Friday, December 31, 2010

Mesmerized by the Maldives!

I was more than excited when R first gave me the news that he had won the Business innovation Service award 2010 at work. Along with a shiny trophy came a "Luxurious City Break" anywhere we wished! Anywhere we wished - like where? Believe me, finalizing a destination isn't easy at all especially when its an all paid vacation! We finally boiled down to - Italy & Spain, Greece & Turkey and The Maldives. We had to do this trip in December for certain reasons and decided on the sunny Maldives!
Deciding the resort in Maldives was another story!

Maldives is made up of tiny islands in clusters called Atolls. Wikipedia describes an atoll as : An atoll (pronounced /ˈætɒl/[1] or English pronunciation: /æˈtɒl/) is an island (or islands) of coral that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.
For me a breathtaking stretch of turquoise blue water, white sands and clear blue skies - a wonder of the world.

We spent four amazing days at the Paradise Island Resort between the 4th and 8th Dec. The resort is located close to the capital city of Male. We reached Male on a bright and sunny morning of Dec 4 and were transferred by speed boat to our resort. Our beach cottage no. 358 was very close to the water bungalows and faced an awesome shallow lagoon. We are not great swimmers and loved the lagoon.
The resort houses a diving school which rents out snorkeling equipment for about $10 per person for a day. The resort also has a well equipped Water-sports center. The weather was pretty unpredictable so most water sports activities had been called off. Not that it mattered very much to me - I am not an adrenaline junkie!
The Aramu spa at the hotel is really beautifully done up and we spent almost two- half days there. (was pretty pricey though).
The Resort houses four different restaurants, a coffee shop, a main bar and a beach bar enough for the two of us!
The main restaurant is open for buffet meals and has a well laid out large spread.

All in all, there is lots to do and nothing to do at the same time. R & I spent the sunny bits of our days lazying on the white sand beaches admiring the fish within the almost bleached coral. On the rainy evenings, we spent our time exploring the tiny tropical island and the various hues of nature. During one of our evening walk sessions we discovered a huge white sand beach/bank and witnessed the most mesmerizing sunset.
Maldives left us wondering how on earth did the Lord even design a natural phenomenon like this place. It is way beyond words and can only be experienced!

Some suggestions:
1. Incase you use spectacles, buy disposable lenses if you are planning to snorkel or go diving.
2. I found the souvenir shop at the hotel cheaper than the ones at the airport. (by almost a dollar per product)
3. The people at the dive school are great! Dont miss snorkeling at the House reef.
4. It helps to keep a few tidbits. We carried instant Cup - o -noodles for a snack just after a swim. (the room is equipped with an electric kettle)
5. Visa for Indians is free on arrival. Just stamp and go.
6. Flying from Bangalore saves considerable amount of money.

I will upload the pics shortly.