Read Part Two, Guesthouse or Resort HERE
We fly into the airport in Male’, and our first glimpse of the Maldives (pronounced Mul-deeves) spreads before us like the mecca of all enchanted places. As we take turns plastering ourselves to the window, we see nothing but a blanket of glistening sapphires below. Nestled within this swath of the Indian Ocean rise geological halos resembling eyes. The pupils are dark and deep, and the irises are the colour of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. We’ll soon board a small seaplane with a barefoot pilot, this, the third one it’s taken us to get to our ultimate destination. One of these orb shaped atolls is to be our home for the next 8 days at which we will lounge like it’s our job.
Getting here requires a bit of work. From Australia, it’s best to fly via Singapore or Dubai, and time in the air will be about 18 hours. From the US, it’s the same distance no matter if you are flying from the east coast (say, Atlanta) or the west coast (LA). Depending on who you fly (in this case, Delta) you’ll connect in Shanghai, and flight duration will be around 25 hours. Be strategic about timing it so that you don’t waste a valuable day due to an airlines’ late arrival schedule. Stay in the connecting city for a night if you need to, or stay in Male’, near the airport and get out first thing the next morning. We stayed one night in Singapore so that we could arrive early in the Maldives and enjoy the whole day, arriving at about 11am.
The Maldives are known not only for their remoteness, but also for their spectacular overwater bungalows. Most are so absolutely sublime, you’ll find yourself not wanting to leave yours for the more ‘peopled’ areas of the resort. I recommend that you book the nicest accommodation you can afford. Cut back somewhere else: Skip Starbucks, go out to dinner less, avoid Target. You may never make it back here, and you’ll kick yourself if you skimp on this particular Shangri-La. Our accommodation is on stilts over the water just steps down to the bathwater sea. We snorkel daily. From the large deck, we lounge in our private pool with only the stars to see us and we don’t’ bother with bathing suits. Between turning pages of our books, we watch the fish go by: Rays and parrotfish galore are the only sign of traffic we encounter during this blissful week. We have a bathtub the size of a stock pool and there are three showers. Two of them are outside, and we never do get around to using the one that’s indoors. What’s the point of that? Our bed has an emperor sized mattress (7’x7’ or 215cm x 215cm) which we fall into at the end of each day with bellies full and drapes wide open to the flawless black sky.
“This must be just like livin’ in paradise….and I don’t wanna go home.”-David Lee Roth
Whatever you do, purchase a food and beverage package (I’m talking booze here). Unless you go all-inclusive, you’ll be paying upwards of $20 per drink, and at least $75 per meal. Everything must be cargoed in, and again, it’s hella remote. They grow nothing here. At our resort, there was a daily buffet, along with three other specialty restaurants. At the buffet, many nationalities were catered to, so I was able to try cuisines I never would have otherwise. And listen, it’s the Maldives, so offerings are prime selections such as sashimi, steak and even lobster. The buffets are breeze in, breeze out, whilst at the restaurants you’ll need to stick to a booking. We found the buffet to be the best for us and how we like to schedule our day, ‘cause we don’t love a hard agenda when we’re on that kind of holiday. We like to just roll on with the day and do what we want when we want. (Not unlike toddlers.)
AND, speaking of toddlers. I like children, I do. I taught them for 20 years, and loved most every moment. However. I like being with other adults when I’m spending loads of money and experiencing my liberty from the grind. No sand-scattering, food-flinging, pool hogging smallies, please. Turns out, that wasn’t a problem at all, as there were very few children at the resort. Always check reviews on travel sights like tripadvisor.com, Google, and the like, as they can be a boon of information specific to your location. This would be an expensive place to bring children, and unlike Fiji, most resorts here focus on couples and not families.
Take the time to check the weather. Year round you’ll be met with a temperature in the mid to high 80’s, so it’s summer here year-round! However, the Maldives has two seasons, wet and dry. The dry season runs from November to April, and the wet season is, of course, everything outside of that. You’ll pay more to go in the dry season, which also happens to be the time when many cold-weather dwellers are looking for a balmy reprieve. Flights will be [a lot] more costly, as will accommodation. Don’t count yourself out if your budget balks at the price of admission, and instead consider going during the shoulder season. You may have some tropical storms during the day or night, but rarely do they last all day. Let’s face it, the beauty of the lightning cracking over the turgid sea, as well as the substantial drop in price will well make up for a bit of tropical rain.
This doesn’t end here. There is much more to the Maldives that I want to share with you. Put it on your bucket list, and start saving. It’s one of those places that will change your outlook on life. Part 2, coming soon.