Monday, 16 March 2015

MALDIVES: PARADISE ON EARTH. BY GUEST BLOGGER DEEPA SUBRAMANIAN

Deepa Subramaniam enjoying her holiday in Maldives
I was this person who would admire the sea from afar or sit on a cruise boat dressed-to-the-nines and delicately dip my hands into the clear blue water...
Until I went on a solo trip to the coral sea to experience The Great barrier reef in Cairns, Australia, one of the seven wonders of the world. Even as I got into the submarine boat, and seeing the breathtaking scenes from underwater, I wasn’t even remotely imagining that I would be able to get into the water.
Clearly it was a rash decision , instigated by one and  all who have done it before , I braved the deep sea and dived from the boat which was tied firmly to a pontoon and my hand firmly holding the lifeguard.
Needless to say, this life changing experience left me breathless and then there was no looking back and I was officially declared a water baby…and a water destination holiday became a lifestyle.

Maldives remains a distant dream for many even for those who live in Asia because of the misconception that it is not an affordable holiday destination.
Yes, Maldives is frequented by wealthy resort-goers and famous people like David Beckham and Michael Phelps and the room rates can go up to or over 2000 USD per day. So for my friends who would love to see and be seen the right spots could be the beach villas on the land, the water villas built on stilt over the lagoon or tree villas perched above the ground at Four Seasons Resort Maldives, Kuda Hurra & Landa Giravaaru , Taj Exotica Resort & Spa ,Cocoa Island Resort, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadaaha, Jumeira Devanafushi , Six senses Laamu, Angsana, Ihuru, Shangri-la’s Villingili Resort.
You can’t go wrong on any of these and trust me,  the return on investment on this expensive holiday is worth every penny.

At the same time, it’s just like any other destination which has varying deals to suit budgets. With a bit of research, a bit more bravery and leaving decisions to the last minute, is how you can get a great deal. Kuredu , Baa Atoll,Bandos, Angaga Island,Komandoo , Irufushi etc are affordable island destinations with nonetheless the same breathtaking beauty.
And my dear single friends, Maldives may be a romantic destination but please do not let this deter you from seeing this supremely gorgeous island of the world.
And finally, it’s a safe place for a holiday with the awesome local Maldivian people who just make it easier for you to have a great holiday.
So with all the basic concerns clarified, all you have to do is to book the shortest flight to Male via Kerala or Colombo (ex India) and you are ready for an awesome water adventure that you cannot forget for life.
If you land at the Ibrahim Nasir airport after 10 pm make sure you have a proper reservation or you will be in for a surprise because the airport is shut after 10 pm and you have to book yourself into a local motel for the night until the islands open in the morning.

The success of a Maldivian holiday is defined by the resort and the island you choose because the resort-stays are a package deal that includes a mandatory drop and pick-up from the Male airport, room rate and food which is paid as an advance. So once you decide the resort you are more or less trapped in the island for the rest of your stay..Of course they offer to take you to other islands if you wish to see them.
The unique feature of Maldives is the concept of “one island one resort". The  minute  you set your foot on  the island of your choice of stay you instantly become the owner of the entire island. No outsiders can enter the island except the ones who stay in the resort and your privacy is intact.
The archipelago in the Indian ocean has 1190 islands renowned for its natural pristine beaches to choose from. Although, each island has its own distinct feel and character, all islands are blessed with perfect coral beaches, lush tropical vegetation and  warm shallow waters. No matter where  you are , Maldives will never let you forget that you are in an island surrounded by breathtaking turquoise blue water and  white sand which overwhelms you with a sense of calm and tranquility that transports you to another world.

What I loved the most was watching the sunrise from the backyard of my own private beach and  enjoying the breakfast  sitting close to the edge of the water and never getting out of the shallow cool blue water till sunset, hammocks in the ocean and a table for two in the middle of the ocean.
Awesome local food with a bit of an Indian/Srilankan influence and the daily dose of musical entertainment at the lobby for the  in-house guests.
Dive centre, scooter driving, underwater photography , snorkeling, shark point views, shipwreck views, night spa with kundalini rituals for tantric traditions, kite-surfing..the list of things you can do in Maldives is endless!

 So put off that  buzzing city holiday for now…. blend with nature and see how naturally you fit into that world.