maafushi

MALDIVES 2014 [Day 5]

After the long wait, we’ve boarded the speedboat we requested from Arena Beach back in Maafushi to bring us to Male, the island’s capital. It was definitely not a smooth ride! The waves became violent and we were almost jumping out of our seats! Thank God I had some mints with me or else I’d surely puke!

DSC_0823After so many bumps, I finally saw the city from afar. There are low rise buildings next to each other. It looks like Hunger Games’s Panem. We were dropped off in front of the airport. From there, we were fetched by the hotel’s service. It took us around twenty minutes which is situated at the back of the airport.

photo(1)This place doesn’t have much of a Maldivian vibe. Yes, the shore and the coconut trees are still seen from the end of the streets, but I didn’t feel like I’m in a tropical paradise. It’s not a bad thing. Quite amazed how they were able to develop such a place in a very limited space. Most shops are small and of the same size. Houses are low-rise buildings and roads are pretty paved. Surely, this place is gonna get better as years go by.

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We originally booked rooms at the UI hotel. But we checked in at the newly opened Airport Comfort Inn which is owned by UI. The room has its contemporary tropical vibe. Same with Arena but less posh. The room smelled of fresh cut wood. We had a little bit of a problem in the first room we checked into as the air conditioner is not functioning. We were helped by the staff to move out and transfer to the next room which had a more perfect view of the beach.

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Staff were great and friendly (not like in Fihalhohi). The only thing I didn’t like in our stay here, aside from the room’s scent which is understandable, is the smell of the water from the toilet bowl. It was foul. The place has a lot of improvements to do.

My sister and I sat the night city tour out as we just wanted to rest and spend the night catching up on White Collar. We had some decent Wi-Fi connection in the lobby.

The morning welcomed me with a lulling sound of the waves. It was hard to be on my feet! But the view outside our room is beautiful in its simplest way. We wasted no time and prepared for our flight back to Kuala Lumpur where we’ll be spending one last night before flying back to Manila.

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We stayed at a place called Langit Langi, thirty minutes away from LCCT airport. I have one tip: Don’t book a room in this place. Staff members weren’t helpful. If you’re looking for a cheap hotel to stay in, maybe try Tune Hotels which is closer to the airport.

With little mishaps, this trip has been a blast! It’s my first time to go outside the country and I don’t know how my future trips would top this. My eight-day vacation ended with a big smile on my face (and burnt skin 😉 ). I surely will miss Maldives. There are still lots I haven’t seen and I am very much looking forward to try them out soon.

PS: I will make sure next time I visit the Maldives, I know how to swim!

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Last three pics were actually the first time I tried jump shot 😉 These were taken at Picnic Island, my personal favorite of the places we’ve visited.

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MALDIVES 2014 [Day 4]

Today we bid adieu to the wonderful local island of Maafushi. But that doesn’t mean our vacation has ended! We boarded a speedboat and traveled for 45 minutes until we reach the resort island known as Fihalhohi.

DSC_0638DSC_0639We were welcomed by the unbelievable shades of blue in the shore. We stayed at a grand receiving area while we finalize a few things for our accommodation (hotel vouchers, ground rules orientation, etc.) We were surprised and amazed at the same time after we learned from the staff who welcomed us that the time in the island is an hour early compared to Maafushi. We left the local island at ten in the morning and arrived in Fihalhohi at ten, as well. It was less than an hour away!

photoWe checked in as soon as we got our keys! It was almost time for food to be served and we didn’t wanna go to the beach until after lunch. The room is very spacious with two single beds, a set of comfortable chairs and a coffee table, a mini refrigerator and a long table with a vanity mirror. The bathroom is quite large than I expected. It has a bathtub! Though I didn’t use it for that long. It crept me out. I don’t know why. Maybe because of the dim lights? The room is a bit old for my taste. I’d choose Arena Beach over this.

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The resort’s management was kind enough to give us free lunch buffet that day. Yey! 😉 Most guests are European and we had a wide variety of food! From Italian to Asian to Mediterranean. After a few days of having a less-than stellar food choices, I was thankful to binge in the rich food Fihalhohi offered.

DSC_0647DSC_0648After lunch, we wandered through the island but kept a safe distance from the shore as the sun was still high. There are lots of birds (kingfishers and crows, I guess) flying around the island and realized how diverse and healthy the island still is.

DSC_0726DSC_0733DSC_0746It’s not hard to tell from the design and structure that the resort is quite old as compared to those we have seen but it’s quite admirable how they kept it as rich and organic as possible.

DSC_0665DSC_0680DSC_0687DSC_0697DSC_0704DSC_0705As compared to Maafushi, Sexy Beach and Picnic Island, the waves here were a bit strong. But the reefs are richer and the underwater life are much more present. I was enjoying the water a few feet deep and I saw a school of fish swimming with me. Water is not as clear as Maadhoo but it’s still breathtaking! We stayed in the water for a few hours before preparing for the sunset.

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

Photo from Winbird Shia

It was cloudy. As the sun was setting, not much color has bled through the sky. We witnessed the sunset by the water bungalows (which looks more beautiful in the photos than in reality). Accommodation in there is a few hundred dollars more expensive than the “comfort room” we had.

DSC_0675DSC_0710DSC_0712DSC_0770DSC_0778DSC_0785By nighttime, after feasting through the food, I stayed inside the room and read through my book. I thought we’d call it a day already until one of our buddies invited us to the bar and have a drink. It was a challenge walking in the sand with very little help from the solar-powered lights. We didn’t stay long and finally gave in to our bed’s call to dream land.

The next day, we took a few hours waiting for our speedboat from Maafushi going to Male. It was fine day. Strong wind has constantly made it cool as I sat by the edge of the viewing deck while I read through my book.

DSC_0808In general, I have some disappointments with the accommodation but the island has its natural beauty that transported all the negative vibes I had in the oblivion.

MALDIVES 2014 [DAY 2]

I felt like I’ve slept for more than 12 hours when I woke up past seven in the morning the next day. We were served American breakfast – toast, eggs and hotdogs – with a side Indian twist – chapati, peas and beans in curry sauce. It was okay, enough to fill your tummy on a busy morning ahead. So we did.

photoThe sound of the waves in the nearby sea filling our ears added the flare that’s lacking in the food served. In no time, our feet we scrambling on the powdered sand towards the beautiful beach of Maafushi.

DSC_0457DSC_0454DSC_0452A few steps away from the shore, there’s a sand bank where our group took a lot of photos (profile, panorama and jump shots). There were a number of early swimmers and sunbathers. Some of us snorkel our way to greet the underwater good morning! Being a non-swimmer, I enjoyed basking in the heat of the Maldivian sun at the sand bank.DSC_0453DSC_0469DSC_0481DSC_0462DSC_0490DSC_0499DSC_0505DSC_0503

We went back to our room an hour before lunch to prepare for our little trip to a bigger sand bank farther away from Maafushi called Sexy Beach. We had a good time resting up and drying up our clothes. After lunch was served, we geared on to the nearby Maafushi Diving site to get our flippers (which I didn’t use) and life vests.

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It took us 15-20 minutes to get to the Sexy Beach. Only one word popped into my head — magical! Imagine sailing through the deep blue Indian Ocean with an unobstructed view and seeing from afar a glowing turquoise enticing every boat rider to go its direction. It is only a few meters long with waves from both sides calmly wetting the finest sand I’ve ever seen!

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I was afraid to jump off the boat to get to the Sexy Beach’s shore even though I have my life vest on. I don’t have a great control of my own body. Thank God for one local who helped me until my feet felt the sand. We stayed there for more than an hour and met up with another group of Filipinos who are also exploring the islands of Maldives. After the 45-minute dive our co-travelers did, we headed back to Maafushi just in time for the sunset.

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Another day in Maldives well spent! I love how this vacation is a great mix of adventure and relaxation. We again had our candlelight dinner. Nightlife is not much of a thing in Maldives – alcoholic drinks are not allowed in local islands while those in the resorts are pretty much expensive.

After dinner, we headed back to our room and rested to prepare for another adventure waiting the next day!

PS

Congrats to these four who went diving and saw the richness of Maldives underwater!

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MALDIVES 2014 [Day 1]

We flew to Maldives from Kuala Lumpur via Air Asia. The travel was four hours long, more or less. It was a transit flight with a stopover at Colombo, Sri Lanka. But we went straight to the beautiful republic of Maldives. No wonder why one of the passengers stood up even though we’re landing to take a peek at the beautiful atolls.

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We arrived at the airport several minutes before clock strikes one in the afternoon. There’s a three-hour time difference between Kuala Lumpur and Maldives. The heat prickled on my skin as we walk our way outside the airport. But I immediately forgot about it the moment I laid my eyes on the unbelievable facade outside the airport.

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We rode a speedboat to Male, capital of Maldives. From there, we road a ship (not sure what it’s called really) to Maafushi island. We were with the locals and some tourists too. After paying 30 MVR (or 2 USD), we sailed on to the island where we’ll be staying for four days.

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After two hours of sea travel, we got to our destination. Maafushi is a local community. Low-rise houses are stacked on streets full of white sand. There’s a school a few steps from the dock and a series of beach houses and hotels are seen meters away from the calm beach.

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We checked in at Arena Beach. Originally, we booked rooms at Arena Lodge but we got an upgrade since it’s under construction (not sure about this though as I was thinking of the room we’ll be checking in while the manager is discussing 🙂 ). Anyways, the room is lovely. Would’ve preferred a beach front room but having one in the back is cool too (for drying wet clothes 😛 ). The room has a contemporary vibe which I always like.

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Our first day was dedicated mainly to settling in to the island and to relaxing after long hours of travel. In total, there were thirteen of us (most of whom I only met there). We had a long table for our candlelight dinner outside the hotel. Food wasn’t superb but it was tolerable.

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I fell asleep as soon as my back hit the comfortable bed. I needed to catch up on sleep and regain energy for the days ahead.