The Maldives is a beautiful South Asian island country. It’s a group of 1200 islands lying southwest of India and Sri Lanka, out of which only 200 are inhabited by local Maldivian people, nearly 100 islands have been developed as tourist resorts and the remaining islands are uninhabited. Maldives is called as “the tropical paradise” for its snowy white sandy beaches, turquoise blue lagoons, and its vast marine diversity.
It was going to be my first foreign vacation with my husband, I was so happy and excited. After doing some research on the internet, we found that it would be more economical and customizable to plan our trip yourself rather than opting some travel packages. We booked our flight tickets via Srilankan airlines that cost us around 36000 INR for two of us for round trip from Bengaluru to Male (capital of Maldives). Then came the most important task of selecting a good hotel. With the help of booking.com, we booked a Beach facing Bungalow in Paradise Island Resort for 3 nights/4 days. It cost us around 50,000 INR (including taxes, breakfast, and dinner) that you need not pay at the time of booking. For Maldives, a pre-arrival visa is not required, regardless of your country of origin, provided you have a valid passport, proof of onward travel, and the money to be self-sufficient while in the country.
Finally, the day came when we landed in Male, there were counters of different resorts on the airport. We reached our resort counter and waited there for 10-15 minutes for other tourists to assemble there. From there we headed towards the speedboat jetty which is only a 1-minute walk from the arrival terminal, view of the vast blue ocean was overwhelming. The speedboat was waiting there to take us to our destination. It charges around 7000 INR per person(return journey). Although very costly but it was an exciting and exotic 20-minute ride. From the glass window, you could get a beautiful view of the ocean, flying fishes and other gorgeous islands on the way.
As we reached our island, it was a whole new world to embrace us. It was so beautiful, clean and calm. Island was surrounded by the turquoise blue water lagoon. A wooden bridge over the lagoon was connecting the jetty to the island. Water was so crystal clear that we could see, down the bridge, fishes swimming freely in the warm water. On the other end of the bridge was the resort’s private white sand beach lined with lush green palm and coconut trees.
We were welcomed with a mint drink and generous smile. We did not know that a big surprise was waiting for us. We came to know that our beach bungalow was upgraded to haven suite, a villa built on stilts directly above the water, within the exclusive Haven complex as a gift from the resort. Its cost was around 80,000 for one night. You can imagine our joy :).
As we reached to our heaven suite, we were stunned by its exotic location, the sweeping ocean views from its backyard, and a host of superb luxuries inside.
We could not think a better place to relax and rejuvenate than this. It was a perfect heaven. Starting the day with a cup of coffee over the sea with the music of ocean waves, Getting down the stairs and take a dip in the refreshing salty water of Indian ocean, pampering yourself in your personal swimming pool just above the salty water of the ocean, taking sun bath in our private space in clear mornings, having a sumptuous meal in breakfast at lagoon restaurant, cycling on wooden planks above the water, enjoying the shark feeding in evening with lavish dinner after that and ending the day with happening live shows, cultural events in the bar.
On one side, where Maldives is an ideal place to relax in a peaceful serene atmosphere, it also offers a lot to satiate your adventurous spirits. An array of watersports activities and facilities are there to indulge in like kayaking, Catamaran Sailing, Water Skiing, Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Windsurfing, Snorkelling etc. We have gone for kayaking and snorkeling lesson. Paddling your boat yourself and driving it in the mid of marvelous water of blue ocean was a great feeling. But Snorkeling lesson was something extraordinary. Being a non-swimmers, covering huge distance swaying in the ocean with a life jacket, masks, and fins and exploring the hidden secrets of the underwater world was a great thrill.
Its big thanks to highly efficient management, polite and cordial staff of Paradise Island Resort and to the beautiful people of Maldives for giving us wonderful moments of our life to cherish forever. I can happily say… I LOVE MALDIVES.
Few travel tips to Maldives:
- Plan your trip by yourself instead of going for tour packages as it will definitely save some bucks for you.
- All of the transactions are mostly in USD, so have your currency exchange done before reaching there as exchange rate would be quite higher there.
- Most of the hotels/resorts will offer complimentary breakfast. If you want to save some bucks in food, you can include half board(breakfast + dinner) in your itinerary as food are too expensive there.
- Most of the resorts have a mandatory transfer from the airport via speedboat or seaplane for which you need to pay additional charges(approx 100 USD per person) to the resort. So plan your budget accordingly.
- Do not forget sunscreen above 20 SPF (recommended).
- Do not miss the chance to enjoy a cup of the Sri Lankan Cylon tea.