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    17 Reviews
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      30.12.2009 13:12
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      You have to go here at least once before you die!

      My wife and I tied the knot in March 2009 and took off for a two week Honeymoon in the Maldives. We were staying at a small resort on Summer Island, and I have to say it was simply perfect. Flying in to Male airport, we got off the plane and had a short walk across the tarmac to the terminal. As it is a small airport, there were only three booths in operation to deal with two aircraft that had arrived only minutes apart, but this did not seem to slow down the proceedings very much - and the arrivals lounge was clean and well air-conditioned. Outside the airport, the tour operators have their booths lines up between two local cafes and the area is well shaded. Despite being only a stones throw from the sea, there were no offensive odours in the air. In fact, all I could smell was a mixture of clean salt air and sun tan lotion! From the airport, we took an 85 minute speedboat trip to Summer Island, situated in the North West of North Male Atoll. With the breeze taking the sting out of the midday sun (temperature well into the 90s), the journey was a nice way to relax after the stress of a long haul flight, and it allowed us to take in the sheer beauty of the locale. As we passed by other island resorts we were afforded an idea of how the 'other half' must live, with clear beaches and large bay-side bars. Upon arrival at Summer Island, it became clear that every island had a degree of exclusivity and that you simply paid for how much privacy and solitude you wanted. We had booked a Water Bungalow and were certain that we had only asked for the basic all-inclusive package, so when we were shown to our spacious and well maintained room, it was all the more special. The building was clean and well kept, and although we spotted an occasional bug, this was quickly dealt with by a can of spray provided. Each room has a hidden wall safe in which you can lock your belongings and they can be personally coded by each occupant at will. Each room also has a fridge for you to store any soft drinks or water that that you obtain while away. The staff obviously heard from the Holiday Operators that we were travelling on our Honeymoon, as in the morning we had a complimentary fruit basket delivered to our bungalow. The fridge allowed us to keep some of the fruit for a few days! From the outset, the staff (and the locals) were even more pleasant than you would expect, and at no point did I feel like I was being pressured to give out any tips - although, when I did, it was received warmly and with a certain surprised grace. Available activities vary depending on what you want to do. We were offered a choice of Night Fishing, Scuba Diving, Wreck Diving, Snorkelling, Kayaking and various day trips to keep us occupied during the day, while at night the resort hosted several various entertainment experiences. Each Friday night hosts a different style of entertainment, from magicians to DJ's - and although it may sound unappealing, each act keeps within the style of the locale. The music is jaunty and not too loud, while the novelty acts are funny and very entertaining. Taking a day trip to Male, we were surprised to find the 'mainland' quite enjoyable, while not impacting on the relaxing nature of our holiday. The shopping proved to be a nightmare though, as the locals can spot tourists from a good few streets away and seem to somehow draw you into their stores - at which point you don't leave until you have bought a salt and pepper pot made from mango tree wood, a hand sewn shirt that you will never wear back home, and an overpriced map of the Maldives island chain that works out to be almost £15 when you finally manage to work out the exchange rate!!! A Submarine excursion to a local coral reef set us back $150 but was certainly a highlight of the day. We also took a 3 day trip to Gan, a small island in the South Male Atoll, which is situated just below the equator. This is a great little trip if you like that sort of thing, but the food was not as good as that on Summer Island while the heat and humidity was almost intolerable - over 100 degrees outside... On our return to Summer Island, the staff at the resort upgraded us to a more private water bungalow at the end of the jetty - perfect for spotting sharks and rays at night! Good food is difficult to predict at any holiday venue, but the Maldives offers a surprising variety of dishes that will appeal to all palates. Aside from trying every fish dish available (the tuna is exquisite and heartily recommended) I was also able to order rump steak or lobster, and the staff were happy to arrange a candlelit dinner on the beach for us at a small extra cost of $20! Despite being a dry state, the Maldives also offers up a variety of alcoholic beverages. From a host of beers to a myriad of cocktails, whatever you want they can provide. Local beers are refreshing and not too strong (you will be hard pressed to find Stella Artois out there) which is perfect to cap off a day in the hot sun! The cocktails are tasty and light, although we did find a barman who thought double measures on all cocktail ingredients was fun - waking up with a hangover in 90 degree heat is not a good idea! On average, March and April are the hottest months in the Maldives, and temperatures rarely drop below 80 degrees. The waters are crystal clear and the opportunities for photographers are amazing. We have come home with nearly 600 digital photos, including shots of manta rays, moray eels, clown fish, and an octopus. Sadly, my dream of swimming with dolphins was not realised, although I am told it is possible in the more southern islands, however I did get to swim with a sea turtle - and my wife 'forgot' to take the photo to prove it! All in all, the entire experience was fantastic, and we are both very glad that we decided to take this trip out there. Our entire trip (two weeks, all inclusive, water bungalow, transfers and trips) cost us £3,500 - perhaps a hefty price, but paradise is worth it. We will return on our 10 year anniversary - although we may try another resort for comparison. [If you do go to Summer Island, ask for Raam at the security office and tell him "Mr Alex" sent you. He should offer you free use of a pair of airbeds for the duration of your stay and a free guided tour of the local interest spots!]. CAVEATS Do not take items of worship with you as these may be confiscated for the duration of your stay and returned to you when you depart. Crosses and jewellery seem to be fine - but you may not want to keep your crucifix on all day in the heat! Do not take alcohol with you as this will also be confiscated and returned to you at the end of your stay. Nude bathing is not acceptable anywhere in the Maldives, while women are also forbidden from going topless. You do not need innoculations while you are away, but it is a good idea to take out travel insurance as the hospital bills can become large if a prolonged stay is required. The local currency is Maldivian Rupees, but US Dollars are accepted almost anywhere - CHECK WHAT YOU ARE BEING CHARGED! If you go swimming in the ocean, make sure you wash out your ears with fresh water as plankton and other foreign bodies can cause infections. Take sun cream and repellent with you in your main luggage (as you are limited to the volume of liquids on the plane). You may not need so much, but it will be MUCH cheaper than buying it out there - between $20 - $40 a bottle.

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      25.01.2009 00:02
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      Go if heading for a mental breakdown/ need to de-stress OR want to visit before they disappear

      OK I've probably given the Maldives one of the worst reviews compared to others - but why is that? Is it not a beautiful place? Are the waters not turquoise and warm like bath water? Are the corals and fish not pretty enough? Are the islands not small enough? or relaxing enough? or the food not nice enough? or the people not friendly enough?....well - yes they are as a matter of fact. This place is so perfect in terms of tranquility, relaxation and beauty (although the coral-sand was a tad coarse underfoot if you want to be peevish about it!) - that I promised myself the next time I felt in need of total relaxation and was heading towards a nervous breakdown, the Maldives would be my number 1 spot to visit!! No really...it would be. The island I stayed at (I forget which one - which shows how inspired I was) was beautiful, quite small and probably had only 40 couples on it - so it was quiet. I know there are other islands which are busier. There were 3 large restaurants all with different foods, a coca-cola cost about £5(!) so it was very expensive, it also had several swimming pools and you could walk from one end to other within 20 minutes. Added to this, you could take a short trip to the mainland and see other sights...but...when all's said and done, despite the beauty and gorgeous sunshine... sigh (!)... I admit that after 2 days I was bored crazy. Not just a little bored...I was B O R E D!!! I don't do lying on the beach all day, every day. I like the beach and then out and about, seeing & doing then back to the beach in between sightseeing trips. I like to swim and snorkle but I don't fancy scuba diving all day/every day. I like to read/catch up but 1 day of 10 hours reading/sleeping/swimming is enough to give me a crick in the neck. I had already spent 10 days wonderful days travelling around Sri Lanka and the 5 days in the Maldives was supposed to round off my beautiful Kuoni inspired two centre holiday ...but at the end of the second day I phoned and arranged another tour guide in Sri Lanka to meet me so I could go travelling around Sri Lanka again. I'm a skin flint - I don't change travel plans if its going to cost me loads of money so that should tell you how bored I was. Although in fairness I was a single women there - and most people were honeymoon couples - but I wasn't the only single. Don't get me wrong - if you want to de-stress this is 100% the place to do it - but if you have energy and aren't 100% a "on the beach all day" person then the beautiful Maldives are not the place for you. Having said that they are supposed to disappear soon so perhaps you should just visit to see for yourself. Sorry for the bad review.

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        07.01.2009 16:46
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        Although it is an expensive holiday, it is worth saving up for - simply stunning.

        The Maldives - quite simply the most beautiful place on this earth, and I'm not sure where to start with this review as there are so many things I could talk about. We visited The Maldives in the summer of 2007 which is supposed to be the monsoon season (I'll come to that later) and it was the most fantastic holiday I have ever been on. The Journey - We flew out from Manchester airport with First Choice Airlines and I couldn't really fault them for anything. However, it takes around 11 hours to get to The Maldives from the UK and so if you ever get travel sick I would really advise taking some medication for it. I have never been on such a long flight and after around 6-7 hours I started to feel terrible. I felt too sick to read, or watch films, or do anything which required the slightest bit of concentration so as you can imagine, the last few hours of the flight were pretty boring! I would also advise people to pay a bit extra and get more legroom if this option is available. I didn't manage to get much sleep at all on the flight but I think I could have if I'd had a little more room. The Airport - Male Airport is very small as you would imagine for an airport on a tiny little Island, however I found all of the staff there to be really efficient and we got our luggage in record time. The fact that they don't have loads of flights coming in at the same time means that when you land, all the staff are focused solely on sorting the people out on your flight. We had no complaints at all about the airport, and on the way back although there wasn't too much to do, there was a little cafe where you could grab something to eat, have a drink, and reminisce about the amazing holiday you just had! The Accomodation - The majority of the accomodation in the Maldives takes the form of resorts, each on their own individual island, although there are a couple of normal hotels on the island of Male (the capital city). Within the Maldives, there are various areas which consist of groups of islands and these are called atolls. Depending on which atoll your resort is in, will depend on how long it takes to get there from the airport and will also affect how you get there. Resorts in North Male Atoll (closest to the airport) are generally a short speedboat ride away whereas those in South Ari Atoll which is very far away from the airport, require a transfer by Sea Plane! We stayed in a resort called Bandos in North Male Atoll and were met at the airport by two people from the resort who escorted us onto the speed boat. A short ride later and we were in the reception area, sipping cocktails and being cooled down with cool towels. The island was absolutely beautiful, as I believe the vast majority of islands in the Maldives are. There were long stretches of perfect, soft, white sand, gorgeous tropical plants and flowers everywhere, bright blue, warm ocean surrounding us and some of the most stunning wildlife I have seen. There are a variety of different types of rooms in most resorts which range from standard rooms (usually in small blocks of 4) to jacuzzi water villas or pool villas which are built on stilts above the ocean and have their own private jacuzzi's or pools. You can also usually get various other types of mid-range accomodation and we tried a jacuzzi villa on the beach for the second week of our holiday which was stunning. It was like our own private little beach hut with two floors, a huge bathroom with double sinks and two showers (one outdoor) and best of all a massive private jacuzzi under the stars. It was definately worth paying the extra to upgrade to this room for a while, although the standard room was also lovely, it is nice to experience such luxury when you're on a once in a lifetime holiday. Most resorts have pools and a selection of bars/restaurants to wine and dine in. Almost all resorts offer different board basis' so you can go B&B through to all inclusive (although all inclusive in the Maldives is often quite limited and not ALL inclusive at all so make sure you read exactly what you get for your money before booking). There is also usually entertainment on at night in the bars, things like discos, live bands, crab racing (!!!) or cinema nights. During the day there is plenty to do, if you get tired of snorkelling (which you won't as there are thousands of fish everywhere as well as sharks, turtles, and various other creatures), then nearly all of the resorts offer excursions and trips to other islands to go shopping or see some of the sights. You can also go on dolphin spotting trips or at certain times of the year, you can go and swim with whale sharks. We went on a trip to Male and on a dolphin spotting cruise and both were excellent. The Weather - As I mentioned at the start of my review, we went in the monsoon season which is supposed to be not as sunny, and to state the obvious - wet. We didn't find this to be true at all though, we had sun everyday and it only rained twice while we were there, each time lasting for about half an hour. From speaking to others who went in the "dry season", the weather can be equally as unpredictable then so although yes, you are more likely to experience a couple of wet days if you go in June - Aug/Sept, it is also not guaranteed that you won't see any if you pay more to go in the dry season (which starts around Oct/Nov). The prices do range massively depending on which month you go in too, so I would definately take the gamble and go in June or July again when it is cheapest. I think that just about covers everything you need to know, but honestly, nothing I can say can explain to you how beautiful this part of the world is. I will never, ever forget my holiday to The Maldives. It really is heaven on earth.

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          24.11.2008 14:58
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          Great venue

          Probably the best holiday I have ever enjoyed and certainly the most exotic was the time I went to the Maldives with my boyfriend. The Maldives are a group of scattered islads in the Indian Ocean and hey are incredibly beautiful, some of the islands were hit by the tsunami but as tourism is their major industry then there have been a number of new resorts built. The capital is Male and our resort was on an island about a thirty minute boat transfer away. We stayed on Thurlhagiri Island on the resort there and it truly was idyllic, our beach bugalow was on stilts over the water and you could look out of a wonderfully clear ocean while you enjoyed breakfast or a drink in the evening. It was probably one of the most relaxing holidays I have been on however we also did some sailing on a couple of trips and also some snorkelling, being islands much of the activities centre around the sea as does the food with lots of seafood to be enjoyed. I found the service to be excellent and the only downside to the whole holiday was the coming home and the cost of it all which made it a once in a lifetime trip for us unless we win the lottery.

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          06.11.2008 11:53
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          Not just for Honeymooners!

          The Maldives is like no other place on this planet. I have been lucky enough to go on holiday there twice and can honestly say that the pictures in the brochures just don't do it justice. Geography: The Maldives is situated in the Indian Ocean to the south of India. As 99% of the Maldivian territory is underwater, the country is actally made up of over 1000 small low lying coral islands. These form 'atolls' which are the natural geographic regions of the country. The capital of the Maldives is Male. Resorts: Each resort is on it's own seperate island and most islands offer the same sort of thing - white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees and amazing sunsets. Obviously facilities do vary from island to island, but most have Dive centres, small souvenier shops, pools and a spa. Some of the larger islands also boast tennis courts, golf courses and gyms too. Accommodation also varies, but you won't find any high rise hotel blocks here. Instead you have the choice between individual Beach Bungalows/Villas (some with their own Jacuzzis or plunge pools) or Water Villas, which stand on stilts over the lagoon with steps leading down into the clear blue water. Some rooms have amazing outdoor bathrooms too! Wildlife: There is an amazing array of wildlife right in front of you here - you don't need to look too hard to see som amazing animals. On our visits we have seen Geckos, Lizards, Fruit Bats, Crabs, Cockroaches, Rabbits(!), Dolphins and Reef Sharks. Not to mention the fantastic sea life - many people come here to Dive and Snorkel and it's easy to see why! It is easy to see hundreds of fish not far from the shore and more experienced divers can swim with Turtles, Sharks and Stingray to name a few... Excursions: Although the islands are quite quiet, there tend to be many excursions to be enjoyed at an extra cost if relaxing every day isn't your thing! These include boat trips and sunset cruises, diving excursions, Sea Plane trips, visits to inhabited islands or Male. Some islands have Water Sports centres so you could also learn to Parasail or Windsurf if that is more appealing. Summary: There is no getting away from the fact that holidaying in the Maldives is expensive, but the scenery and wildlife really do make it the holiday of a lifetime. It really is one of a kind, especially from the air - seeing these little islands surrounded by light blue lagoons sitting in a huge expanse of dark blue sea is like no other view you will ever have.

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            25.09.2008 15:38
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            perfection

            My Perfect Holiday- we visited Thurlhagiri Island resort over Xmas and New Yera 06/7. Thurlhagiri is in the North Male Atoll, approx 30 mins from Male. Staying all inclusive in a water bungalow for 2 cost around 3,600 GBP. Flew with Air Lanka (which was the only bad part of the experience). Leg room limited by boxes under seats. Service generally average, and food poor. However, arrived at Male airport, smoothly, picked up luggage quickly, stepped out of airport onto the port. From the moment we arrived we were treated like kings. They carried out bags to the boat, and off the 2 of us went to the resort . A cool flannel and fruit cocktail awaited us on our arrival, then showed to our water bungalow. The bungalow was just perfect, steps done into a turquoise blue sea, full of fish. The room was very clean, with a lovely bathroom, with door out onto deck, so you could come in that way when you got out of the sea. Room cleaned every morning, and bed turned back, with shapes make from sheets, and flower petals. Tea and coffee facilities in room, plus fridge, and TV9we never turned it on) Sitting area indoors with glaa coffee table tat showed the fish beneath. The deck had wooden loungers with cushions, parasol, and table and deckchairs. The sea was the real winner though. We snorkled throught huge shoals of fish, swam with turtles, and sharks (NO HARM CAME TO US), and saw eagle ray flap thru the lagoon. The food was second to none, with choice for everyone, from lasagne that tastes authentic, to curries, seafood, sushi and salads, even the deserts were great. New Years eve buffet served on the beach. Couple of little shops, selling all those little bits and bobs and gifts plus a pricey jewelry store. The staff were helpful and friendly, but not overbearing. Very private. Evening entertainement was limited. An acrobat/fireater, which was fun. Otherwise mainly dive films, or sitting in the bar, but we preferred to go and sit out on the walway and watch who was in the lagoon. Truly paradise, can find no fault at all with this holiday

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            29.10.2004 04:45
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            It's always the same old story when you go abroad.....yes, it's nice but not quite as nice as it was in the brochure, well NOT the maldives, it's even better in reality! There's no getting away from the fact that as holidays go, the maldives are expensive but not really any moreso than the caribbean, which is much more spoilt and commercialised. It's also generally quite a lot cheaper than mauritius...the closest alternative. A string of tiny islands in the indian ocean, the maldives is a fantastic place to go if you love sun, sand, sea and everything natural and unspoilt. If you've got the cash to splash then definitely go for the whole caboodle and rent a water bungalow, most of them come with their own 'pool'(where a square of the seabed has been dug deeper just aside from your bungalow). I myself stayed in a beachside bungalow on the island of Giravaru, it was one of the smaller islands closer to the main island of MALE, where the airport is situated. (The best feature being a bathroom with one half of the roof exposed so that when you're taking a shower you can see the parrots up in the trees above your head!) When you get to Male you'll be transferred to your island by either speedboat or seaplane, depending on the distance. This is when you experience your first magical moments in the maldives and believe me.....you will not want to leave. Standing on the dock waiting for your boat/plane there's a pretty big chance you'll see either stingrays or turtles. Most of the resort islands have some sort of bar or restaurant protruding out into the sea. On my first day i saw my first glimpse of a six foot shark only a few metres away from the beach. Although this made me a bit hesitant about going in the water at first, you soon forget yourself once you start snorkelling because it's pretty special. You dont have to go more than waist deep to see angel fish, butterfly fish and damselfish. If you want to explore further the resort islands all provide facilities and training for scuba diving, usually one week or two weeks so unfortunately if you're only there for a week it's difficult to fit in. Having said this, you definitely don't miss out. There are excursions everyday which u can sign up for in your hotel reception which include trips on traditional dhonis out to one of the larger reefs(a definite recommend....i saw turtles, rays, eels and a shark!).Other excursions include sunset fishing, trips to uninhabited islands(another recommend...the snorkelling is fantastic and beaches beautiful), and a trip to the submarine near male. This last trip incurrs a supplement fee, although it's definitely worth it, especially if you have to time to take the scuba diving course. If you intend to scuba dive then the best time of year to go is the spring as that's the time of year that you're most likely to encounter the whale shark....biggest fish in the world. Although i didnt see one myself i encountered people who did and described it as the most exciting experience of their lives! You also have the opportunity to go night diving if you're brave enough! Although the maldives is one of the best sites in the world for marine life, i was told most of the sharks that frequented the water were harmless, although the odd hammerhead was encountered now and then. Dolphins are also pretty common and i had to double take when i saw one jumping out of the water! If you're seriously thinking about visiting the maldives i would choose the all inclusive option. It gives you 3 meals a day, all of which provide you with an eclectic range of food, so there's guaranteed to be something you like. It also entitles you to take almost any excursion you want free of charge. The facilities on the island are all free of charge, most islands boasting tennis courts and all have a pool(not that you'll use it!) Most of the islands are only all inclusive anyway as they are literally only resort islands. You'll also find that your room gets cleaned to a spotless standard and your towels etc changed every day. The staff, mainly native maldivians, sri lankans or indians are all extremely friendly and only too happy to help and the barmen usually speak pretty good english...always a bonus. If you go when the cricket's on you're sure to make a few friends, because they all seem to be cricket mad! When you're looking where to book in the maldives you have a pretty wide selection, especially if you're looking at airtours or kuoni. If you're looking for a more realistic price however(as we did, for our family of five), then searching on the internet is a really good idea. You can buy an all inclusive holiday on one of the lesser known islands for a better price. This can add up to a hell of a lot less if there are a few of you going and the fact that the islands aren't as well known doesn't affect the quality of your holiday. Generally you'll find that it merely means you'll be going to a smaller, more intimate island. Overall i would rate this as a 10/10 holiday. Yes it's expensive and yes the flight is long and tedious (11 hrs), but once you get there it really is worth it and as soon as i have enough money to carry me there i'll be back. If you have the opportunity then go, without question. Definitely magic!

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              30.01.2002 17:15
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              • "it's not Cornwall!"

              I open my eyes and see a clear blue sky; not a cloud contaminates it. I am lying down and below my hands I can feel warm soft sand. This must be a dream, as never before have I felt such utopia. I scoop some sand up into my hand and feel the grains trickling through my fingers. As the grains drain through, like the sand in an hour glass, I expect the dream to fade, but the sand trickles out, heralding the expiration of the time and yet nothing changes. I realise this is no dream; it is the Maldives. MY EXPERIENCE When offered a holiday anywhere in the world by my father as a wedding present, the cogs got clanking as I tried to think where to go. My holidays normally consist of rainy days traipsing across moors in Devon or Cornwall but if someone else was to be paying…. So, the Maldives were chosen. The flight was 12 hours and when the plane touched down (on a runway which seemed to disappear into the sea at either end – not to be recommended for aerophobes) and the doors opened the heat hit us. A 45 minute boat journey to our resort island of Eriyadhu followed and then the holiday commenced. Days consisted of reading, lazing about and snorkelling. The island itself took only 8 minutes to walk around and so once you had finished your books and seen all the fish, you could… err, err – do not much else! Certainly relaxing but not for those with an inate need to be busy! Bizarrely we shared the island with not only human guests but one chicken, one peacock and one cat (called Lisa). The only other living things to be seen were ants (in abundance in the toilet) and geckos (really sweet and I was very amused to find that my hubbie was afraid of them – so I invited one into our room and named him Graham for the duration of the holiday). Snorkelling was definitely the highlight of the fortnight, as I have never seen such pretty fish except on t’ telly! One day I f ound a manta ray and swam with him for about 10 minutes, until he got fed up of me trying to stroke him and made a break for freedom (well, I was getting house bunny withdrawal symptoms). I am glad to say I didn’t see any reef sharks, as quite frankly the photos of them in the guide books were scary enough and the thought of one emerging from the blue gloom some 4 feet away would have absolutely put the fear of god into me! Two weeks was certainly sufficient time to relax and forget your cares and I have to be honest that by departure day I was longing to see the rainy and wind swept fields of Blighty and must have been one of the most jubilant looking travellers on arrival back at Gatwick! MEDICAL MATTERS On the medical front you are not required to take anti-malarial precautions. However, if you are travelling through a yellow fever zone you will be required to produce a valid International Certificate of Vaccination. Check with your doctor what vaccinations are required; these include polio and hepatitis (I forgot to do this, so keep your fingers crossed I don’t come down with any dreaded lurgy – whoops!). WHAT TO TAKE When you pack just take very light cotton clothes and some swimsuits. You will not need as much underwear as you think, as most of the day you will be in the water! The Maldives is a muslim country so when visiting villages women must keep their shoulders and knees covered but this dress code does not apply on the resort islands. No skinny dipping or topless sunbathing allowed (even on resort islands) as you will be risking a fine of $1,000. Swimming and snorkelling gear is essential but can be bought or hired at the resorts. Ensure that you take any prescription medicines you require, together with feminine hygiene products, contraceptives etc, which will be difficult and expensive to get hold of at the resorts. WHAT NOT TO TAKE Alc ohol. If you do so, this will be removed by customs but returned to you at the end of your holiday upon departure. You will, however, be relieved to know that alcohol is available to tourists at the resort hotels. Statues of worship. Pork (even in your sarnies!). Pornography is banned and this could even include magazines that are on general sale in the UK which contain only innocuous nudity. MONEY The local currency is the Rufiyaa but in all honesty you will not need to convert any of your money into this. Take some cash in American dollars, which are accepted almost everywhere, for gifts and tips. Most of your expenses will be incurred at your resort hotel and these can be settled at the end of your holiday by credit card. Also beware that resort hotels throughout the Maldives add an additional 10% service charge fee to your bill. When budgeting for spending on your holiday, bear in mind that the Maldives have to import their drinking water and a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, which are therefore expensive; you will be spending at least $3 per person per day on water alone! Tipping is expected and this will be another expense that must be accounted for. Room attendants should be tipped $1 per day, as should waiters. Porters should be tipped $1 per item of baggage. As reserved Brits this tradition of tipping is a little awkward at first but it has to be done! Ensure that you have $10 per person left at the end of the holiday to pay the departure tax! ACTIVITIES Swimming, snorkelling and diving are the main activities available at the resorts. Most islands have access to a diving school, which takes both snorkellers and divers on daily outings (at a price!). Excursions are also organised from most of the resorts. These include night fishing expeditions, island hopping and shopping trips to Male (the capital). All of these excursions cost extra and you sh ould allow $30 per person per activity. In order to avoid bankrupting yourself while on holiday, take a diving or snorkelling course before you leave and go it alone. Don’t forget your books either – now is the chance to catch up on all those novels which have been lingering in your ‘to read’ pile for months! BON VOYAGE The Maldives is a once in a lifetime experience. It is certainly relaxing and the pace of your holiday will be slow. 10 days is about right and after that I began to yearn for England’s shores! It is expensive, both the travel and accommodation and the daily expenses whilst there – so make sure you get saving! I certainly enjoyed the trip and will remember the holiday for some time but even so, it is back to Cornwall again for me next year!

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                27.12.2001 22:08
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                I went to the Maldives in May 2001. We booked the holiday about a week before we left! It cost us £399 for 2 weeks B&B! You really cannot beat Teletext! We jumped on the plane & set off for our two week holiday in paradise. The flight, unfortunately, was very hard work & not very pleasant. They pack you onto a small plane for 9 hours (the reason they get away with this is due to a stop in Bahrain half way over, they class this as two short haul flights!) I would seriously suggest some of those stockings they are now recommending for DVT. I have what is called restless leg syndrome & being on that plane for that amount of time with only an hour in the middle drove me mad! (it really does) I also had terrible cramps in my leg - so be warned. That was, I am pleased to say the worst part of the whole glorious holiday. We arrived in Male (the capital) & quickly joined the group going to Reethi Rah. The boat journey took nearly 3 hours. Once we finally got to our island we couldn't believe our eyes - it never looks this good even on the telly! We were really in paradise. We got to the Bar area (this was the only one + the beach bar on the island) There was one restaurant & one coffee shop! That was all. We were then told that we would place everything we bought on a running tab... Oops! Alcoholic drinks were very expensive there, if you are not a lager drinker like me it will cost even more! You will have to drink Cocktails - what a shame! They do have ladies night though, which is your chance to take complete advantage of the discount prices! When we arrived at our rooms we found a wooden hut type thing with wooden floors & a thatched roof. There was no TV or air conditioning, just a fan. There are rooms that have air conditioning & they are the ones in the water on stilts. There are only a few of these & these are usually booked up well in advance. The sea was so blue & clear, when we w ent snorkelling the views were spectacular. We saw turtles, octopus & very brightly coloured tropical fish (my boyf is a diver & saw a little more - sharks etc!) The house reef around the island is great for the fish life. Due to a massive storm a few years ago the Coral is all dead now (which is a disappointment to a lot of divers) We soon realised the only thing to do on the island is read, play table tennis, boules, swim or snorkel! You can leave the island & go on trips to Male (the capital) & other destinations. We went on a sunset cruise - it was a lovely boat that belong to the island, they would be going out for 4 days to cruise around the Maldives. We were so taken by the lovely scenery that we could not turn down the cruise around the Maldives for 4 days. The price was only minimum (making us from b&b to full board - about $20 per person per day) We did visit some other Islands & must advise people to check out their destination fully before they go away - we came across some very grotty little islands & were quite shocked. If I was going to give you one piece of advise that would be to take lots of insect repelant, my boyf was almost eaten alive by mosquito's. Also don't forget Anti-histamine in case you do get bitten, takes away the itch that keeps you up all night. We soon found out that paradise does not cost the earth & for the most beautiful places in the world, you must go to the Indian Ocean.

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                  28.08.2001 21:26
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                  Maldives! The word is synomonous with paradise and relaxation - and how true! But for some reason many folk still think that you can go there only if you are willing to lose one or two limbs to afford the presumed horrendous price tag. WRONG! The Maldives can offer the ultimate in value - why take your partner to a 4 star greek resort when you can be in paradise instead. To better explain please follow my happy wanderings through the many memorable moments my wife and I shared at our 'island in the sun'. My wife and I have been twice and are toying with the idea of going again this November. That's right, I said November. If you want great weather but do not wish to turn into a lobster (which by the way is freshly caught and cooked!) then you need to go at the start of the season. You will then have the added benefit of sea breezes which are not present later in the season. We chose the 'rustic' experience and looked for an island with beach chalets. (As a quick aside - try just saying what we did to our local travel shop "Maldives. Rustic. Paradise" - You will then get the real Maldives). It is worth pointing out at this point that there is another Maldives which I recommend you do not go for - otherwise you might as well have gone to Greece in the first place. This other Maldives is the hotel experience... Picture this - a white sand island which you could walk right around in 20mins with a lovely blue lagoon surrounding it. Do you see it? Okay, now imagine a 20 storey hotel which covers most of the actual island. And voila, 'Paradise Lost'. If you want the hotel thing then go to Greece and save some money as Maldivian Hotel islands ARE astronomic in cost. Anyway, back to paradise... Our island was 2.5 hours away from the main island, Male. So we had an enjoyable power boat ride to our island with stops on the way to watch the dolphins playing in the water. When we arrived we were told Reethi Rah was an island of 'no shoes and no wallet'. In other words, you should feel the sand between your toes and not feel the price of the drinks until the end of your holiday. But don't let that worry you as the drinks cost no more than an average British city. (But if you go for the cocktail is paradise experience (and why not!), remember your visa card!) Our Beach Chalet nestled under the palm trees, one step away from the waters edge. Now for the distractions ... of which there were none. You felt like you were a million miles away from civilisation and it was just you, the sand, the sea, the sun, your book, and your Go-Go Banana cocktail. If you get stressed by your work then the Maldives is the cure. You relax almost instantly and the pleasant demeanour of the island staff ensure that the next stress you feel is luggage handling at Heathrow. (20 mins later) And that relaxing feeling is never forgotten, as just experienced by me when remembering the sand, the sea, the sun, my book, and my Go-Go Banana cocktail. But if you wish to do something besides drink cocktails, eat fresh seafood and relax, then the Maldives can still offer a great deal. For instance I learnt to Scuba Dive there, and I would STRONGLY recommend this to anyone as there is another world under the sea, particularly around the Maldives. Better still, the school (like many in the Maldives) was fully accredited by PADI and hence I can now dive anywhere in the world. You can also try other water sports such as water skiing, windsurfing and the very perilous 'banana boat riding' (best done on an empty stomach!) So why suffer the normal mediterranean experience when you can be in paradise for the same money. And how much did this cost me...? Less than £1500 for two people for 17 nights plus drinks bill (which I won't disclose as I'm sure my drinking habits are different to yours !!) Just make sure you think 'rustic'...

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                    30.04.2001 04:20
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                    When I visted the Maldives I had never been outside mainland UK before this trip of a lifetime and if you've ever been you will realise what it was like to have this destination as your first trip abroad!! We landed at Male and took a speed boat to Kanifinolhou. I saw flying fish as we sped along, and on arriving at our island - home for the next fortnight was a complete emotional wreck - it is just SO breath taking! Our little chalet/cottage was superb, huge bed and weird sort of outside but inside shower room. I was concerned about the little gheko's that occasionally run accross the floor but was assured by my other half that these were harmless and would eat the ants and mosquitoes and other nasty things! My main memory is sheltering from the rain (not as bad as it sounds!) every day, without fail, it clouded over at 12 o'clock and rained for exactly one hour! It was fun to see the newcomers to the island giving you strange looks when at 11.50 you began to pull your lounger under the palm shelter, pack your book away and make sure your towel was under shelter....then their little flurry to do likewise as the heavens opened!! OK maybe I have a warped sense of humour! We spent our days snorkelling, and lazing. Anyone who is considering going my advice is... Book an all inclusive package - you will be surprised how you can get through so much money on such a small island but you do! Also buy plenty of suncream, if you are like me and don't usually burn, buy a bigger factor than you think you will need - the sun is VERY strong, from memory I think I ended up with factor 25 (which I had to buy there as I had taken 12 - expensive!) Apply regularly, we ended up having very sore legs, you see when you are snorkelling there is SO much to see you get carried away and forget how long you are in the sea. So you get the backs of the tops of your thighs burnt - OUCH!! Many honey mo oners were in the same boat and it was funny to hear each others stories - especially as the first few days you couldn't touch each other! I would love to revisit the islands (before global warming take them away from us) but I think I would have to raid the old piggy bank!

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                      02.03.2001 17:01
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                      The very thought of the Maldives is that of a high class and exclusively expensive paradise holiday. Ask anyone how much they might expect to realisically pay, and they are bound to quote between £1000 and £2000. When my girlfriend and I arrived in Sri Lanka however, I was convinced we could visit the Maldives for far less from here. The atols that make up the Maldives are only a short flight from Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka itself has a host of travel agents, certainly within Colombo. For only £200 each, we booked 3 days, 2 nights half board on the island of Embudu Village. This price included return flights from Sri Lanka to Male, and the speedboat transfer to the island itself. The "speedboat" itself was hardly any racing type of boat as one might imagine, but was a rather large, yet still quite fast, touring type of vessel, and the journey took around an hour. Incidently, other more exclusive islands are accessible via helicopter or sea plane, but are obviously more expensive. The island of Embudu Village was tiny but beautiful. It was everything you might imagine from pictures you have seen in brochures - white sands, lush green palm trees, crystal clear blue water and millions of brightly coloured fish. And sharks! A whole shoal of them! Fortunately these little would-be man killers (black tipped reef sharks) were far more affraid of us than we were of them. Try as I might to get close enough to use my underwater camera, they constantly remained a good distance off. It has to be said though, that July is NOT the season to visit these islands. Time and again the rains set in, one time so heavily that while I was snorkelling my snorkel actually filled up with rain - but at least it was warm! With absolutely nothing else to do if it rains except go to the bar or back to your room (no telly), we decided to walk around the entire island despite the weather. It took 40 minutes at a very gentle stroll. The island s can be quite tiny. The food on Embudu was OK, but nothing to write home about. With such a captive audience however, prices for snacks, and certainly drinks, can be VERY high (£2.50 a small bottle of beer). They also don`t let you pay, but run a tab that must be settled before you leave. Very dangerous! The fishing trips are very cheap compared to other places in the world (like Jamaica!). We were even willing to pay for the full 6 places, just so the boat would go out, and this would still have been only £40 for the lot. Unfortunately the weather made this impossible, and the trip had to be cancelled. To conclude, the islands are beautiful, and simply have to be visited at least once. However, bare in mind the following: You are the best captive audience known to man. There is 1 bar and 1 shop. Pay the prices they ask or go without. Also, unless your idea of a good time is laying on the beach and snorkelling all day every day, with only the meals to interrupt this, you may not want to stay too long.

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                        20.08.2000 03:19
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                        I SPENT MY SILVER WEDDING ON PARADISE ISLAND IN THE MALDIVES.ANYONE THINKING OF THE MALDIVES WILL BE INTERESTED TO KNOW IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST QUALITY HOTELS I HAVE EVER BEEN TO.FIVE STAR PLUS FOR CERTAIN.WHEN I READ ABOUT THE OUTSIDE SHOWERS I IMAGINED A BUCKET OF WATER ON SOME ROPE TO TIP AS REQUIRED. IT WAS A WONDERFUL TILED OPEN AIR SHOWER WITH THE BEST FITTINGS I HAVE SEEN.BRILLIANT, CLEAN, LARGE ,AIR CONDITIONED ROOMS SECOND TO NONE RIGHT ON THE BEACH.THERE WERE 500 GUESTS ON THE ISLAND AND 500 STAFF ALL WANTING TO MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY THE GREATEST. BEING ASTHMATIC I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO SNORKEL AND ALTHOUGH THIS IS NOT NECESSARY AS YOU CAN SEE THE MARINE LIF WITHOUT GOING UNDER THE SEA, I PERFECTED THE ART AND HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE. AFTER 15 MINS FREE INTRODUCTION TO DIVING I CONTINUED TO DO 5 BOAT DIVES. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, MANTER RAYS, DOLPHINS'EVEN SHARKS (HARMLESS)AND FISHES ALL THE COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW. BELIEVE ME ,I NEVER DREAMT I WOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS AND EXPECTED MY HUSBAND TO DO IT ALONE BUT IT WAS AN EXPERIENCE I WILL NEVER FORGET AND OF COURSE WE HAVE UNDERWATER PHOTO'S TO PROVE IT. THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE SANDY BEACHES AND CLEAR OCEANS ARE JUST THE START TO THE MAGNIFICENT HOLIDAY. THE DRINKS ARE QUITE EXPENSIVE AS EVERYTHING IS IMPORTED TO THE ISLANDS SO IF YOU CAN GO ALL INCLUSIVE I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS. THE FOOD ALSO WAS FIRST CLASS PLUS WITH A VARIETY OF EVERYTHING AT EACH MEAL.

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                        08.07.2000 06:57
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                        We went to the Maldives on our honeymoon 4 years ago and it was tranquility, after the rather long flight via Dubai we finally arrived and I was shocked about how humid the weather was. The island that we stayed on we walked around within 10 minutes, and we spent a rather relaxing time there. We stayed there for 10 days which to be honest with you was enough for me, I loved it but I was beginning to miss civilisation as we know it, ie cars, TV, newspapers etc. So was looking forward the the 3 nights in Singapore which were a total contrast to the Maldives. (See my opinion on Singapore in city guide) We did a bit of snorkling and saw lots of different fish and I am sure that doing the diving course would of been a lot better, but due to a brain operation I am unable to partake in such activities, anyway, I would recommend the Maldives to anyone who want to relax and do nothing, the only thing I wonder is what happens to the Sewage ?? you are on an island in the middle of the Indian ocean, it has to go somewhere, all i would say is dont drink the sea water !!!

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                        07.07.2000 00:51
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                        After spending nearly 3 weeks in Makanudu last November, the worrying thought is where on earth am I going to beat a holiday like that? My Fiance and I booked the holiday last May(99) for November through Sovreign at Thomas Cook. All was going, and I had collected the tickets a week before, until, 3 days before we departed they told us that the Hotel we had originally booked (Coco Palm) was overbooked and we were going to be moved. After lengthy frustrated conversations we had no choice to go to the alterantive or lose the holiday. After the long flight via Saudi (not the best shopping place as everyone assumes) we reached the airport at Male. After a lengthy check in procedure we were on our way. The hour and a half on the speedboat was brilliant, the nice sea breeze was welcome in the sweltering afternoon heat. We went all inclusive and wa quite glad as some of the bar prices were expensive. The majority of the watersports were included and a few trips. (I recommend the fishjing trip). The isalnd itself was very small housing just over 30 deluxe secluded chalets. The rooms were all air-conditioned and had en-suite open air bathrooms. The food was excellent, catering for a wide range of taste. Fish was the main option, with plenty of meat salads etc. The Marine life is beutiful with the island surrounded by a reef, providing the ideal location for black and white tip sharks. The overall impression is excellent. I would recommend it to evryone.

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                      "Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives are located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka. The twenty-six atolls encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, roughly two hundred of which are inhabited by local communities. Islands housing Hotels, antennae, fuel tanks, and other such premises, are not counted as inhabited islands by the administration. Following the introduction of Islam in 1153, the islands later became a Portuguese (1558), Dutch (1654), and British (1887) colonial possession. In 1965, Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic. However, in thirty-eight years, the Maldives have seen only two Presidents, though political restrictions have loosened somewhat recently."