Category: Maldives

The dream destination, Maldives

Maldives is an epitome of heaven on Earth with it’s whiter-than-white powder sandy beaches, luminous crystal clear water and tranquil lifestyle. No wonder that this archipelago of 1,192 coral islands in the Indian Ocean is a popular destination for honeymooners and glamorous tropical getaway seekers. The beautiful water of the Maldives with it’s astonishing underwater world and magnificent sea life has been a magnet for everyone with an interest in snorkeling and diving.

Dhiffushi Island

Not so many know that these incredible islands are inhabited by a friendly Muslim population, who will help you with every need. Maldivians speak Dhivehi, but English is widely spoken especially in areas frequented by tourists. Important to mention that in relation to Muslim religion pork and alcohol are forbidden on the islands. That’s why not all resorts provide it’s customers with liquors.

The floating unicorn

The tropical Maldives spoils it’s locals and visitors with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. Good sun protection like SPF 50 is required. However, the chance of rain shower increases during the April-October months.

Thulusdhoo Island

Although the Maldives hides a big secret: it’s one of the world’s biggest rubbish collections. You might be shocked about the huge amount of plastic bottles floating in the beautiful crystal-clear Indian Ocean and strewn across it’s idyllic beaches. On our flight to the Maldives we got to know a group of people from different countries who flew there to help clean the islands. Which is surprising because locals could easily take care of their magical paradise themselves.

Arrival and currency

Practically all tourists arrive at Malé International Airport  located on Hulhulé Island just right next to the capital Male. The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy: Everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided with travel tickets, duration and place of stay. Going through the Maldivian customs doesn’t take too long: We left airport roughly 15 minutes after landing.

The monetary unit is the Maldivian Ruffiyaa (MVR). Change the currency in the airport because there are not many opportunities to exchange money or find an ATM machine. Maldivians prefer USD so make sure you don’t bring anything else to the country, otherwise you will be running around with monopoly money. That happened to me with my superfluous NZD.

Doubtlessly you can use your international credit card in the resorts but they will charge extra fees, usually around 3%. Most of the restaurants additionally charge you 12% GST + Service fee. Be sure you read the menu carefully. Prices in general are not low, you pay around $10-$15 for a meal per person. Depends on the establishment and how touristic the island is.

The majority gets an organized pick up from the airport. But if you need to reach Male, there is a ferry that will bring you to the other island in just 1o minutes.

Traveling between the islands

Ferry from Male to Ukulhas

We associate the Maldives with expensive luxury hotel properties and unpayable beverages but I have great news for every traveler: The Maldives offers ideal holidays for budget travelers as well as big money spenders. It’s also very easy to travel between numerous islands. It can take hours to have a ride on a public ferry but it will cost you only $2-$5. Impatient visitors can easily arrange a speed boat for around $50 per person or a sea plane for $200-$500 with a pick up from the airport. Nevertheless the transport won’t be able to pick you up any time you want. Most of them are available until 5pm. And again don’t worry, there are great possibilities to spend the night on the beautiful main island before your reach your cherished final destination.

Where to stay if you arrive late, Plankton’s Beach

Plankton’s Beach Lobby

We arrived at the airport at 8pm so we couldn’t get any transfer to our first resort. I discovered a brand new modern hotel on Hulhumale just 10 minutes away from Male International Airport, Plankton’s Beach. I read only positive reviews about it, describing it as an ideal place to for short stays or transit guests but also for those who love to experience the city life of the Maldives.

Delicious Welcome Drink

 

It’s very easy to reach the hotel on your own from Male International Airport via the Airport Shuttle Bus from the Arrival Terminal to Airport Bus Stand at Hulhumale. You can also take a taxi or ask the hotel manager to organize one.

 

 

Deluxe Terrace Room with Ocean View

From the very beginning when you step into Plankton’s Beach Hotel cute small lobby you will receive your refreshing welcome drink from the friendly staff to immerse into the perfect holiday. You will be surprised by the spacious and tastefully designed rooms! There are only 9 of them which makes you feel cozy and at home at this hotel. We stayed in the clean and stylish Deluxe Terrace Room with Ocean View and we couldn’t wish for anything more than that. A comfortable king size bed, lovely bathroom with free toiletries and a hair dryer, TV with satellite channels and of course the essential: free High-speed Wi-Fi. We also had 2 bottles of water and instant coffee in the room. Both of them we consumed in the morning on the terrace with the magnificent ocean view.

Delicious breakfast on the beach

Another highlight of this highly recommended hotel is the breakfast on the beach. They begin to serve these delicious starters of the day between 8-9am, but we needed to leave the hotel earlier so Plankton’s Beach manager organized a more suitable time for us! Enjoyed every bit of the sumptuous breakfast and picturesque scenery with the funky unicorn water float.

Happy us!

There are nothing but positive vibes at Plankton’s Beach with smiley and most important extremely helpful staff! We loved that place and would recommend it to everyone. Just contact them via email: booking@planktonsbeach.com

 

   

 

 

Unforgettable times at Sea La Vie Inn, Ukulhas

Location: Gorgeous Ukulhas

The island of Ukulhas is one of the Maldives’ hidden treasures. It’s an ideal destination for couples and families who prefer diving, fishing and swimming without a crowd of tourists. It’s one of the most inhabited island’s of North Ari Atoll which will help you to immerse into a relaxing paradise and an authentic, friendly Maledivian culture.

White sands of Ukulhas

It’s very easy to reach the island with the public ferry from Male’s Villingili Ferry Terminal. It leaves every Tuesday and Thursday at 9am and cost around $5 one way. It takes 4,5 hours to reach the white sands of Ukulhas. Departure from Ukulhas to Male is three times a week at 10am. The schedule of the ferry can change so confirm the dates with your hotel.

Ferry from Male’s Villingili Ferry Terminal to Ukulhas

No doubt there are other faster options to reach the island like a scheduled speedboat. Hotel Sea La Vie Inn can help you to organize pick up from the airport. It will cost you $50 per person and within 90 minutes you will be able to set foot on the heaven on Earth.

If you really don’t want to waste your time then a sea plane will be a great alternative for you. The 20 minute flight operates during the day time between 5:30am and 5pm for $365 per person round trip.

School in Ukulhas

Climate

Like the rest of the Maldives, Ukulhas has a tropical monsoon climate with warm temperatures around the year. April is the hottest month and December is the coolest. We visited this beautiful island in August and it was very hot especially around midday. You will definitely need sunscreen with SPF 30-50. Due to the salty ocean water it’s advisable to put lotion on every 2-3 hours. Advisable also to pack sum bug spray, little cheeky mosquitos love foreign blood!

Warm temperatures and amazing view of Ukulhas

The amazing facilities of Sea La Vie Inn

Rooms

Sea La Vie Inn is a lovely guesthouse which is a stone’s throw away from the ferry terminal. It offers a great environment to spend an unforgettable holiday with it’s 5 exclusive rooms, all fitted with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi at all areas. We were staying in a modern Deluxe King Suite furnished with an enormous and comfortable king sized bed. It’s not only equipped with a tv, satellite channels but also has tasteful decoration and an appealing colour combination. Another highlight is the spacious bathroom with the rain forest shower head facilitating hot and cold water.

Having a shower is great here!

Restaurants, shops and service

Welcome coconuts

It’s hard to put into words how kind the people and staff of Sea La Vie Inn are. On our arrival we were welcomed with fresh coconuts decorated with beautiful flowers. Exactly what we needed after a series of exhausting long flights. Fazeel, the owner of this great place, helped us with all our questions!

My favourite: passion fruit ice cream

If you are hungry then definitely eat at the Sea La Vie Inn cafe which offers a delicious Thai cuisine. My partner and I have tried everything on the menu and enjoyed every single meal. My favorite is Pad Thai and passion fruit juice.  The highlight is the traditional Maldivian breakfast with tuna salad, vegetables and roti bread: Refreshing, hearty and at a very good price! There is nothing over $8. My other tip is to try the home made passion fruit ice cream, nothing can top this cooling sorbet!

Good morning paradise!

Sea La Vie  Cafe is closed every Friday but not to worry, the town has other alternatives. Nevertheless you can always ask Fazeel, the owner, to organize some breakfast. There are also a couple of kiosks on the island when you can purchase cookies, drinks, toiletries and baking goods at very low prices. For example a big package of Oreo cookies costs only $1. Besides the magnificent  guesthouse, the island also has a health care center and a drugstore.

 


 The staff took brilliant care of us, invited us for a dinner at the beach with them, where we enjoyed plenty of delightful food, they took us for a nighttime walk on the beach to watch the shooting stars and during the day around the village, so we could get to know the local culture and lifestyle. We had lovely conversations with them and felt very welcomed. They even helped me to surprise my boyfriend with a chocolate lava cake and birthday candle.

Friday’s dinner party

Beach and activities

Access to one of the beaches

Sea La Vie Inn is located just next to the dreamy Maldivian beach with it’s turquoise waters. It even offers a tiny private beach area. Important fact to mention is that tourists are welcome on the island which means bikinis are totally acceptable. The white sandy beaches have good entry into the water, though occasional broken corals can be met. Sea La Vie Inn provides it’s guests with snorkeling equipment and it’s the best free activity that you can enjoy in Ukulhas. The water is crystal clear and you can explore the glory of the reefs with it’s exotic sea life. If you are an early bird you can observe baby sharks from the shore. For those who love sunsets, you can sit on the beach with an army of peaceful crabs to keep you company.

Snorkeling equipment

Various activities including free snorkeling and Manta Ray safaris can be arranged at Sea La Vie Inn. There is a coral reef located near the island, where you’ll frequently see turtles, giant rays as well as reef sharks and Zebra sharks. You can also enjoy a Sand Bank Trip, the miracle of nature with powdery beaches and crystal clear water. Traditional Beach BBQ’s with fresh and juicy meals or a romantic Sunset Dinner can easily be organized for you with views out to the sea.

Sea La Vie Inn

 

 

Fishing enthusiasts will adore Ukulhas because it’s a great place to catch Yellowfin Tuna and Blue Marlin. You can also just spot majestic dolphins in the sea jumping around the boats. And don’t worry if you didn’t take enough money with you because it’s always possible to ask for a discount!

 

Thulusdhoo, magnet for surfers

Thulusdhoo is a beautiful quiet island with white sandy beaches, turquoise water and an amazing aquatic life. The Island is located just 28 km north of Male, which you can reach easily by speed boat or even the public ferry. It is the capital of the Kaafu Atoll with a population of over 1400 people, mainly consisting of Muslims. That’s why alcohol is strictly prohibited on the island. Ideal to detox your body!

The beach side of Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo  is especially popular between tourists because it’s considered the best Maldivian surf. The coral reef surrounds the island and protects the crystal clear lagoon providing unlimited surfing conditions almost the whole year. The local surfers named this surfing spot “Coke” because of the Coca-Cola factory which was built here in the 80s.

The distance between Malé & Thulusdhoo

Thulusdhoo is not only a surfing paradise but it also offers plenty of various activities such as an incredible underwater world. Just by walking along the shore you will discover exotic fish, rays and turtles. Some are even lucky enough to see dolphins from their hotel rooms. Snorkeling is one of the must does in Thulusdhoo if you want to explore reef with turtles, skates, sharks and other unusual underwater species. Additionally it has a good infrastructure: There are several grocery shops, a pharmacy and even a hospital.

Thulusdhoo is very a touristic spot that’s why they love $USD$ here. Every guesthouse except it nevertheless if you go to the little shops to get some snacks or toiletries it’s better to have Maldives’ Rufiyaa in your wallet.

How to get there?

You can reach Thulusdhoo within 25 minutes from Male by speed boat.  The easiest way is to ask your guesthouse to organize it for you. It will cost you around $50.

Public ferry from Malé to Thulusdhoo

A Public ferry is available from Male at 15:30 every day, except Friday (To be sure ask your guesthouse because they love to change their schedules at Maldives). The ferry’s name is Tharika-2 and it leaves from the jetty terminal between the fruit market and the presidential jetty on Male. Tickets cost $3 one way and it takes 1,5 hours to get to your dream destination.

Where to stay?

Thulusdhoo offers various guesthouses where you can spend your memorable honeymoon or active surf vacation. We stayed at the modern accommodation located just next to the incredible crystal clear water with heavenly beaches, Canopus Retreat. It has 12 trendy rooms with lovely furniture, TV with cable channels if you get bored and of course the essential air conditioner. There is free Wi-Fi access throughout the property, which works pretty good considering the fact that Thulusdhoo is a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

The hotel staff picked us up from the ferry terminal at Thulusdhoo and welcomed us with delicious fruity drinks at Canopus Retreat. We stayed 2 nights in a Standard Double Room and then moved to the Deluxe Double with Sea View. In my opinion you shouldn’t try to save some pennies and get the room with the private balcony and gorgeous sea view. The Standard Double Room is not as cozy, doesn’t have windows and is pretty cold at night because of the AC. It’s fine if you want to stay for just few nights and then continue traveling but for a longer period the spacious Deluxe Double will be the best choice. You will immediately feel the perfect getaway vibes, especially if you are with your loved one. Tip from me; take your own toiletries with you, the guesthouse doesn’t provide with any shampoos or hand soaps. Furthermore there is only one towel per guest.

Deluxe Double Room Canopus Retreat, Thulusdhoo

In the morning you don’t need to think about breakfast because it’s included in your booking. Meal servings are from 7:30-9am, you will be presented with a simple but lovely plate served with eggs, sausage, toasts, jam, butter and fruits. As a beverage you will get delicious fruity drink and coffee or tea.

There is also an indoor and outdoor restaurant in this small guesthouse where you can enjoy lunch or dinner. The Canopus Retreat staff can even prepare a romantic dinner on the beach next to the calm water. The trick is that you never know what they will serve you because there is no menu. The only way to figure it out is to ask the staff. Sometimes it was complicated to make an order and we didn’t always get the precise information on what was available. Nevertheless portions were very magnanimous and every meal was delicious. We were very happy to see pasta and fries again after consuming only rice and noodles for one week on the other island. Definitely taste the pasta with tomato sauce, tuna fillet and refreshing salad.

One of the dishes at Canopus Retreat Restaurant

My personal highlight of Canopus Retreat is it’s spa on the second floor. I was surprised when I went there and discovered the tranquil oasis with relaxing music and odor of essential oils. The room was spacious and decorated in a traditional but modern Indonesian style. It’s possible to have a couples’ massage or a private one. I experienced the private Traditional Massage for 60 minutes which I would highly recommend to everyone who wants to enjoy the deep relaxation of a full body massage. I was laying on the comfortable massage table next to the balcony enjoying an amazing colorful ocean view.

What to do?

There are various activities in the area. As I already mentioned before snorkeling is must do in Thulusdhoo. You can get snorkeling equipment from Canopus Retreat and explore the calm bays full of reefs and exotic fish. We decided to book a proper snorkeling and sandbank trip to explore the deep underwater flora and fauna of the Maldives. Snorkeling is always fun wherever you go, you might even see peaceful sharks, manta rays and turtles. The sandbank looks as beautiful as you know it from all the spectacular Instagram pictures. The ideal location to immerse into the surreal Bounty advertisment and take a couple of new Facebook show-off photos. To keep us strong and wealthy the tour operator provided some sandwiches and drinks for us, to make our trip more enjoyable! The only tip from me make sure that the weather conditions are good and the ocean is calm. The whole adventure on the speed boat was not very pleasant for me. Furthermore our team of three couples was very scared on the way back because of the very strong wind and choppy waves.

Sandbank trip

If you want something more than just swimming with a mask and a tube, you can try diving in Thulusdhoo. Canopus Retreat cooperates with Sea Retreats Dive and Sports Center located just next door to their guesthouse. They offer different diving opportunities and have good diving equipment for both beginners and advanced.

No filter needed

I was looking forward to experience kayaking on the magical turquoise waters of Thulusdhoo but unfortunately due to heavy rain and wind during our last day it was not possible. So maybe next time!

Dhiffushi Island in the Maldives

Dhiffushi Island is part of the Kaafu Atoll. It is located 36,6 km northeast of Male, the capital of the Maldives. It’s a compact island with a strong community spirit of 1200 people. It’s not large enough for agricultural activities but it has plenty of greenery, coconut and fruit trees. Not to forget to mention, there is a beautiful white sandy beach  with calm turquoise waters on the one side. The other side is ideal for wind surfing due to strong but consistent wind between Dhiffushi and it’s neighboring resort island.

Dhiffushi Island, Maldives

The island has a great infrastructure and facilitates a few restaurants (definitely visit Faruma Restaurant with it’s delicious, big portions and acceptable prices) and local shops. On the island you will find a couple of guesthouses. The touristic industry is growing so more and more hotels are being built. Which actually doesn’t make sense because there is only one lovely beach situated just next to the cute guesthouse Bibee. The guesthouse is located next to the beach with plenty of lounge chairs and parasols. It’s the perfect location for snorkeling: The water is warm,  extremely calm and shallow so you can explore the sea world filled with colorful fish of all different sizes and even manta rays, you can also go kayaking or be a bit wild on the jetski.

Dhiffushi

Don’t be surprised that the island might be dirty and full of plastic bottles on the other side of the touristic beach. Like every other Maldivian island it contains huge amounts of rubbish washed up on the island’s pristine sands.

How to get there?

There are various options on how to reach the island. For budget travelers the ideal choice would be to take the public ferry from Male. It departs at 2:30 PM every day except Friday. It also goes back from Dhiffushi to Male’ at 6:30 AM every day except Friday. It will cost you MVR 22 ($1.5) and within 3 hours you will reach your destination.

The impatient tired travelers can take a speed boat for $25. It operates every day except Friday from Male at 4:30pm. Departure from dhiffushi to Male is at 7:30am and it takes 40 minutes.

Bibee Guesthouse can also arrange a speedboat transfer directly from Malé International Airport for a steep $295 per trip, it takes around 40 minutes.

Where to stay?

Guesthouse Bibee, Dhiffushi

The best guesthouse to stay on Dhiffushi island is Bibee which translates as butterfly fish in Maldivian. It offers 12 well-equipped modern rooms with good Wi-Fi, air conditioning, TV with plenty of various channels in English, hot and cold water shower. We were staying in a Deluxe Double Room with an amazing queen size bed, 2 towels each, toiletries, complementary coffee and tea powders and a bottle of water. There is a mini bar with small bottles of water too.

Double Deluxe Room at Bibee, Dhiffushi

 

 

We also had breakfast included in our booking at Bibee. There are two options: The Maldivian breakfast which of course includes tuna fish and the continental breakfast with sausages and one egg. Both of them are simple but lovely. We also had a grape juice and powdered milk coffee.

 

 

Complimentary tea & coffee

The hotel also offers some fun activities like for example the very popular Sand Bank Trips where you can walk on crystal white sand surrounded by tempting turquoise water. Nevertheless it can happen that the tiny island will be full with other curious tourists especially during the high season.

Maldivian breakfast at Bibee

Canoe riding, fishing, dolphin cruises are other possibilities to enjoy your vacation. In my opinion Dhiffushi is most suitable for a family vacation.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén