You know that feeling when one of your dreams became a reality? That’s what I felt when we were finally landing at the Male (capital of Maldives) airport. It was at 10pm and after 11 months of planning, we were now here!
But it was not without a hiccup. To our horror, Malaysian Airlines lost our luggages! We were told they were left in Singapore and they would be returned to us the next day at 10pm! So we ended up not having anything at all for the next 1 day and a half. No clothes. No toiletries. Nothing. We have to buy every thing just to bridge the gap until we get all our stuff back.
1st day – Determined not to let it ruin our vacation though not without struggle and much whining, we went about enjoying our holiday starting with exploring the island of Maasfushi where we stayed. The island is very small and can be covered in 15 minutes of walking. Both sides offer good beaches and apparently stingrays are a common sight swimming casually by the shore! This was my first time seeing a stingray and it was thrilling to see it in a natural setting.
2nd day – Spent half the day at the Maafushi beach again. This time we saw a school of baby black tip sharks swimming by the shore! No pictures though sadly. After that, we had lunch at this amazing restaurant called Rehindi and I could not have enough of their grilled reef fish! It’s so fresh and delicious! Maldives is probably the only place I’ve visited that I actually enjoyed [most of] their food. I’m extremely picky and food is probably the only part I don’t like about traveling.
After lunch, we went snorkeling at the banana reef (click here for the entire underwater shots). We saw lots of different fishes plus we got to swim with a sea turtle! And to top this amazing day off, we saw a pair of dolphins on our way back to our island! Again sadly, no pictures but at least it is something we won’t forget!
3rd day – Woke up early to capture some sunrise and then spent the whole day at Maadhoo Finolhu picnic island, an uninhabited island. The island felt so private with just 4 groups of us at that time. We saw another school of black tip sharks swimming by the long stretches of sandbanks! And these sandbanks are probably one of the most amazing and longest stretches there is. It was during this day we got completely and painfully sunburned! But hey, it was damn well worth the pain!
3rd night – New Year’s Eve at the Maafushi beach. There were people setting out lanterns to the air. There was a bon fire and a 2013 sign was lit up as a 2014 LED sign was flashing as we counted down to the new year. Shortly after midnight, it rained for literally just 3 seconds.
4th day – We spent another full day in an island at the Fihalhohi Resort. Very expensive place and staff are not very accommodating to visitors from another islands! Our sunburn still hurt so much from yesterday that we couldn’t enjoy the beach so we just lounged the whole day. Also, we saw a HUGE leopard stingray!
5th day – Another half day at the Maafushi beach. Saw another baby stingray! Then went to the sandbank at the Furafathi island aka “sexy beach”. Stayed there until after sunset.
6th day – Last day of our “beach” itinerary as we planned to spend our last day to explore the capital city, Male. So we spent the whole day at the Maafushi beach snorkeling, feeling a bit sad about the idea that this holiday is ending soon and the fact that on this day, I am officially in my 30s! Geez, when did that happen?
7th day – Last day of our Maldives vacation. I woke up at 6am and was greeted by the most beautiful and magnificent sunrise. Then we rode the ferry to Male at 730am and it was 1 hour and a half ride. We saw a seaplane swooshing above us. It’s one of the things we missed doing. It would have been nice to see an aerial view of the islands. But it was just too expensive! We finally headed to the airport by dinner time. And just to cap this holiday off, we saw Boris Becker at the pre-departure area! What a truly pleasant surprise! I was so nervous to ask him for a picture but I couldn’t let this opportunity go away. No way!
It was not perfect for sure (thanks to Malaysian Airlines!) but it was truly an enjoyable and eternally memorable vacation. Maldives met our expectations and offered much more. From our island hopping, private resorts I realized felt too “touristy”. The guests have the entire island to themselves and that meant you only get to run into your fellow tourists which robs them the chance to experience and see how the locals live. This is why I loved our stay at Maafushi because it offers both the feeling of a private resort and also you are given the opportunity to observe locals and how they go by their daily lives.
Maldives is truly a paradise. Beautiful beaches. Pristine waters. Rich in marine life. Stunning islands. Warm weather. Nice people. Fewer tourists as expected. And delicious food!! Who knows when I’ll get the chance to come back there but I would in a heartbeat if given the chance again. This has been a dream come true. And I feel very blessed. My next dream is to spend the coming New Year in Auckland. So we’ll see!