Dubai expat’s Maldives holiday

Estimated read time 11 min read

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Dubai expat shares her amazing holiday to Maldives

 

I wanted to do something different for the Eid holidays last month. I never thought I’d end up going to Maldives.

It was my sister’s idea, really. She wanted to experience what it is like to stay in a Water Villa. She just got married in February and wanted to celebrate with her new family and me.



At first I was a bit hesitant because the cost of the trip wasn’t within my budget. I suggested an alternative: We could stay in guest houses in Maafushi Island and just have day tours to the private resorts to make the trip practical and affordable. But my sister’s heart was set on a grand Maldives vacation.

I, on the other hand, was on a tight budget, so I asked her if I could stay in an extra bed during our stay there, but to my surprise, she told me she would pay for everything! I didn’t have to worry about my airfare, accommodation or food. Isn’t it great to have a very generous sister and brother-in-law? I couldn’t contain my happiness and excitement that day. Who cares if I’m a third wheel in this trip as long as I got to enjoy this paradise without spending a single dirham!

GETTING THERE

July 6 was the day of our departure to Male, the capital of Maldives. Due to some airline flight schedule my sister and her husband—who both work in Saudi Arabia—decided that we meet at Hamad Airport in Doha. From there we will be on the same flight going to Male.

The flight from Dubai to Doha took 45 minutes while Maldives was a 4-hour and 40-minute flight from Doha.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

We arrived in Male’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport at around 3 p.m. (2 p.m. Dubai time). It is the main international airport in Maldives and is located on Hulhule Island, North Male Atoll.

There is no visa needed for Filipinos going to Maldives. You can get a visa upon arrival as long as you provide details of where you are going to stay and how long you intend to stay in Maldives. The visa is valid for 30 days.

After we cleared immigration checks, we proceeded to the arrival hall where we were met by resort staff members who asked us to wait in a nearby restaurant at the airport while they rounded up other guests.

WHERE TO STAY

We booked rooms at Olhuveli Resort and Spa since it was also offering promotional room rates at the time. July, by the way, is considered as an off peak season and resort prices are lower. April to October is said to be the rainy season, while October to March is the peak season at Maldives so travel prices are higher compared to the rest of the year but I’m glad that during our stay there was perfect, sunny weather.

We took a one-hour speedboat ride to reach Olhuveli Island Resort & Spa. The resort is located on a private island in the South Male Atoll.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

The resort was beautiful. Actually, beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. Looking at it for the first time was surreal. The turquoise water, stunning white sands and picturesque views made it paradise on earth.

The staff gave us a warm welcome on our arrival, complete with hot towels and drinks. We were asked to adjust our time one hour ahead of Male time, which meant a two-hour difference to Dubai time. I didn’t bother to ask why. I was already in heaven on this beautiful island.

The villas were beautifully designed with a lot of relaxing views. I stayed in a Deluxe Villa, while my sister and her husband stayed in a Deluxe Water Villa. By the way, we had free wi-fi access during our entire stay since it was part of the resort’s promo package, but on regular days wi-fi access costs $10 per hour. I couldn’t help but share beautiful photos of the islands on social media while I was there.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

But photos can’t really do justice to my experience in the Maldives, starting with our beautiful accommodation. The Deluxe Villa where I stayed was surrounded by palm trees and came with a terrace. It also has access to the beach.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

The Deluxe Water Villa is set on wooden stilts in the turquoise sea and has a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. The water villa also has private sun deck and direct access to the sea.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

WHAT TO DO

Our three-day adventure began with that one-hour scenic speedboat ride from Male International Airport. Of course, a trip to Maldives wouldn’t be complete without going on a snorkeling safari. Seeing the amazing world beneath the ocean’s surface was extremely fun. We went to four different snorkeling areas and saw different corals and fish.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

We also had to try the resort’s infinity pool. Olhuveli has two beachfront infinity swimming pools, with a pool bar in one of them. It was just the perfect place to soak in the Maldives fun.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

It’s impossible to get bored in the resort since they have a lot of activities to offer, like watersports and diving. They also have a fitness room, an arcade room, a tennis court and spa if I wanted a quieter island experience.

The island has lush tropical vegetation, with stretches of powdery sandy beach, a crystal clear lagoon and plenty of secluded sandbanks. I spent a whole afternoon taking pictures and enjoying the views as I walked around the resort.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

WHERE TO EAT

Food was a big part of our Maldives trip. Thankfully, Olhuveli has four restaurants. We did not take the resort’s full board package since we wanted to try all four restaurants.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

On our first night at Maldives, we had a dinner buffet at The Four Spices. It was Thai food night. Since the restaurant had an over-water setting, we opted for outdoor seating, which set the mood for a relaxing dinner with soft sea breeze blowing. From the deck I could see schools of fish, manta rays, and baby sharks. It was my first time to see those creatures so close and it was just an awesome experience.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

The following day, we headed to Sunset Restaurant for buffet breakfast. There was plenty of food to choose from. I had my fill of delicious pasties, pastas, salads, deserts, veggies, seafood, meat and a lot more.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

For lunch, we ate at Lagoon Restaurant, which serves international cuisine. Like The Four Spices, the restaurant sits right on the beach with an open deck overlooking the beautiful lagoon. We ordered a delightful sizzling steak.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

Dinner was at Plankton Grill. The outdoor seafood restaurant is only open at night but it’s definitely worth checking out. Chefs were more than happy to cook fresh seafood that we picked from the counter. I was in seafood heaven.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

On our last day at the resort, we had lunch at the Dhoni Bar where the infinity pool is located. I couldn’t decide which experience I enjoyed the most: The refreshing lunch or splashing in the water.

TIPS

If you are planning on a vacation in the Maldives, plan early to get the lowest airfare because my roundtrip ticket cost $680. If you are on a tight budget, you can also stay in the local islands where guesthouses are available at a very reasonable rate. They often offer excursions and day tours to nearby private beaches or resort.

Maldives is quite an expensive place to stay, but it is worth it. And yes, I will definitely go back to Maldives someday with my special someone.

maldives. Photo by Michelle A. Barba

TRAVEL COSTS

Food: $500 (for three people)

Airfare: $680 (mine), $1,361.30 (sister and husband)

Snorkeling: $65.30 per person

Souvenirs: $100

Accommodation

Deluxe Villa

Return transfer by speedboat: $171

Total: $575.34 (including tax and service charge)

Deluxe Water Villa

Return transfer by speedboat: $171 per person

Total: $1,332.28 (including tax and service charge)

 

Michelle A. Barba works as a secretary in Dubai. Follow her on Facebook 

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