Years ago, I recalled when the word “Maldives” came up during a conversation, the sort of keywords that immediately came to my mind were “beautiful islands”, “super clear waters”, “deep blue skies”, “awesome scenery”, “place for honeymooners and rock stars” and most of all, “too freakin’ expensive”. At least that was my perspective of it while living in Australia. Now that I am in Singapore, all of a sudden, it is just 4 hours flight away and available packages from Singapore tour agencies seemed to be a lot more accessible and affordable than I imagined! With a long weekend in May, and a bit of early planning, it was a no brainer to make a holiday out of it with a quick 5 days 4 nights getaway. Granted, my wive definitely considered this trip as HER honeymoon more than I did. I’ve always thought that we had our honeymoon in February after our wedding to Japan, but it was apparently MY honeymoon. Can’t argue…
I think the biggest problem with most people going to Maldives is going to be, deciding which of the 1192 islands do you go to, for this possibly once in a lifetime destination. Granted, if you search on Tripadviser, you’ll find just 167 hotels. The hotel we ended up was a combination of these criterias:
1. It has to be far away from capital (presumably the waters would be cleaner)
2. Fly by Seaplane (as we never sat on one before)
3. Has to be water villa (what’s the point of going to a motel in Maldives)
4. Cheapest option for the criterias above
With criterias like that, I can assure you no matter which resort you end up with, it will not be cheap! Somehow we ended up with Hilton Iru Fushi Resort, located on so called Noonu atoll, and it ticked all of the boxes. It’s apparently 180km north of Male international airport, so a 45 minutes flight to the resort is necessary. I admit it was the seaplane aspect of the trip that drew me to Maldives. The boy in me, definitely came out, when i saw it from our lounge in Male international airport, and just couldn’t wait to get onto one:
Speaking of planes, that reminds me.. Airlines must have a hard time trying to keep the passenger’s cameras and phones off during landing in Male. With jaw dropping views on a sunny day, there’s absolutely nothing that a stewardess could do to stop the passengers sticking their cameras against the windows, taking snaps non-stop. Who could blame the passengers? The views were absolutely spectacular from the sky.
Back to our seaplane though, it was a 45 minutes flight, and I can assure you, the entire trip was probably done with our head stuck to the window looking at the awesome views with sprinkles of islands everywhere! Eventually we circled Iru Fushi resort and the plane landed by a seemingly random spot near the island:
On arrival, we had a personal ‘butler’ which greeted us and took us all the way to our room on one of their golf buggies:
Eventually we were taken to room 433 where we were going to be spending a couple of nights:
We were told we were upgraded to the ‘Horizon Water Villa’ as honeymooners, which featured a jacuzzi out on the deck overlooking the lagoon. It’s not something we ended up using every day, given there’s water just about everywhere for a dip. It’s almost there acting as a fresh water pool for us to cleanse off the salt off our bodies after a dip in the lagoon! Nevertheless, it really does give you an idea what rich people who own one of thes do in the evenings lazing around with a champagne in their hand watching the sunset.
For a moment there, we were thinking there is no way you can get sick of this! As we were taken around the villa more, all I recalled was this non-stop “wow” sound coming out of our mouths every few seconds.
It definitely lived up to what I pictured Maldives to be. Having said that, It is an island that takes only about 20 minutes to walk around. There were enough restaurants to keep us trying new food for a couple of days. However, with 5 star resort like this, you can expect 5 star prices to go with it, whether you are eating or going for a massage.
If there is one disappointment, it would have to be snorkelling around the Iru Fushi island. It just did not match the colourful corals I saw in Sipadan or off the coast in Cebu, Phillipines. Nor were there an abundant number of fish and sea life like the ones I saw at the El Nido resort at Palawan Islands. There were certainly signs of occasional fish, especially those little trumpet fish that seems to frequent under the villas a lot. I even saw a sting ray one day lurking around for food. But just not in massive numbers like I thought it should. Having said that, being able to just climb down the stairs at the back of your villa and be able to snorkel right away, is quite a ‘feature’.
We did end up going for a free snorkel on a boat on the last day, out at a nearby island. Fortunately, that reef was much nicer, and we saw a lot more variety of fishes and coral. Again, it wasn’t as pretty nor as large in numbers as what I saw elsewhere, but we did catch a stingray swimming at us, and even a turtle. Other snorkellers even spotted a black tip shark, which I missed unfortunately. It was great, but I certainly woudln’t call it amazing. I certain hope snorkelling is better at other Maldives resort!!
Apart from that, there’s definitely plenty of ‘selfies’ and picture taking for the entire stay. I am certainly not going to paste all the photos here!!
All in all, it was an island worth remembering. 5 days 4 nights is long enough for me though, as my wallet just seems to get lighter for every day I am here. It’s an expensive way to ‘not do much’, but justifiable as a once in a lifetime experience. Credit goes to my wife for suggesting to go to Maldives. It isn’t a destination I would have gone out of the way to go to, but it was almost as pretty as the brochures depicted Maldives to be. I can see why honeymooners or even long time married couples would come here, simply to spend quality time with each other. Perhaps next time we feel like our relationship needs a ‘boost’, we’ll definitely come here again!