I never thought I would make my way to the Maldives, but I finally have and I’m in awe. I’ve been told that it would be a waste of time visiting this country, considering I already live in one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the world (Philippines). I think if you were given the chance, it would be ideal to visit both destinations as each has a different charm, and I would like to share my insights as to why.
The trip to the Maldives
From Manila, there is no direct flight to the Maldives, so we decided to take a stopover for a day in Singapore, a country I previously called home. This connecting flight allowed me to briefly get reacquainted with x-colleagues over dinner. The following day, we went back to Changi airport and took a flight to Male, the capital of Maldives.
Manila – Singapore: Philippine Airlines
Singapore – Male: Singapore Airlines
Our flight to Singapore was in the evening; we left the Lion City at 8:35 PM and arrived in Male, the Maldives at 10:20 PM local time. Exiting the airport was pretty easy, immigration was friendly and efficient, and our luggage came in quick. The Maldivians are fairly eloquent in English, so communication is not a problem. With the flocks of tourists entering their country, it is to no surprise that they can speak or at least comprehend several languages.
We had to spend the night in Male, as our choice of transport was the seaplane, and they are not allowed to take flight during the evenings. While in Male, we stayed in a hotel called Hotel Ocean Grand which was only a 10-minute drive from the airport. The hotel offered a free shuttle to and from the airport, and that made it a cashless transaction for us while on the island. What made it easier was our final resort directly coordinated with Hotel Ocean Grand, so they knew exactly what time we had to be back in the international airport for the connection of our seaplane.
The whole beach strip where Hotel Ocean Grand was located was filled with other hotels, and the beachfront was filled with relaxing open-air restaurants where you can enjoy listening to the sound of the waves with your bare feet on the white sand. Almost gave me a similar vibe to the “old Boracay”, with all the open seafood grills and tree lights.
The main differentiator between the Philippines and the Maldives is the religion – the Maldives is Islam, and therefore, no alcohol is served and it is illegal to bring alcohol into the country. It is not prohibited to drink alcohol when you’re in a private resort, which we have been doing, but the prices are ridiculously high! I shall save that rant for another blog post.
The following morning, we went to the Maldives Seaplane Transfer to catch our flight to Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi, an island located in the Shaviyani Atoll. The flight was a 55-minute seaplane ride from Male direct to the resort pier.
Why Sirru Fen Fushi?
The Maldives has around 1,200 islands, some inhabited by locals, some uninhabitable, and the more popular ones which are 5-star luxury accommodations and experiences. We’ve chosen this particular island as our resort for the duration of our stay as it recently opened, and guests have been leaving good reviews on hotel booking websites.
Grand Sunset Villa plus a Free Upgrade!
It’s quite a cliché, but when you’re in the Maldives, it is nice to experience staying in one of the water villas.
We selected the sunset facing side as we enjoy watching the sun go down rather than the sun coming up. It was a pleasant choice as it can get quite challenging entering the water from the Sunrise Villas because they are facing the open ocean to the east. The Sunset Villas, on the other hand, face the calm waters located inside the atoll. The only disadvantage of choosing a Sunset Villa is during the afternoons, it can get really hot as there’s barely any wind.
We also got an opportunity for a free upgrade to the Deluxe Beach Sunset Villa as we mentioned to them that we were here for our honeymoon. We have opted to experience a bit of both rather than taking full advantage of the upgrade, so I will update this blog soon (as I am still currently in the Grand Sunset Villa while writing this post). Here is photo proof!
Diverse Food Options
What I like so far is the food options being offered at the resort. Buffet breakfast and dinner is included in our package, so if you can do a bit of fasting during lunch time, then you’re set! Although dinner is inclusive, we still decided to check out the restaurants on the island to have a more exclusive dining experience.
For the first evening, we did happy hour and dinner in Kata, a Japanese inspired restaurant that offered a wide range of seafood dishes and steaks. This restaurant is best enjoyed just before it gets too dark as there is no proper lighting. It adds to the whole ambiance, but sometimes it is also nice to see your meal in natural lighting.
For the second evening, we checked out Azure. It is located at the opposite side of the water villas, so it’s best to make your way a little earlier than your booking schedule or get your butler to pick you up and head there in a golf cart. The seafood assortments are laid out just as you enter the restaurant, so it is hard to not order seafood.
Aside from the delicious chef curated food, one of the highlights while dining in both restaurants was the quick visits by sharks which linger around during the evenings. That definitely added to the overall experience. Just make sure you don’t fall in!
Snorkeling Around the Resort
Since the resort is fairly new (probably just over a year old), the underwater world is still a bit bland. They’ve created a coral farm, but at this stage, it is not visually ready for avid snorkelers and divers. The reef is known to have more special underwater creatures, which is worth checking out if you can brave the current and a have the endurance to swim a fair distance.
We snorkeled in different parts of the resort, and our favorite is in the outside of the atoll in front of the Sunrise Villas. The currents are stronger, the waves are bigger, but we were able to spot a shark, a stingray, and a sea turtle, which already makes up for the lack of colorful corals.
Wide Range of Activities
The water activities offered by the resort can rack up in price, but there are still a lot of free activities being offered which is worth a try. You can borrow a bike and go around the island, you can go for a sunrise or sunset yoga session, and even explore your artistic side in the Activity Center with free painting classes.
I will leave it here for now, as I will make my way to explore more of this beautiful island. Don’t forget to follow/ subscribe to our other social media links as I will be updating more about my trip in the later posts!
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