Maldives... Truly a paradise on this planet. I chose to visit this country for my honeymoon in January 2014. Many relatives suggested to opt for bright and neon illuminated cities like Bangkok in Thailand or any other city in Malaysia but I could not resist the temptation of the pristine blue water of Maldives which I saw in various articles in internet.I made a firm decision to visit Maldives in January 2014.
Maldives is an island country in the Indian Ocean and lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka.It is actually chain of twenty six human inhabited islands with the centrally located island and capital city known as "Male" (traditionally called the "King's Island"). It is one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries (more than 200 islands) and also the smallest Asian country in both land area and in population.
Except the capital city Male, all other human inhabited islands of Maldives have one (and only one) resort on them. Maldives has a very special concept of "Pick an island resort and stay in it for your full stay". Hence you have to stay in your resort on your chosen island for your entire stay and you cannot move between different islands without permission from your resort management staff. Also each island resort caters to the need of citizens of mostly one particular country. For example there are few resorts which have only Spanish tourists as those resorts are famous for Spanish food which is mainly non vegetarian.Similarly there are only Russian tourist resorts, Indian tourist resorts and so on. You have to be very careful in your island and resort selection else you can face difficulties in getting food of your choice in them. Before starting my journey, I did a full study as what island to visit and which resort to pick from various 4 and 5 star resorts list.After spending countless hours on Internet and navigating through various holiday websites, I selected Sun Island Resort and Spa located on a very far island from capital city Male.This resort is mainly Russian-Indian resort and it has many restaurants with Indian cuisine and vegetarian food options.
Me and my wife started our journey from Cochin Kerala to Ibrahim Nasir International airport in Male,Maldives. As we were crossing Indian Ocean we could see crystal clear blue water and various islands of this beautiful country. I clicked below pictures from window of 20 seater small plane flying over Indian Ocean on the way to Male.
The journey in a small air plane made it even more exciting. When the air hostess announced the arrival of capital city Male, my wife could not resist the temptation of clicking few pictures of capital city Male. It is densely populated and only island in Maldives with roads and traffic.Below is aerial view of Male.
When our plane landed at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Male, we could not wait to see the island and surroundings. The airport is not very big but its very busy as it welcomes hundreds of daily flights from Europe and other Asian countries. Male is heavily visited by Europeans in summer.
Maldives has "Visa on arrival valid for 30 days" policy for Indian Passport holders. So immigration was like cake walk at the passport control. Airport was nice and clean. The officers do not ask any questions when you show them your Indian Passport. I got few quick moments in between the immigration process to capture pictures of the immigration process and the airport.
The airport had friendly staff and help desks everywhere to guide you with directions.If your resort is in Male, you can take a cab and head out but if your resort is in another island then each resort has its own separate help desk where their representatives will stand with large banner and also they have the guest list. You just have to mention your name to them and they will take you for onward journey to your resort.Fortunately my Indian cell phone carrier was working in Maldives. But the call rates to India can give you strong shocks. Be careful while dialing number to India as your cell phone will run out of balance within few seconds.
I decided to take a little walk around airport to get the feel of Male. The area is filled with shops and restaurants. Below are few pictures of the dine out options.
We were very tired so decided to head out straight to our resort (Sun island) help desk. The person standing there greeted us and matched our names with his guest list for reservations. After confirming our stay, he mentioned that our island is very far from Male and will take one short flight (FlyMe : local domestic carrier of Maldives) and then a steamer ride to the island. Trust me, the plane ride and steamer ride made my day. The water is unbelievable and nice cool breeze during boat ride will relax you within few seconds.
After the airplane ride and boat ride, finally we made it to the Sun island Resort and Spa. Trust me, you will think you are on another planet. The Indian Ocean is very calm, quiet and absolutely crystal clear. The water around the Sun Island never rises above your knee for 1 kilometer in any direction. You can walk in the ocean without any fear. Below pictures are testimony to my words.
The resort was simply outstanding and the staff was very friendly. They greeted us with warmth and affection.
Part-2 Travellogue with resort facilities and fun activities which we did will follow soon.