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Maldives – What Five Days in Paradise Looks Like

Posted on Jul 25, 2014 by in International, Travel | 4 comments

“You are on a small island floating in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean with so few other people it might as well be deserted . The water is so blue and translucent that you can see fish swimming around your feet right off the beach. And the air is so quiet you can actually hear yourself enveloped in natural silence, punctuated only by the sound of gently rolling waves and the sweet fragrance of blooming frangipani.”

I hate it when my husband’s right. Fortunately he’s kind enough to refrain from the litany of “I told you so’s” afterwards, but I can tell that’s what he’s thinking from the obvious glint in his eyes.

He was right about the Maldives. Long story short: He wanted to go. I was skeptical. We went anyways.

And it was nothing short of amazing.

I won’t bore you with the details or logistics as many very capable bloggers have already done extensive trip reports about accommodations, transportation and food options available at the various resorts.

Instead, I want to answer the question that I posed to Jimmy at the outset of the trip – What are we going to do with five whole days on a secluded island in the middle of the Indian Ocean?

And, more importantly, what makes it so special to warrant flying more than halfway around the world when beautiful Maui is just a hop and a skip away from the U.S. mainland?

After Jimmy booked the trip, I did my research and pored through countless trip reports, trying to figure out what the hype was all about. My conclusion? It was expensive, hard to get to and relatively exclusive, the hallmarks of so called “aspirational” travel. Not terribly winning arguments for me.

Some experiences, however, simply cannot be anticipated through online research and the Maldives is such a place. Yes, the sea plane ride is fun and makes you feel like a guest arriving on Fantasy Island, the villas are well-appointed and comfortable, the people are lovely and the food is good. These are the details that my mind recalls, but they are not the ones that my heart remembers.

I remember waking up early and stumbling out of our beach villa before dawn only to be floating minutes later in the unbelievably warm blue waters of the Indian Ocean and watching the most spectacular sunrise of my life.

I remember coaxing myself to remain calm and breathe naturally with each stroke as I swam out to explore the house reef just 50 yards from shore and opening my eyes to the an unimaginably colorful and vibrant underwater world of fish and coral.

And most of all, I remember feeling an incredible sense of peace and gratitude wash over me as I gazed out into the endless blue sea, thankful for the moment and not wishing to be anywhere else.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again- as in travel, so in life – arrive with nothing more than the intention to embrace whatever awaits you at your destination and you’ll simply be delighted.

Here are some highlights from our trip:




  • bluecat

    Okay, like you, I always wondered if it was “worth it” to go all the way to someplace like the Maldives. I think your photos are great but, honestly, I’m not sold. Those are nice images and I’m sure they come with nice memories but, c’mon, aren’t you a little bit biased into saying it was worth it? I mean, human nature is such that our pride will want us to say we made the right choices, no?

    Another factor in your favor could have been your initial negative bias: when you set your expectations low, it surpassed that and you are happy.

    Or that, because you were travelling “in the area” already, you didn’t have a monster flight from the U.S. just to get there.

    Anyways, I really, really, REALLY, dont mean to be a negative voice here but ,even after reading this post, I still don’t see how going to the Maldives is “worth it”, compared to so many other nice places that are so much closer to home.

    • Ha! First off, let me just say that I completely agree with you. Before I hit publish on this post I re-read it a few times and came away with the same conclusion that it didn’t quite capture the magic I felt.

      In fact, that has become a recurring theme in our travels and one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting as often. It’s much easier to write about the places you went to and the things you did – those posts almost write themselves like a grocery list (see Paris) – but it’s much harder to convey how a place presents a stillness that soaks into your soul.

      One thing I didn’t mention in the post is that it wasn’t until the second day at the Maldives, when we had the chance to snorkel through the crystal clear blue waters of the house reef that I truly understood the magic of the islands. Up until that point there were still strands of “pppft, overrated” swirling around in my head. But the minute I opened my eyes underneath the water, my heart literally skipped a beat. It was amazing. And I felt truly humbled.

      On the topic of low expectations, I heartily concur. Having low expectations coming into the trip most certainly helped as did the fact that the Maldives was technically a “free stopover” since we were flying into Asia anyways! Good catch. 🙂

    • Bluecat, very nice of you to keep us in your thoughts. As usual, I am going to chime in on the logistical side of things.

      (1) Flights: As you mentioned, the Maldives could be added as a free stopover on an award ticket to or from Asia.

      (2) Hotels: The Conrad or the Park Hyatt Maldives could be had for basically the same number of points that resorts closer to home would cost. Having a big villa beats a standard room at a touristy Hawaiian resort.

      (3) Food & Beverage: With Hilton Gold or Hyatt Diamond status, you get breakfast and evening happy hours+tea times, which help keep the overall food cost under control. Cost for dinner entrees is similar to that at a Hawaiian resort.

      (4) Local Transportation (to & from resort): This is indeed high at $500 per person, but I just think of it as car rentals/gas or other transportation costs incurred during trips to a different resort or country.

      I see ourselves as the “roughing-it” type of travelers and/or mountain people, but the Maldives will have to be an exception (thanks to miles and points for making it very affordable). Having traveled extensively to the Thai beaches, many Hawaiian islands, and the Caribbeans, I have to say that the Maldives is in a different category of its own. We will try to stop over there every time we plan our trip to Asia :D.

      • bluecat

        Thanks for the replies from both of you. I definitely understand the part about the snorkeling making it magical—that always does it to me in a place too: especially when I am doing it at my own pace and it’s not crowded. (BTW, what? No underwater pics? 🙂 )

        Okay, so, if I am ever “in the area”, I will consider it. I see how it works for you guys, who may travel that direction more often and who have seen many other beaches already. It’s weird, but I’m glad that I don’t feel any special desire to go to the Maldives. (It’s on my list, just not in the top 50. 🙂 )