Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Non-Honeymooner Trip to Maldives

I was sitting with two men who were above 50 years old during tea time at my office. One of them began questioning me on my travels abroad. One of the questions that tickled my fancy started like below.

Uncle: So you went overseas alone to Maldives?
Me : Yes, sir.
Uncle : Heee'ehhh! If you're my daughter, I'd shackle your ankles and lock you in the house!
Me : =___="

Suddenly the other uncle chirped in after being quiet all the while.
Second uncle : I'll get her married instead!

And they both laughed out loud. Inside my head at that very moment... "Thank god my father isn't like these two uncles." Hahahahaha! (Ps: I love you dad. )

So Maldives ah? I went there before AirAsia terminated the route effective 1st of March 2014. I had some money left over after a friend paid his debt and mindlessly bought return tickets to Maldives, two weeks before it's route termination.

Frantic to find some hosts to take me in via Couchsurfing but to no avail, I decided to contact my friend who resides there whom I met during my 11 days training in India in 2012. He replied in good spirit that his sister can host me. So I looked forward to my Maldives trip with soaring spirits.


Days before my flight, I contacted him again. No answer. I didn't know where to go as no address or directions were given. I tried contacting him prior my flight but still no answer. So I logged into my airbnb.com account and booked two nights there. The third night will be booked at another place once I get there (hopefully for a cheaper price),

And off I flew to Maldives for four days three nights, alone and without a fix itinerary. :)

The only knowledge I knew of Maldives was that it was an Islamic country and I had to dress respectively. Heck, no problemo. *betulkan hijab*

But once I got there, my knowledge of this small paradise on earth grew. Here was what I learnt during my solo trip there.

1. Most of the tourists there are honeymooners! Muahaha! (Except me!)

I had only to step outside the immigration counter of Male's International Airport to notice that I was the only one without a partner, be it with a friend or better half. But surprisingly, two couples at the airport took a liking to me and were very friendly to me. One couple eventually invited me to join them. LoL! *suddenly feels like a third wheel*

2. Maldives consists of over 1000 islands and about 200 islands are inhabited. 

So when you fly into Maldives, you'll be reaching Hulumale first (an island mostly inhabited by locals)  as the first stop before heading to your preferred resort island via seaplane or boat. I chose neither. I decided to stay in Hulumale. Cheaper. One night at a resort island could cost you hundreds ($) per night! I only brought a few hundreds. Ekeke.

Once I got out of the airport, I was met with crystal clear blue waters! The airport itself is on a strip of land surrounded by the sea!
Hulumale has some several budget hotels pricing minimal USD 40 per night (based on twin sharing basis) and located on one area of the island. Other parts of the island consists of rows and rows of housing apartments or flats, home to thousands of locals who commute daily to work in Male, the capital island of Maldives. Male can be easily reached via ferry from Hulumale's terminal and commutes every 10/15 minutes until 1am.

 3. Tuna is found everywhere on their menus! And cheap too!

I outdid myself in Maldives when it comes to tuna. Since this exotic meat is considered expensive in Malaysia, I decided to eat tuna whenever I dine in.

Fried Salmon at a cafe on Vilingili Island, located West of Male. Reachable by slow boat and about 30 minutes away.
And Tuna Curry at City Garden Restaurant of Male. It faces a beautiful waterfront aligned with various luxury boats.

Salmon curry with chocolate milk shake! One of the best food I've ever tasted!
They said the view from the balcony was that from a James Bond movie. Hehe. Iye ker??

The view from the second floor balcony, from where we were dining our Salmon Curry.
4. As an Islamic Country, signs in and about are mostly in singular Arabic letters. 

I wasn't sure why the letters weren't connected like the Jawi writings in Malaysia and Brunei. This intrigued me the most.
Wondering on the singular Arabic letters on their signboards. 
5. On all three of the islands that I visited (Hulumale, Male, and Vilingili), there'll be mosques with  daily 5 times Azhan calling for worshipers to pray.

One of the two mosques I found in HuluMale. A simple structure without the golden domes that I am used to back in Malaysia.
6. What do Locals Do During Weekends or Holidays?

I heard some of the locals have their own islands where they can stay without being disturbed. Some actually do what other islanders would normally do when a beach is within reach: snorkel, swim or having a picnic with friends and family. There are several barbecue spots located near the beaches for the locals usage. Even on the beach, the women dressed decently in loose clothes and hijab. Hehe.

Locals enjoying their time by the beach.
7. Where did all the animals go?

There were no goats, cows and certainly no dogs on any of the islands I visited. All I found were small crabs on the beach and wild cats lazing away under the sun. Oh ya! And LIZARDS too!

Small crabs by the sea. Creatures in the water is a totally different matter. :P
8. Locals are naturally dark skinned. Hiksss. 

Finally on my last day in Maldives, my friend was able to contact me and trace me. I opened my hotel room door with my friend just outside. He apologized for not replying my messages as he was out stationed on some remote island for work and could not reply. Since I was already packed up to head to the airport, he wanted to send me off with a quick stop at his house to meet his wife and daughter.

Surprisingly, though a tad bit too late, I found out that he lived just within walking distance from the hotel i was staying! LOL!

With my friend, Ismael and family before heading to the airport on my last day.
It has been two years since we first met and it was certainly a joyous reunion, however brief it was. Ismael promised that my next trip to Maldives will be even better with promises of island touring and seafood galore. But I had to sadly decline his kind offer because there are still many more countries to visit on my bucketlist! And so I bid farewell to Maldives and its kind people.

Maybe next time I'll be back.....

..... with a partner... :P

PS: All pictures were taken with my 5 megapixel iPod camera. 


syieda said... [Reply]

Owh jard. X sure dah komen ke dak dlm entry ni...sbb dah berpuluh2 kali dok dtg entry ni. Omaiiii!! I adore u jard!! Lev2 u banyak kali.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ syieda.. berpuluh2 kali dok dtg entry ni? but why?? hahaha.

lev u too! muah! muah! #eh

profhariz said... [Reply]

Chocolate milk shake tu buat saya marah !

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ profhafiz... ha'ahhh?!!

*hulur chocolate milk shake buatan Malaysia*


Masy said... [Reply]


oh tak sangka plak maldives rupanya negara islam. i tot akan dipenuhi mat saleh yg separa bugil merata2. yeahhh i like!

ape laa airasia gi terminate. sakit lak ati kite :(

Anonymous said... [Reply]

Its actually Tuna

Khai said... [Reply]

"..... with a partner... :P"

ehem.. Lol.

Jard The Great said... [Reply]

@ msy... sebenarnya tuna.. hehehe. tulah. dia terminate sbb kebanyakannya tmpt mahal di sana.

@ anon.. corrected :)

@ khai.. doakanlah. hahahaha