Maldives. Whenever I spoke about it. It wasn't with enthusiasm or amazement. It was more of a 'Oh. Yeah. Been there. Done that.' Why that reaction many would ask. Isn't it one of the most sought after places to travel to. All the blue skies and clear blue sea. And of course the dives sites were supposedly one of the best in the world. I give a nonchalant shrug and move on.
Maldives is indeed well known around the globe for its many islands/atolls and how unbelievable the beaches are. (Read: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives)
Now let me share what is good about the place first. I went during the first week of June with a friend. I booked this trip 7 months ahead and flew with TigerAir as they had a too-attractive offer of S$420 return as compared to SQ's S$1500. I booked my stay for 5 days at Gangehi Island Resort and it was also with a 10% discount for the overwater standard villas which amounted to close to S$200 per night. Which is still a great catch.
So for the first time in my life heading over to Maldives. The sight I get is of atolls. Bits and pieces. And it was a sight to behold. Not all countries have this. Right? =)
And to transit in order to reach the resort. We had to do a seaplane transfer. Which is USD$420 return.
My first seaplane ride and besides the initial humidity/stuffiness in the plane and the noise. It was fun! Hahaha.
There it is! Gangehi's Island Resort! Home for the next few days! =)
Finally setting foot onto the island! And yes. I brought a backpack along only. Well. It's only 5 days and it's an island. How much clothes would I need? =P
And the most awesome thing happened! We got a free upgrade to the overwater deluxe! Wheee!!
I am such a sucker for sunshine and beautiful seas. =P
The dive shop.
Ok. Diving is really expensive in Maldives. Or at least that's what I encountered there. Per dive (including of equipment and tank - I didn't take Nitrox yet) was S$120. But since I'm there.. I couldn't just say no could I?
View from the lounge/bar. And there's free wifi.
From my balcony looking down. I could spot fishes! =D
Of course being an island resort there really isn't much one could do. Besides lying in the sun. Reading. Surfing the net. Snorkelling. Diving. So it isn't any surprise that we signed up for a snorkelling cum dolphin watching boat ride.
Dinner was in the other restaurant in the island. Veli restaurant. Which was actually nearer to our room than the buffet/lounge/bar.
There was also a sandbar reachable by walking during low tides.
A library within the grounds! Full of books!
So my verdict. Unless you really have money to splurge (all costs - besides the seaplane - was quoted in Euros and a simple ham and cheese toast can set you back easily by 8 Euros) and that you want to have the feeling of having the island all to yourself. You can have it.
For me. I like being on an island. But I like the island to have a little more things for me to do/see. And comparing what I paid for Maldives (S$3k for 5 days inclusive of diving) and Philippines (S$3k for 17 days inclusive of getting 2 diving certifications) just to get the same blue skies and clear blue sea with sunsets. Philippines is really much worth it. And it's cheaper.
It's still your choice. But once is enough for me. =)