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Saturday, 24 December 2016

PLACES: Maldives Lives!

#Timetotravelbirthdaygirl
We left Doha with a sunny weather, but It was totally raining when we landed in Maldives. And so I began to worry, we began to worry actually, about the next 4 coming days. Beaches are for sunny weather, not for gloomy seaescapes. But most of the time, the universe is (really) like women, pabago bago din ng isip, and yes, the next morning, the sun greeted us with a big hello. Yes! Maaraw na! It's going to be an exciting day for the birthday girl!

Maldives is prolly one of the beaches I never imagined I would be able to visit. Although one of my college friends already been to Maldives several years back, I told myself "ang laki naman kasi ng sweldo nya." Though we're both Engineers working abroad, her salary goes straight to her pocket, lol! Anyhow, like what I have said, Maldives that time was just a "an expensive tourist destination" for me, that's all. But before I knew it, I was sitting on a wooden platform, whilst my ever supportive husband was taking the best picture ever!
First things first, Maldives is actually a beach country. But you need to check with yourself, which type of beach holiday you want to experience in Maldives, then I will share the Maldives budget that we had. 

Meet Maldives
Officially the Republic of Maldives, It is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Oceam. It lies, southwest of India and Sri lanka. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Lhavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the South. Maldives is one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population, with a little over 393,500 inhabitants. (wikipedia.com) By the way, there are approximately 85,000 Filipinos living in Maldives, according to the hotel's receptionist. She's a kabayan by the way.

Where to Stay in Maldives
If you are honeymooners and on a romantic getaways, you can go for a private resorts, but if you are budget conscious, it is best to stay on one of the local beaches or in areas in Male, and just go isaland-hopping from there, and mind you, public beaches are priceless too. ivory beachshore is a wow! And staying here means you have access to more restaurants, accommodations and you can go anywhere as well. Unlike in private resorts that you have nothing else to do aside from staying on that island.
Although in our case, we are so lucky we got a very nice deal from www.holidayfactory.com, and it became more amazing because their offer is for Qatar residents, inclusive of Airfare, hotel, breakfast, and transfers.

Best Time to Visit Maldives
High Season runs from November - April, with December-February as the peak season. And that is why, we were so lucky that we flocked to Maldives at high season with way less expenses.

How to Get to Maldives
Male International Airport (Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) is their main airport, and connected to number of Airports. Tiger Airways, Air Asia, Etihad Airways, FlyDubai, Qatar Airways are some of the airlines connecting to maldives.

Entry to Maldives
To enter Maldives, no pre-arrival visa is required since 30days free visa is issued on arrival for all nationalities. Just present your valid passport, valid ticket and hotel reservation.

Things to do in Maldives
1. Island Hopping - a full-day excursion, which includes transportation and lunch.

2. Visit an exclusive Resort - some private resorts are open for day trippers whciich bundles using all amenities, lunch, snacks.

3. be a diver for a day - maldives is a paradise, and if you are diver, you really cannot miss this opportunity.

4. Snorkeling - well, for a non swimmer likeme, snorkeling is the best way for me to experience underwater adventure.
5. Fishing - we did not try this one but you can avail them for 50-75 US, just make sure you get the best deal.

6. Exploring the City - this is absolutely free if you are staying in a local hotel and you have a lot of chances to go out of your room, and walk around the streets.

Our Budget Breakdwon
Okay, let's talk about our actual expenses and priceless experience. Remember, this price includes everything. (NOTE: EVERYTHING)

www.holidayfactory.com - 1,599.00 QAR voucher x 2 = 3,198.00 QAR approx 376.16 USD
Inclusive of:
     ~ Return Flights from Doha via Dubai with Fly Dubai
     ~ 4D3N Stay at Lonuveli Hotel / Cinnamon Dhonveli Hotel with Breakfast
     ~ Boat Transfers to Cinnamon Dhonveli Resort
     ~ Airport Transfers
     ~ Holiday Factory Representative
Day 1
     Departure from Doha and Arrival at Male Airport - Airfare included on the package
     Transfer to Lonuveli Hotel - Airport Transfer included on the package
     Check in at the Hotel - 4D3N stay included on the package
     Buffet Dinner for 2 at the Hotel - 10.00 USD x 2 = 20.00 USD approx 73.00 QAR
     Lights Off

Day 2
     Breakfast - breakfast included on the package
     Explore Hulhumale Public Beach - totally free and absolutely amazing
     Transfer to Cinnamon Dhonveli Resort - Boat Transfer included on the package
     Visiting an Exclusive Resort
          Although package 1 is 45.00 USD, we opted to get package 2 which is 90.00 USD
          in which it offers buffet lunch, unlimited snacks and liquor so
          90.00 USD x 2 = 180.00 USD approx 657.00 QAR
     Transfer to the Hotel - Boat Transfer included on the package
     Walking around the City - free, so we got a chance to buy pasalubongs for special friends,
          We spent approx 80.00 USD approx 292.00 QAR
     Buffet Dinner -  Got a hot cup noodles for myself which I bought all the way from Doha. :)
          10.00 USD x 1 for my husband = 10.00 USD approx 36.50 QAR.
     Lights Off
Day 3
     Breakfast - breakfast included on the package
     Explore Hulhumale Public Beach - just 10steps away from the hotel entrance :)
     Island Hopping - 70.00 USD x 2 = 140.00 approx 255.50 QAR
          Inclusive of:
               Sumptuous Lunch
               Snorkeling
               Dolphin Watching
               Whole day yacht cruising
               Himaafushi Island Hopping
     Buffet Dinner -  biscuits which I again bought all the way from Doha. :)
          10.00 USD x 1 for my husband = 10.00 USD approx 36.50 QAR.
     Lights Off
Day 4
     Breakfast - breakfast included on the package
     Going to Airport - Airport Transfer included on the package
     Byebye Maldives

So summing up, we only spend 4,804.00 QAR for 2 persons, such a really great deal.

Tiny Tips
1. Wi-fi - it's actually available at the airport. however, at the hotel and some resorts, you need to get a generated password from the reception as they only use routers :) They will provide it for free. Well, that is according to one staff at the hotel. It's understandable though, as Maldives is a dispersed island, and signal is somehow difficult.

2. Maldives is an Islamic country - so as we are already in a Islamic country, you know the do's and don'ts, I don't need to elaborate everything. :)
3. Bikinis are not allowed on public beaches - related to item #2 above. but I will give you a tip. If you want to wear and display all your sweet and sexy swimwear, try to bring them all when you go to a private resort. You will have the opportunity to change and wear, and take pictures as many as you can (which pinoys love to do!) as if you are staying in that resort for days.

4. USD are widely accepted. And the good part is, when you pay them with USD, you have a choice whether you want your change in USD, or Rufiyaa. AED are not accepted.

5. I recommend to bring shawl everytime you go out. It's always a big help, believe me. :)

6. Mosquito repellent. Yup. Maldives is a tropical country. Though we never say hellos to any insects during our stay in Maldives, safety first guys, remember that :)

7. Water Bungalows are the most expensive accommodations. So if you are after the budget but would love to experience luxury holiday, book a beach room, or in a beach hotels. But if you really know how to enjoy your holiday, whether you are staying in a hotel, a beach room, or water villas, you still have the same best priceless experience ever!

Happy Beaching Guys! +_+