What is an ideal vacation? The dictionary meaning of the word is – “an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling”. Recreation, adventure, learning – it all boils down to one thing. Experience.
Vacation is our way to create experiences. Our trip to Maldives last January was one such memorable experience we had. A short 3 day trip, worth memories for a lifetime.
We started our journey from Chennai, boarding the International flights on Sri Lankan Airlines to Maldives via Colombo . Our first destination, the capital city – Male. The small island city is the most populous in Maldives, and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
The airport itself is on a small strip of an island, and is one of the most scenic landings I have ever seen. With the sea on both the sides and the straight runway too ending into the sea, it makes for a thrilling experience. After we completed the immigration (VISA on arrival for Indians. yay!) and checked out of the airport, we took a short ferry ride (10 Maldivian Rupees) to Male.
We stayed in Male in a small boutique hotel and the primary objective of our brief stay here in Male, before heading to the resort island, was to get the local flavour and understanding of the local way of life. Male is just like Mumbai, just a lot lot smaller. Busy roads, narrow lanes, fish markets – all by the sea. We took a walk around the coastline of the island, and were back at our start point in two hours! This is Male – small and full of life.
A quick snippet about Maldives – the island nation is an archipelago of thousands of small islands, what else? Some of these islands have been converted to resorts and beautiful expansive, luxurious hotels have sprung up here. The other islands are inhabited by the locals, and about a decade back were kept out of bounds for foreigners.
The liberal government, with an objective of sprucing up the local economy opened up the inhabited islands for the general tourists and this is where one can now get to see the local life and the beautiful virgin raw beaches!
We decided to stay in a inhabited island and chose Rasdhoo for our two day holiday in the islands. Proximity to Male (onward journey was a 3 hour ride by a public ferry and the return was by a relatively expensive one hour speed boat ride to Male) and the beautiful pictures helped decide on rasdhoo.
The beautiful small Rasdhoo island was the perfect getaway for the holiday. The untouched, sun kissed beach was exactly what we were looking for. And yes, the island was inhabited! The official page says a population of 867, we could not see more than a 100! Max. This is like the number of residents in a single tower of a society, or a single wing of a chawl in Mumbai!
The island itself was amazing with an old world charm attached to it. The whole island was so tiny that a walk around the island, by the sea would be a short 20 minute walk. Bang! You are back to the start point. From the centre of the island the beach is less than 250mts, in any direction!
We had a beautiful large room, in a newly built retreat run by a local resident. The local cuisine and the small coffee shop near the beach gave us the opportunity to get to know the locals better. Black coffee sure is a big thing here! The island experience was like having a private island all to yourself.
After a good two days in the island, we returned to Male by the speed boat. We then took the short 10 minute ferry ride to the airport island for our return flight back to Chennai, via Colombo!
Back home to Delhi in a Indigo Web Check In, with a lighter wallet but a loadful of beautiful memories and a whole 2GB worth of pristine photographs!
The perfect vacation!