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Old 19th July 2012, 11:07   #1
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Talking Maldives - An Exotic Paradise!

MALDIVES – AN EXOTIC PARADISE


This travelogue is just short of a year late. Have been wanting to write down our memorable experience on this small paradise on earth, but work commitments and laziness got better of me and this never came up, and besides I am terrible with words in writing. This would be my first gigantic effort for a travelogue on Team-bhp in my 7 years here. So here goes:

It was around April – May 2011 that we were planning for an international trip for August / September 2011. There were various options like Europe, Africa, Singapore – Malaysia and Maldives. Of all these places Maldives looked the most exotic and must visit places especially with global warming threatening to drown these beautiful Atolls in the near future.

So we began concentrating on Maldives. Started scouting for people who had been there via facebook, networking and of course Team-bhp. Sadly couldn’t get a lot of concrete info on where to go and what to do. Enquired with renowned travel agencies like Thomas Cook and Cox and Kings, but got a Luke warm response and slowly again the thought cropped up of changing the destination.

Then one day while driving back home wifey spotted a small advertisement in Times of India Mumbai for Maldives by a company called Make Plans claiming to be Maldives specialists. Gave a call immediately and were greeted on the phone by a gentleman named DJ! Gave him an outline of our budget, number of days planned (4 nights/5 Days) and dates so he could get back to us.

Got a call the next day with 3 resorts shortlisted according to our budget. He sent us brochures along with inclusions and exclusions for the three resorts to go through and have a look. Spent a couple of days to check each of them in detail, websites and also trip advisor for reviews.

Of them Kanuhura Resort which is a 5* property looked the most promising with a small island of just 1.25kms ensuring privacy and limited crowds. You can check the details on: Maldives Hotel Kanuhura

The more we read and saw about Kanuhura the more we were falling in love with the place. So without much deliberation we went ahead with the booking. Checked with my sister and brother-in law and they were also very keen on joining! So it was decided off to Kanuhura from 14th August to 19th August 2011.

Here we would like to make special mention of DJ from Make plans who ensured we got what we were looking for and mentioning tips and tricks of Maldives to make sure our stay was memorable. While booking he clearly mentioned that since this is your first time in Maldives make sure you go for the best to really experience luxury and for later visits you can try lower budget resorts. More on interactions with him later.

Now time for some teaser pics:
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Last edited by Maverick5490 : 21st July 2012 at 10:14.
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Old 20th July 2012, 14:03   #2
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Planning:

So once the resort and dates were decided DJ got us a good deal on Srilankan Airlines along with thoroughly calculated flight times so that we could get the maximum time in Maldives.

Our itenary was Departure from Mumbai on 13th August late night and Arrival in Male on 14th Morning around 8 am. From there we had to board a Sea Plane to the resort which was a 30 mins flight and included in the package.

We were booked in two private water villas for the entire duration of our stay. Another alternative would be to stay for 1 or 2 night in water villas and the remaining in Beach bungalows which would amount to considerable savings, not that we regret it!

Also we opted for a full board plan which included Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. If you are a light eater, would suggest the half board as you won’t be able to justice to the unbelievable taste, variety and quality of the food served.

All excited about the trip our online research was still ON to know more about the resort and was satisfied with the bookings made.

Then started the shopping sprees! Clothes, Cosmetics, Camera Equipments, swimwear, it was endless.

Had purchased a Nikon D90 in May 2011 so the main camera was fixed, but had read about the underwater beauty of Maldives and started looking for waterproof cameras. Came across only 2 one was a Kodak, don’t remember which one and the other the Olympus µ Tough. Searched extensively in the market but no one had it in stock. Finally at a Croma store in Thane found a demo piece which after some bargaining and discounts was ours for Rs.9000. It’s a pretty basic camera but held its own when the going was tough!

So satisfied with all the Gear and Equipment purchased the anticipation for D day began!
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Old 21st July 2012, 09:03   #3
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The Day arrives!!


Our flight was scheduled for Mumbai – Colombo – Male, with arrival in Male the capital of Maldives at 8:00 am.

The magic began the moment we came out from the Male airport and reported to the Kanuhura Resort kiosk at the arrival. Our baggages were immediately tagged and we were escorted to the Kanuhura waiting lounge.

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The waiting lounge itself gave us an idea of what our next few days would be like and we were floored!!

We were greeted by elegantly dressed and mannered staff who handed us chilled towels and awesome fresh fruit welcome drinks to re-energize us after the all night travel. They also provided us with complimentary snacks and hot beverages which was very much needed. We were then asked us to fill out their mandatory check-in forms and our passport details were scanned and sent ahead to the resort.

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We had a waiting period here for a couple of hours as there were other guests from various locations who would be joining us in the SEA PLANE, so that it would be exclusively for Kanuhura and won’t have to halt at any other resort.

A view of the common waiting area
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A few photos of the other waiting lounge's and sea planes while we were chilling out.

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Old 21st July 2012, 09:27   #4
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All Aboard the SEA PLANE!!


After relaxing in the lounge for a couple of hours, all the remaining (Total 14) guests arrived and after completing their meeting and greeting we were ready to board the sea plane. Now the sea plane costs around $250 depending how far your resort is. Ours was included in the package, so in all there were three flights: Mumbai – Colombo – Male – Kanuhura (Sea Plane).

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The sea plane has a seating arrangement of 1 X 3 seats, One seat on the left and 3 on the right. Fortunately the four of us got 4 single seats on the left so that all of us had a view to the beauty outside. The cabin crew was very minimalistic with two pilots and one attendant wearing Bermudas and shirts. They actually advertise this feature of being the only flights in the world whose pilots wear Bermudas! They were very friendly nonetheless. Once seated, we were each handed a set of ear plugs to protect ourselves from the propeller noise and believe me, it was much needed, as once we started to take off, it was deafening!

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Once in the air, it was bearable, but we were no longer bothered with the noise as we were mesmerized by what we saw below.

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Our journey to the resort was for around 30 minutes and gave us a birds eye view of the beauty of Maldives and it is truly breath taking.

As you can see from the pictures, the resorts which are closer to the airport are shallow and the water does not look clean. Would recommend a resort away from the airport, ours was around 90 Nautical miles away.

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Soon we began our descent and then slowly we could see our resort approaching and it looked exactly as we had imagined thanks to the numerous google searches and website visits.

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Kanuhura, here we come!!

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 21st July 2012 at 13:58.
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Old 21st July 2012, 10:11   #5
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Welcome to Kanuhura!


On landing we were pleasantly surprised to find a group of staff waiting for our arrival and that included the GM of the resort Mr.Vladimir who welcomed and greeted each and every guest by their first name.

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This must be due to the passports being scanned and sent ahead but yes that made us feel super special! Then we were introduced to our Relationship Manager who guided us at the reception. Since there are guests here from various continents, they appoint an RM with closest resemblance to the continent. For eg: Our RM was Japanese where as guests from Europe, US have RM’s from their respective continents, small but thoughtful touch!

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Once we were seated and welcomed at the reception with chilled towels and wonderful welcome drinks, we were greeted by Mr. Dominic who is the Customer Relations Manager for the Resort. And when he reaches us he hands over his i-phone (Yes Mobile phones work seamlessly) and says someone would like to speak to you.

Guess who it was? It was DJ from Mumbai ensuring that we had a pleasant flight and reached safely. Seriously never had such an experience and this was just the beginning!!

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So our RM does our check-in explaining the various facilities available on the resort, its features etc.. But we were in a daze. Even a year down I can recollect all the salient details as if it happened yesterday. Man how we wish we could go there again, but anyways continuing…

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The baggage that we had handed over at Male airport had already reached our rooms while we were checking in. Once done, we were guided to an electric golf cart which took us to the Magnificent Water Villas.

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On reaching the villas we were introduced to our own butler for anything at all needed! But right now we were desperate to see our villas, the moment we opened the door we were WOWED!

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Once the Villa was explored, we opened the balcony door to an awesome sea view and two hammocks with the sea below!!

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Then was the Bathroom!! It was open air and one portion of the floor was open to the sea. Unbelievable!!

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By the time we got fresh and came to our senses it was lunch time and we were hungry. So off we went to the restaurant which had a la carte menu and we could order anything that we wanted as we were on full board.

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 24th July 2012 at 09:43.
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Old 21st July 2012, 16:10   #6
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Before leaving for Maldives DJ had given us various tips and amongst it was one very valuable tip. Carry Indian sweets, at least 3-4 boxes.

You must be wondering why the sweets? Well of course it was not for us. You see Kanuhura has a staff of around 150 employees with 19 different nationalities, and then there has to be Indian staff right.

The thing is even though the employees stay on the Island day in and day out they long for things from back home, and this is what the sweets were for. The F&B Managers for Kanuhura were Suresh and Shabbir from India and DJ had been kind enough to inform them of our arrival and were expecting us. And guess what we were the only Indian guests on this Island.

Now Kanuhura is not a very well known resort in fact it is well guarded. They refrain large group bookings and their major clientele is from Europe and US and they have a handful of Indian guests every year and the resort is booked throughout the year.

So Suresh and Shabbir were more than happy to see us and when we handed over the Indian sweets to them, their joy knew no bounds. This ensured that we never have to worry about what we would like to eat; they would go to great lengths to see that we got the best that was available and suitable to our taste. It was more of a feeling of visiting their home and we were their close relatives, they ensured we put on more than a few kilos while we were there. A sample of the dessert:

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And this was the case everywhere; each and every staff member knew us by name and was greeted that way. That’s how much attention to details was prevalent in the resort.

So post lunch we strolled around a bit exploring the Island and basically taking it all in. It was beautiful.

The Walkways to the Water Villas
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The Gorgeous Swimming pool
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The climate at that time was hot and humid with the days being nice and sunny. But in the nights the climate was something else. Luckily it used to rain only in the nights and day time used to be nice and dry for us to explore.

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Even Garfield was having the time of his life lazing around!

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Old 23rd July 2012, 11:02   #7
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Once back at the Villa, the water in the lagoon was very tempting and off we went for a swim. The water in the oceans here is very clean and clear making it so easy to see the ocean life below. We also spotted a couple of stingrays who were swimming around lazily.

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When asked the staff about the stingrays, they mentioned that they are harmless. But if you step on them by mistake, they may sting, so decided to stay away.

The evening was spent lazing around enjoying the views and letting the feeling sink in that we really are in a paradise.

Pics at twilight:
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We then called it a night after a fabulous dinner spread for some much deserved sleep.

The Reception at night:
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A store on the island selling really expensive stuff:
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The Restaurant with the amazing spread:

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A Lounge Bar:
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Walking back at night:

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The sand below water in the warm light of the walkways:

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We were still finding it difficult to come to terms with the beauty of the place!
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Old 23rd July 2012, 12:04   #8
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Day 2!!

After a very peaceful sleep we woke up fully charged for a day full of activities. Had a very hearty breakfast including some really exotic and weird tasting fruits.

A Sea Plane arriving with new guests
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The only diesel powered road vehicle on the island. It used to come by a boat, collect all the garbage and go off!

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Went around exploring on the activities available in the resort and there were so many to choose from but on a chargeable basis and were expensive.

The Water Sports activities Centre. It was run by a German lady who has been living there for 7 years and is still absolutely in love with the place!

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Small activities like kayaking, wind surfing etc were free of charge.

We opted for the Snorkelling trip which was for around 3 hours where a speed boat would take us to an uninhabited island with good visibility of Corals and marine life. Fortunately it was a very clear day resulting in awesome visibility of the marine life. This was where the Olympus camera proved to be worthwhile. We mostly did video recordings and few underwater photos.

The Speed Boat

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On our Way

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Enroute to our snorkelling site, our guide showed us a few beautiful Manta-Rays. These are basically from the sting ray family and much much larger. Also they are considered harmless and tourists can swim with them.

Manta - Rays spotted
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Tourists swimming with Manta's
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One Manta swims by our boat
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Actually, apart from my brother in law none of us are good swimmers,but our guides assured us that with the life vests and snorkelling gear we did not need to worry. He would guide us to the best spots and we can enjoy the underwater world!

Ready for snorkelling
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And now the photos from the underwater world!

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On our return, we spotted a teenager doing some wind surfing:

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The snorkelling experience for us was surreal. much like the "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" scene after Hrithik Roshan completes his Scuba experience.

This is one thing that should be on a must do list for everyone, even if you can't swim.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 13:20   #9
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After the thoroughly exhaustive one and a half hour of deep sea swimming we were very tanned and very very hungry.

Luckily we were greeted by Shabbir and suresh at the restaurant with a custom made lunch menu. Some awesome tasting tomato soup along with prawns curry and papads. We did complete justice to the food!

The fresh pizza oven
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Our Custom made Lunch!
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My Bro-in law, Suresh, Shabbir and Me!
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They have their uninhabited island close by where a good swimmer can swim to or they have small courtesy boats to take you there.Here on request they can arrange a private dinner or even put up a four poster bed on the beach with complete privacy!

The private island - Jenuhura
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An open air lounge area
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Their open air restaurant
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Wandered around the island for some photos but the sun was beating down really hard, so retired to the room for some siesta.

We were informed that in the evening there is and event called as "Management Cocktail". Here all the department heads (Restaurant, HR, Maintainance, Marketing, etc) would interact with the guests to explain the working of the Resort and to know each other better. It was a very nice event with live music and cocktails and interactions with everyone.

Pics of the Management Cocktail
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Post dinner there was a event called as "Crab Race" where small crabs were kept under a glass with numbers on them. When the glass was lifted, the crab which comes out first of the circle wins! The person who bet on the winning crab received free beer or cocktails.
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A few pics taken at night.

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And then we called it a night.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 17:10   #10
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After a very eventful and tiring second day, we decided to take the third day easy. Went for for walk around the island, lots of photography and then dis some snorkelling around the water villas.

Had some awesome Gumberi Pizza's at the restaurant which are Pizza's with prawns toppings, it was divine! Spent the entire day lazing around and rejuvenating ourselves.

In the meanwhile we also had a sunset fishing trip included in our package, thanks to DJ.

So around 5 pm we were ready for the cruise and did some line fishing in the middle of the ocean. We had the option to have the catch for dinner in whatever way we want. But we promptly let all the fish back in the water as they seemed exotic.

As it was cloudy, we did not get a good sunset. A few pics of the sunset cruise.

Off we go..

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Ever charming Host - Dominic
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The boat

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Navigation instruments
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Post dinner on returning to our rooms, we had a surprise in store! The rooms were beautifully decorated with gifts nicely wrapped for all of us. Made us feel very special and reminded us that this was our last night in paradise..

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Slept with a heavy heart..

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Old 23rd July 2012, 17:11   #11
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd July 2012, 17:32   #12
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Farewell!

And just like that our last day in paradise arrived.. Clicked a lot of photos to memorise the place, spent some more time with the staff whom we knew so well now, exchanged contacts and said Goodbye..

The staff was there to see us off and made sure we were smiling and asked us to look forward to the next trip there.

Few pics of the last day..

The beautiful colours of Sunrise

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A Sting ray who had come to say Goodbye
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A Traditional Maldivian boat called as "Dhoni" can be used for having a private breakfast at sea!
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Some pics around the beach
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Garfield not wanting to leave
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Saying Goodbye
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Images from the Sea Plane on our way back

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All of us!
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Well thats all folks! Thank you for spending time on our travelogue to paradise. Would request you to consider Maldives atleast once in a lifetime to enjoy natures true wonders. There are places for various budgets and being an Islamic country have various restrictions. But the island resorts are pretty much immune from these rules

Do give your reviews and feed back would be glad to provide you further details.

Take Care!

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 23rd July 2012 at 17:33.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 18:35   #13
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Excellent. Reminds me of my Maldives Holiday.

@Maverick5490, Please post the air travel expenses & resort expenses if possible.

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Old 23rd July 2012, 18:40   #14
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Wow!! Never Imagined something like this.
Even I am interested in the expense details if you dont mind.
You can send a PM too.

Thanks for sharing this beautifull place with us. Some very nice photographs too.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 19:04   #15
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Default Re: Maldives - An Exotic Paradise!

Great post mate!!

I am on the lookout for a HM destination for same time next year, Maldives was on the top of the list, now there is no list, this place is all that remains in my mind. Would be wifey just saw your post and wants us to get married sooner

It will be great if you can share some financial details (whatever you deem fit). More importantly any contact of the man who made it possible (DJ) ?
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