“Good people. Good food. Excellent Resorts. Crystal clear water. White sandy beaches. Intense Marine life (more intense than the Philippines’ from my experience). Diver’s heaven. Goodbye Maldives :’)”
– this was posted on my personal Facebook account after my Maldives trip last September 2016…
I live in a country which is composed of more than 7,107 islands with lots of pristine beaches and countless resorts. Why the heck would I go the Maldives?
A short answer would be another question: Why the heck not?!
Maldives has this Saudi Arabian-Indian vibe. For one, it’s a Muslim country. I bet most people don’t know that. A number of mosques can be seen around. Be respectful of their culture and religion. You can’t just wear your skimpy clothes or bikinis and walk along the streets. You can only wear those at designated beaches and private resorts. Another thing is that the locals have Indian features. Geographically and culturally speaking, it’s not difficult to think otherwise.
The following are my day to day activities:
DAY 1 – THE TRAVEL
I allotted my first day just for traveling and resting upon arrival.
How did I get there?
There are no direct flights from Manila to Male (the capital city of Maldives). I took a flight from Manila to Singapore and then took another from Singapore to Male. When searching for plane tickets, I always use the handy-dandy website: www.skyscanner.com. You can sort out the cheapest or the most convenient routes you want to take. I went with Tiger airways for my flight from Singapore to Male because it was the cheapest at that time. A roundtrip ticket would cost around 320 USD.
Arriving at the airport in Male, I saw honeymooners, couples, lovers, partners, life-long enemies- or whatever you call them, all over the place. Hmmm… Was this the right choice? Going alone to a place dubbed as the honeymoon capital of the world?
Please don’t rub it on my face…
I glanced thoroughly amongst the lengthy lines of tourists; I saw few brave souls like me as I recalled Lakwatsero’s post on solo travel to Maldives. Shout out to him for inspiring me to travel alone.
Jason’s hot tip: requirements for visa-on-arrival are proof of accommodation, onward/return plane ticket, money-on-hand (just tell ’em how much bucks you have), and guts. 😉
As I step outside the airport, the next thing I saw is another port – the sea port. It’s quite extraordinary because you have to ride a boat to the main city. I heard you can pay for a sea plane directly to a resort. That’s what celebrities and businessmen do. I’m not at their level… yet. It would definitely make huge holes in my pockets.
Jason’s hot tip: though it’s very hard to miss, you may want to ask the information booth just outside the airport for the exact location for the boat ride.
The ticket for the public ferry is 1 USD.
I sat next to locals, working men, and budget travelers. We crossed the sea until we reached Male under 10 minutes.
The inn I reserved for was just nearby but I can’t figure out which direction should I start walking. I don’t know if I’m just tired or a little scared of the dark but I decided to take a taxi directly to the inn. I think I paid about 2 USD. Worth the money, I guess.
I checked-in at Off Day Inn for 45 USD a night and guess what? The receptionist was a Filipina from Cebu. See? I told yah Filipinos are everywhere – well, same as Chinese and Indian.
I went outside for a bit and I immediately felt the Saudi Arabian vibe. I heard the prayers from the mosques, I saw stores with Arabic letterings, and I met women covered with abayas and tarhas. It was nostalgic for someone who grew up in the Middle East. :’)
DAY 2 – MAAFUSHI ISLAND
I messaged a guy named Ibrahim from iCom tours on Facebook the day before for the scheduled speed boat at 9:15 AM from Male to Maafushi. That was the reservation. Cool.
Before the ride, I roam around with my backpack to absorb the city.
Once done, I walked along the port to locate the signage for jetty #6 – I can’t find it. What to do? Oh no…
I saw a couple of different tour operators at the port and I asked them where the iCom boat is. Good thing they knew where the boat was and they just told me to wait.
After a few minutes, tadaaahh… the speed boat arrived.
The guy from the boat ticked me off his list as I paid him 20 USD. Oh yeaahh! Maafushi, here I come!
We docked at the island after 2 hours and I could see people waiting for us with their respective hotel signs (similar to guides waiting at the airport). So touristy…
The staff from Holiday Lodge assisted me through the hotel. It was a quick stroll along the sandy beach. I was welcomed by a hammock outside the lodge, with an aura of ultimate relaxation. I entered the room and it was darn pretty. It was conducive for lovers, complete with towels forming a heart on top of the bed…. awww so sweet.
I spent 60 USD a night for this room, which I highly recommend because of the comfy bed, helpful staff, and delicious breakfast.
My activity for that day was to do an afternoon dive with Maldives Passions. The price of one dive was approximately 55 USD. It was memorable as it was the first time I swam with Blacktip reef sharks!
Jason’s hot tip: The locals do accept US dollars as payment but of course, having Maldivian rupees would be smart and cool. Budget rice meal prices range from 2 to 5 USD while eating at a fancy restaurant would cost 10 USD or more.
DAY 3 – OVERWATER BUNGALOW RESORT
Because I was all alone, I didn’t think spending the night on luxury resorts would be worth it. I just did a day trip to one of the resorts that iCom offered. I was in awe when I saw the overwater bungalows I thought I could only see in magazines or on Facebook.
I died inside, as I took-in the view… wowowow!!!! A moment of silence for the beauty of Maldives…
I chose Adaaran Prestige Vadoo – a 5 star resort which offers lunch buffet and unlimited drinks (soft and hard!!) until late in the afternoon. You can relax or snorkel all day long. The water is crystal clear on the shoreline and you’d be amaze on how many different species of fish are swimming by. You shall not go to Maldives without visiting an overwater bungalow. It would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower. By the way, the price for the day trip was 100 USD, an overnight stay would be 600 USD. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Day 4- Half Day Snorkeling
We’re down to the last day… boo!!! I have a flight in the evening but I still have time to do an activity!!! Yehey! iCom saves the day again! Just let them handle everything, they got loads of activities you can join. I took a half-day snorkeling with them. The guide even taught me how to dive properly as I am used to SCUBA. The highlight? Well… I just saw a big ass manta ray!! Surreal!!!! 35 USD to see a manta ray? Hell yeah!
Jason’s hot tip: You can ride the speed boat back from Maafushi directly to the airport. There are also ferry rides to/from Maafushi which are way cheaper but the schedule is limited and it will take longer.
After the 4 days, it was very difficult in my heart to say goodbye. The island defined the word CHILL. 101% CHILL bro. I know I’d be back. I want to swim and chill with someone. I’d spend my honeymoon on one of those luxury resorts. Hmmm… And When will that be? I’m hoping it will be soon because I’m dying to go back.
SUMMARY OF EXPENSES
|Manila to Male via Singapore roundtrip fare||320|
|Public Ferry ride from airport to city||1|
|Taxi ride to inn||2|
|Lights out at Off Day Inn||45|
|Speed boat from Male to Maafushi||20|
|Afternoon dive with Maldives Passion||55|
|Lights out at Holiday Lodge (with breakfast)||60|
|Adaaran resort day trip (with buffet lunch)||100|
|Lights out at Holiday Lodge (with breakfast)||60|
|Half day snorkeling package||35|
|Speed boat from Maafushi to airport||20|
|TOTAL including air fare for 4 days||753|
|TOTAL excluding air fare||433|
I highly recommend the ff:
Skyscanner – search engine for the cheapest and most convenient flight routes
Booking – for reserving hotel accommodation
iCom Tours – for speed boat transfers and numerous tours in Maafushi Island
Holiday Lodge Maldives – awesome hotel accommodation in Maafushi Island
Maldives Passions – scuba diving operator in Maafushi Island