As many of you know my last trip before the pandemic was to the Maldives. It was a place high on my travel list and the trip was planned for early March, so despite the situation in Europe, we decided to still go ahead and travel. At that time, there were still no lockdowns in Europe, so we thought all will be fine.
We had a connecting flight through Dubai and all was totally fine. After around 17h of traveling, we arrived at the Male airport and I must say it has one of the best airport views once you get out. As soon as you step out, you find yourself at the decks where you board the yacht to your hotel. The ocean water was so blue and clear that I will never forget it.
About the Maldives
What is so specific about the Maldives is that each hotel is located on a separate island. For those that do not know, the Republic of Maldives is a small archipelagic state in South Asia, situated in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometers from the Asian continent’s mainland. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south (across the Equator). Its territory spans roughly 298 square kilometers, which makes it one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states as well as the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with only 515,696 inhabitants. Malé, the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” is where the ancient royal dynasties ruled for its central location. It is also the place where the schools, the hospitals, and the shopping centers are located. Outside of Male, you will only find the resort islands and the islands inhabited by the locals, which are all quite small and have nothing apart from the housing.
The Maldives archipelago consists of 1190 tiny islands, out of which only 185 are inhabited. The majority of them are turned into luxurious hotel resorts. Most of the islands are so small that you can walk from one end of the island to the other in maximum 15-20 minutes.
Due to the dispersed marine life that you can find on each island, it is recommended to split your stay between a few different islands. Our original plan was to stay at three islands, however, once we got to the second one we were told that due to the pandemic the government has prohibited traveling between resorts. We were still quite lucky that we managed to see two completely different island quite far away from each other and observe the differences in marine life.
In general, there are two types of islands in the Maldives, the ones that are quite close to Male for which it takes about 30 minutes to arrive to the resort with a yacht, and the resorts located around 20-30 minutes flight with a seaplane. We were lucky to visit one of each.
The first hotel where we stayed was Grand Park Kodhipparu.
We got there by yacht (about 20 minutes’ drive from the airport). The resort was really beautiful and all the staff members were extremely nice and helpful. At Grand Park Kodhipparu stayed at one of the water villas and what I loved the most was the glass panel on the floor from where you can observe the fishes passing under your villa. Of course, I was also totally in love with the balcony and the ladder to the ocean from there. The fact that you have direct access to the ocean from your villas was just incredible.
Also, the marine life around the island was impressive as the people working at the marine center put a lot of effort to bring different species together and plant more corals around the villas. It was such a relaxing experience to snorkel around the island and observe these beautiful creatures.
The island was quite small, around 20 minutes walking from end to end, and it had 3 restaurants, a diving centre, and a pool launch where you can enjoy some cocktails and sunbath. One of the best experiences we had while at the resort was a spa treatment at its incredible spa centre and a private cinema night. Almost all resorts also offer private dining by the beach, which is super romantic and perfect for couples traveling to the Maldives.
The second hotel was Anantara Kihavah Villas
After spending 4 nights at the first hotel, we were headed back to Male to catch the seaplane for our next island – Anantara Kihavah Villas.
The main reason why we chose that particular hotel was that it is located in the Baa Atoll. This atoll is part of UNESCO World Heritage and it is considered the one with the most diverse marine life in the Maldives.
I was not really expecting such a difference in the marine life of the two islands, but I was surprised to see that they were completely different.
Apart from the incredible marine life at Anantara Kihavah Villas, I must also say that the flight with the seaplane was the best flight of my life. The hundreds of beautiful islands you see from the plane is an incomparable view to any other I have seen before. In addition, it is quite a cool experience when the plane lands in the water.
The Anantara Kihavah Villas resort is one of the most luxurious in the Maldives and we spent there 8 days. The experience was truly unique. We stayed at a water villa with private pool. The villa was 280 sq m and it was so spacious and luxurious. There are four different restaurants on the island and my absolute favourite one is the underwater restaurant.
This is another must-try experience while in the Maldives. Dining at an underwater restaurant is a lifetime experience that you have to try at least once. We were able to see sharks of around 1 meter, sea turtles, and hundreds of incredible fishes while having exceptional food.
Another favorite experience while on the island was the sea turtle snorkeling trip that we did. We had to go by boat to another nearby island that is known for its sea turtles and we were able to snorkel there with them. They would pass by super close and the idea of observing them from so close in their natural habitat was just mind-blowing.
Most luxury hotels in the Maldives offer two types of accommodation – water villas and villas on the island. In both hotels, we stayed at a water villa and this is really, what I would recommend you to book for your stay too. A truly unique experience, which is not offered in many places around the world, so if you are in the Maldives you have to try it.
What I also loved about the islands is that you go around with golf cars or with bakes. You have your own bikes at your villa and it’s so much fun to go end explore the island with them.
Why you should travel to the Maldives
People often think that traveling to Maldives is extremely expensive and impossible for most people to afford. Indeed, there are many 5 star hotels like the one we stayed at, that are extremely expensive. However, in the Maldives, you can find a variety of hotels starting from $50 per night. So it is still possible for everyone to visit, it really depends on the budget you have and the experience you would like to get. I can certainly say that it is totally worth it to stay at a 5-star hotel while in the Maldives as the experience is totally exclusive. No one, but the guests of the hotel are allowed on the island. There are total privacy and you are surrounded by a luxurious and relaxed atmosphere for your entire stay.
It is hard to express how unique this trip was in a blog post, and for that reason, I have created a Youtube vlog from the trip, thanks to which you can get a better idea of what we did during this trip and why it was such a unique experience. You can watch the video here.
Visiting the Maldives should be on everyone’s travel list really. Some people think that it is nothing special, there is nothing much to do when you get there and you can just go to a resort in the Caribbean instead, but in fact, the experience is completely different. I have never had such a relaxed and hassle-free trip before. I do not need to worry about anything once on the island and you just have to relax and enjoy the incredible island life and the beautiful nature that surrounds you. It is a unique place in so many ways and you have to see it with your own eyes to really appreciate how special it is.
Therefore, despite the situation back in March, I am extremely happy that we did travel to the Maldives. The good news is that the Maldives is now once again open to tourists and the resorts are taking all measurements to ensure the utmost safety of their guests, so we are now able to all travel there again.
Tina J x