Are the Maldives so attractive as they appear in the magazines and travel brochures?
We had the pleasure to explore the Maldives and I can say that I felt like paradise found.
The water is crystal clear , the beaches are pure white and the accommodation is very luxurious, especially if you choose for a water villa, like we did.
We had chosen to stay on Dhaalu-Atoll which is about 40 minutes flight-time with a seaplane from the international airport of Malé, Capital of the Maldives.
If you stay on an Atoll closer to Malé, it’s possible to take a boat as well. But as we went for the full experience, we loved taking the seaplane.
Your gateway to Paradise
Trans Maldivian Airways is the world’s largest seaplane fleet. Upon arrival in Velana International Airport, Malé, you are welcomed by representatives from your hotel resort (if you booked via the hotel, they provide you with a transfer and assist you all the way).
First your luggage will be put on a scale. Make sure that it doesn’t exceed 25 kg!
Which includes 20 kg of checked-in luggage and 5 kg of hand luggage per person. This might be different from the international flight to Malé, so if you need to take the seaplane to arrive in your hotel take this into account when packing.
Tip! Be aware that the seaplane only operates between sunrise and sunset, so check the timings of your international flight, if you arrive after sunset you will need to book a hotel in Malé for one night.
You will be transferred by bus to the terminal of the seaplane, where you can enjoy the lounge area and have some free breakfast/lunch and drinks.
The experience on the plane was amazing, the views from above on the different atolls are spectacular.
Maldives: where to stay
The Republic of Maldives is the smallest Asian country by land area and therefore also the least populous. With a chain of 26 different atolls containing 1192 coral islands there are a lot of islands to choose from.
We have chosen for Dhaalu Atoll and more specific for the Sun Siyam Vilu Reef. The resort was amazing and especially our water villa where we could go snorkeling from our terrace straight into the crystal-clear sea. There are 3 restaurants on the island, the main restaurant Aqua, and 2 specialty restaurants The Spice (Indian/Italian) and Well Done. They also have an excellent wine cellar, where you can join some wine-tasting events.
Want something extra? Try ‘destination dining’: you can choose between al fresco breakfast at sunrise to a sunset dinner on the most private corner of the island.
Another plus for this resort is the fact that the reef starts at a few meters from the beach, so it’s paradise for snorkelers (like me) but also for Scuba diving.
What to do?
Apart from the facilities in the resort, you can also book some extra excursions or take diving classes.
At the sports center you can rent: snorkeling equipment, kayaks, SUP boards, Jet ski, catamaran (with captain) & surfing equipment.
Why not try the fly board or go on a sunset dolphin cruise?
At the diving center you can take scuba diving or snorkeling classes, book diving tours. We booked the exclusive excursion to swim with whale sharks. A once in a lifetime experience.
Snorkeling: you will meet an amazing number of beautiful fish, from very small clown fishes to the big Napoleon fish. But also Manta rays, sea turtles and many different varieties of sharks.
Watching the feeding of the stingrays was also a nice experience: every day at 5pm the stingrays were fed with pieces of tuna. You could watch it from the terrace of the Nautilus Bar which had an excellent sunset view as well. Not only stingrays arrived at this daily treat but also some yellow fin riff sharks.
Awareness & Sustainability
As this beautiful place on earth needs to be kept that way, please try to look at the resort you will be staying at about their policy on sustainability.
These resorts will have a resident marine biologist with a variety of roles: educating guests, enhancing their experience, monitoring the house reef and contributing to research projects, such as coral planting programmes and partnerships with organizations like ‘Parley for the Oceans’, ‘The Manta Trust’ or ‘Olive Ridley Turtle Project’.
Maldivian coral reefs experienced two severe bleaching events in 1998 and 2016.
In 1998, 90% of the shallow hard coral died because of elevated sea temperatures. It took 16 years for reefs to recover the pre-bleaching.
In 2016 there where 2 months of accumulated heat exposure. (Heat wave) Hard corals bleached again in almost all reefs surveyed. So, climate change is also hitting hard on the Maldives. Programs such as coral micro-fragmentation could be a solution.
Let’s hope we can all work together and preserve these precious oceans and sea life.