Maldives

Whenever I thought about my dream honeymoon destination, Maldives was always on top of my list. When Rishi & I started discussing our honeymoon trip, I thought my passport will be submitted to Netherlands Embassy and I wouldn’t be able to go to any destination outside India. So I suggested Andaman & Nicobar since I wanted to go to some island.

Later Rishi surprised me that we will be going to the Maldives for 4 days and his friend (Suresh) would also join us along with his wife (Disha). We needed some documents for the Visa application which would take some time, which meant my passport would be available with me.

This was also my 1st trip in 2 years due to Covid, so I was very excited.

DAY 1 – 27 NOVEMBER 2021

We had a 9am flight from Mumbai, so we left our house at 6am for the airport. In the check-in line, we could see that most of the girls had mehendi & chuda in their hands from their weddings. The airline guy checking us in was new since he called his friend at every step. This led to a lot of delays and by the time we got our boarding pass we were late so we didn’t try to change our seats (we both got aisle seats in the same row). Since our flight was full of honeymoon couples like us, we couldn’t even change our seats on the flight later.

After getting our boarding passes, we proceeded to the security check which was comparatively smooth. Finally, we reached the immigration line at 8 am. The line was long & we were late. There was only 2 working counter and one of the guys left his counter for a break after a while. After waiting till 8:15 am, I started asking people if we could go ahead of them as we were running late. After halfway, we found that there was another group of people also stuck whose flight departure time was 8:45 am. We joined them and started asking for help from anyone who looked like airport staff. After some time we were finally able to get hold of a high official, who took us to a working counter for First Class Passengers and told the person working there to process our passports after he is done with the few remaining priority customers in the line.

We were done with all the formalities by 8:30 am, so we started running towards our Gate which was a bit far. My shoe was a little loose, so it kept coming out of my foot which was hindering my speed. After slowing down a few times, I opened my shoes, held them in my hand and ran barefoot to the gate. Thankfully the flight was late too, so we had a few minutes to relax near the gate before boarding.

Since we woke up so early, we were very sleepy. We slept through the entire flight and woke up only when they served breakfast & before landing. As we were in the aisle seats, we couldn’t get the awesome view of the Maldives from above. I wanted to take pictures too, I asked the couple sitting in the window seat next to me to click a few pictures from my phone.

After we landed and came out of the airport, we looked for counter 20 (dedicated counter for our hotel) for a ferry to our island. We were informed that the next ferry was at 2:30 pm. We had some time, so we had lunch and saw the docks. We had earlier thought of making travel transition reels for this trip, but we quickly realised we were very bad at it and abandoned the plan. Now that I think about it, we did pick one of the difficult transitions. We should have tried something easier for our first try.

Later we boarded the ferry and reached Hotel Kaani Grand Seaview in Maafushi islands by 4pm after a ride of 35 minutes. Maafushi is one of the inhabited islands of Kaafu Atoll and the proposed capital for the Medhu Uthuru Province of the Maldives. It is noted for the Maafushi Prison. When we reached the hotel, the receptionists made us wait for another 30 minutes, filling out all the forms, collecting passports, showing us the available activities, by the end of which we were exhausted. But all the tiredness disappeared when we saw the amazing view from our room. The room was nice, and it had a sea-facing large balcony. By the time we took a bath, it was already evening so we just enjoyed the mesmerising sunset from our balcony.

We then went for a walk outside and I collected some corals on the beach. Since it was dark, we didn’t go too far from the hotel. While returning, we decided to stop for some seafood snacks before dinner. I ordered Fried Calamari at Mr Octopus. By the time we were done, Suresh & Disha arrived at the hotel from Hyderabad. After taking some rest & enjoying the view from the balcony, we went for dinner. Rishi had booked a package that included breakfast & dinner. The food was quite bland and did not offer a lot of seafood options in the buffet which was unexpected. There were lots of cats roaming around the open restaurant. People shared food with them. The cats were all non-vegetarian. Disha once tried to give the cat her veg food, it did not eat and started asking me for food. After dinner, we walked by the Arena beach & then went dancing near the DJ which was set up for Saturday night. Since there were a lot of Indians, they played Hindi songs as well.

DAY 2 – 28 NOVEMBER 2021

We woke up early and got ready by 7:30 am. We had selected a package tour for the day which included a few activities. After getting our life jacket, snorkelling gears and towels, we proceeded to our 1st stop on a speed boat.

Our first stop was Fulidhoo Islands, where we got a chance to walk along with the stingrays. Fulidhoo is the most northern of the inhabited islands of Vaavu Atoll in the Maldives. Fulidhoo lagoon is home to a family of stingrays. We were given instructions to avoid touching the tail which can give us a shock. As soon as our guide started adding food, stingrays came to the shore. We were able to touch the body of several stingrays. It felt slimy but smooth to touch. One small shark also got attracted to the food and came to the shore along with stingrays. Our guide advised us not to touch the shark.

Next, we went to Shark Point for snorkelling. Also called Saddle, or Kuda Faru, Shark Point is in a Protected Marine Area in North Male Atoll and is subject to strong currents. Lots of white-tip and grey-tip reef sharks can be seen in the channel between a thila and the reef, along with fusiliers, jackfish, stingrays and some impressive caves, making this one of the area’s most exciting dives. It was my 1st time snorkelling after a short session in Lakshadweep in 2014. I was scared I would accidentally breathe through my nose and water would get inside my snorkelling gear. I kept practising my breathing by closing my nose with my hands and breathing through my mouth. I was also getting a bit of nausea when I tried to put the snorkelling gear in my mouth. After some time, I finally decided to go for it. I went down after Rishi, but I was still a bit panicky so the instructor held one of my hands while Rishi held my other hand. That’s how I managed my first proper snorkelling experience. There were lots of sharks swimming near and below us. Some even touched my feet while swimming and I got startled each time. It was a scary but amazing experience.

Our next stop was snorkelling around Vaavu Ship Wreck. The most famous shipwreck in the Maldives is a sunken ship at Keyodhoo island in the Vaavu Atoll. It’s assumed to be an empty Indonesian ship that sank on the atoll a few years ago. It has now become a popular tourist destination in the Vaavu atoll. It is one of the most popular and “Instagram-worthy” tourist destinations in the Maldives. This time I was a little more confident about snorkelling than the previous place. But this place came with its own set of challenges. The water had a lot of currents, so if one doesn’t know how to swim would drift afar. They had tied a rope to help us from drifting. I piggybacked on Rishi and he swam us to places around the shipwreck. The shipwreck had lots of beautiful corals and fish around it.

Finally, we reached our final destination Over Reef Sandbank in Vaavu Atoll. We had time to relax at the beach while the guide & staff provided food for us. They served chicken & rice with some veggies. The food was ok but the view was captivating. After having lunch, we went for a walk to the other end of the sandbank. Disha & Suresh were our directors for the couple poses.

The guide had said at the beginning that we would see dolphins if we are lucky. We were not that lucky coz we didn’t see any dolphins on our way back to Maafushi. We took a bath when we reached our hotel, then decided to go for a walk. We took pictures with the sunset and then started exploring the island. When we saw some souvenir shops, we bought some for ourselves. Everywhere on the island apart from Maldivian Rupee, USD was accepted. We used Anku Didi’s gift of $500 when we needed cash, which came in handy. Most of the places accepted credit cards as well, so I didn’t get to keep any Maldivian Currency as a souvenir as I usually do when I travel abroad.

We then decided to have an early dinner and then go to the floating bar for some alcohol. After having dinner, we got dressed. Disha & I wore our party dresses and heels. We came out by 8 pm and walked to the docks. At the docks, we saw there was a small crowd waiting for some ferry. Rishi & Suresh asked around and found that they were waiting for the floating bar for more than an hour. After asking around a bit from the local shops, we got to know that the floating bar was not operational that evening. So we just clicked a few pictures in our dresses and I went back to my room to wear my comfortable dress and slippers and walked around for a bit before ending our day.

DAY 3 – 29 NOVEMBER 2021

We woke up early and got ready as we had to get our RT-PCR test done 72 hours before our return flight. There was a huge line at the test centre, but we arrived a bit early and were assigned a number so we did not have to wait for long. After our test was done, we ran to the docks to catch our ferry to our destination for the day. The ferry took us to airport islands before taking us to our resort.

The Maldives does not serve alcohol on public islands as it is an Islamic country. It is only available in floating bars and private islands. Since our plan to go on the floating bar failed the previous day, we decided to go on a private island resort tour. Rishi had initially planned to book the resort for our last day, but he had assumed that we would be able to visit one of the famous water villas of the Maldives which is generally available from Kaani Grands, so he dropped that plan. But we found out that a water villa visit was not an option. So we picked the available private island resort day trip package. This resort day visit package to Malahini Kuda Bandos was an all-inclusive plan which included alcoholic beverages too. Malahini Kuda Bandos once was a picnic island extremely popular among the Maldivians and tourists who stayed at hotels in North Malé Atoll.

The resort was delightful. As soon as we got down at the docks, we started clicking pictures of their elegantly decorated docks. When we went inside, we got our day access card and beach towels. We kept our bags in their cloakroom and went back to the docks & beach to click pictures. At 10 am, we started searching for the bar which would serve us drinks included in our package. Since Disha & Suresh don’t drink, they ordered juice for themselves and the rest of us ordered cocktails. After the 1st round, Rishi didn’t drink much, so I drank most of his wine as well. We played drunk Jenga in the bar. By lunchtime, I was so sleepy that I slept on the table while everyone else ate the buffet lunch. It was the best food served on our entire trip which I missed. After finishing lunch, we decided to sleep on the beach chairs but it started raining so we went to the shed. I woke up by 4 pm, and we played a round of UNO. Disha & Suresh then went to the beach, while I ordered seafood since I didn’t have lunch. After finishing my food, I changed my dress and wore a gown for the sunset photoshoot. After sunset, I wore another comfortable dress to travel back to our island.

By the time we arrived at Maafushi, it was very late. So we had dinner and went to sleep. Since we were getting up early every day, we decided to wake up a little late the next day.

DAY 4 – 30 NOVEMBER 2021

We woke up and went for breakfast at 9 am. After breakfast, Rishi & Suresh went out to get information about water sports available on the islands while Disha & I relaxed at the beach. We saw lots of colourful parrots on the tree. When the guys returned, we went to our rooms to get ready for the sea.

Our 1st activity for the day was parasailing. Another couple came with us on the speed boat. We were the 1st to do the parasailing. It was quite peaceful up there. We saw our beautiful island from above and relaxed in our 15-minute ride. The guys decided not to take their phones so we didn’t get any photos of parasailing. We clicked a few of our pictures on the other couple’s phone and had asked them to share them, but they never did. The package we booked had a drone video included.

Our next activity was kayaking. Both the couples started kayaking together and stayed in the water for 30 minutes. This time they thankfully brought their phones from the room, so we clicked pictures along with the drone videos.

Our final activity was jet-skiing. Rishi wanted to drive the jet-ski, so he got some training before I sat behind him. He rode at 21km/h as he was scared that we would fall if we drive too fast.

We clicked pictures while waiting for Suresh & Disha. Rishi then went to change his shorts so that he could dive into the sea. We played in the Bikini Beach for a few hours while Disha remained at the shore & Suresh went snorkelling and found a massive & stunning piece of coral.

We went to Arena Restaurant for lunch as it had a good rating on Zomato and Google. I ordered the seafood platter for myself.

We then went to our rooms to take bath and got dressed for sunset. We clicked lots of sunset pictures. Disha is a photo enthusiast. She clicked lots of Snapchat pictures & Instagram reels throughout the trip. She had lots of ideas for single & couple poses. She was our director for these pictures.

After clicking pictures, we went back to our room for packing as we had to leave the next morning. We then had dinner and went to bed early.

DAY 5 – 1 DECEMBER 2021

We had planned to click sunrise pictures, so Rishi had put an alarm for 5 am on his phone. In the morning, the alarm didn’t ring but Rishi woke up at 5:58 am which was sunrise time. We got ready as soon as possible and went down, but the sun had risen a lot by that time. Since we were already down, I wanted to go around the islands which could be covered in 30min by walk. We saw the sunrise beach & Maafushi prison during our walk.

After finishing our walk, we had breakfast and checked out of our room. We took a ferry to the airport and left the Maldives with lots of memories to cherish.

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