My birthdays have always been special, I and people who know me generally make sure it is.
This birthday was no different, though there was a lot of confusion about the place we would visit, believe me almost every city around Singapore was considered. Expenses, visas, travelling with parents were some of the deciding factors. Maldives, a beautiful paradise island which people believed would vanish from the map in the next 50 years stood out to be the best option.
Indians do not need visas, there are cheap scoot flights from Singapore, but the resort stay is expensive. So to lower the budget we stayed 2 nights in Hulhumale an artificial island with artificial beaches, driving distance from airport and budget hotels available.
We reached Hulhumale on 11th night, and just crashed into our beds.
On 12th morning, we saw a beautiful sunrise from our room window. Shades of blue and red across the sky marked with repetitive noise and view of sea planes. Every 30 minutes there were some 10 sea planes which made its way to different islands of Maldives.
We had an exciting submarine ride booked for the morning and were super excited to start. All dressed, mom and dad super excited we made to the port where we would meet the others. The port was a small boat ride away from Hulhumale ferry terminal.
From there, another 20 mins in a boat and we reached the submarine diving point.
The submarine experience was a very unique experience. It is the best solution for people who are unable to snorkel or dive. We went a whooping 100 ft under sea water, where it was dark and the colour of water was deep blue to black( as there was no sunlight ) Our submarine was lighting its surrounding where we could see a beautiful reef , full of different kinds of fishes and marine life. Small fishes playing like small children swimming in various directions. There was this scary snake-like creature, very stagnant but dangerous to look at. It was a sea eel.
The submarine experience lasted for 45 minutes and it was worth it , especially for my parents.
We made our way to the Male city in the boat and had an experience of the Maldivian city life, crowded with a lot of two wheelers. The city had a character and a lot of mosques and heritage centres. Even in this remote island we found wonderful Indian vegetarian Meal which we really enjoyed.
We took a local boat ride back to Hulhumale , and it was like a public bus, loads of different kinds of people, cramped up spaces, two floors of seats and low fares, an experience of the local ways of transport.
When we reached Hulhumale , I wanted to explore the water, go out for fishing or looking for dolphins, experiences I had not experienced yet in my life and would make my birthday extra memorable.
Luck was with us, we found a shop whose owner was happy to arrange for us a night fishing experience and a look out for dolphins. We got ready and took the amazing beautiful boat made for night fishing with fishing poles and benches on the boat.
What happened 20 minutes into the ride, no one, mom dad me or Vish(my sweetheart husband) is going to ever forget. We saw a school of young dolphins swimming around our boat and doing a lot of tricks and jumps and turns in the water. I was smiling, moving from one side to other of the boat to not miss one of them. That was my incredible birthday gift experience, so many dolphins all around us for next 20-25 mins. It is peaceful, playful and exciting to watch them sliding oh so smoothly just below the surface of water. My wishes came true, the image we conjure under the influence of Hollywood movies was right in front of us. I wanted to just take one of them home or stay with them in water. I wish I could be friends with dolphins, swim with them.
After such an exciting experience, it was time to do some fishing. It is a process which requires a lot of patience, and doing nothing. I am not very fond of doing nothing. However our boat crew caught a big grouper and my mom ( who did not want to hurt a fish at all) caught one sliver fish who found its way back to the sea. I was not lucky this time. Satisfied, relaxed and 2 more experiences richer we made our way to the Hulhumale island. After a simple yet delicious dinner of rice and veggies , we went to sleep.
I had yet another surprise, Dad and Vish brought a wonderful chocolate cake for me and we cut it for my birthday at midnight. What a beautiful day. Next day was my birthday and a luxury stay at a water villa in Paradise island resorts and spa.
A long wait at the airport, a 30 mins speed boat ride and we reached the luxurious beautiful hotel and a much wonderful water villa room to spend my birthday.
The water was so beautiful, on our way to the reception of the hotel, we could see fishes swimming beautifully in the water, white sands , clear water and amazing marine life. It was going to be another beautiful 2 days and nights in this island. We were told at the receptions that there were three events that evening, shark feeding, petting and feeding manta rays and a Maldivian local dance called BoduBeru. We were so excited. Sharks, Stingrays, can you believe it?
We went to our rooms and believe me , all fours of us were so happy to see the water villas, a huge beautiful room with a very very comfortable bed, floor to ceiling glass doors leading to a spacious balcony and sitting area. Beautifully placed couches and a beautifully designed stone bathtub were the highlights of the balcony. A little ahead and there was expanse of beautiful turquoise water. A few wooden stairs and we made our way to the beautiful water, Bollywood music on speakers, a few drinks to have and we spent a lovely afternoon in water.
After a small satisfied nap, we dressed up to see the shark feeding. At Least 50 small sharks were being fed in the water, so fast they were eating their food, splashing a lot of water and making a lot of noise. Next we went to pet the stingrays. Believe me they are beautiful creatures, so sleek and so smooth but hard and if they sting you, you are dead in an instant.They come swiftly almost gliding on the ocean bed, touch your feet, take the food with constant water pouring from their eyes. It was sight to behold.
The food options at this resort was not that great, though the dining place was beautiful, we had limited choices especially for my parents who eat mostly Indian vegetarian food.
The next day I had booked myself on a snorkeling tour with 10-12 other people from the resort. We went to a beautiful reef, where i was mesmerized to snorkel on my own. IF you have snorkel before, you would know that under water you cannot hear anything , except your own breathing through the mouthpiece of the snorkel. I went into a meditative state, with the only sound I could hear was my own breathing and I could see beautiful life , coral and reaf underwater. I did not feel like coming out of that place, and took a decision that I need to learn deep-sea diving surely to completely fathom the magic of the sea.
When I returned, Vish and I snorkel around the resort and it was equally beautiful. I was in water the whole day and I am sure anyone would be. We then went for coconut cocktails and pineapple blossoms. There we did canoeing which was another wonder, though a bit tiring because of the heat and rowing.
This last night all we wanted was to sit the balcony of the water villa and chat and soak in the place as much as we could. We did exactly that it was a calming experience. Letting it all go and enjoying the beauty of what this world has to offer.
The next day we went for a luxurious massage , our own private flower bath and a very tranquil morning.
Sometimes I feel I go overboard, while conversing with people in the resort I came to know that there is a place called a sandbank. Sandbank is a landform consisting of a sandbar in water, which creates a shallow area in the middle of the sea, where you can stand and see the expanse of water, see the beautiful reef and get wonderful pictures. The day we had our flight , we returned to Hulhumale and I caught hold of the person who had taken us fishing. We packed and left immediately to go to a sandbank. It is such a naturally occurring exotic place ( we have some of the best pictures of Maldives there). Luckily there was a wedding of some rich shot Japanese couple on the sandbank what luxury and beauty. We enjoyed the wedding and photography and I imagines I would return back here, a few years older, a few kg lesser and take some wedding dress pictures with my lovely husband. 🙂
Also dont forget to buy the Maldivian Chillies- They are really spicy with tangy taste.
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There are some pictures I have added, If you click SHOW, you will be able to see it.
- Flights- Scoot from Singapore to Male
- Seasons Holiday – Hulhumale
- Paradise Island Resort & Spa- Water Villas
- Whale Submarine
- Relax inn Hulhumale- For all the excursion booking