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Old 25th August 2014, 07:29   #1
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Default A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Just got back from a 1 week trip to the Maldives and thought I will pen down my notes just in case someone else needs it.

Resort name: Bandos Island Resort and Spa - Maldives

Pros
- Only 20 min speed boat ride from Male airport which means that you don't have to leave at ungodly hours to ensure that you catch your flight (Saying this because a lot of islands like Sun island etc are pretty far from the Airport and you need to take another sea plane to reach the resort, which adds to journey time)
- One of the larger island resorts with around 300+ rooms but still manages to give everyone a lot of privacy as every room has a stretch of pristine beach in front of it
- A lot less expensive than the other places + have deals with many agents hence you end up paying less for more (in my case it was +1 night free +free upgrade to half board + kid stays and eats free)
- Beautiful property and spotless maintenance
- Kid friendly and has a play area with swing and slides + some indoor games like a TT table & Xbox with Kinect
- House coral reef is pretty good and there is enough variety of fish and sharks for the snorkeling enthusiast
- Very good & tasty food spread. Vegetarians also have enough choices, which not true for a lot of resorts (again based on tripadvisor reviews)
- Courteous staff who are not very prone to ask for tips. You can tip those who help and they sure do look after you (saying this as a lot of reviews on tripadvisor go on about tipping and how important it is)
- Also has a very good fitness center though I never used it

Cons
- Water is very expensive
- Life jackets are limited and hence its important to pick them up as soon as you land
- Diving & snorkeling equipment is extremely expensive. Better to pick up your own snorkeling gear

My 2 Cents
- If you plan to visit Maldives, then do it in the "off season" between May-Nov as all resorts provide packages and deals
- Its called the off season because of the monsoons which start in May and typically last June-July. Aug-Sep-Oct is a tricky period as you will have periods of rains mixed with sunshine
- Nov is the transition period to what they call "Summer" but there were days in Aug where it was blistering hot and all you wanted to do was laze around in the water

- If you are single and want to experience Maldives on a budget, I would suggest that you look at staying at local islands
- Local islands are places where natives of Maldives stay and they have B&B or small inns which are a lot less expensive
- I researched Maafushi and was seriously considering staying at Stingray beach Inn where the cost per day was as low as USD 135 per night for 3 persons on full board basis
- Only problem with local islands is that you cannot walk around in beachwear
- Plus the local islands tend to have a particular area of the island cordoned off as visitors beach where you can wear beachwear
- There are also other islands like Rasdhoo etc which have similar B&B but they are further away from the Airport

Points to note while planning for Maldives
- Ensure that transfer to & from the Airport is included in the package. Most important as in some cases the transfer cost charged by the resort can be as high as USD 750 for a return flight per person
- Ensure that your flight lands after 9 am or before 4 PM as most island/resort transfers close down by 4 pm and you will then need to spend a night @ Male in a hotel (not what you want as Male is supposed to be super crowded and dirty. Like Shivajinagar in Bangalore)
- Resorts provide only 500 ml of water per person per day. If you need more, you need to pay and a 1.5 ltr bottle of water costs USD 4.2 including all taxes (USD 3.5 + 8% GST + 10% Service Charge)
- Hence while packing make sure that you carry bottles of water especially if you traveling with Kids
- Snorkeling gear rental is expensive (USD 14 + 8% GST + 10% Service Charge per day). So make sure you visit decathlon and pick up gear and pack the same
- Based on a lot of reviews, feedback from people who traveled to multiple resorts and my own experience, Half Board is less expensive than Full board.
- Typically cost is USD 25 per head per meal where as most resorts have a cafe where you can grab a pizza/burger/fajita for about USD 12

If you need more info, please do PM and will be happy to help!

Last edited by moralfibre : 25th August 2014 at 10:51. Reason: See rule #11
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Old 25th August 2014, 07:39   #2
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

"hark, now hear the sailors cry,
smell the sea, and feel the sky
let your soul & spirit fly"
- Van Morrison


While the sky owns the color blue, it’s the sea that filters it and gives it and makes it a mesmerizing turquoise. Turquoise - Well that is the closest word that I can use to describe this whole experience but what I will do is try and break it down into shades of understandable colors that I relate to
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-intro1.jpg
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-intro2.jpg

Bright blue & a grey tail
I spend a sleepless night in 2 airports dreaming about the warm embrace of gentle waters and sun kissed breeze
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-a1.jpg
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I step out of Male airport and watch the slow advance of grey pillows bearing the tears of the sky. The beach bum in my head, who was soaking in the sun till now, drags his flippers and walks back (think Fido Dido like character)
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-a11.jpg
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A Splash of green and a dab of blue
After a rainy and bumpy boat ride we get to our room and viola, the mistress smiles and welcomes the beach bum with a gentle smile
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-b1.jpg
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Slate grey skies & Thunderheads
This T-Log is all about running away. It’s not about running towards the embrace of the harsh mistress of the sea or about climbing the curvy road to mountain mists. It about running away from the concrete cells of indulgence (i.e home). It’s about switching off from everyday networks and letting your mind drift away. It’s about restless motion of the clouds, wind, waves, trees, birds, fish, crabs and your mind

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I realized that Timeless does not mean unchanged over time. For me it means having more time to do less and less. Like watching clouds paint the blue canvas of the sky and sea. All it takes is one dark cloud that threatens rain and the complete landscape changes. The wind begins to howl and the waves begin to crash onto the beach. Stinging drops of rain bite into your skin and you are left to wonder about the merciless beating that you are about to get.

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Last edited by procrj : 25th August 2014 at 08:39.
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Old 25th August 2014, 10:32   #3
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Strong breeze & a lazy blue sea
Timelessness is about patience. Standing still and waiting for that blue & yellow fish to come near you. Trying to float in once place to get a better view of the slippery eel. Itís about hoping to spot that elusive turtle or the huge black reef shark! But sometimes all you get is little baby sharks swimming around in circles


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Blue green waters and silver linings
The art of cloud watching is the key to a happy holiday. The more I sit still and watch sunlight dance with the sea & sand, the happier I get. There is no art to this; itís all science Ė the science of switching off your laptop & mobile!


A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-e1.jpg
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Summer glory & the Dhoni!
And sometimes the sea & wind conspire to hide away their restless nature and all you experience is this sense of serenity in all its glory. Itís like slowly sinking into this special place where everything is beautiful and all your worries fade away

A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-f1.jpg
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Old 25th August 2014, 10:38   #4
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

A Special Green
While the sun, sea and the sand enchant your senses, you still cannot ignore the other shades of green that surround you. Old trees, shrubs, flowering plants and Orchids try to capture your attention. All you need to do is walk away from the sands and enjoy the gentle rustling of leaves.
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-g1.jpg
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A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-g10.jpg

Turquoise Adieu
The sands of time have slipped by and one day you wake up & realize that you need to bid adieu. All that remains are fleeting glimpses of days bound together with the gentle thread of last impressions. Like castles of sand, the tides of time will gently unravel the strings and you will have no option but to come back and recapture the magic
A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives-h1.jpg
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Thanks for reading!
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Old 25th August 2014, 10:54   #5
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th August 2014, 12:07   #6
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

That's a beautiful place you have been to procrj.
Thank you for the awesome senic pictures, absolute wallpaper stuff.

I had planned for a visit to Maldives as well, but the demand from the better half was, "If Maldives, then Water Bunglows".
And its way off the budget..!, for now;
so finally planning for the Andamans now.
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Old 25th August 2014, 17:38   #7
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

excellent pics - especially one of that storm brewing !

I have never been able to find why would one not take a ready made tour package to these common destinations and plan an itinerary of their own- its just too much headache and doesn't necessarily work out cheaper...
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Old 25th August 2014, 17:50   #8
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Great pictures!!

I think that one should visit Maldives once in his/her lifetime, if possible, as Maldives is going to disappear soon due to climate change. The tropical island paradise will not be around for much longer if expert predictions are right.
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Old 25th August 2014, 22:49   #9
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Truly paradise on earth and your photos do full justice.

But what will a Bhpian do there ? Nothing even remotely resembling a car anywhere around (Male does not count) and the severe withdrawal symptoms that a BHPian will experience will rather mar the holiday
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Old 26th August 2014, 09:45   #10
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Quote:
Originally Posted by procrj View Post
Just got back from a 1 week trip to the Maldives and thought I will pen down my notes just in case someone else needs it.
Beautiful pictures procrj! Maldives is definitely a place to visit at least once in a lifetime!

We had been there a few years back and the memories of the Sea are still very fresh!

Travelogue here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...aradise-4.html (Maldives - An Exotic Paradise!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Secretariat View Post
Truly paradise on earth and your photos do full justice.

But what will a Bhpian do there ? Nothing even remotely resembling a car anywhere around (Male does not count) and the severe withdrawal symptoms that a BHPian will experience will rather mar the holiday
The cars also need a break from us once in a while!

Last edited by aah78 : 27th August 2014 at 03:48. Reason: Quote fixed.
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Old 26th August 2014, 12:01   #11
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Procrj - Very very informative post#1. I have been gathering information to plan a trip in an economic way and off course kid friendly.

Inviting pictures.

I am sure, you have more things to say before just concluding Thanks for reading.

If possible, put up your trip itenary and cost breakups which will be very useful too.
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Old 26th August 2014, 15:52   #12
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamahunter View Post
"If Maldives, then Water Bunglows".
The water villas are beautiful. There are a couple of threads here with pics from the infinity pool of water villas and every time I looked at them I was sure I will stay in one. Budget did not permit right now but some day I shall

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
excellent pics - especially one of that storm brewing !
I have never been able to find why would one not take a ready made tour package to these common destinations and plan an itinerary of their own- its just too much headache and doesn't necessarily work out cheaper...
Thanks Buxx. Sometimes the fun is in the planning. I have already started researching and planning my next trip and for me, that's a big part of the journey

Quote:
Originally Posted by embee View Post
Great pictures!!
I think that one should visit Maldives once in his/her lifetime, if possible, as Maldives is going to disappear soon due to climate change. The tropical island paradise will not be around for much longer if expert predictions are right.
Once will not be enough. Conservative estimates say 30 years before they disappear but some other sources also say that it could happen as soon as 15 years. A great loss it will be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Secretariat View Post
But what will a Bhpian do there ?
Sometimes separation only tends to increase your love for an object

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
We had been there a few years back and the memories of the Sea are still very fresh!
I did read your thread when I was planning and your pics were a major inspiration that clinched the deal for me even though water villas were out of budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacs View Post
Procrj - Very very informative post#1.
Thanks jacs

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacs View Post
I have been gathering information to plan a trip in an economic way and off course kid friendly.
Inviting pictures.
I am sure, you have more things to say before just concluding Thanks for reading.
There is a lot to say but very few words that can express it.
The beauty of this place is not incredible or stunning, like when you experience the clouds & hills or the sun shining on a river valley. The beauty of this place is like a gentle breeze that caresses you and leaves you deeply satisfied. Its got so many facets to it that you can keep staring at it for a long long time and you will not get bored.

As I mentioned in the earlier posts, I spent a lot of time just sitting under a coconut tree and staring at the sky and water and it was just so peaceful. I am usually a very restless guy who needs to do something or go somewhere but in this case I was very happy to stay put and relax.

Its something that I have never experienced before and was totally worth every penny that I did spend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacs View Post
If possible, put up your trip itenary and cost breakups which will be very useful too.
Plan was very simple. Get to the resort and stay put.
-18th Aug 3.30 am - Srilankan Airlines - Bangalore - Colombo - Male
- Landed at 8.30 am Maldives time (30 min behind IST)
- Reached resort at 10 am (resort rep will get in touch at exit and get you onto the speed boat)
- 23rd Aug 3.35 pm - Srilankan Airlines - Male - Colombo - Bangalore

Flight cost - 50K INR (2 Adults + 1 Child)

Stay - 5N/6D
Room - Standard Room
Boarding - Half Board (Breakfast + Dinner)
Offer - Pay for 4 Nights and stay 1 Night free + Free upgrade to Half board + Kid stays free (else they charge half the adult fee for the kid)

Total Cost of Stay - USD 1552
- Above cost includes all Maldivian and Indian taxes
- It also includes the Maldivian bed tax of USD 8 per person per night

Lunch + Tips + Other Misc spends - USD 200
- Includes a lot of chocolates from duty free (almost USD 50)
- Also includes about USD 20 for water bottles (this is even though I packed about 5 liters of water)

Other costs/things you might want to consider
- Snorkeling kits - USD 14 per kit per day (includes face mask, breathing pipe & fins. I carried my own.)
- Diving - all details here http://www.divebandos.com/price.html
- Sim card - USD 3 + currency depending on how much you want to use (the resort had free Wi Fi and hence I did not pick up a sim. VOIP zindabad!)
- Never use the room phone as they charge Rs.150 per min for a call to India
- Dolphin rides + Sunset cruise - no guarantee that you will see dolphins or sunset. I never saw a sunset because of the cloudy weather
- Island hopping - I did not go for the same as most islands are the same. Coral reef and blue waters

@jacs - if you have any other questions, please feel free to ping.
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Old 27th August 2014, 00:58   #13
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Awesome TL & pics with very helpful post#1 & #12. Thanks for putting up the cost break up and the deals that you got. Helps people planning for a similar trip.
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Old 27th August 2014, 02:52   #14
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

Wow. Same time last year I was in Maldives on my honeymoon. Your post brought back a ton of happy memories

I stayed at Fihalhohi Island, which is about 30 - 40 mins by boat. The charge per day IIRC was about $160+tax including full board. This is a very nice place for folks who don't want to spend a bomb. and believe me some of these resorts charge insanely (check out "Taj Exotica" or "one and only Reethi Rah" )

Completely agree with the traveler tips. If you don't mind, would like to add a few of my own

1. Flights by Air India when booked about 2 to 3 months in advance can be very cheap. I got a great deal (Trivandrum - Male - Chennai - Bangalore) at about Rs 9K per head.

2. Carry tons of water bottles. I had seen some tourists carrying a full carton i.e. 20 500 ml bottles (must be regular travelers I suppose). This is pretty normal.

3. Don't assume basic things like a coffee maker will be present. Small things like tea bags etc. cost a lot. If you are coffee or tea drinker, keep some dairy whitener, or pasturized milk in tetra packs, an electric kettle etc. inaddition stock up on cup noodles, biscuits etc as incase you miss a meal or want a snack. Time and money invested shopping and packing smartly will come in very handy. Snacks and ala carte orders are extremely expensive.

4. It is illegal to carry liquor into Maldives.
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Old 27th August 2014, 09:28   #15
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Default Re: A Reluctant Beach Bum's Guide to Maldives

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Originally Posted by charanreddy View Post
I stayed at Fihalhohi Island, which is about 30 - 40 mins by boat. The charge per day IIRC was about $160+tax including full board
$160+tax is per head per night? If its is per room per night then you managed to get an extremely good deal. After almost a month of research, followup, calls to resorts etc. the best deal I got was the one I posted in #12.

Flights from Trivandrum (Air India) & Kochi(Spicejet) are a lot cheaper than direct from Bangalore. For me the issue was getting to TVM/Kochi from Bangalore with luggage + kid
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