Friday, 30 December 2011

Maldives - July 2011

*long over due entry*

My trip to Maldives was again a very last minute trip. Helmi called me on the 15th July 2011,informing that he is required to be stationed there for a week. Even though Maldives was never in my list of destination..but pergi saje lah..After all, it is renowned with its beautiful islands and crystal clear water. Without even waiting for Helmi to finish talking, I already told him "Ha...nak ikut". :D ..So, without further due, Papa purchased the tickets online and cost him RM2000+ for Dahlia and Mami's tickets. We couldn't get them with our privileges since the traveling dates were just in a couple more days. Takpe lah,so tickets settled.We then settled Dahlia's passport on the very next day. RM150 if Im not mistaken,and by that Saturday noon itself,Dahlia's passport was ready.

But Papa flew off to Maldives on the 17th July 2011,leaving Dahlia and Mami at home. 

*fast fwd*

So how did my 5 days of Maldives trip goes?

20th July 2011 8PM Malaysia time:I was a bit nervous on the night of departure knowing I had to travel alone with Dahlia. Huh...Im ok traveling alone, but this time, with a 4 months old baby. But alhamdulillah she behaved like an angel through out the 4 hours flight. Peluh-peluh ketiak mak worrying if she would pekik telalak.

Day 1 : 20th July 2011 8PM Maldives time- arrived at the airport at around 8PM Maldives time. Papa signed off the aircraft upon arrival. Oh bangga sekali.But I have to wait for Papa to clock out for us to go to the 'main land' together. 'Mainland'? Ha yes...the whole island is the airport itself. And as you can see from this picture, the more populated island is Male, the capital city of Maldives. It will take about 10-15 minutes ferry ride to commute from the 'Mainland' to the airport. Cost per trip was Maldives Rufiyaa 10.RM2 for us.

Oh ya,Maldives currency is really low; about  RM1 : MVR5. The currency is so low, that they even accept US Dollars in trading.

Day 2 : 21st July 2011 - Since MAS only flies to Maldives once a day,and the arrival is at 8PM every night, we had the day to tour the city around. There is nothing much at Male though. Which part of Malaysia that I can relate to eh...hmmm..Pulau Pangkor perhaps. Majority are fisherman here in Male,only a few I could see in office suits.

We first made a stop at the fish market. Not a good idea to bring Dahlia into the market as it was very slippery. So, we moved on walking...

 Coconut or what the local calls it 'Kurumba'

 Rows of fisherman's boats. Tuna fisheries are the main commercial resources.

Heavier than Dahlia I presume...

 Ikan masin ..ikan masin...


Day 3 : 22nd july 2011 - As I said, there is nothing much at Male. Shopping mall lagi lah,tak jumpa. All I could see were white old buildings, narrow roads and alleys...nothing fancy. On this very day je, we almost covered the whole of Male'.

Totally does not look like an eatery place kan? This is a pizza shop. Scary ..gelap!

There is a restaurant up there on the main jetty of Male'

Dahlia was just 4 months old then.. ;)

The artificial beach. Well, actually they just walled a small area tu ha..

Ha..amik kau..swim la bebenor...

Some opt for surfing. You know how I feel about ocean. Its beautiful but the big waves gives me goosebumps each time. Furthermore, this place was hit by the tsunami back in 2004, responsible for the immense destruction that killed more than 200 thousand people across the rim of the Indian Ocean. 

In remembrance for those killed by the devastating event. (picture googled)

Near by the statue I mentioned above,was the 'pasar malam' area called 'Allora Night Market'. According to Helmi who has been here few days earlier, the market opens daily. I was pretty excited when I heard this ..TAPI.... No food  macam our pasar malam lar...they were selling kasut lar,clothes lar,kitchenware lar,dish washer liquids, frying pan,tiny bits hair accessories lar,children books lar,kain meter lar...and what a laugh I had when I saw some were even selling carpets!!!adoi...tak syiok langsung..

  Surprisingly, locals seems to embrace their time there. Some even dressed with heavy make up, high heels, colorful dresses with heavily sequined designs.oh my...and the stalls yang sangat surprised melihatnya...A little consolation though, besides selling the what not, there were stalls selling something to munch. sireh and coconut. Yup, you read it right, and I spelled it right. SIREH. They dont do much of smoking here, sireh is their alternative. Hmmm.. can you now imagine how is it like to be here in Male..hehehehe..Its a nice place but lets just say, Im proud to be Malaysian. Of course we did not try on any sireh, but we did stop at one stall though and quenched our thirst with the fresh coconuts.yummieeh...

Later after that, we leisurely walked back to our hotel as Helmi need to get ready for his shift. We stopped by at this funky red colored restaurant which for me, was with the best ambiance and with the best taste of food too. Price wise, hmm..cant really tell. Its cheap here in Male for basically ANYTHING local based.  With limited vegetation and land wildlife,what else can this small island produce besides supplement from the marine life. Thus,  goods such as fresh milk, meat, dairy products, there are...extremely expensive.

Day 4 : 23rd July 2011 - It will not be a Maldives trip without the beach experience kan. So on my third day stay, we cruised across to another island called the Bandos Island. It took us on a 30 minutes boat ride to reach there. For your information, Maldives is renowned for its many many and many 1000 + coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. And most of these are private islands owned by rich guys. You are not allowed to step on their land unless you are a registered guests. And getting there is also another thing. Return boat rides to the airport seems cheap, but for a more farther rides, it can cost up to RM100 per person per trip. And not all resorts on these islands offer day trip visits. So, you better give them a ring before even planning to get there.

I cant really recall the cost for the day visit  charged when we went at the Bandos Island. RM700 for all us 3 anak beranak if Im not mistaken. Inclusive of shuttle boat ride at 8AM from Male, lunch,and back to Male again at 2PM or so.

My baby girl on a beautiful bright day.

Such a scenic view from out spot here ...

My favorite view too

Crystal clear water. Subhanallah. Could you see the fishes? Hmm..sorry lar...not using a high spec camera. There were schools of wild fishes swimming at the corals. Banyakkk... Mesti lah kan, the Maldives have an amazing diversity of sea life. over thousand species of fish, ranging from reef fishes, to reef sharks. The waters also host whale sharks and green sea turtles. Oh yes, another info, 80% of the county's land is composed of coral islands that rise less than one meter above the sea level.This makes Maldives the planet's LOWEST country. .Surprised? your surprise jap..another thing,this LOWEST HIGHEST point in the world,only marks at 2.3 meters goodness...its' forecast inundation for sure is the great concern for the Maldivian people kan..kita if duk raining for few continuous days pun we get this anxious feeling.

One of the recreational hut on Bandos Island

A view taken from the sea. Spot our white towel ;)

We snorkeled, photos snapping,pretended to be mermaids (okeh this was me je,Helmi tak) and etc at the beach for almost 2 - 3 hours. It was noon by then and we were hungry like the barbarians. We cleaned ourselves fast before we ushered to the cafe for the buffet lunch. Had it all and checked out. :)  It was a short yet enjoyable beach trip indeed.

Day 5 : 24th July 2011 - Since there is nothing else to do, duit pun takde la banyak pun sebenarnya, we did not venture on other island. Perhaps on our next visit. I spent my last day getting all the necessary souvenirs. Still, nothing uniquely Maldives that I could find. *_______" . Takkan nak bawa balik ikan tuna?!?!!

By 8 PM, Dahlia and I followed Papa to the airport. The RM2 boat ride was my last trip. Maldives Maldives Maldives. Such a beautiful place with your remarkably crystal blue waters. I could still see the beautiful images in my mind. As we were approaching to the jetty at the Male International Airport, both husband and I agreed that, next time (not on business trip), we should try staying in one of the resorts for a more adventurous marine holiday. Sediakan sahaje duitnya.

Some learning points : 
#0 - Traveling on board alone with a baby is challenging. So,do travel light. You do not want to bother your neighbors with all the big bags and strollers and all, would you?
#1 -And yes, its  PRETTY SAFE (but dont do as frequent lah) for you to leave your baby in your neighbor's watch to do your 'personal business' ON BOARD, but PLEASE NOT AT ANY OTHER PLACES ON ANY CIRCUMSTANCES PUN.
#2 - Get all your passport / passes ready before the counters and do take your time placing them all back in your handbag properly. AND DO NOT LET YOUR EYES OFF YOUR BABY
#3- Anyhow,not to worry much, parents traveling with kids are usually given a SPECIAL SERVICE
#4 - The airport is small, and MAS fleet touch down at their night time. Unless you are accompanied,do not linger around alone. Well, this practically applies to other places too lah. But , get your resorts representative,contact numbers or someone you know to fetch you up. I dont think the ferry trip is on 24 hours.You do not want to end up sleeping at the airport island alone.
#5 - Taxis are a few, and most would double triple charge. Typical. So, do get your taxis/charters booked with the resorts or so. I dont suggest you to hire a car while in Male,rugi je. All are within walking distance.
#6 - Maldives Rufiyaa is their current currency.But,since the currency is really low, USD are commercially used almost at every spot.
#7 - You dont need the whole week to enjoy Male, 1 or 2 days is more than enough.
#8 - Its high humidity might be irritating. Do bring along hats,sunnies,caps,sunblock or whatever to protect your skin. 
#9 - They do converse in English but not that fluent, And they can be very rude sometimes especially when they see colored like us (Malaysian). So, what I did was,I speak out loud to them. Sometimes, you just have to.. p/s: macam la they all to putih sangat. Ketiak legam je.
#10 - Staying in Male is cheap even at their 5 star hotels, but its the opposite if you are staying on the islands. 
#11 - Last but not least,snorkeling is a must to witness this world's wonderful marine sights where the bbeautiful corals lies, cute colorful fishes inhabits,simply breathtaking. Cantik sungguh ciptaan Allah.


ibnu marzuki al firdaus said...

#4 - The airport is small, and MAS fleet touch down at their night time. Unless you are accompanied,do not linger around alone. Well, this practically applies to other places too lah. But , get your resorts representative,contact numbers or someone you know to fetch you up. I dont think the ferry trip is on 24 hours.You do not want to end up sleeping at the airport island alone.



Lela Nasir said...

Thanks ibnumarzukialfirdaus for the update...maybe sekarang its already 24 hours service :) very good la macam tu. Can go again lepas ni..but flying with AA?hehehe..insyaAllah AA will be my last resort kalau dah terdesak sangat although the tickets are cheap ;p *atas confidential reason*

Thanks anyway for the airport updates!!hope u enjoyed the beaches as well as we did!! :)