Breathtaking Maldives! 1/4

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the number of places and moments that take our breath away.”
It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes, altered a bit to include “places” in Ralf Pott’s Vagabonding book. If I take this quote to heart, I can definitely say my life is measuring up good. I have seen a lot of places, had moments in them, that literally took my breath away. Take for example Maldives. Upon seeing it from the seaplane, I heard this special moment pass by right in front of my eyes and say whooosh! It took my heart with it. I wanted to faint upon landing in our resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean and stay there forever. Hopefully, sober and not dreaming; looking at a life larger than mine. 
After planning for Maldives and the agonizing days we have to wait for August 6 to come, the day finally came. Before that though, there were so many things, problems, and nuisances that happened before this trip came true. Like how all of us had problems getting an exit/re-entry visa. Like how mine stated that I need to be back by August 13 or else I wouldn’t be able to enter Saudi Arabia (wow, even for a vacation, I have a deadline!). Like how on the day of our flight, while on the way to the airport, the car where our other friends were riding had a flat tire (how convenient of you, tire, to give up at a time like this). Like how we found the airport’s departure area in such a disarray that we had to fight for our way in (KKIA, please get your act together). I find it funny now but during that time we all had one thing in mind: Not funny, universe!!! 

So, who’s flying today?

But the universe relented and finally, finally made true its promise that really, “when you want something so bad, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” We want Maldives? We got Maldives!!! Thank you, God!
Our early flight from Riyadh to Dubai via Fly Dubai was uneventful. We had 6 hours to spare in the Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 so we had a quick breakfast at Mc Donald’s and had our coffees in Costa.

Snack time at DIA Terminal 2 with our friends
We’ve probably drank all kinds of drinks while waiting.

Actually, we were envisioning Dubai’s first-class international airport and that the layover would be as easy as 1-2-3 because there’s a lot of things to see there. Turns out we were cramped in the smaller Terminal 2 where all Fly Dubai flights are and a small Duty Free is. Haha, oh well. Who are we to complain when we had all this assorted drinks in Costa? Hot, cold, juice, coffee, frappe, sweet, sour?! Haha. 6 hours in the airport? Easy peasy! (Try going for 13 hours on the road!)

Can you see the silhouette of Burj Khalifa in this DIA skyline?

One of our major worries in our trip is the luggage we checked in. What if they get lost? What are we going to wear?! How about our change outfits and photo shoots?! Hahah, arte much? But seriously, when I saw this outside my plane window, it almost made me want to grab my luggage from the plane’s detachable conveyor belt.

Missing a luggage? Maybe it’s there in the luggage graveyard at the back.
The flight from Riyadh to Dubai is 1 hour and 15 minutes while the flight from Dubai to Male is around 6 hours. We spent the time watching movies, listening to music, and sleeping. Got the chance to watch Olympus Has Fallen and The Croods. (I know, sooo ten years ago. Sorry naman, walang sinehan sa Saudi! {There’s no cinemas in Saudi.})

We arrived in the Ibrahim Nafir International Airport (or the Male International Airport) a few minutes after midnight. Immigration was a breeze.

Arriving at midnight.

Since we arrived at midnight, we couldn’t see how gorgeous the location of this airport is. The INIA/MIA is located in Hulhule Island in the North Male Atoll. The airport is clean and wide. The  hotel counters are lined up in the arrival hall just after the immigration kiosks.

The Male airport in Hulhule Island; glorious in daytime. From the MIA site.

Mohammad, a representative from Skorpion Travel Maldives was there to greet us along with Ms. Janeth who is so friendly and nice. We had to wait in the airport again for 5 hours before taking our sea plane flight to our resort. We ate in Thai Express and had coffee in Aqua Restaurant (because we had to smooch off their free wifi, hehe). I think it is a crime against humanity travelers not to have free wifi in airports.

Late dinner, too early breakfast of prawn omelet at Thai Express, INIA
Come 2am, it was already drizzling. We were praying to heavens that it won’t get any stronger. Mohammad was telling us that it had been raining for the past few days and the day before, seaplanes were not permitted to fly because of the bad weather. 
When the weather is rough and it’s raining cats and dogs, seaplanes get grounded and you’ll be stuck in the airport or in one of the hotels nearby because they won’t be able to fly you to your resorts. So, there. Just do the sun dance and pray that the weather will favor you during your visit so you won’t get delayed. I think it was Eyecandy who did the sun dance for us. 😉 
We had to do another round of check in at the airport for our seaplane travel. Our luggage and hand carries were weighed and we were given tickets before boarding a mini bus/coaster that will take us to the seaplane terminal a few minutes away from the airport. Being 30 minutes early, we roamed around to check out our possible ride.

Are you our ride?
The “parking lot”
You don’t know how excited we were at this hour just gazing at this seaplane… tapos hindi pala ito ang seaplane namin, toinks! (This yellow seaplane is not the one we’re riding in, hehe!) Our friend told us that we should go at the first of the line so we can get window seats and see the view below. You get the picture? So pabibo lang kami. Ayaw pakabog sa mga Chinese that were also going on the plane with us. Baka maunahan kami sa window seats! It turned out, we were just a few passengers that almost all of us ended up in window seats. Hahaha!

Before take-off!
Girl power! The co-pilot is a woman! 😉 I’m so close to the cockpit!

E will kill me for publishing this photo of haggard us, hehe. But you have to see inside the seaplane! (I changed seats.)
The 6am trip is so worth it. The sun was just rising and the soft sunshine covers everything a subtle glow; not harsh like the noon time sun rays. Unlike the bigger planes, seaplanes taxi in the water and glides up smoothly. One sea plane can carry around 10-12 persons and usually has a pilot and a co-pilot with another officer at the back manning the luggage and giving instructions. Traveling by seaplane (aka water taxis) in Maldives is costly. Our return seaplane transfers costs USD 411 per person (included in the package).
But the view below is truly breathtaking! Again, my photos don’t do it justice! Paradise on earth! It was worth the extra money to board a seaplane than a speed boat. You should try this even for once in your life. (Okay sorry, I am totally spoiling the seaplane experience for you by describing ours. Hehe.)

Speed boats cruising the blue waters

The different shades of blue in the Indian Ocean
One of the atolls in Maldives
We all got a better understanding of what an atoll looks like and how blue the waters of Maldives are. Seriously God, good job!!! Thank you!!! We are so blessed to see and be a part of your wonderful, wonderful creation!

Taxiing the very wet runway. 😛

Hello, Medhufushi! (The kuya in green? He’s a Filipino staff in the resort! Woot! More later.)

Medhufushi Island Resort is 45 minutes away from the port. You know what this means… in the next entry, you’ll get to see and know more about Medhufushi Resort located in the Meemu Atoll. Suspense much?! Haha! Well, this is not a three-part series for nothing. 😉 ~ Sundrenched

Ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived. Cheers!

*** Details on budget, visas, tips, etc. for Maldives, check our entry on Planning for Maldives.

Maldives Outside KSA Travel

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1 Comment

  1. Nice! I'm planning to go someday. Soon.. How much did that seaplane cost you? I heard it was expensive daw e. I'll keep reading your post. Maldives is really breathtaking.

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