Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Maldives on a Budget - Six Days, Five Nights Summarised Travelogue / Itinerary!

Sorry for the lack of update! My physical body has been unwell for the past few days; high fever, frequent bouts of nausea peppered with short sessions of diarrhea. In short, a torturing period!

Whatever the case, i am slowly on the mend and thought i should break the limbo by publishing my Maldives itinerary first! As usual, please click the hyperlinks for detailed information! 

[7.00 am] Cleared Singapore's immigration and proceeded to check out Terminal 2 of Changi International Airport; nothing much has changed and we spent the rest of our time in the mini-theatre watching the super hilarious "Hot Shots"!

[8.55 am] Boarded the plane and it took off roughly at about 9.25 am.

[Maldivian Time 10.28 am] You know Maldives is near when passengers start exclaiming at the spectacular view of islands and atolls! By the way, Maldives is three hours behind Singapore; hence, it may seem like only ninety minutes have passed but it was in fact 4.5 hours.

Male (pronounced as Mar-Lay) - the capital of Maldives; at 1.7 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, this capital island was insanely minuscule even though you can still find cabs traversing its many streets.

[10.30 am] The airbus landed safely on the tarmac of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, well ahead of the scheduled landing time of 11.20 am! For those residing in local islands (instead of resort islands where things are usually priced in US$), you may change your US$ or Singapore dollars to the local Maldivian currency at the airport. The rate was 1 US$ to 15 Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR).

With a growling stomach, Alex insisted on having Burger King which cost an exorbitant US$13.50 for a chicken sandwich meal! While he was enjoying the expensive meal, i walked around the airport to take more photos; the water was so impossibly green and clear!

[11.35 am] As we were not blessed with funds to pay for speedboat that would bring us directly to our hotel in Maafushi island, we had to make do with the cheaper and cumbersome alternative; take ferry from airport to Male and then take another ferry from Male to Maafushi.

[11.45 am] The 10-minute ride was similar in distance from mainland Singapore to Pulau Ubin and as we still have three hours to spend before our next ferry at 3 pm, we decided to WALK to Villingili ferry terminal which was on the other side of the capital island!

[12.30 pm] Well, didn't know it would take us so fast but no matter what, it was time for me to have my lunch! A chicken sub from a local restaurant shall be my first Maldivian meal for the day!

[3.00 pm] Left on time to Maafushi! Compared to a speedboat, the twice a day ferry (except for Fridays) cost only 22 MVR (about S$2) although the time taken to reach Maafushi would be about 2 hours.

Resort islands - unfortunately, many foreigners have the impression that this would be what Maldives has to offer and choose to hold back on travelling to this beautiful country until they build up their kitty fund. I shall share with you on my expenses later in this post and you would be shocked to find out it wasn't as bad as popularly thought!

[4.41 pm] Maafushi Island and standing at the jetty were staff members from the various hotels who were there for two purposes; to warmly welcome you and to help you with your luggage!

After checking in to Kaani Beach Hotel, we were briefed on the activities that we can join for a fee, the equipment that we can use, time of the buffet breakfast etc.

[6.00 pm] Caught the amazing sunset at the private beach at Maafushi where ladies were allowed to don their sexy bikinis and parade legally!

For dinner, we had a buffet priced at only US$10 a head! Contrast that to the Burger King meal Alex had earlier in the day!

[6.30 am] All rise and shine for an activity filled day at Maldives! We signed up for a day trip with the hotel that included snorkelling at three places and a lunch thrown in at the sand bank! Before that happens, time to fill up our tummies first!

Still had some spare time before our day trip started and we hopped onto the complimentary bicycles provided by the hotel to check out the local island! It was halfway through the exploration that i realised something was missing; my iPhone! I could not quite remember if i left it in at the hotel restaurant or it could have slipped out of my pocket when i was cycling.

[9.35 am] Given that we were nearing the start of our day trip and i had re-traced the same route twice with no iPhone found, the only last thing pending would be the CCTV in the hotel. Since the IT personnel would not be available until late afternoon, we opted to continue with our day trip.

The snorkeling at Maldives was no doubt impressive and we covered turtle reef, banana reef and shark point! The only issue i faced was the choppy waves which, after a while, had a dizzying effect on me!

[2.00 pm] Totally shacked out by the time the speedboat sent us back to Maafushi Island. There were more important work waiting for us; the investigation of the missing iPhone which eventually drew an inconclusive blank. I had no other choice but to make a police report.

[6.00 pm] Spent quite a bit of time at the police station and once that's done, we chanced upon an excursion centre (basically a local tour agency) that had been reviewed favourably on Tripadvisor and bought an exclusive island package for next day!

[9.00 am] Following another good breakfast at Kaani Beach Hotel (i am not sure why people were complaining so much about the food there), we set sail to the exclusive island housing the Adaaran Club Rannalhi resort!

[9.20 am] To gain entry into the postcard perfect resort, a nominal entrance fee must be paid and depending on resorts, some would cover lunch and in the case of Adaaran, unlimited drinks at the cocktail bar and lounge too.

Reefs were in abundance surrounding the island and i had a marvellous time checking out every nook and cranny! The waves were still as strong as the day before but i can at least find my footing in the shallow water.

[5.30 pm] Arrived back at Maafushi and it was at that time that i felt that i was running a fever although i brushed it off as having spent too much time in the sun! Didn't even have appetite for dinner and stole a few morsels from Alex's dinner at Rehendhi restaurant and cafe.

[9.00 am] Despite not feeling well, i am not going to waste the package we signed up the day before; another exclusive island that appeared breathtaking in the pictures shown to us; Rihiveli Beach Resort!

My verdict - the whole island was surrounded by a very shallow level of sea water and in order to see fishes and coral reefs, you have to venture much further and this could be tiring, especially for one who was sick!

After hearing that dolphins can be found nearer to the "outskirts of the island", we rented a canoe! Maldives has not been kind to me; the catch on my underwater camera came undone while i was canoeing and sea water seeped into the device!! How can an underwater and shockproof camera be so filmsy?! :(

[6.00 pm] The speedboat assigned to pick us up was late for an hour! Not one to wallow in self pity (the missing iPhone, the spoilt underwater camera, the fever etc), i took pleasure in enjoying the sea breeze and the wonderful sunset!

[6.40 pm] Had dinner buffet (at US$10 each) at White Shell Beach Inn with two new friends from Singapore! The wok fired tuna spaghetti was seriously yummy!

[10.30 pm] Met up with the two ladies again as they had found a place where we might be able to see those luminous phytoplanktons! Pity luck wasn't on our side.

[1.30 pm] I was incapacitated and barely managed to drag myself out of bed at around this time. I can feel the intense heat radiating from my body and even though i had popped paracetamols in my mouth every few hours, the mind was in a daze and there was literally no urge to take in food.

[1.50 pm] From my exploration a few days ago, i was aware of the existence of a health centre. And it shall be the health centre i am destined to visit that day. 

[3.00 pm] Shortly after a late brunch at Beachwood Hotel where i had received positive reviews from a group of Taiwanese, i took the pills (including a suppository up my ass) and went to bed. 

[8.30 pm] Damn!! We were supposed to wake up at 6.30 pm to arrange for speedboat transport back to Male the next day! Sometimes, in life, things happen for a reason and it was due to this lateness that we got info of a US$20 a person speedboat deal from this shop known as Aachaa. This was in stark contrast to the US$50 per person we would have to fork out otherwise.

[7.38 am] All set to leave Maafushi for Male! If i wasn't unwell, i believe it would be hard for you to drag me out of the local island! However, i really didn't have appetite for anything except for a bowl of plain porridge by Mom. 

[8.30 am] When asked if we would like to disembark on Male or directly at the airport, we opted for the latter; i figured that we could always pop by Male later if time permits, so long we can store that huge luggage we brought with us! 

[9.18 am] Turned out i was simply too weak and decided to check in to the airport instead. There was a Dome cafe inside the departure lounge that was really comfortable for a sick man like me. Sad i could not utilise the free wifi though as it required a mobile number. 

[11.40 am] Plane departed ten minutes ahead of time as i guess everyone had already boarded. Bye bye Maldives; you have not been good to me this time and i sure hope you would treat me better the next time i visit! 

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Total Expenses
Airfare - S$308.00
Hotel - S$772.55 (twin sharing)
Miscellaneous Expenses - US$500 should be sufficient

Note: You can cut down further on accommodation as i stayed on one of the more expensive hotels on the local island. For the miscellaneous expenses, i changed US$500 in total and still have about US$50 left after purchasing some expensive mementos! 

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Hi there! I just want you to know that I enjoyed reading your blog and I admire the beautiful pictures (I'm into photography). I've been to Maldives too earlier this year. I stayed in a local island called Thulusdhoo. It's a popular island for surfing. It was one of the best solo trips of my life! I spent my new year's eve watching their cultural show and after the show, I danced with the locals and other foreigners. I also spent some time with a Filipino family during the excursion to Club Med. And I spent a day at a picnic island with a Russian family and a Maldivian family. I never really felt alone. Over all, I spent S$1250 for 5D4N trip (plane tickets, guesthouse, food, excursions, ferry rides, and souvenirs).

    I'm coming back to Maldives next week, this time in Maafushi with a friend. I'm glad I found your blog before our trip. Great stories and lots of useful information without too much blah blah... I would gladly recommend your blog to my friends!

    - Cristina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cristina! The island you went to sounds fun and i would keep that in mind if i ever return to Maldives. As far as beach and snorkeling are concerned, i would have to say Maldives doesn't disappoint at all! Haha.

      Have a great trip and thanks for recommending this blog to your friends! :)

      Delete
  2. Hello ! i loved your advices! nice to know we can stay on some places with a budget but still be able to visit those amazing islands! Is really Maafushi the place you would go again or instead would you pick more of a desert resort island ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ana! If i am not a blogger, i would definitely pick Maafushi again; however, for the sake of covering them for the benefit of my readers, i would pick another local island. Not a desert resort island as it would likely bore me to hell.

      Delete
  3. Macgyver9:07 AM

    Hi there, just wondering for the day trip to Adaaran. It is possible to get that ferry on a 2 way trip instead. That is, a trip to adaaran and coming back to maafushi only say, after 2 days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallo! The day package consisted of a two-way transport but judging from what you have mentioned, you would like to stay in Adaaran for one night and then returning back to Maafushi?

      You may wish to check with Adaaran directly on this as i understand resorts generally have a direct ferry service.

      Delete
  4. Hi Cavin
    Thanks for your blog ;) want to ask you if I want a day trip to aadaran resort , does aadaran provide boat to pick me as I heard there is no public boat go to private island with resort. And how much is it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hallo!

    No problem; hope you have found the content to be useful for the planning of your trip. For Adaaran, i actually signed up for a day package with a tour agency.

    From my understanding, there is a a limit to the day passes issued to such agencies and in our case, we went with iCom at Maafushi Island. For more information, please check out the last few paragraphs on http://cavinteo.blogspot.sg/2015/03/adaaran-club-rannalhi-enjoying-high.html.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Cavin,
    Awesome blog.. keep it up. I am also planning a trip to Adaaran. Could you please give more detail about the meal options provided.

    Thanks
    Swati

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Swati! You may check out the link at http://cavinteo.blogspot.sg/2015/03/buffet-lunch-adaaran-club-rannalhi.html for the buffet lunch i had that was tied to the package i bought. :)

      Delete
  7. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Hi Cavin,

    Thanks for such full review of budget Maldives.

    I'd like to share he list of possible local island to visit:
    - Rasdhoo
    - Thoddoo
    - Mathiveri
    - Thinadhoo (Vaavu atoll)
    - Ukulhas;
    - Dharavandhoo
    - Dhiguraa

    Kind regards,
    Alex

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for sharing the list of local islands! My dad's cousin went to Thoddoo and had a great time. Now you are making me miss Maldives a lot more. :(

    ReplyDelete

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