Friday, April 28, 2017

The Maldives for all

Destination: The Maldives
Travel Companion: Mom
Duration: 4 days
Budget: 2,500$ pp
 
I've been wanting to visit the Maldives for several years now, but because of the stigma around it, being a romantic destination, I kept postponing, even though there has been at least 3 times when I started the process of looking at airfare prices and even getting to the point of entering my credit card info. I've always stopped myself until recently. I decided, I want to see the Maldives because I've only heard and seen great things about it, and I want to take my mom. So I booked accordingly.

Best Hammock in the world


Did I regret it when I got there? Hell No. I can confirm, it is not just a honeymoon destination, it's just a collection of beautiful islands and you choose one to live on for few days. People even had another misconception being, it's boring after two days, there's nothing to do. Let me tell you why it is wrong to think this way for two reasons:

a) There's nothing wrong with doing nothing but swimming and relaxing for 4-5 days or even a week.
b) There is more to do than just swimming and relaxing.

Sunset & Chill

1) Where to stay
I will start with this section as it's important to understand the structure of the Maldives as there are over 1000 Islands there, with a dozen habitable ones. When you choose an island, you're choosing a resort. The whole island is a resort. We went to Kurumba, which was on Vihamanaafushi Island part of North Male Atoll. It was less than 10 minutes away from Male airport by speed boat. I obviously can't confirm if Kurumba is the best one as I've only been to Kurumba, but I can definitely say that it was super pleasant and I would visit it again. 

There are Bungalows 4 meters away from the shore, and some bigger villas with indoor Jacuzzis or Pools, and depending on your budget, you can choose what suits you. 

 
You get an outdoors shower booth :)

2) Duration & Budget*
More than other trips, these two are super correlated for several reasons. Staying on an island / resort in the Maldives means your options are limited to that resort when it comes to selection of  restaurants available there. You can have the following options:
  • B&B: Breakfast included with your night of accommodation
  • Half board: Breakfast + Dinner at main restaurant
  • Full board: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner at main restaurant
  • All inclusive: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner at main restaurant + wide selection of drinks in several spots on the island; both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). This option in Kurumba gives you one complimentary tour every 2 nights up until 3 complimentary tours. So since we stayed for 4 nights, we got 2 complimentary tours.
You're probably wondering which option to go for. You can go for B&B or half board and manage your own expenses. However and in all honestly, I recommend the all inclusive. 

Kayaking with a view of the Island
The main reason someone visits the Maldives is to relax and get pampered for that short period of time, and in this case you wouldn't want a half experience, you would want the full one. It's such a nice feeling to know that you can walk up (or paddle up) towards any beach bar, order a drink, not think about how much it costs, enjoy it then go back to your kayak. When I did the math, AI* (All inclusive) came up to be slightly more expensive than if I were to manage my own food and drinks and tours, and I am not someone who drinks much; consequently if you like your rose at sunset, and whiskey on the rocks at night, then another and another, this is definitely the option for you.

If you book with Emirates holidays, it comes down to AED 7,500 per person (AI* for 3 nights + sharing room + Ticket fare in economy), caveat here is that with the flight timings, you get less than 2 days and a half. Instead, I booked with FlyDubai and I got 4 full days / nights as I landed in the morning, I chose all inclusive, I did an extra tour, and I bought some souvenirs, all for AED 8,000 pp. So I paid slightly extra and got almost 2 more full days :) Smart, right? 

I wouldn't recommend less than 3 full days in the Maldives, I would've been very miserable if I had to leave after 2.5 days. 

View of Jetty

3) Food & Drinks
The food was very exquisite in the main restaurant in Kurumba, we had a buffet for all 3 main meals, and everyday it was a different theme, so you will definitely not get bored. You have a salad bar, cheese and other mezza options, hot main courses, in addition to specialties (BBQ or other), endless fruits and a dessert bar to die for! 

I didn't get to try the other restaurants (if you get Full Board or All Inclusive, you get 50%), let's just say I was very happy and fulfilled with the main one. 


Buffet at Kurumba
Wide choice of desserts post lunch and post dinner
Mediterranean night!

4) Activities to do
There's a lot you can do for a chill holiday; I can't speak of all resorts, as for Kurumba you can do the following:
  1. Snorkeling / Scuba diving (check out the Maldives Snorkeling video I did!)
  2. Kayaking / Paddle Boarding
  3. Water sports (Jet Ski, Wind surfing, Banana balloon thing, Para sailing)
  4. Tennis table, pool table, movies night
  5. Pool (in case you're a weirdo who doesn't like swimming in the paradise beach)
  6. Swimming
  7. Watching the sunset at the beach bar
  8. Plenty of excursions (Dolphins sunset tour, Malé Guided tour, Glassboat tour, picnic at another Island, Snorkeling Safari etc...)
  9. Chilling on the hammocks (in land or in the sea)
  10. Reading a book
  11. Listen to a live band at night at Kandu bar
  12. Kids area and activities (it's perfect if you're bringing along small ones) 
  13. Yoga classes, GYM...

Spa Time


Glassboat tour - goes around the Island reef to see the marine life
Snorkeling!
Hammock chillin'
It was nice going to Malé for a couple of hours, we visited a few landmarks but my main highlight was going to the Fruits and Vegetables market, get yourself some fresh coconut water, fill it in a bottle and put in the fridge to enjoy later. I recommend you pass by this café and have some coconut ice cream.


All I can say, it was one amazing trip and something I'd love to be able to repeat on a yearly basis!

FROM MALDIVES WITH FUNK

AI* All Inclusive
pp* Per person
Budget* all costs in Maldives are subject to tax, so whichever cost you see on Booking.com or on the menu etc... will be subject to tax. 

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