18 July 2018

CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER MALDIVES

This time, let's talk about MALDIVES!! YEPP, the infamous honyemoon destination for like everyone in the whole wide world. Unfortunately, I didn't go there with my boyfriend :') Well, it didn't matter since I saw a lot of people going with their friends, or even alone! I feel as though I saw Maldives only through a stereotype. Anyway, this post is going to be more brief, cutting the chase unlike my day to day post in Turkey, which hopefully will be easier to read and enjoy, yet informative at the same time! Have fun!


HOW DO WE GO TO MALDIVES?
Of course by plane LOLLL. HAHA anyway if you're departing from Jakarta, there are 2 options which are Singapore or Kuala Lumpur transit. There is no direct flight to Velana International Airport. Scoot transits on Singapore, and AirAsia transits on Kuala Lumpur. The return ticket during my visit was around IDR 3,300,000 per pax, taking around 2 hours to the transit destination and another 4 hours to Maldives, which totals to 6 hours! I chose Scoot since their hand carry supports up to 10kg, while Air Asia supported 7kg. Hand Carry means a maximum of 2 bags with dimension equal to or less than 54 x 38 x 23 cm with no more than 100ml liquid per bottle, maxed to 10 bottles!

WHAT TO DO DURING TRANSIT?
Okay so I purposefully made my transit in Singapore 20 hours long so I could explore the city first! I went to get: supper in Hai Di Lao, D24 Durian McFlurry, ate at Fat Cow, and took some photos at RedHill MRT Station (if you've seen the pink walls on my instagram feed, there you go!), took pics at Changi Airport terminal 2's sunflower garden, and bought IRVIN'S salted egg chips HAHA! You could get it at terminal 2, after the immigration gate, and most of the shops inside the airport open from 6am to 9pm, which is a good thing to know if you don't feel like coming out of the airport!

The Fat Cow Donburi Set Lunch Menu $45 SGD


It's totally good for durian lovers since it really did taste like one! Not artificial as some other brands might have done I reckon!

D24 Durian McFlurry McDonald's Singapore $ 4.30 SGD

Sunflower Garden T2 Changi Airport (after immigration)


RedHill MRT Station (Greenline)


HOW TO GET TO MAAFUSHI?
Maafushi is a tiny island with a majority of Muslim townspeople where we set our base at. Why? Because it's cheap HAHA! You can ride a speedboat or ferry to Maafushi from Velana International Airport, and I personally paid USD 25 for the speedboat trip. The route was Airport - Male - Maafushi. Male is Maldives' capital, which is also an island close to the airport. We only took a 5mins trip from Airport to Male, and there they gathered more crowd who also wanted to go to Maafushi, explaining the transit. The total time taken to Maafushi was 30mins from the airport.

Regular speedboat schedule:
Departure from Maafushi: 08:30, 14:00, 16:30, 20:30
Departure from Airport/ Male: 11:00, 15:45, 17:45, 22:30

For booking contact +960 794 9797/ 794 9798



TOUR/NO TOUR?
BOTH! So I used 4 days with 'Maldives Low Budget' tour, and another 3 days on my own. The tour was good because they'd even take you around even if you were alone, no minimum pax. Below you can see Ali/Aya (you can call him either one, he'll recognize it right away!) on the left and Faathi on the right. They both work at Alaka (a guest house in Maafushi) as well as our tour guide during our trip! The schedule is also highly flexible and customized while they are already a super friendly, funny, chill, and kind guides! I regard them more as friends because you could be like "where to hang tomorrow?" then they'll take you there! It's like crashing on a friend's place and they did it sincerely <3 THANK YOU SO MUCH! Love you Ali and Faathi!


HOW MUCH WAS THE TOUR WORTH?
I took the 'Maafushi 4D3N' package that charges IDR 4,799,000 per pax for:
- 1 night accommodation at Green Villa and 2 nights at Alaka Maafushi (WiFi + free late check out)
- Airport pick up and delivery (return trip by speedboat)
- Snorkeling in 3 spot + Snorkeling gears
- Sandbank Picnic (unfortunately it was the high tide when I came)
- BBQ dinner
- Meal x7 (BLD)
- Bicycle use
- Transportation to Safari Yacht
- Portable hammock

WHAT TO DO IN MAAFUSHI?
This island is so small that it only takes you around 20 minutes to walk from end to end. However, it doesn't measure to what you CAN do!

1. TAKING PICS IN FRONT OF THE WALLS AND DOORS
I wasn't joking and you'll understand when you see these OOTDs below! PREPARE loads of summer outfits!

Maafushi Police Station


Equator Beach Inn



Across the Police Station


Alaka at Maafushi



2. SWINGING WKWKWKWK
LOL ok you can also read a book, or basically just sit around chilling (don't forget your sunblock though!) Here, you can find yourself in a serene and peaceful state of mind where you can reflect deep inside your heart.




3. KAYAKING/ CANOEING
You can do this in local beach/ bikini beach. There are 2 beaches in Maafushi. In local beach, you can't wear bikini, hence you have bikini beach to...well. Anyway I had no idea how much this was since Faathi and Ali took me here! 


4. SNORKELING


Who wouldn't want to, seeing this kind of water?



Como Cocoa Island (nearest resort island from Maafushi)



All of the underwater pictures were taken by Ali (they prepared a GoPro for you, which is awesome!). Thank you!



The underwater life of Maldives got turtles, manta, dolphin and whaleshark (okay this one needs 1.5hrs boat ride from Maafushi). It's sad that most of the corals here are already dead, but at least there are a lot of pretty fishes :') Sometimes I wish we'd take better care of our Earth, though!











I'm so proud of Ali's wonderful photography HAHAHA!




5. PICNIC (?)
Nothing to see here, keep scrolling :)

Portable Floaties



6. WATERSPORT
There are a variety of water sports here but I didn't know of the price, just ask around!

 






7. BICYCLING
This really helps compared to walking everywhere. It was really hot here and the sun was scorching. Thankfully it wasn't humid, but well a city girl just couldn't bear walking all day err day :p







8. EAT LOCAL FOOD
I got recommended here by a friend, and surprisingly also by Faathi. The place is called Hotel Rocket Cafe. It's so easy to spot because you could just look for a copy of HardRock Cafe logo on a giant board HAHA!



You can pay with either Rufiyaa (no pun intended) or USD. Well since Rufiyaa was hard to get, I used USD since they also accept it.


I just ordered some snacks when I was here and mostly were good, especially their french toast! CRAAAY. I had french toast 3 times in Maafushi and all of them were great. 1 in Alaka, another in Hotel Rocket Cafe, and another at White Sand. Also, the food here isn't limited to only seashore seafood, but also international food such as steak, spaghetti, and pizza!



9. GROCERY SHOPING
There are more supermarket here compared to small stalls. Talk about the difference in class, since it's an international tourist destination! You won't find it like this in Pulau Seribu, although you could find indomie there which is comparatively as good.... HA! Anyway you could find a lot of things here, so rest assured about your miscellanous needs!


Some kind of Buavita



10. GIFT SHOPPING


11. FUTSAL
Believe it or not, I played futsal as a goalkeeper with the kids here HAHAHAHA! I had no idea on what to do on that day and it was raining hard so I couldn't snorkel. So I played futsal in the rain on this synthetic grass field. They were all cool. A6 uga.


12. SAFARI YACHT
What is thissss safari yacht?? I thought it's this sight seeing activity or whatever but it turned out Maafushi's definition of floating bar! So anyway since I told you the moslem culture in Maafushi is a bit extreme, you can't just wear bikini anywhere, moreover alcohol. Hence, they can only drink on a ship, not land, and therefore the floating bar concept! The ship is a quite big cruise ship, and you could just ask around for safari yacht then they'll take you on a speedboat for a 5mins ride. The transportation was free, but you are required to order 1 drink per pax on the yacht.



I got here during afternoon and it was almost evening, so I was lucky in getting to see the sunset from the ship. The yacht opens 12pm-1am, and the later it gets, the livelier the music when people start dancing!





13 . PLAY A GAME OF CARDS WAKAKAKAKAKA


They have breathtaking card background image, huh? Everything is blue and I wish I could've brought some home.


Also, this is entirely new for me but here they got a card called uno splash! If you play this, everyone has to take +1 or +2 card. SPLASH.


If you're out of cash, you could get it in the ATM, although I'm not sure if you'd get it in Rufiyaa or USD. 1 Rufiyaa is around IDR 900, and USD would be around IDR 14,000 when I was here.



WHERE TO STAY IN MAAFUSHI?

1. GREEN VILLA MAAFUSHI
A literally green villa hahahahahaa. Well I think this building is relatively new, since it's still clean and more modern. It costs you around IDR 500,000 per night for a room for 2, including breakfast! Unfortunately I forgot to take a pic, but what I remembered are: jet washer, shower, sink, and clean. Essentials.





2. ALAKA MAAFUSHI
Here's my favorite hangout place! No I'm serious, the lobby of this place is like a comfy hideout place. It's located diagonally across the Green Villa, and here's where Ali and Faathi work! Price is exactly the same as well, which is around IDR 500,000 including breakfast for 2!



The sweetest guy: Ali/ Aya


Top Number 1 Playboy in Maafushi: Faathi



The place is bigger than Green Villa, and the rooms on 2nd floor have bath tubs!


Here's the bedroom! Ain't bad, huh? Fully air conditioned with wifi and LCD TV! (or LED? I'm bad at this HAHA)




Here's the lobby I told you about, where people just gather, hangout, and eat. It feels like a living room more than a "hotel lobby"!


3. WHITE SAND LODGE
Nahhhh now this is a bit of a peculiar experience! I initially booked to stay at Faza View Inn with the same price as Alaka, next to the Green Villa. When I came, the place was like EMPTY, and thankfully there were Ali and Faathi who helped me find out that the place was under renovation. WEIRD, how did they even accept bookings during renovation, right? Fortunately, the company's hospitality brought me to White Sand Lodge, which is an upgrade (idk maybe they're owned by the same person) because the rooms charge you around IDR 800,000-900,000 per night including breakfast. 3 minutes walk from Alaka, and I ain't complaining!


This place is more formal on settings, whose lobby stays a lobby, and this one below is kinda like employees' space.


The room explains the difference in price though!
 

Also the toilet, which is the most important thing. Good lighting with big mirror and shower. Too bad the sink was a bit clogged!




ONE DAY TRIP TO RESORT
Here's what I want to elaborate: outside tour activity! So with nothing much to do else in Maafushi, I took a one day trip to resort Taj Exotica and Olhuveli. Here's where you'll actually see the real scenery of Maldives' signature water villa background! Hm? Why didn't I just stay here, you ask? Because it's expensive, sweetiee :) HAHAHA well if I were filthy rich I would, because a night here costs starting from IDR 17,000,000 (you read that right) and it wasn't the water villa, just the regular ones on the shores. Water villa costs around... well I didn't even wanna check, you could just do it yourself because I'm not mentally prepared to know! So I got this one day trip although even this wasn't that cheap either....

So you book the resort visit through hotels as they usually become your intermediary. They offer you different packages with differing prices, and you HAVE to book the trip D-1! Usually, at 9pm D-1 you'd be informed if you're able to visit the day after or not. If the space is available, you have to pay right away to the hotel and you'd be picked up in the morning with a speedboat. Rest assured though, the information there is pretty organized and you'll get a thorough instruction on schedule, which is quite strict. Everything has already been pre-arranged by the resort and the average of one day trip is from morning to around dinner time, which makes you unable to visit 2 resorts in the same day. Bummer, but here's the price list for you to know:



TAJ EXOTICA RESORT & SPA MALDIVES
Why chose this one among the others? Well perhaps because it's not that mainstream... yet? Actually my guide said it's one of the less crowded ones, which called the decision for me. It charged me USD 173, which is almost IDR 2,500,000 per person :') When I went here, USD was at IDR 14,380 which was crazy, but I shouldn't complain...

So I got: Return transport Maafushi - Taj (by speedboat) + Lunch 3 course meal from a la carte menu + a bottled water at 24 Degrees Restaurant. Here we got around 9 hours to explore (you can take photos until you get sick of posing). Here's the pic of the speedboat we rode! We departed at 8am from Maafushi and it took 25mins there, and we returned at around 6pm. Apparently this speedboat only took me to Taj Exotica, and God knows where it went after it dropped us here!

Important information: Faathi and Ali DROPPED us to the harbor with motorcycles (this is what really touched me). They really are genuinely kind since this wasn't their responsibility and we weren't even staying at Alaka anymore that day. Guess what, they also picked us up later on that day. OH. MY. GOD. LOVE THEM SO MUCH :')


Arriving at Taj's harbor, we got picked up by a buggy car straight to the hotel lobby. There, we got a briefing on what we can find in the resort, as well as a map and what to do. The only restricted area was just the swimming pool and the residential inn.


Here's the overall view of the island, which is quite vast. It felt tiring walking from end to end and the views are kinda monotonous.. Yet you pay IDR 17,000,000 to stay at one of these villas, just saying.




Here's the data when I visited: Sunday 8th of July.


There's a diving center near the harbor, where you can borrow snorkeling gears that costs around USD 10 per person, all day long (not included from the USD 173 resort visit). You can snorkel and swim from everywhere on this island as it's relatively safe and there aren't any sea urchins. Just beware of the sharp rock edges, perhaps!




You'll be seeing this clear water basin everywhere to wash your feet. I think it's to wash off the sand, perhaps? Because it's mostly put on the entrance, or perhaps I'm missing out a custom here, I'm not sure...












They only have 1 pool that's connected to the restaurant, and what I love about this is that it's an infinity pool <333333 unfortunately it's only for the in-house guests though :(


We couldn't swim but at least we could take photos on the pool corners! So, this unicorn is a guest' and I borrowed it to take a pic. How generous are they!



This one's called the Deep End Restaurant, and everyday at 4pm, you can see the staffs feeding tunas to the sharks!



I'm seeing water villaasssssss!!!! Yeayyyy!! It's where everyone takes the signature "Maldives" photos HAHA!


Apologies if you're getting sick of seeing my face, just scroll through! HAHAHA I just couldn't hold myself back to take pics from every angle since the place was just majestic. In the center you can also do snorkeling, and they're not that deep so it's safe! It's like a pool, except that you're stepping on corals. Anyway.... enjoy the view!




















This here's the presidential suite, located on the center edge, which looks distinctively significant. It costs you around IDR 60,000,000-80,000,000 per night...... crayyyyyzyyyyy! the best spot for ootd is from the presidential suite though! so exoticccaaaaa laaaaa!!



Here's the gym, with air conditioning and sea view, of course! All blue!



Here's 24 Degrees Restaurant where we had the lunch included in the package! We could choose from appetizer - main - dessert. We're given the menu book but of course not everything is available, such as lobster, seafood platter and beef steak. The rest were free for us to order, and the opening time is from 12:30 Taj Exotica time (GMT +5)




Sooo, I decided to pick sushi for lunch! It's really worth it knowing that this is only the appetizer! My main was Teriyaki Salmon Donburi, and the dessert was butterscotch ice cream. Food variety is quite international, starting from Indonesian, Indian, Japanese, Western, etc!




This here is the stingray feeding area, which occurs everyday on 17:30 local time. Knowing this, the stingrays always flock around here around that time! Isn't that cuteee?!




Beach villa suite with pool facing the sea. It's kinda not private since I took this photo from the beach looking in, while the fee per night would be around IDR 40,000,000-60,000,000. I just can't understand....



OLHUVELI BEACH AND SPA MALDIVES
Since I was here for 6 days, I didn't know what else to do but to take another one day trip, this time to Olhuveli! HAHAHA lyk I'm rich LOL. Anyway this trip was slightly cheaper, costed USD 130 per pax, which is around IDR 1,800,000. What I got was return trip Maafushi-Olhuveli speed boat (same speed boat to and from Taj Exotica), a buffet lunch at Sunset Restaurant, including free flow on selected beverages. This time all the passengers were dropped on Olhuveli, perhaps because this destination is cheaper, hence more popular.

I was supposed to depart from Maafushi at 9am, although it was late by 12 minutes. It was really close to Maafushi though as it took me only 15 minutes. I was honestly surprised! Pick up was at 6pm, so we had around 8hrs to explore Olhuveli. Strangely, Olhuveli's time zone is 1 hour ahead of Maafushi.



As usual, we were briefed as we landed on Olhuveli. Map, welcome drink, and the only difference was no buggy car since we came in a bunch! HAHA!


5501 was our room number, not because we were staying the night, but as a code to the staff hotel if we wanted to borrow towels, snorkeling gears, lunch at the restaurant and so forth that need a room number validation. Anyway, lunch starts at 12:30 pm and there's this free flow drink on lunch as well!




Again, there's a dive center located at the corner near the harbor! The difference is that they charge you cheaper rent fee for snorkeling equipments. Per hour is USD 4. 2-6hrs would be USD 8. Also, remember that this rental fee is not included in the USD 130 trip package!





Here's the list for water sports in Olhuveli, complete with the price!



It's much more crowded, hence less private, than Taj Exotica. This place is bustling with more activity rather than serenity!






Also bigger in terms of area. They have 6 restaurants to cover the public density!








I love this one! The floor in the interior is beach sand, which kinda gives off an outdoor feeling. Here, they were all watching the world cup HAHA!


The lunch buffet place!




They have a lot of varieties, but so mediocre in terms of taste. It's all about quantity and value for money for lunch buffet, huh?


They also have 2 pool types, the regular one and the infinity pool. What I liked about this place is that they allow us to swim with free towel use, unlike Taj Exotica.







You can see the private dining spot below, where you can see the sunset together with your loved ones from this spot! Crazy romantic, isn't ittttt???



Anyway, the mini pool beside the room is Lobster pool, so don't have any idea to put your feet in! HA!


Guess what's at the end of that path? Another exclusive private dining spot! Damn.



Here's the infinity pool! Personally, I prefer the regular swimming pool since they have the same sea view anyway, but the difference is that this one gets deeper as you walk up until 170cm on the other corner.






DELUXE WATER VILLAS
This island is so big that they have 2 water villa clusters! This one I took a pic with was the deluxe cluster, which is a really great photo background, don't you think? I didn't check the price but as far as I know, it's still comparatively cheaper than Taj Exotica.








You could also swim and snorkel around the water villa area! Don't be surprised if you saw a shark passing by though, HAHA! Most of them are baby sharks (dududududu~), and since they're still little, most will run swim for their lives upon seeing us!



JACUZZI & HONEYMOON WATER VILLAS
So here's a zoomed out version of the water villas. Don't you see the difference? This one is the full circle of regular villas, and is livelier than the deluxe cluster though!



Anyway, if you've been wondering who I was traveling with, I went with this friend called Alvita. I was kinda afraid of getting assumed a lesbian since I went to Maldives not with my boyfriend, also that especially we weren't afraid to pose something like this! HAHAHHA! It was enjoyable though!!








Taj Exotica or Olhuveli?
It depends if you want privacy or a livelier place since the crowd difference is quite significant! Olhuveli is more crowded although it won't make you unable to take photos, but it's still more packed yet they have more activities to do there, such as the water sports and sight seeing. Taj is more chill, private kinda island where you can get better service since it's a 5 star island (they have star ratings here) while Olhuveli is a 4. So just compare your preferences and budget! I intended to also visit Centara Fushi, which costs USD 150 per pax but they didn't do a speedboat trip that day due to lack of participants. There, you could take photos at these nets installation (google it up!)

BUDGET
This also depends on your satisfactory standard! Since I went to Singapore and spent almost a day there, my total expense was around IDR 19,000,000. Quite expensive, since I spent extravagantly during this holiday :( well imagine 2 round trips to the resort, but that's what Maldives are for as well, so it was kinda inevitable. You could save a lot if you just stay in Maafushi/Thoddoo that only costs you around IDR 500,000 per 2 persons per night. Plane ticket is included in this which was around IDR 3,000,000. Also, I'd suggest you to just pick one resort to go to, since they're similar anyway but it'd be a waste to not go to any one of them! A meal would cost around 10-15 USD but if you were wise, you could do it under IDR 10,000,000, well maybe for a good, packed 4d3n trip. I reckon that I stayed there for too long, I guess?

ITINERARY
Here's the 2nd most asked question after price! To sum it up:
day 1: got here in the evening, so I only strolled at Maafushi.
day 2: turtle bay snorkeling, sandbank picnic, dolphin lagoon, safari yacht trip, bbq dinner
day 3: visit resort 1
day 4: picnic island (the pic with the portable floaties), snorkeling on 2 spots, explore maafushi
day 5: visit resort 2
day 6: explore maafushi  (read my version of what to do in maafushi above)
day 7: go homee because I'm broke WKAKAKAKAKA

TIPS
- Bring enough cash because they don't buy IDR here, even in the money changer.
- No vulgar attire except if you're already in sandbank/ resort/ boat/ bikini beach
- Don't take home any amount of beach sand in the bottle like an a14y, it's lawfully illegal and there's a consequence for that.
- If you get seasick easily, prepare antimo. You'll ride a lot of speedboat.
- Don't bring any religion-related thing in the baggage apart of Islam, such as holy bible or rosary, they'll confiscate it in the immigration.
- Use 3 headed charger adapter.
- Sim card: Dhiraagu. Buy it in the airport (turn right from arrival hall). It was USD 16 for 3GB or USD 22 for 15GB quota. If you want to use telkomsel, it's IDR 1,500,000 for 10MB WTF MUCH



VELANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
It's an airport/harbour. Cool, eh? I love the vibe so much and it's also instaworthy! Also remember that there's this big town called Male, the modern city if you'd be interested in their city life, 5mins with speed boat from Velana International Airport.








Airport meal is pricey. Cheese burger + fries + coca cola = USD 13. uhuk you could get Shaburi AYCE if you converted it into rupiah....


Until next time Maldives! I swear until I wrote this today I just still can't move on. Excellent hospitality, majestic view, and those kind people! Positive vibe! <3




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