Friday, June 3, 2016

Best Summer Ever (Maldives 2016)

Summer is just about to end here in the Philippines while it is just starting in the other side of the world! As with other travel posts here, I wanted this Maldives post to be all about "how to have a stylish summer vacay" with this summer essentials list but since I got a lot of questions from my friends during the trip, I thought I should bring back my old travelogue-ing self and give additional details about my trip in the second half of this post. :P

Credit where it's due, I lifted below's list from a style authority website but I edited it to what I felt is most appropriate. Without further ado, your summer essentials:
  • Off the shoulder top: because it is the IT body part of the summer season
  • Cropped denim Denim cut-offs (for bikini coverups)
  • Flat Slides Strappy sandals with block heels would do coz I don't have it. Yet. :P
  • One-piece ( Or bodysuits. Aren't we glad it's back on trend? No need to have a perfect tummy :P)
  • Straw Hat  (perfect prop to a sun-laden Instagram shot)
  • Denim Miniskirt (Suede mini skirt would do)
  • Floral Dress (of course, the print of the summer!)
  • Sunglasses (instantly steps up your summer selfie game)
  • Lightweight Duster (A sheer cover-up would do)
  • Sneakers
Additional from Cassey:
  • Mandala (oh you know those chic round towels that I haven't gotten so much mileage yet from its price, hahaha!)
  • Floaty (the IT pool accessory of the season and they come in different yummy food item or animals too!!! <3)

Malé. Upon arrival, we stayed at the capital for a night and a half-day the next day that gave us a glimpse of the real Maldives. We did a quick tour the next day courtesy of our ever gracious hotel driver where we saw the president's palace, the fish market and the artificial beach. Malé's lifestyle is a stark contrast to what we saw in the succeeding days. Even at night, the city is bustling with its night market and to me it's a bit surprising that I didn't feel threatened at all while us girls were walking along the streets at almost midnight.

Maafushi Island. This is a small inhabited island in the south atoll about 1.5 hr away from Male and the place where we stayed at for four days. For a more authentic travel experience, I recommend to stay in local islands like this since it will also benefit the local community and not the uhmm wealthy resort owners. :P Maldivian islanders are very friendly and we got a chance to mingle with some of them in a party boat (apparently that's the only place where you can drink, haha!) and you will surely find delight in the laidback vibes and colors of this island. :)

However, what's a trip to Maldives without visiting the classy water bungalows and infinity pools where it is known for? One night I was perusing a book in the hotel and was just amazed at the number of resorts that's geographically dispersed  in this country. Day trip to some resorts can be easily arranged from different guest houses in the island using speedboat transfers. Our second day was immediately arranged at Adaaran Prestige in Vadoo Island. The day tours usually include mind-blowing buffet lunches or even cocktail drinks all you can and can be upgraded to all-inclusive packages.

While we were there, I got a lot of questions asking why go to Maldives when you have beautiful beaches in the Philippines? Of course, we have world-class beaches that is undeniable but we're here for a close-up feel of the luxury resorts and take my best summer selfie for life (however shallow that sounds, lol!) While it's true we have them somewhere in El Nido in Palawan but isn't it sad that they're somehow inaccessible to budget travelers like us? The point is, I don't want to get stuck for four nights where the honeymooners are. *major eye roll* I only want a preview of my future. Because, yes indeed I am claiming it. I am going back to this very country and spend my honeymoon in those water villas. Thaaaaaattt's the spirit, girl! HAHAHA! And this, my fellow single friends, is another reason why staying in inhabited islands is much much better. :P

Adaaran Prestige Resort (Vadoo Island):

Centara  Ras Fushi Resort and Spa:

Sandbank Excursion 

Other activities that most guest houses/ hotels arrange for tourists are island hopping (includes reef visits/ snorkeling and dolphin watching), manta/ shark ray points and water sports (scuba diving, parasailing, etc.)

We availed the island hopping on the second day and the sandbank excursion kind of reminded me about this 9gag article I saw a few weeks before my trip. The one I went to in Camiguin is definitely cleaner and I've seen better coral reefs in Batangas while scuba diving but I still enjoyed the snorkeling activity nonetheless especially that it's been a while since I last went scuba diving. Double shame on me for not trying it here as well but our arranged itinerary is what's best for me and my friends. :)

Speedboat Rides/ Transportation

Most of the transfers to the resorts/ islands are done via speedboats. But boy, if you're following me in my Snapchat, you should've seen how bumpy they can be. It's definitely not for the seasick. But this just also highlights another thing about Maldives that we don't have - an efficient island transport system. I've never been to El Nido but I know in my heart of hearts that the 5-hr ride from the airport is worth it. Our trips to the resorts took us 30 to 45 min max speedboat travel so it's very easy and convenient. Now THAT's luxury!!! They also depart exactly on time that one morning we had to re-book (and spend extra moolah, ouch!) because we were 10-mins late. *facepalm*

I'll be back for honeymoon, Maldives. Someday, Someday...

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