Maldives: Kuredu .. partial report!

20140605-173409.jpgWe arrived at Kuredu island today and been exploring it all day. Why ‘partial report’ you might ask — well, it is a big island so it will take a bit before we can give you the ‘full report’.

We were greeted by the staff singing and drumming. We were assigned a host ‘Melanie’ – who will be our go to person whenever we have a question or need something. This was different than the other two islands, maybe because this one is so big and so many people.

It is the biggest island we visited here so far and our last island. Sad to think this is our last destination, until we return to Maldives again.

Kuredu has a different feel, more crowded and has more activities — so you don’t get the remote feeling from it. We like variety so this will be interesting after the quiet paradise islands we have been enjoying.

When they say activities they mean it – they have everything from power boats, parasailing, catamarans, kite surfing… and more. For now we are trying to figure out what time and where the daily yoga is 😉

Kuredu has 7 restaurants / bars – as we sample each we will let you know what’s good what’s not.

We are at a beach villa here – it is very similar to Komandoo. Without hesitation we can say the beach and water is better at Komandoo. We miss our private sharks 😦 circling in front of our doorstep.
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Yes we already made a friend at Kuredu – meet Freddy the crab!
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Maldives: fashion edit continues…

Ok, so at Komandoo, the general rule is the following:
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It is a fantastic rule, we have not worn our flip flops since we have arrived. We runaround in our swimwear and cover ups. Our advice is pack at least 4 bikinis or your choice of swimwear and at least 2 cover ups.

The exception to this rule is dinner. We like dressing up a bit. You won’t feel out of place either way – there are others who are also dressed or casual. It is comfortable atmosphere.

Here are our accessories for tonight’s dinner:
20140604-113906.jpgDesigners: LaMer, Kenneth Lane, Kate Spade, Noir,

Don’t expect much of a nightlife. It is a small quiet island, but every couple days they have a cover band – which was actually fantastic!

Here is the cool ceiling of the Kandu bar:
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Maldives: what to wear – fashion edition!

Ok so you are probably wondering what we wear and what is the attire around here. Before we got here we read many things, some said just beach wear some said long and modest clothes.

We are here now and this is what we have seen in 3 islands so far:

Male: little more conservative since it is the capital city and people live and work there. You can get away with shorts and knee length skirt/ dresses.

Gangehi and Komandoo: let loose and stick with your swimwear, cover ups, and for dinner casual or slightly dressy clothes. We brought long flowing dresses, they are super easy to wear and elevate the style a bit. Other people wore similar things, men stuck to casual but nice shorts and shirts.

Here is a glimpse at our beach ware… can you tell we love mixing, wearing matchy-matchy stuff is not our personal style.

Morning swimwear:
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Designers: Ondade Mar, Eberjey, VIX PaulAhermanny, Heidi Klein

Evening swimwear:
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Designers: Mikoh, Zinke, Tibi, Tori Praver

Please note – Maldives is not a topless zone. You have to keep your top on, maybe unless you are on a yacht somewhere in the distance.

Today’s swimming companion was a sting ray – seriously we were a bit afraid.
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Maldives: on our way to Komandoo!

20140602-094110.jpgSeaplane ride to Male, before another short flight to Komandoo. There is currently only one seaplane company operating flights – so prices and schedules are unpredictable and not fair. Locals mentioned that two other companies might start operating soon, which should help break the monopoly.

Our barefoot captains! They were fun… made me want to learn how to fly a seaplane. 20140602-094051.jpg
Seaplane platform….
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Can’t wait to arrive at our new island to start exploring. For now we will relax at the Komandoo Private Lounge with our goodie bag.

Maldives: Gangehi Island Resort – full report!

This is a small island in middle of the ocean, only 25 min by seaplane from Male. Likely you will stop at other islands before you get to it. What’s small? To give you an idea – we walk around the island in 5-10 min max.

The island has no locals, only the resort. The locals, Indians, Sri Lankans etc that you see are the staff. The resort is owned by Italians so you will be in luck if you speak Italian.

We recommend this island to people who seek complete quiet and peace, or families with children. There is no nightlife, or excessive crowds or activities. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying the pure nature. Also this happens to be one of the cheaper islands; but you get what you pay for. If you like to be attended hand and foot – don’t visit this island. Set expectations accordingly – for us the food got boring. Tonight they have a Maldivian dinner so we hope that will be exciting.

There are light activities like snorkeling, diving, kayaks, spa, and daily yoga. Highly recommend the yoga at 5:15 everyday, here is a look:
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What a peaceful setting to practice your daily yoga.

Rooms are decent and kept clean. You get fresh beach towels and good spa quality toiletries. However, you won’t find free water! Yes you heard it right not even a glass of water. The water in the room as well as anywhere else will cost you at least 2 or 3 euros per 1.5ltr bottles. Keep hydrating 😉

There is one restaurant, one buffet, and a bar. Prices are all in Euros. We prefer half board to full board as we don’t eat all day long. Also we found that this is cheaper than the full board. Btw don’t expect great service, you maybe sitting for more than 5 minutes at the bar before you see a menu or someone you can hail down. We are not sure if this is unique to this island or not – we will let you know from our next island!

Best way you can enjoy this unreal Maldivian colors beauty is with lot of protection. Bring a lot of sunscreen – buying it here is not a good idea, since it is triple the cost. We sunbathed in the shade for the first two days and still got color.

There is a great sandbar that is exposed every morning and evening perfect for a nice walk and swim. We can’t get over the colors and clarity of water; the sharks, mantas, the little fish that basically swim with us right off the shore.

So before we leave Gangehi in 2 days – do you have any questions for us about this heavenly place??
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UPDATE: 06/01.
We got lucky to see the resident small black tip shark right on the beach swimming next to us.

For American Express folks – insist on asking them to use it. They state that they accept this card in their print materials but at front desk they will tell you another story.

We have one regret 😦 we don’t have underwater camera. You should seriously consider buying one before coming to Maldives!! Really ! Really!
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Maldives: Tips, Tricks, and what others won’t tell you!

20140528-161106.jpg Cost – Not all islands are super expensive. You too can have a Maldivian holiday without breaking the bank. For example Gangehi Island and Resort is such place; it is decently priced under $200 – $300 and still beautiful and comfortable. We steered clear of cheaper locations because at some point you do get what you pay for. Make no mistake, this is not a cheap vacation no matter which way you do it, but you have options of paying $5000 per night vs $300 per night.

Male – not an exciting destination. Unless you care to see the local culture up close, you can skip it and head directly to your island.

Transportation between islands – none will tell you the truth about this one. Basically all resorts claim to pick you up from Male and drop you back off. So like us, if you plan to travel to multiple islands they won’t offer a solution to take you from one to the other. Makes sense for the at nearly $500 per person per flight – they know how to make money! What might help is to stay at island that are very close and you can proactively ask before booking if there is a speed boat option. This is what we did for the other two islands – they are close to each other 25 min by speed boat at $75 per person.

Prices – when you are at Male best to use Rufiyah. But at the islands you can use dollars, euros, or credit cards. But beware some islands like Gangehi will charge you in euros, you have no other choice, plus 10% service charge and 8% government tax.

Maldivian food – don’t expect to see it except in a street dive at Male. Resorts serve international fare. Anyhow there is not such a thing as original Maldivian food – it is a fusion of Indian, Sri Lankan, Arab types of foods. This is day 3 – so if we do encounter something different we will certainly tell you and show pictures.

Last Post from Thailand

20130202-143424.jpgSadly this is our last post from Thailand. Good times go by fast…

We had the best send off: a trip to Similian Islands. We took a boat out to the Similian islands, about hour and a half away from our resort. Our journey started with a surprise – one engine blew and had to wait for it to be fixed.

The crew was really fun and experienced. We had a great time before we arrived at the first island #9, as they called it. We had an hour and fifteen minutes to relax, swim and explore. Only disappointment was the amount if garbage on the beach. we could not tell if the tourists made it or it just washed off from the ocean. Sad to see… we hope there will be some clean up effort or we will have to start one up!
20130202-143844.jpgThen we headed to #8 for snorkeling. We stopped counting the number of fish variety we saw. We also went to #5 and #4 – for more snorkeling and beach time.
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We were blown away by the beach and clarity of waters at our last stop. Took us 20 minute to get over the amazement – powder white clean beach, crystal clear waters and fish that swim and dance around us even by the shore. One can only be humbled and feel blessed by this miracle of nature.
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Thankfully, Thai government has shut down some of the islands and they are not accessible. They are being preserved for nature and sea turtles to lay eggs and continue the circle of life.
20130202-144757.jpgWe will miss Thailand and Thai people – thank you for the memories, and grace.

Khob koon kaaaa!! Lagkon!
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