“ Country: Maldives / World Region: Asia „
I have just returned from a week's holiday here and wanted to give my thoughts about this island. I have previously visited 4 other islands, so feel able to make some comparisons. On this trip I went with Hayes and Jarvis and flew from Gatwick to Male, via Dubai.....I will be writing an emirates review shortly. On arrival at Male airport, you step thru the doors from customs, and walk thru all the waiting tour operators and you are on the edge of the harbour. It's great, as it is sooooo easy. We found our island rep and he advised we grabbed a drink while we waited for other passenger. We waited about 45 mins, then headed off. Biyadhoo is in the South Male atoll, and is approx 40 mins by speed boat from Male. It's a great trip watching the Indian Ocean speeding by with flying fish, and interesting looking islands. You step out onto the quay, and are met by the general manager and staff, who whisk your luggage off in a wheelbarrow. You do the standard check in things, and get a coconut drink and a cool flannel while you wait. I had emailed the island in advance by Facebook and requested a room on the east side of the island. We were lucky enough to get a corner room which is substantially bigger with 2 bed, double and single. It's a plain room, which could do with a lick of paint, but was clean and we were quite happy. It has a mini bar, hair dryer, plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. Umbrellas in case of downpours. All beach and room towels plus flannels, but no toiletries. He room also has a tin of bug spray but no plug in or burning movie killers, so take some as I got very bitten. Balcony almost overlooks the sea, but thick palm growth inhibits the view, and does make it a bit dark. Our room boy was great and cleaned room twice daily. The beaches are lovely, I recommend the small beach by the quay. It's quite here, only about 8 people here, as opposed to main beach which is quite busy. Plastic loungers can be a little tricky to get. The snorkelling off the quay beach is easy access to the reef, and most of the time with little current, and lots to see. The spa was peaceful and nice treatments. I did the three treatments for $150 + tax. The dining room lacks real atmosphere, but is fine. There isn't a huge selection, but food is ok. Nice curries every night , plus a pasta choice and a western meal too. Always salad and soup and puddings. We went all inclusive, so our meals were included but we did have a nice burger in the bar one night, which we paid for. All the staff were friendly, ESP room boy and the chefs and reception staff. Biyadhoo is a great option for a "cheap " Maldivian destination, but it is not the luxurious destination often found in this part of the world. If you want to enjoy the sun, sea, sand, if you want to snorkel, be spa'd and eat good curry, then this is the place for you. If you want 5 star luxury, choose another resort.
We booked this year's visit to the Maldives with Kuoni and chose to stay at Biyadhoo Island which is in the South Male Atoll. If you are not familiar with the Maldives I will give you a brief introduction. The Maldives are a group of islands which are close to The Equator and are south west of Sri Lanka. The chain is made up of over 1190 islands which are coral, and which form an archipelago of over 26 major atolls. Those close to Male, the capital, are mainly reached by speed boat, whereas those further out are sea plane transfers, and intermediate ones offer a choice of onward transport. The flight time varies but non stop you are looking at 11 hours or so. It is possible to break the journey, especially if you choose to fly with a scheduled airline such as Emirates, and here you can drop down in Dubai on route. There are all levels of accommodation in the Maldives ranging from luxury to basic, and we are not Mr and Mrs wealthy and we go for the place, not the pampering, and so for the last 3 years have spent many hours researching how to go on a budget, but still get to experience all the delights of this tropical paradise. So I am hoping in this review to give you a comprehensive review of Biyadhoo Island, and also to touch on why we chose this and what other islands we have visited in the chain. The most important thing to realise if you want to visit these islands is that the flight is the expense, and it is something which you can never reduce much. We choose to go charter and because we are picking certain islands we have no choice of airlines really, and have flown with both First Choice and Monarch. First Choice are a dream compared to Monarch, as the seats have much more leg room and individual entertainment centres, whereas Monarch is a sardine situation with very minimal leg room and only a few scattered TVs, of which some seats have little or no real visibility. However you travel you have to remember that £600 or so will reflect this aspect of the holiday, so when you book the cheapest islands you know that the rest of the cost is their charges for accommodation and for food. This is where going to the Maldives becomes a possible choice if you are used to paying for holidays in Europe, which have dramatically increased in price. Also the seasons in the Maldives are less clear cut than they used to be. Traditionally December to April reflect the best weather (high season) but whereas a few years ago there would be no rain, now days can have showers just as they do in the Monsoon season (our summer). So if you are willing to risk some rainy days then book June or early July as these months are the cheapest. It will be 31c most days though so you won't be cold, and in our experience this will not be a ruined holiday, as we have found only a few hours of rain at a time, and often it is welcome as it cools you off! So by going off season, choosing budget resorts, you can go for £1000 for a fortnight by shopping around, and when you consider this includes food and flights you soon see that it can be a very good deal indeed. Spending money is rarely needed, especially as some resorts offer all inclusive for an up front payment. Biyadhoo island resort is approached by speed boat which takes about 45 minutes from Male airport. Be in for a rough ride as it bounces on the waves, and don't have too much to drink before you board as it will not be comfortable! Passing through myriads of tiny islands, and leaving the high rise buildings of Male behind, you are soon enthralled by the vision of a turquoise island appearing in front of you. Walking onto the island is like casting off all your cares in the world, and as you sit drinking your welcome cocktail of coconut juice to rehydrate you, it suddenly hits you that you are about to be allowed to be yourself for a couple of weeks with nothing but tropical fish and icing sugar sand for company. The rooms in Biyadhoo are not brilliant. Two storey and dark wood they are tired and appear to be in need of restoration. They have balconies a stone's throw from the beach, but the view is obscured by foliage from coconut trees and other plants, which give you a tantalising vision of what lies beyond. It matters not because as long as you remember that these islands are charging so little for what they provide we are always so happy to accept what is because the people working there are giving up so much to provide these holidays. Everywhere on the island is spotlessly clean. Most of the workers are male and they have families miles away on other islands. They are not well paid and they provide a service with some much grace and generosity. Paths are swept daily, bed linen and towels changed daily and beach towels too. The food is very good with all self service meals in a dining room which is air conditioned and clean. The meals are varied and vegetarians are well catered for. Fresh bread of all types is baked daily, and the choice is excellent. The meal times are really the only time you have a sense of sharing with other guests as other times of the day the beaches are deserted. The island only takes half an hour to walk round and this is a very pleasant walk along a quiet and peaceful shoreline. There are lots of nooks where you can be alone. The most amazing reason we visit the Maldives and choose particular islands though is for the house reef. It is important to note when choosing a holiday to the Maldives that some have no reef around them. What this means is that if you want to snorkel or even to see the best variety of fish in the shallows you will be disappointed if you choose these. So some of the budget islands such as Biyahydoo actually have the best reefs of all so bear this in mind if you want to swim. This island has some of the best snorkelling in The Maldives. Just a few metres out you find yourself over the reef edge, and my goodness this is why we go. I swam and snorkelled with turtles, stingrays, parrot fish, moray eels and all manner of turquoise fish. It is like being in an aquarium and you have to fight the tears through the beauty of it all. This year was very emotional for me as my M.E (a disease I have) was in a good phase, and it allowed me to do this, which on other holidays it has prevented, so it was the first time I had seen what my husband had shown me in previous years on underwater photos. Just make sure you buy underwater shoes before you go as there can be sharp rocks on the way in, and wear a t shirt as it is possible to get badly burnt if you don't. Take plenty of insect repellent. There are more than the average biting nasties, but not a malaria risk-just very itchy indeed. Wear long trousers at dinner and after dusk as they come out at night. I wouldn't recommend this island for a honeymoon or special anniversary because for a small amount more you can choose an island with some extra frills which makes all the difference. We would recommend Vilamendhoo for this (I reviewed this previously) as they are famous for flowers on the table, and for decorating the beds and so on, and many other islands would be better for this. Biyadhoo is a budget resort and does not attend to these little touches. The island has one bar only which can get quite busy in the evening as many people are on all inclusive which we were. I really recommend this as we paid £180 each for the two weeks extra, and this covered as many drinks as we wanted from a list. It did also include some alcoholic beverages, but we are not big drinkers so we mainly had soft drinks, but this is easily cheaper than buying them, and you need to keep drinking due to the intense humiditiy. We also took Nuun rehydration tablets with us which really helped us (you can buy these on Ebay and in sports shops) and we drunk these in water overnight to prevent dehydration which is a major risk in the humidity. All the rooms have air con and this is included in the price. They have a basic shower which looks tired, and the water is rarely that hot to be honest, but it works. It matters not, the negative aspects you know before you book, you are aware of the flight costs, and you know you are going to experience a piece of paradise for a tiny sum. Go for the house reef and the wildlife, the amazing sunsets and the serenity. Get up early dawn is at 6 and walk round the island. The herons will be fishing, the crabs will be scuttling to the water's edge and the light is fantastic for photography. Night falls at 6 so don't lie in bed or you miss all the day has to offer. Sunsets are out of the world, again brilliant for photos. If you want to scuba dive there is a school where you can learn, and if you are on all inclusive you can borrows snorkels and go on a couple of short trips if you want to. It's no news, no shoes time here. Just bring your flip flops, a few books, and a degree of acceptance. Don't have high ideals about the accommodation, but go for the island. Other islands to look into on a budget are Fihalhohi and Embudu Village. The highlight of this holiday is swimming with the turtle. He lives at and around an exit point onto the coral. Always there he is a joy to swim with, popping up for air and then diving down to the bottom to feed. The Maldives are paradise and at least you can choose some to suit limited budgets which still have almost all the aspects we are searching for. Will also be posted on Ciao in due course with photos under my user name there Violet1278
One of the many islands that make up the island country of Maldives.