Maldives islands – it’s a paradise on the Earth in our imagination.
Everyone dreamed to visit this dreamland with warm, clear sea, white sand and enchanting sunsets. Any traveler will be told with pleasure about Maldives like about paradise resort, where rich people relax in beautiful bungalows standing on a water.
I was fortunate to visit the Maldives for 4 days.
I have to say that the Maldives were not my destination path, I was planning a trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives were just a place for my first stop and the rest from a long 12 hour flight.
I want to tell about my first impressions about simple people’s life on Maldives, specifically, I’d like to describe Maldives Islands like a country, not like a resort in this article.
Maldives Islands have its own airport, its Capital, its own administrative buildings, its own police, its own food.
In order to understand the real life of local Maldivian people, the traveler must to visit directly places, where they live, they rest and, «sorry», swim the local people of this country.
After the long flight by German «Condor Airlines», I was expected to land on a fantastic island surrounded by wonderful palm trees and friendly local people.
I was woken up by the stewardess, which offered to my breakfast. I have seen in porthole that I fly above the water surface and my plane is surrounded by tiny islands, more precisely «atolls», how to call them professional travelers. «Atoll» – essentially means coral island.
The landing was hard, because the landing strip of the island, where was arranged airport was too short, our plane literally was hung his nose over blue water.
We have gone out from the plane and I saw a strange building of small airports.
The airport was really tiny, especially the arrival area. In the arrival zone situated customs control, which resembles the booth on the food market.
Not friendly customs officer asked me:
– At what resort you’ll stay?
– I arrived in Male (capital of Maldives), in order to make a connection on the way to Sri Lanka.
Customs officer studied a long time my voucher from booking.com and with a gloomy face made a stamp in my passport «employment prohibited».
By the way from airport
After exiting from the arrivals area, I found myself on an island, surrounded on all sides by water. The water really was crystal clear.
Near the exit from the airport I found taxi boats. I went to them immediately.
I knew that I needed to move to another island, but how to find the hotel, where to catch a taxi – I did not understand.
The cost of transfer on the boat was very cheap. I paid a mere penny for this little trip.
A young man walked through all the passengers and get from them a certain amount, as I remember, it was not more than a dollar. I had only large bills, which I prudently changed at the airport, a man, a little embarrassed counted the change and we went towards the Male.
From afar, I saw a hotel with a great name «Relax INN».
And only in the hotel, I realized in which country I was finding myself.
Maldivian Capital city Hotel «Relax INN»
I shall warn that to prepare trip: My House – Maldives – Sri Lanka and back, I had only 2 days. I was concerned at this point about visas and flight and rather poorly studied, in fact, the country, in which I was to travel.
At the reception I met two women wearing the hijab. And then it dawned on me – the Maldives – a Muslim country! Strictly speaking, I understood, that I found an expensive Egypt, and all following consequences of the Muslim world, namely a standard of behavior (including alcohol and appearance).
I understood that this hotel (in the capital) would not be very respectable, so I booked the best room on the top floor. Number even improved comfort (actually even Lux) was, roughly speaking, «not much».
Despite all the shortcomings of my room, the view from the window of the nearby island (that turned out was closed from the public visits), was beautiful!
Of course I wanted something to drink to celebrate his first day in the Maldives, but in Muslim countries alcohol is banned, so I went to the balcony to smoke. Before that, I quit smoking and have not smoked for about 6-7 months, but I still want to celebrate my visit to the Maldives, so forgive me this «detail».
Male – The Capital of Maldives
Of course, primarily I wanted to do two things – namely, a stroll through the capital of Maldives and swim in the crystal clear sea.
I changed into swimming trunks, more precisely – shorts, and primarily I consulted with the girls at the front desk how much defiant I look. Girls approved my dress code and I went for a walk around the capital.
Male was quite small, but what can I say – just a tiny, you can explore the whole island around, if desired, for 15 minutes, with long-term study of all the streets and alleys – no more than 30-45, if you’ll wish to visit shops and attractions – no more than an hour.
So, how impressed I was the capital of Maldives? – Nohow!
Male – the tiny island, built so that there is no place to fall apple, garbage lying around everywhere, the streets are deserted, the café also empty, in the shops you can only buy pistachio nuts and find a small selection of soft drinks.
My wife and me we stopped in a cafe, where I drank a jar of non-alcoholic beer and a little bit snacks.Yes, beer is really not enough. But what you want – you are in a strict Muslim country!
Maldives beaches for local people
We arrived early in the morning. Realizing that there is nothing to do in the city, we decided to go to the beach.
All my conversations with the girls at the reception did not lead to anything. As I understood it, for the local people, there are only three islands, one of which “works” only on weekends, and the other is adjacent to the airport, and the third – just a residential island, where the school is located, a kindergarten and a military unit.
We decided to visit the nearest island, because we have quite a small time before the sunset.
Before, I have seen the «irons» from my window, that go back and forth, «irons» – a large ferry that looks exactly like the real «irons» that go between the islands or even float away in an unknown direction. On one of these irons and we went to the island.
What are we about to see on the island?
On the way to the island, I realized that I was the object of attention from the locals. Of course, a young white man floating to the «administrative» island from the «administrative» Capital. I hasten to note that it is unlikely in other countries you’ll be a «black sheep», if only you’ll not wander off into some remote places.
We have gone out from the ferry and we really did not understand what to do. All the locals quickly took a run at the corners. We had no choice but to rent a taxi.
The taxi driver, kindly, delivered us to the beach for $ 20. The entire road took no more than 2 minutes.
Now we’re told about most interesting….
The whole beach was dirtied cans, bottles, bags, cigarettes, rusty barrels and simply waste. Sometimes there is more or less clean place, but, consequently, the garbage lying as huge mountains in the bushes.
We found more than a clean place and yet swim.
All the way back to the hotel I have not stopped thinking – how these people live, maybe I found myself not on the beach, but to the dump or there is some other island where locals just swim?
Attempt to travel to the Maldives beach number 2
The next day I decided to try to visit another island, the one on which there is a kindergarten, a school and a military unit.
This island was actually cleaner. In fact, we even found a blue lagoon, though its size was like a «children’s pool». There was even a «bar» on this island – well, of course, non-alcoholic bar.
We’re having fun when swimming and drink fresh squeezed juice.
Since one less decent place we found, we decided to explore the island in search of truly «paradise».
We walked around the island, watching the kids go to school, even saw a couple of soldiers and, finally, at the other corner of the island, we found a “heavenly place”, although debris was still, but given that it was still a village, in which there were boats and homes, it was still a little bit cleaner.
We pulled into the farthest corner, so as not to shock the locals by our swimwear and swim.
After, we saw how local residents return from the mosque and we decided not to disturb them.
On the way to the part of the island, to which «Iron» delivered us to, I had the feeling that I am a stranger in this place, there is not a welcoming attitude of the locals, you can’t safely swim, there is no entertainment, cafes and restaurants that can be found in every capital of the world, in general, there is nothing but water, sand and palm trees.
As for the «opportunity to swim» – we have experienced this feeling in full force, when police officers arrived at the beach and pointed to the fact that we are not dressed properly, but my wife was in a closed swimsuit and, in addition, she was shrouded by an opaque cloth throughout the body.
On the way to the hotel I could not leave ambivalent feeling – on the one hand, we were in paradise, not in the gray city, we saw the sun, but not a cold, instead of the concrete jungle were palm trees and sand, on the other hand – a complete lack sensation holiday, wet girls in black, from which water flows around and which stuck sand, debris and a complete lack of hospitality.
We returned to the hotel and I was waiting the end of these 2 remaining days in the Maldives.
In the last days, I still attempted to go to the third «day off» island under the name «Picnic Island», but the girls at the reception desk said with regret that today and tomorrow will weekends, and these days the island is «opened» only for local residents. I worked hard to visit this island and was willing to pay money to go there, but the minimum price of $ 600 for a one side trip was too big for me and I didn’t want to try to buy a «pig in a poke».
Of course, I believe that it is clean in the Maldives Resorts, there are trained waiters, and you’ll spend the night in a bungalow on stilts, but the Maldives are the Maldives – I haven’t found anything new except the cleanliness, service and crazy prices at the bar. The same sea, the same sand, the same palm trees…
In the next article I will talk about the magic of Sri Lanka, a place where everyone should visit.