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Why Maldives is THE hotspot for post-lockdown travel

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

You have to believe me when I say that I had absolutely NO intention of going to the Maldives last year. (Please see my previous blog for the dramatic back-story 😅)

I had it in my head as one of those destinations that I'd have to save for YEARS beforehand or would be reserved for a very special occasion - like a honeymoon. So when I found out just 10 days before that I was heading to the paradise of Maldives - it was a frenzy of panic-planning and last minute research.


Anybody that knows me knows that I love to travel - that goes without saying. But anybody that REALLY knows me knows that I don't like to miss out on anything while I'm there. For every destination I create a daily itinerary, a list of local restaurants, activities and recommendations that I've gathered from a multitude of travel groups, blogs and of course hounding my friends that have been there. So, ten days didn't give me much time to get myself together.

Turns out I needn't have worried about planning.


Maldives is such a different destination to so many others that I've visited, and it turned out to be the perfect place for me to travel to during a time like this.

Each hotel resort has its own ISLAND

Most places I travel to have this never-ending list of things to do, places to eat, activities, architectural masterpieces and famous landmarks - and I don't want to miss ANY of it. But Maldives is different, especially right now. Once you arrive on your island, that's where you stay for your trip. There's no getting an Uber and going to a different part of town, or going down the street to a local restaurant. Everything you need is on the island.


And trust me, in these resorts it is NOT a bad thing.


Our island was quite big, we stayed in the Sun Syam Olhulevi which was a resort with three islands connected by bridges. It had plenty of beach, gorgeous shallow turquoise water, three beautiful pools (two family pools and an adult infinity pool), a breathtaking reef and drop off for snorkelling and diving, and an array of Instagrammable hideout spots; including swings in the water, giant beach bean bags, day beds, sand bars, pontoons and not to mention all of those iconic walkways that go right above the ocean.


It really was paradise. And every bit as beautiful (if not more so) than it looked in the photos.

During your stay, you can only leave the island on excursions that are organised by the hotel‘s Activity Centre with guests that are in the resort. No external guests are allowed on the island. There’s a lot of space so it’s easy to social distance and there were regular temperate checks. Knowing that everybody had a negative PCR test to get there gave us so much peace of mind.


It was such a breakaway from the reality back home, and for that I’m forever grateful.


Food and Drink

We booked all inclusive, which I'd highly recommend if you're ever planning to visit Maldives. Most of the resorts offer different packages at the time of booking, from Bed and Breakfast, to Half Board to All Inclusive. But remember I said that there's nowhere else to go? So it's very different to opting for Bed and Breakfast in a resort in Greece, then having Gyros on the beach in the afternoon, and stumbling across an authentic Greek restaurant in the next town for dinner.


There's nowhere else to go, so EVERYTHING you eat and drink will be in the resort.

We saw the menu prices for those not having the all inclusive package and it was extremely expensive ($14 for a cocktail, $6 for a Coca Cola, $25 for a pizza). However, we were able to indulge in unlimited cocktails and eat anything we wanted without the worry that the bill at the end would make our hearts sink. I can confirm that we absolutely got our moneys worth!

We spent many hours at the buffet restaurant which had a different theme every day, with live cooking stations and seafood and meat grills which I loved. There were also speciality restaurants and dining experiences that you can upgrade to, so we treated ourselves on a couple of occasions and it was absolutely worth it. One night we had a lobster BBQ on the beach under the stars and another night we dined by a sandbank and ate one of the most delicious curries I've ever tasted (and I've eaten a LOT of curry).


Things to do

I believe that one of the main reasons that people don't have Maldives quite at the top of their bucket list is because it's a heck of a long way to go to do a whole lot of nothing...

Well that's what I thought anyway 🤷🏽‍♀️


But it turns out there's a LOT to do if you don't mind getting your hair wet! (Or your bandaged hand in my case 😅) After a couple days of having my boyfriend carry around the infinity pool to keep my hand dry, we found a solution. A medical glove and a ton of elastic bands later, I was snorkelling in the reef, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking through the turquoise waters feeling like Moana.

We spent our mornings snorkelling around the shallows and over the reef. We swam with turtles, saw octopus hiding within the coral, spotted so many brightly coloured fish, stingrays, reef shark, watched schools of fish swirling in the most graceful formations. It was beyond magical and no description or photo will ever prepare you for the beauty that you'll see underwater.

There was also a dive centre on the island with trained instructors to take you into the depths of the deep blue waters. I was tempted, but Daniel didn't want to, and from my experience diving in the Great Barrier Reef, I wasn't mentally prepared enough to concentrate so intricately on my breathing. Besides, I had my heart set on going on the tour to swim with whale sharks, nurse sharks and dolphins - talk about the dream! I was beyond disappointed to find that everyday the tour kept getting postponed due to the weather conditions and in the end I was unable to go. The good news is I now I have a mega excuse to go back!


The weather

As I mentioned in my last blog, we had a weather forecast of thunder, lightning and storms every single day for the week that we were there. I have to admit, it felt like we had picked the wrong time for our little paradise escape. However, we quickly realised that it's very difficult to get an accurate forecast for your island. In relation to the capital city of Male, the islands are small and scattered, so during our first few days we actually saw storms in the distance cover some nearby islands on the horizon but they didn't affect us. It was only the last few days of the trip that the storms seemed to come for us.

Usually I'm not a fan of the rain, however, the sea was still as warm as a freshly-made bubble bath and the rain was like a hot shower. So me and Daniel swam around in the ocean watching the crabs burrow into the sand, the reef sharks hunting in the shallows and the fish swimming away at the sight of us. They're the moments that give me a warm feeling in my tummy when I think about the trip.


Rooms

Of course when anybody talks about the Maldives, we instantly imagine the beautiful overwater water villas with glass floor, a private infinity pool and slide that goes straight into the ocean. But as you know, this was not a honeymoon. It was a last minute getaway, so we took whatever room we could get without paying too much difference from our original trip. We ended up in a Deluxe Beach Duplex which had a huge balcony with a day bed that overlooked the beach. It took us about 12 seconds from our door to reach the white powdery sand and warm turquoise water. It was a great room and had everything we needed, but we just that we felt the room needed a bit of refurb. The bed was huge and one of the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever stayed in.

Night Life

Every evening we went for a walk along the deck to the dive centre pier. There we would sit and watch a family of manta rays that were drawn to the light to feed on plankton. They would put on quite a show, gliding through the water and flapping their "wings" for good measure. Time would pass effortlessly as we dangled our feet over the dock and watched them live gracefully in a completely different world to ours.

The main bar would ramp up at night time. It was a large open hut with sand for floor, day beds, booths and tables. There was a live band that could sing literally any song request you gave them as if they had been rehearsing it for days - there were LOTS of Christmas songs towards the end of our trip, which felt so bizarre on this isolated paradise island. There was a DJ that played all the cheesy pop and house music you could ask for. Some nights it actually felt like we in Ibiza which was unexpected, but surprisingly fun.

To summarise...

I would absolutely recommend that you put the Maldives on your list if you're sitting on the fence about it. You may be able to go sooner than you think if you take away those high expectations of needing a private infinity and a 4 bedroom villa with a glass floor. There are always options to upgrade for a couple nights if you wanted to indulge in that luxury on a smaller scale.

I will definitely be going back and maybe next time it will be in the ultimate luxury, but either way, it's a destination that deserves to be seen more than once in a lifetime. And for anyone who's wondering, YES it was 100000% worth all the drama leading up to it!


Thanks so much for reading. More stories and sharing coming soon!

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