WHA Trips—Maldives—Day 1&2

I’ve done a bit of traveling this past few months around Asia. Of the many destinations, the most notable would be my honeymoon trip to Maldives—the ultimate honeymoon fantasy land according to many, my wife included.

I was skeptical, though. I knew little about Maldives except it’s slowly sinking and the price to pay for a romantic getaway at this “paradise” is incomparable. On the other hand, I’ve come across too many spectacular photos of the place online that I, too, was excited to find out if the place actually deem to be one of the best vacation spots, ever.

Enough talk, here’s what went down.


 Day 1—0 hour in


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We took off from Taipei, Taiwan, where we had our wedding just 2 days before we began our adventure.

//Instead of booking our flights via a travel agency, we felt ambitious enough to take care of all itinerary ourselves. Plus, it’s more fun this way.
We didn’t sleep the night before because we were too pumped busy getting distracted instead of packing our luggages.

maldives_day1_2-2The flight’s at 7AM, we made it to TPE around 5:30AM. Just 1 hour behind our schedule. NBD, right?

Except the whole world were here waiting to check-in.

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But, we made it in time. How anti-climatic.


5.5 hours in


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There was no direct flight to Maldives from Taiwan. Plus, we wanted to include Bangkok as part of our trip, so first layover—BKK, Thailand.

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We scheduled Bangkok after Maldives, so we only stayed briefly before we hopped onto another flight.

Quick break:maldives_day1_2-3 maldives_day1_2-4 maldives_day1_2-5

I just had to WHA quickly. BKK offers decent wifi, but requires passport and personal info to get started. It was an annoying process. maldives_day1_2-8

//The background’s a collaboration with Aaron Hilado and can be downloaded here.

 


9.2 hours in


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We had around 2 hours to spare till we board the next plane to Maldives. We played a game of “wait.”

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Malaysia has one of the coolest currencies in my opinion. Just look at the “5” on the top left. maldives_day1_2-12 maldives_day1_2-14

WHA moment at KUL. Slow wifi available at one of their airport cafes. I didn’t manage to do much work here; I spent too much time complaining about how slow the wifi was. My fault.

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//The background’s a collaboration with Cam Wheels and can be downloaded here.

 

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Double checking all equipments to make sure I can capture Maldives in all its glory. maldives_day1_2-16 maldives_day1_2-17

2 hours’ up, time for paradise.

 


15.4 hours in


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We finally made it! 4 countries and too many shitty airplane meals later, we’ve touched down Male, Maldives!!

We arrived around 10PM. Instead of  wasting a night at the island hotel, we crashed at one of the local joint next to the airport—Crystal Beach.maldives_day1_2-19

To my surprise, the main land was polar opposite to what I expected Maldives to be.
So here’s what’s up: Maldives an island nation, made up of around 1190 islands across the Indian Ocean. Tourists, like me, come for the islands reconstructed by fancy hotels and related enterprises; and that’s where the money’s at. The main island is typically a check-point before visitors head out for vacations, so it’s way underdeveloped with little shops and lots of construction sites building future short term hostels.

maldives_day1_2-20No offense, but if a murder had to take place, this place would be one of my top choices.

A neighboring convenient store. maldives_day1_2-21

We hadn’t eaten for hours. So while my wife stayed in the hotel looking over tomorrow’s schedule, I was assigned to hunt for food.
After a good 5 minute walk on the main street, I spotted a few shops that were still opened at the time (11pm ish).

Maldivians seem to be into soccer; it was the only sport that was being broadcasted wherever I visited. The shop below was watching an intense game, so I thought I’d avoid the potential frenzy if anything went down. maldives_day1_2-22

I ended up grabbing a few dishes at the shop here:maldives_day1_2-25

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Thought I’d try something new with this local drink. maldives_day1_2-27We weren’t on good terms.

The food was great, though:maldives_day1_2-29


Day 2—10AM


Woke up feeling like P-Diddy. (Is this too old school?) maldives_day1_2-28 maldives_day1_2-26 maldives_day1_2-30

The crystal blue sea was real!maldives_day1_2-31 maldives_day1_2-32


10:24AM


There are two main methods to commute between the islands—by plane or by boat.
We decided not to fly in because this option has the potential risk of delay or cancel due to weather. And to avoid all possible lag, we took the boat first thing in the morning. maldives_day1_2-33

It was a 40 minutes commute.

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With an average ground elevation of 1.5 meters above sea level, it’s the world’s lowest country.

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This is our island, our hotel—Vivanta Coral Reef by Taj.maldives_day1_2-38

It’s one of the smallest islands around. It takes merely 15 minutes to circle the island. by feet.
Each hotel has their own characteristics, and my wife chose this because it’s less crowded and big on snorkeling.

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Fresh watermelon juice complimented by the resort.

 


11:34AM


Our room.

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There are three types of rooms typically available for all islands—1. Presidents Suite for large parties (or just rich folks) 2. Inland rooms (Beach Villa) 3. Water front rooms (Water Villa). We chose to stay in both inland and water front rooms for 2 days each to experience the difference and really optimize our stay in Maldives.

This is our beach villa: maldives_day1_2-39 maldives_day1_2-41 maldives_day1_2-40
Maldives is located near the equator, so its average outdoor temperature is around 90F. So of course they’d have an outdoor shower space, which I ended up using quite a few times.

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Water is a precious resource here (and California, apparently). A medium size bottle runs about $5US.
In each room, they provide both distilled water and sparking water. How fancy. maldives_day1_2-46

Actually, water isn’t the only thing that’s scarce. Everything must be imported and would be charged at a premium. As you can see here, if you like to get a bowl of cereal in this hotel, make sure you have $20 handy. And nope, they don’t sprinkle it with shards of diamond. maldives_day1_2-55


12:02PM


There were 4 main dining areas, which we’ve all tried over the course of our 5 day stay.
For our first day, we had lunch at their main restaurant, which is also the only spot that server breakfast.

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1:17PM


Not a moment delay, we went straight to the beach after the meal. It’s what we’ve been waiting for all this time.

The perk of beach villas is that you’re just a door away from the golden beach.

This was shot in our backyard. maldives_day1_2-51 maldives_day1_2-52 maldives_day1_2-53 maldives_day1_2-77I think we were taking a selfie.

Clear water. maldives_day1_2-78

Where there’s coral, there’s fish. And these fish weren’t shy. maldives_day1_2-79 maldives_day1_2-81 maldives_day1_2-80 maldives_day1_2-82

I wasn’t joking about using the outdoor shower.

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4:53PM


At 5pm each day, our resort has a feeding activity on the main beach: maldives_day1_2-58

…feeding stingrays!

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You can get really close.maldives_day1_2-56 maldives_day1_2-61 maldives_day1_2-60

Heard the baby was a recent addition to the family. Some of the staff never even seen it before. maldives_day1_2-66 maldives_day1_2-62

 


5:43PM


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Still in awe at how beautiful this place is. maldives_day1_2-63 maldives_day1_2-65

 


6:07PM


Sun sets around 6PM each day. But since Maldives is usually clear of high clouds, the sunset I witnessed weren’t as majestic as the ones I’ve seen even in the Bay Area. Kinda disappointed. I imagined everything in Maldives to be no less than divine. maldives_day1_2-67 maldives_day1_2-68

 


7:20PM


The bar was surprisingly empty. I’ve seen no more than 10 occupants at any time of the day. I was told that people of different culture treat vacations differently. While Asians like to head out and experience the various sides of the resort, westerners tend to stay in the room throughout their stay.  maldives_day1_2-70

Michelle’s upset that her $18 Port comes in miniature 60ml size. maldives_day1_2-69

Another specialty at this hotel is their thin crust wood fired pizza. We ordered one with prawns, baby. maldives_day1_2-71

Hookah, or sheesha, or shisha was the cheapest recreation we found. maldives_day1_2-73

 


9:03PM


Made it back to our room to find these petals celebrating our honeymoon. Nice touch, Vivanta, nice touch. maldives_day1_2-74

The staff were right, Asians do like to head out. We couldn’t resist the urge of exploring all parts of the island after knowing there’s a movie screening at the main beach. They played “The Faults in Our Stars.” Ah, of course they did. maldives_day1_2-75

 


11:03PM


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Now thinking back, one of the most memorable part of the trip was the calming sea breeze and soothing sound of the waves.
That’s a wrap. Day 3 coming soon.

’til next time,
Benson

Bi-monthly recaps: Stories, Tips, Development updates.


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