysia’s KL International Airport
- Flight to the Philippines for KL International Airport
Maldives – Day 1
The plane Left NAIA Terminal 3 at around 1:50 pm and landed in Malaysia’s KL International Airport at around 4:30 pm. As I was only passing through Malaysia and in a connecting flight to Maldives, there was no need to go to Immigrations so I just walked towerds the the Transfer area. There are stalls where you can eat and rest while waiting for your connecting flight.
Be reminded that Malaysia has one of the strictest Airport. You have to be at the boarding gate at least 20 minutes before departure. A minute late and the door closes, they won’t allow you to enter. You would now have to rebook your flight. Go to the hassle of the long way going out of immigrations, buy your ticket again, and get back to immigrations and their security checks all over again. Not to mention the extra cost of your new flight ticket. Make sure you also have only up to 100 ml per bottle of your liquids or lotions. During the x-ray, they saw my 110 ml bottle of sunblock. They ransacked my bag and confiscated it. You can’t do anything about it once they threw it out.
At about 7:25 pm, we boarded the plane to Maldives. We arrived at Maldives airport – Velana International Airport at about 11:20 pm (8:20 pm Maldives time – Maldives is 3 hours behind Philippine Time). Fill out the immigrations arrival card. Go through immigrations and security check then fetch your check-in luggage if you have any.
Two Things I have immediately learned when I got there.
- No Globe Roaming Data signal. You can buy a data sim in the airport. I bought a data sim for $20. The data sim has 15gb for 15 days.
- You cannot exchange Philippine money or currency. The money exchangers do not accept Philippine peso. Fortunately, I always bring US Dollars with me but it was not enough so I needed to find a way on the island. Note that I was not also able to find money exchangers in Maldives that accepts Philippine currency. I am thankful to a local who helped me out exchange with him personally the Philippine currency that I brought after my US dollars ran out.
They use Maldivian rufiyaa, their local currency, but I noticed that even the local islands and stalls use US Dollars on their prices. So if you have US Dollars, no need to even exchange them to Maldivian rufiyaa as US Dollars is accepted anywhere in Maldives.
Soon after I got what I needed, the van arrived and transferred me to Noomoo Hotel, the hotel I will be staying for the night before they transfer me to the island the next day. It’s about less than 10 minutes’ drive from the airport.
Noomoo Hotel – Maldives
Maldives – Day 2
Early in the morning, while I was looking to see if they have a swimming pool, I was astonished to find out that Noomoo hotel is actually near the beach.
Hulhumale City Seaside Beach – Maldives
The hotel and the airport is located at Hulhumale, Maldives. Its south of Male, the main city of Maldives. Since my transfer was still in the afternoon, I walked and toured around Hulhumale. They also have taxis that you can use if you wish to go around faster. Hulhumale is actually pretty small that you can probably walk around the city in less than half a day. I was told that about 80% of Hulhumale is a reclaimed area. It’s almost all artificial or man made to establish a new land mass which was needed to meet the existing and future housing.
Hulhumale City Tour – Maldives
After going around city, I went back to pack and check-out. A van picked me up and transferred me back to Velana International Airport where the station for the boats and ferries are also located. Once the passengers are on-board, we were on our way.
Velana Boat and Ferry Station – Maldives
The boat first dropped by Maldives capital – Male, to pick up more tourists before we were on our way to the island. The city of Male is said to be one of the most dense or populated city around the world. With a total area of just about area of 5.8 square kilometres (2.2 sq mi), it houses about 200,000 people.
Male – Maldives
After Male, we were on our way to the island of Maafushi where I was going to stay for a few days. The ride was about 90 minutes from Male. Maafushi is one of the most popular and biggest islands of Maldives, just 27 kms from Male with a population of about 3,000 for an area of 1270×265 meters.
Maafushi Island – Maldives
Here are a few of the things that you can do in Maafushi:
Maafushi Island Activities – Maldives
You can zoom in the pics above to get more details but basically you have:
- Scuba Diving
- Water Sports
- Island Hopping
- Resort Hopping
- Night and Day Fishing
Once the boat docked, the owner or manager of the inn I was going to stay was there waiting to pick me up. I checked-in soon after at his hotel – Ethereal Inn. The Inn is less than 5 mins walk to the beach. The manager who is commonly known as Fox has been really accommodating and has even helped me set up some of the activities that I could do during my stay.
Ethereal Inn – Maldives
On my other travels, I usually just ask around what I can do at that point of time of day. I thought I could do the same here but it seems that for most of the activities, you would have to set it up the day before so you can be included on it. As I did not set up anything for that afternoon when I arrived, I did not want to waste precious time so I opted to rent a private speed boat and do island hopping. Fortunately, the manager of the inn helped me to get it done.
Speedboat Drive – Maldives
The first place we visited was Biyadhoo Island. I was brought to a good snorkling spot and the island view and underwater coral reefs are amazing.
Biyadhoo Island, Maldives
After a few hours, we went to Maavilaath Reef. The water was really clear and I got the chance to see and swim with large rare fish.
Maavilaath Reef, Maldives
Getting around the islands and swimming around with the fish and the reefs were exhilarating and exhausting. Still though, it didn’t seem like I was tired enough to call it a night. I remembered the owner of the Inn telling me about this Floating Bar. It’s free to be transported there and you only need to pay for the drinks and food that you get on the cruise ship. Sample prices would be: Tiger beer and Budweiser in can costs about 6$ each, Jose Cuervo Tequila is 100$ per bottle. They are open from 12 noon to about 1-2 am.
Maafushi Floating Bar – Maldives
Maldives – Day 3
I still had some hangover from the party the night before but as soon as the sun was up, I got ready for another round of island and reef hopping.
The first was Kuda Giri Reef. The coral reefs and fish were amazing.
Kuda Giri Reef, Maldives
The next place we went to was what the locals call the Heart Sandbank. They say the sandbank used to look like a perfect heart shape. The sand was beautiful and the view was astounding. It’s a heart-shaped sandbank in the middle of the ocean. I have never seen anything like it. We took our time swimming and snorkelling, as well as our lunch here.
Heart Sandbank – Maldives
After lunch, we went to Gulhi Island. Gulhi is one of the islands of Maldives which will show you how the locals live. We went around for a tour and eventually stayed at their main attraction – Gulhi Beach.
Gulhi Island – Maldives
The whole trip of island hopping got me really exhausted. So after we came back to Maafushi, I walked to Maafushi’s Bikini Beach and I literally fell asleep as soon as I hit the sand.
Maafushi’s Bikini Beach – Maldives
The sun was about to set when I woke up. I had a wonderful surprise when I got back. Than manage Fox prepared me dinner free of charge and he even made an effort to get me a personalized cake. Thank you again Fox for making my birthday really nice with your gesture.
Maldives – Day 4
I had to wake up earlier than usual the next morning since my scheduled fishing trip starts at 4am. We first started to catch bait. They told me that these are attracted to light. Using a net, we went around places with light and started catching schools of small fish. It took us more than an hour to gather enough bait before we went farther to go pole fishing.
While the boat goes around, a member of the crew throws out the bait in the water while the rest of us held our fishing pole tight. Soon enough, I felt a pull from my pole and I immediately pulled it up and saw the fish hooked in it. I threw the fish back to our boat. It wasn’t easy as you need to be able to feel the fish once it gets hooked. If you wait longer, the fish gets away and your string gets broken. They had to change the strings of my pole four times as I try to get the hang of it.
The fishing trip was so much fun but it was also really messy. Imagine all these fresh fish just flying around you. I needed to take a very long bath after our fishing trip. It was though one of the best sunrise I have ever experienced – Maldives sunrise in the middle of the ocean while Fishing!
Sunrise and Fishing – Maldives
After the fishing trip, I checked out Ethereal Inn and went to the resort – Adaaran Prestige in Vadoo Maldives. The resort was astonishing and the view was amazing.
Adaaran Prestige, Vadoo – Maldives
Maldives – Day 5
The next day, I dropped by Malaysia for a quick business trip then flew back home. I wish I have the words to describe Maldives but all I can say is, I am worried as to how my future trips on other places would still compare.
Thank you again Fox of Ethereal Inn for my stay in Maafushi and helping set up the activities for me.
Thank you also Mohamed and Kate for helping with my schedule and setting me up with Adaaran Prestige. If not for you letting me exchange my Philippine currency, I would have not been able to completely enjoy this Maldives Trip.
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