As an Indian, when we think of Sun, Sand and Sea, the first city which crops up in our mind is Goa! But having visited Goa a million times over, I wanted to explore a beach destination with crystal clear blue sea and pristine white beaches. As a die hard romantic, Maldives was always in my mind as one of the must do beach destinations near India. The best part is that its Visa on Arrival. So, no running around visa centres with innumerable documents in hand, Thank God for that,Phew!
Maldives is a sunken underwater heaven, made up of a 1000 + islands, out of which only a few hundreds are occupied. Most of the high end resorts take up one whole island for tourists, hence its SUPER EXPENSIVE! Unlike most honeymooners or couples in general, I decided on visiting Maldives with my friend in the month of August. Since it was a short 3 nights visit, we didn't want to spend extravagantly on our accommodation. We opted to stay in a decently priced hotel at a locally inhabited island called Maafushi.
Our days in Maldives were spent in exploring the local islands and the local sea food. Not to forget, lots of swimming and visiting an island resort for a day tour, BLISS!!
With some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, the clear waters of Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life. The richness and variety is astonishing; dazzling coral walls, magnificent caves and schools of brightly coloured tropical fish await you when you get down to the reef. In deeper waters lurk manta rays, turtles, sharks and even the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. The best bit? The water is so warm many people don’t even wear a wetsuit.
Some takeaways for people who are travelling as a couple, family or planning on travelling on a budget with friends like we did:
1. Alcohol is available only in private resorts and the floating bars off the shore of local islands.
2. Although locals are always modestly dressed, since it's a 100% muslim dominated country, tourists can dress up in their beach wear without any hesitation, when in private resorts. In places like Male, we did come across scantily clad tourists, but most of them more or less had either a sarong or scarves handy.
3. The locals are super friendly and kind. We did not feel unsafe for a single second in any of the islands or beaches, even in the middle of the night.
4. There are quite a lot of budget hotels in islands like Maafushi, Dhiffushi, Gulhi, Gan. Maafushi island is the most populated of them all.
5. Souvenir shops are cheaper in local islands. Male being the capital has more expensive variants.
6. Speedboats are the fastest mode of transportation but is expensive. If you have time in hand and don't mind being in the sea for a longer period of time, then a local ferry is a much cheaper option.
7. Everyone accepts dollars, even the fruit and vegetable vendors, so don't bother converting dollars to Maldivian Rufiya.
At Viaje Tours and Travels, we arrange for customised package to Maldives via Kochi/Bengaluru. Book your's before its too late!