A girl's guide to The Maldives

A girl’s guide to… The Maldives

If you’re jetting off to the Maldives, chances are you are travelling with your significant other and are either

a) Newly weds on honeymoon
b) Happily married and celebrating a special anniversary
c) filthy rich and head to the Maldives every year, darling!

When I stayed on these beautiful islands, I fell into camp A (although secretly I want to be in camp C!) and must admit that the Maldives always seemed like one of those magical places that was so much of a perfect paradise that it was unattainable for a normal girl like me.

Not so. Here is a girl’s guide to this tropical heaven…

Kuramathi Island Resort, Maldives

Before you go

Go and speak to a few travel agents and ask them to price up some options for you. Different islands cater for different budgets, although this is no budget holiday. We stayed on Kuramathi Island Resort, which is one of the larger islands, and as we found, less expensive (well, less expensive for the Maldives anyway).

You will also want to discuss the type of accommodation you wish to stay in – beach villa? overwater bungalow? garden villa? Staying in an overwater bungalow was something on my Bucket List but not an affordable option for our entire stay, so we booked an overwater bungalow for our first night and then stayed in a beach villa for the remaining duration of our holiday. We were lucky to have the best of both worlds although our friends who went to Kuramathi after us said that this isn’t an option anymore, but perhaps one of the other islands offers it? Go do your research!

Water bungalow on Kuramathi island in the Maldives

What to pack

  • Leave your heels at home! A pair of flipflops for daytime is all you need (and perhaps some pretty sandals for evening) but trust me, you’ll be barefoot in the sand for most of your stay.
  • Bikinis, sarongs, shorts, vests, light summer dresses. You may need to cover up if you leave your island to mingle with the locals but otherwise beachwear is fine.
  • Bring your own toiletries and suncream – to buy on the island is more expensive.
  • Take U.S. dollars. We were told that our island only really dealt with American dollars, but again, if you leave your island you may need to take some Maldivian Rufiyaa with you.

Sunset in the Maldives

Things to remember

  • While we had petals on the bed and a lovely card from our rep, don’t expect constant special treatment just because you are on honeymoon – so is everyone else. Sorry to burst your confetti-filled bubble there!
  • If you use up any toiletries while on holiday, please please take the empty packaging back home with you and dispose of it there. The Maldives cannot cope with excess waste (seriously, google: Thilafushi) so something as small as taking your plastic bottles home with you can make a difference.
  • Go snorkelling – the ocean is beautiful but be mindful of the coral, it’s very fragile.
  • Lastly, as the saying goes “Take only pictures, leave only footprints“.

If you enjoyed this then you might enjoy reading about my favourite things about the Maldives.

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A girl's guide to The Maldives - a brief but handy guide to a paradise honeymoon destination, written by a normal girl!

Seasons – Weekly Photo Challenge

I decided to get involved with this week’s photo challenge simply because it gives me the opportunity to show off four photos I have taken, in four different places, representing each of the four seasons.

The four seasons - spring, summer, autumn, winter

Clockwise from left:
Spring in Japan – cherry blossom season, a celebrated springtime event.
Summer in the Maldives – a clear blue sky and turquoise seas always evoke memories of summer.
Autumn in Iceland – cloudy skies and a mix of green and brown countryside show autumn is upon us.
Winter in England – nothing says winter more than snow!

If you would like to join in the fun, then check out the rest of the submissions on The Daily Post.

Travel and Treasure

So I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for the past week or so but things have still been ticking away in the background. I’ve contributed to a guest post about beauty on the road over at Heels In My Backpack – so go check it out (after you’ve read this post of course!).

And I’ve been gaining some inspiration from the world around me, so please feel free to follow me on twitter and pinterest – let me know you found me through my blog and I will follow you back!

In my last post I mentioned this gorgeous necklace I bought while on honeymoon in the Maldives. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a little while knows I love a good souvenir, so I thought I would showcase a few of my travel gems.

This necklace, being a honeymoon memento means alot to me, so I try not to wear it too often because I’m scared of breaking it or losing it, but when I do wear it, it does attract a lot of attention.

quirky-necklace-from-the-maldives

Although there isn’t a particularly fascinating story behind it, other than I happened upon it while in the island gift shop, I thought I would share it as it’s so unique and reminds me of that special time.

jewellery-from-the-maldives

I’m normally one for quirky costume jewellery rather than expensive jewellery that I will probably break, and while I don’t stroll down the street jingling like Mr T, I am a typical female when it comes to jewellery shops – stood agaze at all the sparkly pretty things around me. I’m like it in shops at home and I was like it in the souks of Marrakech.

It sounds completely cliché to refer to the souks as ‘Aladdin’s cave’ but that is pretty much what they were! A labyrinth of small stores packed to the brim with tea sets, jewellery, pashminas, spices, leather, shoes… so much colour and chaos it is easy to become distracted. I ended up buying 3 bracelets in Marrakech.

moroccan-bangles

The multi-coloured one came from a fixed price store at the entrance of the souks, but for around £5 GBP who could argue! The pink one was a hasty purchase to use up some dirham, but what makes it interesting is the hand symbol on it is the Hand of Fatima –  which is said to bring protection and good fortune.

moroccan-jewellery

My favourite of the three bracelets is the silver one. This is one I haggled for in true Moroccan style. Although I don’t think I’m ever taken very seriously as a customer, with the help of hubby (who is from the school of ‘don’t ask, don’t get’) managed to get a decent price for it that both I and the seller were happy with.

We didn’t stop at bangles, we took home a tagine and a couple of pashminas too (some were gifts)! All in all I had fun in the souks and urge all you jetsetting magpies to not miss them when in Marrakech!

My favourite things about The Maldives

1. The feeling of awe when we arrived.
We caught an early flight from Sri Lanka to Male, then arrived at our island via speedboat. It was incredible stepping off of that speedboat onto the wooden pier and into a picture postcard.

Arriving at our island
Arriving at our island

2. The scent of our water bungalow.
Sadly, we haven’t invented smell-o-vision just yet but I will never forget walking in to our gorgeous water bungalow and seeing petals scattered on the bed, the bright blue sea and sky from the windows and inhaling the aroma of whatever reed diffuser they had placed in there. Sometimes it’s the small details that count.

Petals on the bed
Petals on the bed

3. The peace and quiet.
A tropical island like this only invites a happy, calm and tranquil atmosphere, even when surrounded by other holidaymakers.

Enjoying the peace
Enjoying the peace

4. The island band.
In contrast to the peacefulness, we adored watching The Wood at Kuramathi perform. ‘Billionaire’ by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars will always remind me of the night we spent dancing under the stars, sand between our toes, to the island band (who I hear have moved on, possibly to a different island).

The Wood at Kuramathi
The Wood at Kuramathi

5. The cocktails!
Hands down the best cocktail menu I have seen. I enjoyed the Ninja Turtle – which had black pepper in it! Worth going all inclusive for (although the food was tasty too!)

Performance and cocktails
Performance and cocktails

6. Movies under the stars.
If we weren’t watching The Wood in the evening, then we were sipping our cocktails on beanbags and loungers watching a movie on the beach. We saw ‘A thousand words’ starring Eddie Murphy and ‘Little Fockers’ starring Ben Stiller. Very romantic! Haha!

Movies on the beach
Movies on the beach

7. The wildlife.
Seeing the stingrays being fed at dusk, the cute little crabs skittering about the sand, the heron majestically perched at the edge of the infinity pool, the contrast of the flocks of black and white birds at the sandbank, the lizards in the little garden of the outdoor shower of our beach villa – you haven’t lived until you’ve showered naked outside with lizards eyeing your behind!

Poolside heron
Poolside heron

And let’s not forget…

8. The marine life.
Snorkelling in the crystal clear turquoise ocean, that close to all those brilliant, beautiful tropical fish. And yes we did see a couple of sharks.

Shark!
Shark!

9. The infinity pool.
Infinity pools always have something a little more luxurious about them. Lovely to cool down as you gaze out to the horizon.

To infinity and beyond!
To infinity and beyond!

10. The spa.
I would love to be wealthy enough to have a regular spa day but we went for a relaxing soak with champagne and fruit followed by a full body massage (him) and a Thai foot massage (me).

I want to live here!
I want to live here!

11. The sunsets.
What’s not to love about a glorious sunset on a tropical island? Part of our stay included a free sunset cruise which was a pleasant little boat ride, including champagne.

Sunset cruise
Sunset cruise

12. Souvenir shopping.
The island had a gift shop and because I collect foreign coins but was sadly paying for things using U.S. dollars rather than the Maldivian rufiyaa, I bought a souvenir pack of coins. This unusual necklace caught my eye too so I treated myself – it’s one of my favourites.

A gift from myself, to myself!
A gift from myself, to myself!

13. The sandbank.
At the tip of the island there is an exposed stretch of sand where you can walk and feel truly like you are on a deserted island on the edge of the world.

The Sandbank
The Sandbank

14. Photogenic scenery.
It’s almost impossible to take a bad photo on this island it is so beautiful.

Paradise
Paradise

15. The seaplane experience.
Departing by seaplane is definitely something worth experiencing, just to see all those tiny, stunning islands below you dotted in the Indian Ocean.

View of a random island from the sea plane
View of a random island from the sea plane

We stayed at Kuramathi Island Resort.

Weekly photo challenge: Afloat

When I saw the subject for this weeks photo challenge I knew exactly which photos I wanted to post.

These photos were taken on my honeymoon in the Maldives and I love the contrast between the multiple flowers floating in the dark ornamental water feature of the on-site spa compared with the solitary flower floating on the cool blue surface of the swimming pool.

floating-frangipani

For more photos in the challenge, visit http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/afloat/