It all started when we were planning something big within our budget to make our tenth anniversary grand!

Places like Thailand or Dubai were tossed around but with kids we would always prefer a place with beach!

Then the Corona virus scare started and Thailand was no longer the top contender!
Plus the fact that Maldives is just less than two hours from India and there is an amazing air India flight well within our budget was the clincher!

The flight leaves around 2 PM India time and reaches Maldives at around 4
Since it’s Air India, food will be served and the leg room is really good!
Plus you get to see Air hostess in Saree! (Don’t bank on this though since the cabin crew may be a guy!)

Another great thing about Maldives is that all you need is a proper Passport and your Visa is done on arrival! Of course because of the Corona virus scare you need to fill health declaration and report if you have any infection like symptoms.
That done, the Visa and entry is fairly smooth!

Then the first thing you do is get out of the airport and take a right and grab your local SIM! The 30 dollar option gives you around 27gb data and calls! The speed is really good near the resort and consistent around 3G-4G levels.

You can then see your counter according to the resort and they will guide you to the speedboat area which is one of the two ways to get to the resort! The other one is of course more costly, namely the sea plane!

Remember that you need to pay a charge of around 100 dollars per person (110 to be exact) for the speedboat and 6 dollars per person per day green tax!
Four a family of four staying for three nights that comes to around 400 USD!

If your package includes them, it’s a good bargain! But this is a routine fair which cannot be negotiated so there will be not much difference between the packages in dividing the expense as this is a fixed one.

The experience of traveling in the speed boat with the luggage and full speed is quite good though! Of course after a while you may get bored of the deep blue ocean!

We had booked Paradise resorts which is one of the favourite ones especially for Indians though we saw lots of foreigners also! Every Island in Maldives may have one or two resort and that’s where you can plan to go since hopping from one Island or one resort to another may not be financially a good decision.

Another mistake we made was that since we got a great bargain on the room price, we did not realise that it was only for the room and meals had to be purchased separately!
In Maldives everything is in dollars and that really makes the price high!
That’s not only our opinion but also others who were staying at the resort!
A meal for an adult on an average would be 40-50 dollars! Now imagine that for a family of four three times a day!
Vegetarian options are also available but generally limited and expensive!
You do have special sea food buffet and sea food festivals if you have money and taste for that!

We also liked the Italian restaurant at the entrance of the resort with amazing freshly baked Pizza!
Room service and the coffee shops are open 24/7!

The resort itself is beautiful and well maintained! The staff is very friendly and so humble! Everyone is so hard working and they do the job with a smile! Since it was a big resort moving around is hard but they help you with their battery powered vehicles any time of the day.

First day was spent in settling in the rooms which were very clean and well maintained! Here also you have options to upgrade to a better water villa or suite with their own view of the sea and private pool! Of course they cost more so try to squeeze them in your package but frankly if you want to enjoy the beach then you need the rooms only for coming Back to sleep!

The beach! One of the cleanest beach with white sands and so clean that you can see fishes floating around! We also saw sharks and sting ray who were fed by the locals!
You can spend days on the beach or the clean well maintained pool or rent a cycle or play in the play area or enjoy the water activities!

The activities are endless ranging from boating to para sailing to Mini submarine cruise to snorkeling to skuba diving!
Most of them are cool if they come with the package since otherwise they in the range of 50-500 dollars depending on the activity!

Wifi and phone connectivity is good so you don’t have to worry about data problems!

Take lots of snaps and believe me you will remember them for a lifetime!

Some points to note

  • All prices mentioned in the book or in the shops are not inclusive of tax which is 10 percent and another 12-18 percent GST! So be prepared for that!
  • It is always better to pay and settle the food amount then and there since the added price will again have tax!
  • Regular shower areas are spread out throughout the beach area so that you can clean yourself
  • Every room is provided with an umbrella and cushions for beach! Use them wisely but carefully since if you lose them you pay a bomb!
  • Your room key is very precious since lost key sends you back by 50 dollars!
  • Settling with cash is the best way especially at the hotel
  • Flight from Bangalore is around 15-20k per person return
  • Room costs are average around 20-25k per day depending on the type of room and the meals provided.
  • Everyday there will be a special program (more on weekends!) In the bar area and you must check them out! We saw crab race!

Of course because of the Corona virus scare, there may be some problems which you may or may not foresee!

All in all its a good experience which can be easy on your purse if you plan and spend wisely.

Dr. Sriram Nathan

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