Maldives: paradise found!

20140614-132051.jpgWe are not ready to say goodbye to Maldives… but we said ‘until next time’ and hopped on the seaplane. Captain happened to be from Canada, fun chap!
20140614-130105.jpgBtw.. what is it with men in uniforms 😉
20140614-130414.jpgHard not to enjoy our drinks looking out on this beautiful sight. 20140614-132909.jpgSo happy we got to see these beautiful islands; Male, Gangehi, Kuredu, and Komandoo – before they disappear underwater. 20140614-130510.jpgAll photos on our blog are taken by us –using simple iPhone and iPad actually. Here are some scenes we captured, enjoy.
20140614-130953.jpgA friend we made there said people usually return within 6 mo or a year. Having been there we understand why and hope we can also return in the next 2yrs to visit other islands. How can we resist a paradise like this!20140614-131801.jpg
So… when are you going to Maldives?20140614-131930.jpg

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Maldives: Kuredu first night disappointment

We were very surprised and disappointed when we got to the restaurant we selected for the night. We had booked half board and this was a designated restaurant. They basically turned us away saying we should have made reservations. We thought they were joking but no they were not. So they told us all the designated restaurants are booked and we should try eating at one of the a la cart restaurants. What a scam — why would anyone pay half board if they can’t get a seat at dinner. Would you??

Shot from restaurant where they turned us away:
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As we tried investigating, we learned that one has to reserve a restaurant everyday at 9 am or take a chance before 6 pm (they don’t make reservations after this point). This is simply ridiculous! Defeating the whole purpose of a relaxed carefree vacation. They basically told us we need to be on a schedule – wish we knew this was going to be a regimented camp instead of a relaxation island, we would have gone to a different island.

Things got worse… since we are leaving at 8:45am for a full day of sailing, we thought we would ask the front desk to make tomorrow’s dinner reservation. This way we could eat when we return from the sail trip. Well, that would have been too logical. We asked and the answer was ‘we will give it a try but we can’t guarantee a reservation’ !!! WTF is the most appropriate reaction since this is an island you can practically walk around in about an hour and resorts owns the restaurants. We are not requesting dinner reservation at another island or country!

Sooo needless to say Kuredu is yet to impress us. Service is not cutting it. Maybe we got too used to excellent treatment at Komandoo, they did set a higher bar for sure.

To Kuredu, we will see if we can give Ken Flockhart, the GM of the island, some feedback about this unpleasant experience.

To you, dear readers and fellow travelers… unless you would like to be on a regimented camp and keep hours to make daily dinner reservations, mind you even having to get a ticket for the reservation before showing up to your dinner, we would recommend considering other islands. Afterall… there are over 135 resort islands, plenty to choose from.

Please share this posting with others so they may be saved from the unpleasant experiences.

Seaplane to Gangehi – first stop!

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Today we hopped on a seaplane for the first time. We are certified travel junkies and love trying new things.

Yesterday we walked around Male – literally, yes it’s that small. We walked all the way down Majeedhee Magu (street) until we reached the artificial beach, about 15 min from our Hotel Octave. Male does not have natural beaches so they made one. Locals were swimming, it was great to see women enjoy a dip in cool waters. They were fully dressed, per their culture they could not wear skin revealing clothes let alone bikinis. Official religion is Islam here. Tourist are expected to be modes, but we have seen people in short and tank tops.

We also sat at the BreakWater cafe, it was filled with locals. Don’t be surprised at ratio of women to men. Generally it’s like 10 to 1; did not deter us but does make it uncomfortable at times when the whole place is filled with men.

Took a long walk by the shore; was fascinating to see the modern and old ships side by side. The seamen had returned from the sea and were pulling out the fish – this was a sight to see. Endlessly rewarding mentally and culturally when one sees others’ way of life.

We also dipped into the local food markets to see the fruits and veggies. We ate cocoa-chocolate sticks, and drank fresh coconut juice. We tasted this lovely fruit, but don’t know it’s name:
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Dinner was had at a seaside sweet restaurant called SeaPort. Again mostly filled with locals; we and one other tourist were the foreigners. Naturally we had seafood – we are yet to sample true Maldivian food. Male had contracted the global disease called ‘modern food’ – so you have higher chances of eating a pizza than stumbling on something really local.

Ok — we are off to book spa and catch a yoga session!

Next episode: tips, tricks, and what others won’t tell you.
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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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