Saturday 13 April 2019

The Maldives

Holiday time

It's been on our bucket list for years and when we knew that the flights were only an hour and a half from Bangalore then we had to do it. Carla did lots of research looking at all of the potential islands and found one that seemed to fit all of the requirements of a family orientated destination (yes some are honeymoon islands only so don't welcome noisy boys!) The island of Bandos was one of the closer islands to Male where the capital and airport are located. The location meant that there were no sea plane journeys (although they do look very exciting!) and no long speed boat transfers in case of rough seas (not Carla's idea of a relaxing journey).

Our flight as mentioned was a fairly brief one with just about enough time to eat our spicy Air India offerings (mmmm!) before we were above the sparkling blue waters surrounding the islands.

How were we going to survive in these awful looking conditions ;-)

The airport in Male is very well organised and allows the big planes to land on the tarmac whilst the slightly 'wetter' landing strip, for the many sea planes is just on the other side of the airport. Once through the arrivals immigration process we were then able to collect bags and find a taxi for our first night on Hulhumale before our transfer to Bandos the next morning. Ten minutes with all four of us plus driver and about six bags squished into a Nissan Micra type taxi was all part of the 'fun'.

Our hotel was situated on the sea front and gave our first chance to dip our toes in clear warm waters. After watching the sun set whilst sat on the beach we then decided to dine locally at the hotel restaurant to keep the boys up to some kind of a nutritional level.  Max and AC took a short walk around the relatively new neighbourhood which was also home to many of the local islanders. Once we had explored on the walk it was time to retire for the night ready for an early start.

Our short trip back to the airport was in their fun bus so we had a tad more room to enjoy and decent air-conditioning too. Ten minutes later we were at the jetty ready to take our ferry transfer. We weren't sure what to expect but then saw the array of island's boats all waiting at the jetties. For those that are travelling for the first time like we were, it is a very well designed process and whether transferring by ferry or sea plane its quite a clear route and not too intimidating.

The speedboat transfer was good fun. A tranquil start as we departed the jetty was soon interrupted by a full bore opening up of both outboards as the boat speeded across the water. Slightly disconcerted Carla and Milo then realised that were probably not going to capsize and die so they relaxed a little for the next nine minutes! The harbour at Bandos was again the beautiful blue sea with lots of fish swimming around.

This was not too shabby we thought...

Being a little too early for our room we were able to change into our swimming things in a communal changing area and soon set foot towards the beach. Oh my gosh we thought as we looked from the decking over into the clear waters - what are those large black shadows moving? - AAAHHH... sharks! 
Quick get in the water to snorkel with them assuming that they are not man eating great whites! Max and AC got quite close and took a few underwater photos whilst breathing quite heavily through excitement and adrenalin... our first shark encounter bagged (black tipped reef sharks - quite harmless and so graceful)

Our 'Jacuzzi Cottage' was a lovely thatched bungalow and had plenty of space for us with the additional beds sorted for the boys. An 'open roofed' style private shower and bathroom took a bit of getting used to but soon the norm. It took about ten seconds to reach the beach so a morning cup of tea watching the waves was the routine each day...

Our favourite beach was near to the dive school and was a calmer more protected bit of reef. The sea was clear warm and inviting. It teemed with fish and quite honestly it felt like you were in a tropical fish tank. So many species and beautiful colours to witness. Believe it or not Max noticed the noise too - Its the Parrot fish chomping at the coral that made a crunching sound.

 Another reef shark

 One of the local turtles

 In a sort of apology, it's hard not to put more photos on the blog, as the colour and lighting out in the Maldives was just wonderful. India is good but the azure coloured sea was so beautiful, so here are more photos to close with...

Just to add that the accomodation food and service was all very good at the Bandos resort A super friendly team at the kids club were able to entertain Milo on may occasions, especially when he had seen enough fish for the day, so that was also a bonus.

The island was not too big - approx 700 metres across and was well laid out with lovely tree or plant lined avenues that got you across the various points. The routes took you from beach side to dining areas and to other leisure or amenity areas and ultimately back to a new beach appearing every so often. 

Our final day was spent trying to maximise our time on Bandos and we made a full day of it before we then took the slightly bouncier sea crossing back to Hulhumale. A final leisurely evening at the same hotel allowed us to think about the highlights of our few days. Despite flaky internet the boys had survived without too much use of tech so proving that it can be done!

Just in case you wish to do the same:

The Island Beach House -


Update ! April 2024

  20 people sharing 2 menus! When we go to a restaurant, we seem to spend a lot of time trying to keep a straight face so that we do not ups...