MALDIVES : ISLAND LIFE EXPERIENCE
MALDIVES : ISLAND LIFE EXPERIENCE
We decided to go to Maldives for a small holiday of 3 days during Bahrain National day.
Before confirming the plan, we checked the flight tickets and they were as usual, neither cheap nor costly. We booked our tickets. Then my research started off.
Read a lot about Maldives as a country .
Our first question was which island to book the hotel in?
So after reading some blogs, we decided to stay on Maafushi island.
We had no interest and budget to stay in a costly private resort, also read there was nothing much to do in Male, Maafushi island had many tourist activities, so opted for it.
My next question was what are the activities and tours available ?
Private island resort visit .
Male city tour.
Dolphin Sunset Cruise.
Local Island tour .
How do we get to/from Maafushi to Airport?
There are speedboats operated by 2 Private companies: iCom and Maafushi Speedboat. It costs 25$ 1 way / person .
Also most of the big guesthouses have their own speedboat and can arrange a transfer if requested before hand.
The Public ferry also operates but only 1-2 times a day ( some days once and some days twice).It doesn't operate on Friday. It costs 2 $ 1 way/ person .Also you need to take a ferry to Male from Airport. Then take a taxi to Vilingili Ferry Terminal costs around 20 MVR, then take the scheduled ferry to Maafushi.
Do we get vegetarian food on the island?
Not much options available for vegetarians.
Also food costs are quite high even in local and small restaurants in the island.
What is the Visa Formalities?
Everyone irrespective of the nationality gets On Arrival visa.
Now that all research was complete, we booked our hotel in booking.com for Velana Beach Maldives Hotel. Since we are arriving on Friday and there is no local ferry, I contacted Maafushi Speedboat through Facebook Messenger and booked 2 seats in 11 am speedboat. They responded immediately , and told me to come to the speedboat counter and even gave me a contact number if need be. I reminded them on Thursday night again through messenger.
Our flight landed in Velana International Airport. We went to immigration counter and there was a long queue, but the queue moved quite fast. We had to fill out a form that was given in the airplane.
Then we went to collect our baggage. I was a little worried if we would be late for 11 am Speedboat as the next was at 12 pm. Once we took our baggage and went out the airport, there are many many counters: for each hotel but we never found Maafushi Speedboat counter. Later we found a man with board Maafushi Speedboat, we asked him and he told us to wait for some time till 11 am.
At 11 am, we along with our luggage was boarded into a speedboat and we left for the 30 mins sea travel. They informed us that they would inform our hotel about our arrival. the travel was quite refreshing and nice. At the speedboat terminal in Maafushi, we were received by our Hotel: Velana Beach Maldives Manager Mr.Rizwan and another person, who drove a small luggage cart that carried our suitcase to the hotel. We walked to the hotel with Mr. Rizwan.Checked into the hotel and rested well.
Later in the evening, we went for a small stroll around the island. The island is quite small, so we can go around the entire island in less than 1 hour. We found the most famous Fine Bake by Suzie , supermarkets( there are loads on the island), beaches, Watersports counters, iCom Office, Maafushi Speedboat and tours office, ferry terminal, Maafushi Prison, Picnic Inn hotel. We wanted to enquire about tours in Picnic Inn because I read in some blog, that their tours are the cheapest. The hotel name is changed now .We enquired about the price , they offered us a half day tour snorkeling at 2 spots, sandbank trip with lunch for 30$.Also sandbank trip at 2 ( 1 near and 1 far) sandbanks, sunset cruise for 25$.This trip is starts at 3 p.m. also enquired at Maafushi watersports. The gave a package for 200$ /2 persons : It included jet ski, fun tube, canoeing 1 hr, parasailing (both of us together) .We roamed around the beaches and clicked photos .We shopped at a supermarket, exchanged money there in the supermarket as she gave better rate, shopped at Fine Bake ( chicken rolls, chicken brown bread sandwich, cakes) and went to hotel.
At the hotel, we took the free bicycle, and drove nearby .
After Breakfast we again roamed around. Saw White sea Shell restaurant tour prices and enquired with them and at Velana hotel. White Sea Shell restaurant offered 3 point snorkeling, lunch at sandbank, dolphin cruise half day trip for 25 $/person including transport, underwater pictures, snorkeling equipment, towels. They told us to come around 8 pm to book the trip. In Velana also we have the same trips, but the cost can go high if there are less people.
The evening Fishing Trip costs 20$/person, which includes fishing and dinner with fish that's caught. We booked this trip with Velana.
We enquired the Active Watersports counter. They gave us a package of 150$/2 persons that included 6 activities: canoeing 1 hr,knee boarding, funtube,water ski, rafting and banana boat.They said Parasailing itself costs 150$ /2 persons. Parasailing was not included in this package.
After lunch, we went around 3 pm to the watersports beach. When we wanted to book with Maafushi Watersports, they told us the see is rough , so we cannot book you now. But watersports was going on. So we asked Active Watersports for 3 activities: fun tube, water ski, canoeing .They quoted 75$/2 persons for the same. We paid them and got ready with life jackets, waterproof bag to keep our phone. First we did waterskiing, the guide took us to a nearby sandbank .On the way he let my husband drive by teaching him the technique. Then In the sand bank we clicked lots of photos and the way back to the beach the guide showed us stingrays. We could see them just below the water surface. It was a adventurous and thrilling ride. On reaching the beach we got onto a fun tube, clicked photos and went for the fun tube ride. The fun tube ride was real fun, not very scary. The guide was well aware of how we felt, he kept looking back to see if we were scared or not enjoying. It was like floating on the sea , on a balloon. The water is so open and you feel so good to be on the sea.
After the fun tube ride, we were told the sea is rough and so we cannot do canoeing now. They told us to come back the next day. But we never went back.
Around night we booked the half day snorkeling trip with Sea shell restaurant for the next day.
We had pizza for dinner at Mamma Mia Pizza and Pasta close to Velana hotel.
We left for the snorkeling trip .There were more than 10 people. We were given life jackets, snorkeling gear, paddle shoes, beach towels. We went to the speedboat terminal and got onto a speedboat. This has been organized by Shadow Palm Hotel. The lunch also was loaded.It was a 4 member crew.First as we drove they took us to a point where we could see dolphin show live in the sea. So many dolphins all doing flips. Then we were taken to the nemo point, which was close to a Private Resort Beach. This place you can see 'Finding Nemo' film fish.
Then we went to Turtle point , where 4-5 Turtles were seen. Then to shark point to see baby sharks.
Then we went to sandbank for Lunch. As it was raining, it was lunch in the speedboat.We were served sandwiches, fruits, juices, water.
Then we were driven back to Maafushi.
As it was raining heavily, we stayed in the room .Due to the rain, the evening Fishing tour was also cancelled. We booked our speedboat for aiport transfer around 12 pm the next day at the hotel.
We did some souvenir shopping in a nearby shop. Copied under water pictures of the snorkeling trip from Sea Shell hotel. Bought some quick bites from Fine Bake. Packed our bags and checked out the hotel. Our luggage was sent in a cart. We walked to the speedboat terminal with a hotel staff. There was much crowd for the speedboat. But everyone got a seat, there is separate space for luggage. The speedboat we came to Maafushi from Airport was a small one. The speedboat first stopped at Male, then left for Airport. We reached the airport, finished immigration, checked in, waited for the flight.
Thus a very lazy , leisurely trip to the Island came to an end.