Last September my boyfriend and I embarked on the most wonderful and romantic trip in our life, to a picturesque island Bodu Hithi, on the North Male Atoll, in the heart of the Indian ocean.
The flight to Maldives
The flight to paradise was not an easy one. I have never been so exhausted in my life. We were flying Etihad Airways from Moscow to Male with a flight connection in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The stop was 14-hour long. Since it was the night we had decided that it is better to spend it in the airport, so we had not prepared the UAE visas which are needed in case if travellers want to leave the airport and have a tour around the city while waiting for the flight. However, those who still plan to do some sightseeing at night have two options: either to order a visa in advance in Moscow or to make it at the airport on arrival. The second option is not always very much convenient as it takes about 8 hours to prepare the visa in the airport.
Our stay in the airport turned out not so bad as the Etihad Airways gave us special vouchers for free meals (dinner and breakfast), which are normally available for the tourists travelling Etihad and waiting for more than 8 hours between the flights. We also got blankets from them and enjoyed the well conditioned waiting area of the airport with comfortable chairs and a lot of leg space. There are a lot of shopping opportunities in the airport and even a quiet library area with comfortable chairs and sofas. Nevertheless, the last hours of waiting seemed an eternity for us. So, I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance because there are better flight options with very short flight connections in this direction. Unfortunately, we booked our flights too late and the total flying from Moscow to Male took us about 24 hours, which is really tiresome.
Arrival to Male
When we finally arrived at the Male airport we immediately felt the relaxing warmth and humid tropical breeze. Male is the capital of the Republic of Maldives. It is not a resort, and there are plenty of cheap hotels there. It has a seaport and an airport which is the reason why the ocean is so dirty there. I would not recommend staying there, otherwise, you will not experience what all tourists come to Maldives for, i.e. crystal clear water, white sand all along the beachline, tropical greenery and total privacy. Nevertheless, it might become a good opportunity to travel on a budget to the places you can’t afford. Some tourists use the following scheme: they book a hotel room on Male and take one-day trips on a boat to the places they want to see. Normally such excursions cost 20-80 USD and include transfer on a boat to and from the destination and you can spend the whole day snorkelling in azure waters on a beautiful island and in the evening the boat will deliver you back to Male. The second scheme is to book a hotel on the island you like not far from Male and travel there on a ferry or a boat. In case if the island is not very close to Male, there is a third scheme: travelling to the island by aeroplane, however, it is the most expensive option.
In our case, we had a transfer to our island prearranged with the hotel, and the friendly staff of the hotel met us at the airport and took us there on a boat. The boat ride took us about 30 minutes and it was absolutely delightful: warm ocean splashes around us and the dazzling sun made us forget about the fatigue caused by the flight.
Bodu Hithi Island
When we arrived at the final destination the first thing we saw was a small island covered with lush vegetation and encircled by a shallow lagoon with dark coral reefs looking through the water. We got out of the boat to the long wooden deck which leads to the shore. The warm breeze was caressing us and filled us with admiration at the sight of this tropical beauty. We immediately plunged into the atmosphere of the absolute peace and unity with nature. The life here seems to slow down its pace.
The resort is called Coco Bodu Hithi, which is suitable both for romantic and family stay. The island suggests two types of accommodation: water villas suspended on piles above the water and surrounded by sparkling waters of the ocean and island villas on the shore. We got settled into a spacious island villa which is a wooden beach cabana surrounded by tropical jungle just 10 meters away from the ocean. Every morning we got up to an amazing view of the ocean unfolding before us and were experiencing best sunsets in our lives.
What to do on the island
The island is just 400 meters long and 300 meters wide, so you can literally walk around it in half an hour. Still, it has a variety of activities on offer. We were absolutely stunned by the underwater life of the island.
We did a lot of snorkelling every day exploring coral reefs. The island is popular as a turtle location. Imagine our surprise when straight in front of us we saw a huge turtle of about 70 cm in diameter! You should be really fast to try to touch it because the speed with which it swims is very high and it escaped to the depth of the ocean in a minute. There are a lot of colourful types of fish and even small reef sharks which are gently called “vegetarian sharks” by locals. They are sad to be safe for humans but when we saw the sharks on a couple of occasions we were faster than the turtle fleeing from us. Though we knew that the sharks will not touch us, we felt ill at ease when they suddenly appeared.
Apart from snorkelling, there are many other water sports that you can try on the island, you only have to choose and go for it!
- Check the rules. Keep in mind that Maldives is a Muslim culture with their own traditions which should be respected. If you are travelling to a certain island or resort, it is better to find out in advance if it is allowed to wear bikinis while swimming there. Some of the resorts have designated areas because public beaches prohibit swimming uncovered.
- Get up early. In Maldives, the sunset is very early (about 6 p.m.) and if you want to enjoy picturesque views, sunbathe and to do sports you might find that the day is too short.
- Check travelling opportunities including the schedules of the ferry boat to get to your final destination from the airport.
- You can get a comprehensive overview of all types of resorts (luxury/family/budget), activities, sight or even jobs at Maldives on the website maldives.com