WE ALWAYS tell our clients: when the opportunity to fulfill a dream arises, take it. You don’t know how hard the universe worked to bring this to you.
Maldives had always been a dream destination after we saw a list of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Maldives was in the top 5. We love Boracay but it’s often crowded.
So, one afternoon, we were booking for a flight to Singapore when I saw the email offering a fare promo to Maldives. My heart did a drumroll. It was way way lower than the prices I knew it normally cost. Round trip via Tiger airways was less than one way in other airlines.
I immediately checked Trip Advisor and saw that hotels were also on promo for that period.
Without hesitation, I clicked all the necessary tabs for a five day stay, but at the last moment, the payment did not go through. I refreshed the site, and noted to my dismay that prices for the return trip had gone up already.
This went on twice, each time the return flight was higher than the previous one. I was beginning to feel frustrated. Resetting my vibes, I chose another date for our return trip, a few days later than the first one. I booked the onward flight and Chiara booked the return flight at the same time. This got through.
In retrospect, had we gone for the first schedule, we would have barely enjoyed Maldives. The booking delay turned out be both a blessing and divine intervention. Had I succeeded on the first attempts, we would have left Maldives feeling bitter by the too short stay.
Wanting to get the most value out of our vacation, we settled on going first to Maafushi then going to the other islands from there.
Sea transport can be the most expensive part of a Maldivian holiday. Transport to a resort in the South Male Atoll can cost as much as $300 per person for round trip transfers to and from the airport.
We paid less than $300 for our round trip airport to Maafushi transfer for our group of 7. Compare that to $2100 for our group if we took airport- resort direct transfers!
Here’s how to get value for money on your dream Maldives vacation.
1. Book on promo. Round trip Singapore to Male can be purchased at around 10k via Tiger Air. At the time we made our booking, one way from another airline from KL was more than 16k.
2. Choose a hotel that offers free breakfast. We are late risers on vacations so this works for us very well. Breakfast turns into brunch, eliminating lunch altogether.
Half board promos can work if you take a heavy breakfast/brunch, then have an early heavy dinner.
3. Water and soft drinks can cost as much as $5 a bottle on a resort island. If you plan on staying on one, buy your drinks from Maafushi. Buy snacks from here as well.
4. Arrange cheaper sea transport. If you don’t opt for airport to Maafushi direct transfer, there is a ferry for $2 per person per way. Take note that there are no ferries on Fridays. The last ferry from the airport leaves at 3 p.m. If you miss that, or arrive late, you’ll need to take a private speedboat to Maafushi, which is $150 per way per boat, not per person.
Our resort, Kaani, picked us up from the airport. From there we rode by speedboat to the island.
5. From Maafushi, you can choose to take day trips to resorts which average about $100 per person per day.
6. Plan your activities (snorkeling, night fishing, etc) from Maafushi. Prices are generally lower from here.
7. Check for hotel promos too. Rihivelli’s rates at that time were marvelously low. A room was a fraction of their regular rates. It was synchronistic that their low rates coincided with the period we would be there. We were very pleased they gave us free upgrades to airconditioned rooms. We also had free daily snorkeling and use of some of their facilities.
The main island housing the huts is beyond beautiful. They have another island that you can walk or kayak to. We had this island to ourselves during our stay.
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