My husband’s colleagues, who make good friends of mine were in Maldives for a month long project. I picked on this information through Facebook and muttered a random wish, “How about if we plan a new year trip in Maldives this time”. I asked my husband to check with them if they were free for a few days and if we could join them. I really dint bother or wait for his reply because I knew this was the most insane thing to ask for, especially when it was already 10th of December. We had no plans, no tickets and no approved leaves. I was headed to Dambuk in Arunachal for Orange festival and he was supposed to be in Mumbai for his project. The thought of holidaying in Maldives was not possible in the wildest of our dreams. Little did I know that the universe was conspiring.
We had no plan at all…
When hubby declared that he would not be able to redeem his annual leaves in the last week of December, I decided to fly down to Mumbai to be with him. After my return from Dambuk, I flew down to the city of dreams on 19th December. I met my friends, shopped with them, organized a Christmas party with them too. Mind it, till 25th, I wasn’t aware that a dreamy trip was about to materialize. What I remember is that I visited Mount Mary church in Bandra on Christmas day and said my little prayer, “Wish me more travels dear Mother” and I think she heard me pretty quick.
I am not the last-minute-planning kind of person…
On Christmas, hubby mentioned it for the first time, “The week looks easy in office, everyone is out for a holiday, I think I can afford some leaves for a quick trip”. I looked at him in despair for declaring it so soon when we had no chances of getting a booking anywhere. A trip within the country is not something I do at this time of the year and most of the places that I wanted to go needed a visa. And in any case who books tickets and hotels at this time of the year. This holiday always needs a planning else it can get crazy expensive. I did not see a trip happening. Also, last-minute-planning is not my thing.
26th December…We had not blocked our tickets yet
26th was a very casual day for us. He left for his office on time and I started my day with my writing assignments after a hearty breakfast. It was a busy day for me. In the late evening, we ordered our meals and discussed random stuff.
After dinner, he brought the topic again. Lets travel somewhere. Should I check the tickets of Maldives? I remember looking at him in disbelief and saying a causal ‘yes’. I was sure that this was not happening, though every bit of me wanted it to happen. Till this moment, I sensed no seriousness in the ambiance but when hubby actually had a con-call with his friends in Hulhumale, discussed the visa needs, stay options and checked the tickets prices, I was thrilled like a kid. The prices were on a higher side but they were not discouraging. Our stay was sorted because our friends had a 3BHK house and had offered us to host us in 1 of the rooms. The visa requirement was very simple. They only needed a hotel booking and passport that had enough pages and did not expire before the next 6 months. All of this was favorable but this was too sudden. I mean we dint even have the right clothes for a beach holiday.
But the reality was that we had still not booked our tickets, I was not carrying my DSLR camera and even my luggage was at my friends place. We also dint know what dates to choose and there was absolutely no itinerary in hand. But when it has to happen, it just happens. In the next two hours, we had arranged for almost everything. It was getting thrilling by every minute.
27th December – We are flying to Maldives and I can’t stop pinching myself!
The date had changed. It was a few minutes past 12 a.m. on 27th December. The tickets were blocked till 4th of Jan and we were flying to Male at 1:30 p.m. on the same day. Trust me, I am still getting goosebumps as I am penning it down here. There was so much to be done before the flight. Early morning, we took a taxi to my friend’s place, I did my packing in flat 40 minutes, charged her DSLR camera and booked a taxi for the airport at 11 a.m. On the way, we did not forget to pick a handful of vada pavs for our friends in Male. This has to be the most memorable and thrilling trip of my life. I mean who goes to Maldives without a plan, without picking a few floral dresses or without a sunblock. Thankfully, I picked the latter from the airport pharmacy.
My Heart was in My Throat!
While I was through the immigration, my husband was stopped. At first, I thought it was just a random delay but soon the reality hit on us. The binding of his passport had loosened up a little and the immigration officer was not willing to stamp his tampered passport. Oh freak! I can’t even explain the pain and fear that I felt for a moment. As my husband explained the situation, we were directed to the immigration room at the airport. The concerned officer agreed to let us go since he did not want to ruin our holiday. Also the tampering was not even visible but it was there. Before he stamped the page, he made him sign a declaration which said that he was travelling on his own risk. Yes, we took that risk with a promise that he would apply for a new one the moment he would be back.
I still wonder what would have happened if they had not allowed him to travel. As far as I know my husband, he would have said, “You carry on your trip”. But I would not have done that. Cancelling the tickets would have been painful. Thank God, it dint happen.
Mumbai to Male Airport to Hulhumale
Aah, finally when I was in the flight, I couldn’t help but pinch myself. The last twelve hours had been crazy. It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I was actually flying to Maldives without any plan. The direct flight of 3 hours and 15 minutes transported us to a completely new world. We had a very comfortable flight with Go Air. I had the window seat on the right but I would suggest to go for the window seat on the left. The views from that side are much better. The sight of beautiful islands and atolls will make your heart jump with joy. I was thrilled. OMG, was this a dream?
Maldives is gorgeous and you know this the moment you get a glimpse of the water around. The process of immigration was very simple and welcoming. The officer asked for the name of the hotel where we were staying and cleared us through in a second. Male Airport or Velana International Airport is absolutely uncomplicated and soon we were standing at the jetty area where other travellers were waiting for their speed boats and sea-planes. We hired a taxi to travel to Hulhumale, an artificial and reclaimed island located in the south of North Male Atoll, Maldives. It was just a ten minutes ride from the airport and soon we were there. Our friends were waiting and it felt like home in paradise. The stay was absolutely comfortable.
The First Impression of Maldives
Maldives is popularly termed as paradise by the locals and tourists. Well I haven’t seen what a paradise looks like but I am sure that with its flawless beauty, pristine waters and idyllic islands, it is definitely very close to the concept of a paradise.
Hulhumale was my first touchdown and this is where I lived for 9 days, I must say it is one of the most colorful, well planned and cutest island that I have been to. I visited other local islands too and loved each of them for their uniqueness and natural beauty. Male, the capital is unique in itself and I will write about it separately.
The crystal clear water all around Maldives makes it heavenly. The beaches are blessed with white powdery sand and everything about the local islands is picturesque. Last but not the least, the people were extremely helpful and ever-smiling. I really liked the fact that it felt very safe at every time of the day. Despite being a conservative country, the locals show no objections to our choice of dressing or fun and holiday mood of the travelers. And when it comes to water activities, there cannot be a better place.
A Brief Outline of my itinerary!
Maldives is largely associated with luxury but it can be enjoyed on budget too. If you choose to stay on the local islands instead of resorts, you definitely save a big chunk of money. Once you are sorted with your stay, you only need to worry about your transfers to local islands or day-visits to resort. The minimum one way charges are $20. I am sure you wouldn’t mind spending that when you are there.
Trust me, I had a great trip and I must thank everyone who made it possible. And don’t forget to read more on Maldives and check out some gorgeous clicks.
My holidays were about exploring the below. I will write about each of them in detail in individual blogs.
- Maafushi Island
- Gulhi Island
- Villingili (Villimale)
- Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi resort (New Year Eve Celebrations)