Words and images by La_Viajera21
Maldives has always been a dream destination not only for nature and beach lovers, but for adventure seekers as well. It has become popular among holidaymakers and honeymooners alike. After all, when people speak of Maldives, what immediately comes to mind are crystal clear blue waters, long stretches of white sand and the overwater villas.
Comprising of 26 atolls (a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets), Maldives is located in Asia, southwest of Sri Lanka and India in the Indian Ocean.
Traveling to Maldives is easy. All nationalities can avail of the free visa on arrival, provided you have a valid passport with 6 months validity, a confirmed return ticket, and enough funds to cover the expenses for the duration of your stay.
How to get there
- Crystal Clear Water
- Powdery White Sand
- Beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets
- Diverse Marine Life
- Exciting Water Sports Activities
From budget to luxury accommodations
There are several flights to Male, Maldives’ capital city. Major airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific offer connecting flights with at least 10 hours travel time from Manila to Male. Budget carriers like Tiger, Jetstar and Airasia have connecting flights, too. The average round-trip airfare would range from USD500 to USD700 (P25,000 to P35,000). You can get cheaper air tickets if you book in advance and if you choose to travel on off-peak dates. Peak season is from December to March. However, the best time to travel to Maldives is during the dry season, between November and April. May to October is wet season. Heavy rains, strong winds and big waves are expected at this time of the year.
Maldives has 1,192 islands, some of which are privately owned and have been converted into luxury resorts. Staying in private resorts can easily cost you from USD300 to USD2,000 (P15,000 to P10,000) per night. Some resorts offer daytrips for a fraction of the cost –perfect for budget travelers who want to experience some luxury without having to pay the full cost of staying overnight.
Since Maldives started to allow foreigners to stay on inhabited islands in 2009, the island paradise has seen a surge of tourists. Thanks to the availability of more budget-friendly accommodations. Hulhumale and Maafushi are two of the popular local islands to stay in for those who are on a budget. Rates for an overnight stay ranges from USD50 to USD160 (P2,500 to P8,000) per night depending on the location, proximity to the beach and facilities offered by the hotel.
Arguably, a trip to Maldives can be a bit expensive for an average traveler like myself. But there are ways to reduce your expenses. You can definitely enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. You just have to plan carefully and set your priorities so you can work around your budget.
I am so lucky to have recently spent my vacation in Maldives. It was such a memorable experience. Let me share with you the five things I love about Maldives:
If you love the sea, Maldives is the place to be. Maldives is 99% water. As soon as you arrive, you will be greeted by the blue sea just outside the airport. The water is so clear and inviting, you’d probably want to jump right in soon as you reached the shore. I didn’t mind swimming for hours under the heat of the sun. I felt so refreshed and energized afterwards. I also enjoyed watching some small fishes as they swim around.
There are public and private beaches in Maldives. The public beaches are on islands where most locals live, while the private ones are in luxury resorts. It doesn’t really matter whether you swim in a private or public beach. The water is just clean everywhere, even at the jetty. But of course, private beaches are well-maintained and each resort offers several water sports and other recreational activities.
The best way to enjoy Maldives is to go on an excursion. A trip to the sandbank or sandbar as we call it in the Philippines is very popular. There are several sandbanks on different islands. We went to the one in North Male atoll. We were lucky because we were the only people there when we arrived. It was so beautiful and serene. The picturesque long stretch of powdery white sand, the turquoise water, and the clear blue sky altogether was such an amazing experience.
Every time I go to the beach, one of my favorite things to do is to watch the sunrise and sunset. As a nature lover, I always believe that the most beautiful things in life are those that come from nature. Maldives is situated near the equator, so it offers spectacular views of sunrises and sunsets. On my second day in Maldives, in Hulhumale, I purposely woke up early to catch the sunrise by the sea. While I was appreciating the beauty of nature, I saw some kids swimming in what looks like a big swimming pool by the sea. The scene was so captivating.
Maldives is known for its vibrant and diverse marine life, consisting of several species of fish, rays and reef sharks. It is also home to whale sharks and sea turtles. The most common sea turtles that can be found in Maldives are the hawksbill and green turtle.
Most hotels organize trips such as dolphin/whale watching, swimming with the whale sharks, scuba diving, fishing, and snorkeling. I booked an adventure trip that included snorkeling and dolphin watching. There are three snorkeling points to choose from: coral garden, stingray point, and turtle point. We opted to see the coral garden. We saw some beautiful corals and colorful fishes too. We spotted dolphins both in the morning and in the afternoon. It was so exciting to watch them as they frolicked in the water.
There is a wide range of water sports activities available in Maldives. Kayaking, canoeing, jetskiing, kite surfing, parasailing and banana boat are the most popular. You don’t need to go to a resort. The beachfront hotels on local islands are also offering those kinds of activities. You can book with them or rent their equipment even if you are not an in-house guest. I personally enjoyed kayaking. The sea is calm and the wind is moderate so it’s okay to do it alone.
There you go. I hope you enjoyed reading this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you get the chance, by all means, check out Maldives.