After resting for few months since the wedding, we are finally up to our honeymoon. We choose not to rush for honeymoon, that is the main reason why we went for the trip after a while. The Mister and I decided to take a step back and went late for honeymoon so that we can enjoy the trip more. While narrowing down the destination, it took us quite a while to finally decide Maldives is the one for us. So, we begin hunting and reading some reviews over the internet about recommendations of resorts and activities at Maldives.
Planning the trip
We decided to stay at Club Med Kanifinolhu after several research over the internet. So, we proceed to book the room directly with Club Med representative office which is based in Kuala Lumpur itself. The sales representative is rather very helpful from the first time we called in till we finally booked it, made payment and flew there. Good customer service I would say.
Next, planning on the flight to Male, Maldives. Since we are flying off to Male directly, and eve since Malaysia Airlines cancelled off its direct flight last July, we have decided to flew there by Air Asia. It took about 4 hours direct flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Male, Maldives. Since it is just 4 hours flight, you can easily download movies/videos into your ipad to keep yourself entertain while in flight. Just 2 weeks before we take off to Male, Air Asia had upgraded the airplane to Airbus (operated by AirAsia X Indonesia). Sounds better now, as we got to choose the Quiet Zone. Yay !!! Be sure to pre-booked your in flight meal. There is only one flight daily to and from Male.
Air Asia flight will be arriving about 8pm (local Maldivian time) which is -3 hours behind Malaysia time, be sure to adjust your watch. Since we arrived around 8pm, the Mister and I decided not to catch the transfer and checked in at Club Med on the day of our arrival. Instead, we opt for hotel nearby Male Airport. We couldn’t find any reason to spend so much at the resort (just for the sake of sleeping 1 night – and yet we are paying 1 night extra at the resort). TIP : Unless you are willing to spend fortune (I’m talking about MYR 3,000 to 5,000 per night at the resort), I highly recommend to stay a night at any hotel nearby the airport, then arrange transfer to the designated resort the next morning. You’ll saved a lot.
The day we arrived Male, Maldives
It’s almost 9pm when we passed the immigration counter. We have previously pre booked our one night stay at Ui Inn Hotel, which is about 15minutes ride from the Airport. The hotel staff received about 14-16 of guests including us, and arranged the airport transfer at USD4 each way. When we arrived, they used charted mini bus, and they use SUV when we return to the airport next day. The staff were very friendly, and I find that they are very reliable and helpful. Why? – In one of the event before I depart to the airport, a customer left behind their ipad in the room, and called the hotel. The staff actually located the ipad in their room, and arrange a staff to bring it back to the airport (wow, this amazed me with their honesty and extra miles service).
The room was just OK for a night stay (since it is only for sleeping, so nothing much needed to vent on). Besides that, this hotel does not have elevator or lift because this is not very high rise building anyway. Only STAIRCASE. But need not worry, the staff is always there if you need assistance on your luggage. Oh ya, there is no photo taken at this hotel as it was really just an OK room. The hotel do provide breakfast the next day, and nothing really great about the breakfast. It was so-so. Mister and I ended up having a meal at Burger King at the Male Airport. Nevertheless, I would recommend this hotel for a night stay as this is very affordable price (about MYR 300 including 2-way airport transfer) and most important, you do not need to travel by ferry to Male town. Based on reviews, Male town is way more crowded compare to the newly developed town (where Ui Inn Hotel is located). At the moment, the place where Ui Inn is located, I find it quite dusty as the construction is still going on. It should be ok after few more years.
Male Airport is indeed International Airport but it is really small airport. Really small. I’m glad that they are currently expanding the airport. Hopefully the next time I’m there, it is much more bigger compare to now. Since we reach quite late at the evening, we have limited time to explore the airpot until the next day. There was food court at the arrival area where they have fast food chain such as Burger King, as well as other eateries. Price is rather affordable. Oh yes, DAIRY QUEEN, my favourite ice-cream is there too. Yay !! Another DQ kiosk is located at the departure gate.
Airport is the best place to get the souvenirs. There are more choices of souvenirs and the price is almost the same with Male town or compare to the nomad local Maldivians (they do travel from resort to resorts on specific day to sell their items). The quality of the souvenirs at the airport is very good.
There is only one Bank at the airport for exchange money. However, I strongly advised you to exchange your country currency to US Dollar, as it is one of the major currency being used by the tourist or return in exchange of any purchases. We tried our best to finished up whatever Maldivians notes that we received in return from our purchases (so that we dont have to crack our head to get it exchange back to USD or MYR in Malaysia later on) – TIP : Take extra care of your USD notes as any notes which are crumples aren’t accepted by them – I spoke to one of the local maldivians on why do they so particular in checking each USD notes they received, it was simply because any crumpled notes are not acceptable by the Bank of Maldives.
You can walk around near the pier to take some snaps, the water is so bluish/ greenish or in other word turquoise !! So beautiful ~ Boat/Ferry to Male town cost USD2 per person. You can spend some time at the town. TIP : Beware of tourist tout. They usually loiter around the pier. Just becareful. Mister and I do not personally stepped in the Male town, but was being cautioned few times by the locals and friends who been there before us. We totally skipped Male town since there is not much to see over there plus we got free extension until approximate 4 hours before our return flight to Malaysia. Besides, we bought lots of souvenirs from the local Maldivians at the resort, boutique store at the resort, and of course in the airport.
The local Maldivians speak their own native language. But worry free, as English is widely spoken and it is very common. Some of them are very talented and they do speak more foreign language well. I found that the local Maldivians were very friendly people, they are very helpful as well. They have so much of stories to share on their daily life, what it is about for the locals, their view on the politics, places and food around Maldives, the history and background of their country etc. So much of information you’ll get from them. If you encounter bad/nasty ones, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. But, I am lucky that I do not meet any of that kind. When I heard about the story back in Tsunami 2004, where it completely wiped out 3 populated island, it was really sad. Thank God they acted quick enough to move the people to other bigger island nearby. Can’t afford to imagine further how badly it was back then.
Telco/Sim Pack or Sim Card/Wifi
Maldives is one of the most expensive country when it comes to the telecommunication service provider. Usually, Mister and I would purchase sim pack/ sim card at any of the airport for easy communication be it with our family back at home or with tour guide or simply checkin in the maps etc while on travel. But, not this time at Maldives. Why is it so? We find it rather ridiculous – for 5 days package will cost you a bomb (+/- USD18, which is about MYR 60). Sounds too pricey. Anyway, there is FREE wifi connection all around ClubMed, so we didn’t bother to get sim card. The wifi connection at the resort is very good. So, don’t worry – always check with your preferred resort if there is any wifi provided by them.
If you need to spend some time while waiting at the arrival gate, you can redeem FREE wifi of 30minutes each receipt while you are at the food court/ food avenue or any eateries there. Even if you purchase DQ, as long as you got a receipt, you can redeem 30minutes free wifi. At first, I am wondering why only 30minutes? My doubt was answered when I was told that Telco is very expensive in Maldives. Haha. If you need to spend some time while waiting at departure date, you can enjoy FREE wifi at Dome cafe (must be their customer to get the wifi code). Otherwise you can spend your time shopping at FREE DUTY SHOPs or last minute souvenirs hunting.
Check in Club Med – stay tuned for Part II – ClubMed Kanifinolhu 2017