Destination : Hulhumale, Huraa and Malé, Maldives
Date : 20-25 Sept 2016
Duration : 5D/4N
Eureka Airport Inn, HulhuMalé
Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, Huraa
Travel buddy : 3 pax
Total cost : USD959.15 (RM3,942)
Flight & Accomodation: USD737 (RM3,029)
Flight Fare (return) : USD221 (RM910)/return (excluding meal & luggage)
- Eureka Airport Inn, HulhuMalé : USD63/pax for 2 nights
- Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives, Huraa : USD441/pax for 2 nights
- Environmental Fees at Cinnamon: USD12/pax for 2 nights
Miscellaneous Breakdown: USD222.15 (RM913)
- Airport Transfer (HulhuMalé Airport – Eureka Airport Inn) : USD3.33/way/pax (USD10/way/room)
- Speedboat (HulhuMalé Airport – Cinnamon Dhonveli) : USD106.67/return/pax (USD160/way/boat)
- Airport Shuttle Bus (HulhuMalé Town – Airport) : USD1.30/way/pax (MDV20/way/pax)
- HulhuMalé City Bus : USD0.20/loop/pax (MDV3/loop/pax)
- Malé City Ferry (HulhuMalé – Malé) : USD0.65/return/pax (MDV10/return/pax)
Excursion (Full day) : USD110/pax
Exchange rate used was USD 1 : RM4.11, USD 1 : MDV15.4
Amount in italic is the actual currency used for payment.
Maldives has always been in my bucket list. A place I would go just to clear my mind and enjoy doing nothing. Life has been very hectic, this is the kind of therapy I need, to keep me breathing, and I need my vitamin sea pronto!. Hence to Maldives off we go.
My idea of a Maldivian holiday is imagining myself lying on the deck of a water villa overlooking pristine clear water entertained by soothing sound of waves and delicate sea breeze grazing my face gently. To be able to dive into crystal blue water from the deck of a private water villa and that’s the picture I’m painting in my mind.
The impression that I got when I speak of holiday in Maldives, people would think I’ll be spending a fortune there. That is not necessarily true. Depending on what kind of trip you prefer, the cost can go as low as RM1,930 (all inclusive), the lowest I’ve researched so far.
Our trip to Maldives was sort of a budget-luxury holiday I’d say, for the mixture of both budget and slightly high end combo. Pleased to share the itinerary for our 5D/4N budget-luxury holiday in Maldives at a total cost of approximately RM3,900.
Arrival at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, HulhuMalé at 8.10pm and our guesthouse has arranged a pick-up service for us at a cost of USD10/room/way.
Checked in and we straight away head out for dinner. HulhuMalé is quite a small town everything is within a walk-able distance, our guesthouse is located within 5 minutes’ walk to the BBQ beach and 7 minutes’ walk to the public beach.
The beach is called a BBQ beach as the beach is equipped with around 20 BBQ stands for self-catering BBQ. It’s quite happening as we saw groups of local youngsters and families having BBQ dinner at the area. The public beach is a few minutes’ walk away from the BBQ beach and house rows of restaurants and cafes offering international and local cuisine which were opened until 10pm, some until midnight. There was few tours office along the beach as well, whereby you can survey for any excursion trips or activities in HulhuMalé.
From Guesthouse in HulhuMalé to HulhuMalé Jetty. We took an excursion tour which includes;
– Visit to the local island village;
– Lunch picnic at the sand bank and;
– Dolphin sighting in the sunset.
This is a customized excursion upon request and the agent is kind enough to entertain our last minutes request. An exciting 8 hours excursion from 9am till 5pm at a cost of USD110.
The excursion crew were super friendly and kind; they thought us to navigate the Dhoni i.e. the traditional Maldivian Sail Boat and let us tried tuna fishing in the open sea. These were not part of the package, it was a friendly gesture by the crew, consider it as the perks of traveling in the low season with less tourist.
Local island village visit.
It’s a small local island village, a very quiet one but the structure and alley were painted cheerfully with bright and colourful murals. The village is an art by itself and the people were very friendly.
Lunch picnic at the sandbank
I enjoyed picnic at the sand bank the most as we had the whole bank to ourselves. To get there we need to swim/snorkel from the boat to the shore (life jacket n snorkel equipment provided) as the tide is low making it impossible for the Dhoni to sail further to the beach. But anyhow it was a really awesome experience and of course the crew swam with us to the shore. So no worries, one crew each, swimming by our-sides, we never felt safer.
Ddolphin sighting in the sunset
After picnic lunch we head back to HulhuMalé passing through the dolphins area when the sun was about to set. The dolphins were spectacular, jumping and making a formation so near to our Dhoni, a real closed-up view.
We arrived at the HulhuMalé Ferry Jettyl at 515pm and the tour agent drove us back to our guesthouse.
Day 3 & 4
We make a tour around HulhuMalé via the public bus which cost us only MDV3 (USD0.20). The blue loop made 6 stops around HulhuMalé town which includes the HulhuMalé Jetty, the garden, HulhuMalé Youth City, the beach and other stops which last around 45 minutes. A great way to explore the town.
We later took the airport bus to the HulhuMalé Ferry Terminal (located next to the airport) which only cost us MDV20 (USD1.3) far cheaper than taking the guesthouse airport transfer. We head to Huraa to spend the other half of our trip in a private island resort, Cinnamon Dhonvelli Maldives. We chartered a private speedboat at a cost of USD160/way/boat to the resort as it was slightly cheaper than taking the resort’s speedboat transfer which costs USD168/pax/return.
The resort was splendid – spectacular sea view, blue lagoon area suitable for snorkelling, with wide range of rooms to choose from. The resort also covers the pasta point area known as the surfers’ paradise.
We booked a triple over water villa, a villa with exceptional view surrounded by emerald blue water we can literally see stingrays swimming under the jetty in front of our room.
Each villas has its own private deck, we can take a dip in the sea at any time as we please. Although the water is quite shallow (only about 1 metre), the current is quite strong, the resort provided a life jacket in every room just in case the guest is not confident swimming in a strong current. There’s a Jacuzzi in the villa as well, what more can we ask for.
The resort occupied the whole 6-acre island, 3 restaurants and 2 bars each offering different ambiance and range of succulent international and local cuisine, tennis court, pool, spa, gym, diving school, water activities and 148 rooms from 5 categories to choose from. Bonus point is the Wi-Fi coverage is really good; we can upload our photos to instagram with no fuss.
We had a most wonderful time there, I gave them a perfect 10 scoring and the overall review of the resort by Booking.com is 8.9 which translates as fabulous.
After we checked out from the resort, we head back to HulhuMalé to store our luggage at the airport. There’s one bag storage service at the airport located adjacent to the information counter which charged a daily rate of USD5 per piece of bag regardless of size and USD8 for surfing board.
We later took the local ferry to Malé from HulhuMalé Jetty Terminal which was located just next to the airport (1 minute walk). The 15 minutes ferry ride cost only MDV10/return/pax and leaves for Malé in every 10 minutes.
Arrived at the Malé Ferry terminal we were greeted by overwhelming local tour guides. These local guides offered a walking tour around the city of Malé and our guide did not fixed any price, just tipping at our discretion.
The guide took us to the People’s Majlis building where the laws in Maldives were enacted, amended and/or revised. Within a few minutes’ walk from the Majlis, resides the Muliaage a white, blue and red colonial style bungalow, the Official Residence of the President of the Maldives. Attached to it is Medhu Ziyaarai a big blue tomb which houses the tomb of Moroccan Scholar Abul Barakat Yousef Al-Berberi, who is believed to have introduced Islam to the nation in 1153. Source -Wikipedia.
Within the a few meters radius resides one of the oldest and ornate mosque in the city of Malé called Malé Hakuru Miskiy or Malé Friday Mosque built in 1658. Unique in the sense that it was built using corals boulders of the genus Porites and this site was added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage cultural list in 2008 as unique examples of sea-culture architecture. Located in from of the mosque entrance is the Munnaru, Great Minaret of Malé.
We visited the National Library building on our way to the Islamic Centre which is officially named Masjid al Sultan Muhammad Thakurufanuu Al Auzam. Also known as the Grand Friday Mosque, this mosque is the largest in Maldives and one of the largest in South Asia with capacity to accommodate 5,000 people at one time.
Just a few steps from the mosque, located the Jumhooree Maidhaan or Republic Square overlooking the Malé Jetty we can feel the sea breeze from there. There are hundreds of pigeons flocking at this square.
Across the Republic Square there’s a Malé Local Market and Malé Fish Market. A bustling area of the city where you can see local fishermen offloading their fresh catches from boats of various sizes. A bit experience of the local culture. Maldives main industry is fisheries and you can find various sea produces from the market.
The guide later brought us to the mall to find some souvenirs before we depart to Hulhumale. An enriching 3.5 hours walk and shop around the Malé City.
We depart to Kuala Lumpur from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Hulhumale at 855pm local time. That concludes our 5D4N trip to Maldives.
There are pros and cons of hiring these guide, good thing is these guide can take you to the city main attractions and will brief you all the important facts about the place and this can spare some of your time wandering (read: getting lost) around the city to find those attraction as there are not many signboards available in the city to guide should you are going to find it yourselves. But for explorers, having a guide might not satisfy your thirst for adventure and the thrills of seeking and exploring the city at your own pace.
These guides are locals with good command of English but I’m not sure whether they are a registered guide. They did not fix any price you can tip them at any rate you pleased as I presume their main income are commission based from the shop at the market, souvenir shops and restaurants they take you to. This has a slight disadvantage as you won’t be able to hunt for the best price in the area and you won’t get the feel of how much the normal market price for a particular item would be as you’ll be taken to only one shop. You might end up buying something at a relatively higher price as compared to the other shops in the row you didn’t manage to visit.
Other than that, the guides are generally very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
– End –
16 Oct 2016