What travellers are talking about
My news about TMA
For the "scenic" part, I refer you to my review (here on Maldives Traveller too) from last year .. this fact remains unchanged.
In this review, I consider more what, I have noticed, is changed in the management of the service since the two seaplanes' companies (TMA and MAT) are fused into one.
After the exit from the international airport, the reception's formalities at our resort's counter and the check-in of our baggages, we are accompanied to the shuttle bus to TMA airport.
Already inside the bus, it happens something new! Passengers are notified in which terminal they must step down! A, B or C, depending on where is located the waiting place (waiting lounge or common area) of the resort that we must reach. A quick look at our boarding cards for the seaplane reveals the right stop. Not that the terminals are located in a big distance (indeed they are very close) and be distracted about when getting off the bus, could damage the process of our journey.. but, this is already a sign of how "things" go towards to a management of a "real" airport.
My intuition, in fact, is strengthened by the various monitors, present in the waiting's places, displaying acronyms for each single resort, revealing us the take-off time and the course of our flight, including stopovers.
Now, I will make you laugh.. But I'm, personally, developing a certain allergy to Palm Beach! Because in my last two visits, it was always set, as stopover, in the middle of my transfer! I have already enough aerial, sandbank and arrival jetty pictures of Palm Beach (without ever having set a single foot on it!!) to pubblish a decent photo gallery.
The waiting time at TMA, in contrast to many, is for me never a problem, in fact, I enjoy wandering through the terminals, the various lounges and take pictures, especially if I have a 'buddy' that would never board without me!
For me, this waiting time, which many of us hate, becomes a time of discovery. My curiosity about the different resorts is, in part, satisfied when I discover their lounge at the seaplane terminal. For
us, who work in the hospitality, the very first contact that the customer has with a structure is fundamental. It happened to me, to see a lounge's entry of one of the most luxurious resorts adorned with a nice lot of junk! Okay.. probably, they did not have their customers using the lounge that day.. but.. I had to pass in front it to reach my lounge.. and I assure you that, knowing what it costs to spend a night in that resort, I was appalled and I still haven't 'digested' the 'crime'. Moreover, if we recall the fact that TMA is moving towards a modern management of its airport, I do not know to whom attribute the failure to properly clean the common areas!
My last two seaplane's flights brought also a huge surprise for me (and still I am here, wondering why TMA never official mentioned this!!). The windows of seaplanes are decidedly .. "widened"!!
Perhaps not all of you have noticed (I did!!), and perhaps not all aircrafts are changed. Surely, were the last two on which I boarded! A pleasure for those who does not sleep, tired from international flight (yes, there are!) and photograph the amazing panorama below.
Another new feature is a kind of last waiting room, air-conditioned, external to terminals, located right at the beginning of the jetties to reach the seaplanes. A final gathering place for passengers before the flight.
That's all for now. I'm just curious to find out what will be new at TMA in my next trip, in 2 weeks.
Eriyadu: Small island, big dreams
My titel is the sentence that adorns, since a while, the cover of Eriyadu's fb page. A kind of state of mind, which is currently and actually on going!
When it appeared first, some italian friends of mine, who visited before, were really skeptical about...
But I knew that there had been a changement in the management..
More: "I knew the new management (from a previous visit of mine in Maldives) and completely trusted him and his team!".
My visit to Eriyadu was placed at the end of a quite rich itinerary around Maldives,
touching mostly 5* properties and I can say that the level of service and cares on this small
pile of sand is nothing less than 5* as well..
But let's start with the natural part.
The island is blessed by an easy to reach (through well visible entrances), lively, colourful housereef! I am not a diver and, as only snorkler, this is so important to me.
The perimeter consists of wide beaches and picturesque spots where the vegetation borders the waters.
The inside is natural, rich, wild green. A small jungle to explore.. The banana plantation was absolutely my "wow" factor!!
Have I already listed a lot of reasons to visit Eriyadu? Didn't I?? Mother Nature has well done her part of the job in this small island..
She always does.. It is always "up to us" to have the right attitude to appreciate and notice this..
Now let's add the icing on the cake.
Eriyadu is on the way to its new level (changements and refurbishing is currently going on) and I well know that I was so privileged to have the chance to fully experience the future 'face' of Eriyadu.
Starting from my accommodation: brand new interior and bathroom! Comfortable, practical and cozy! Placed on the best corner ever of the island: you cannot imagine how much I enjoyed my "home"!!
But also all the rest of the facilities are under a massive uplift (partially already successfully ended):
- the reception area (now polished with nice corners where to stop and enjoy for a while)
- the overwater Blitz bar with its new terrace and adjacent swimming pool
(still smelling the air with a scent of freshly cut wood).
In both this areas there is free Wifi connection available.
- the Bougain Spa (where I discovered that "Hot Stones" is my fav massage ever..
only if practised in the perfect harmony of temperature, scents and sounds).I still can close my eyes, right now and refresh this experience! Because, I was given (as present) the eye-mask soaked in the oil essence, which I had chosen for my massage.
- the restaurant (where a 'Prince' and Chef Kumar managed to make me learn how to cook a Vegetable Masala Curry! No.. I mean.. I am a real disaster in cooking and now I have even a diploma!). Let's add Zahir, my waiter, who was also "forced" to learn all the ingredients that I need to create my fav drink at meals.. and he learned them perfectly!
- the new room start-up category (this still under constuction but heavenly located, which case is not usual in Maldives)
- the new.... No! I am not going to tell you everything.. I prefer you to discover and enjoy the difference yourself! Visit Eriyadu!!.. For sure it has, currently, a great, great value for money!
There is only one crucial point.. which is very, very important to me in Maldives and I will never stress enough about:
"Get an island where managers and employeers are passionate about their job.. Get an island where workers are proud and happy to be there.. Get an island which soul is respected and not exploted.."
I was very lucky to meet Eriyadu in this state of mind.. and body!
I am very lucky and grateful to share my passion with the people that I meet, everytime, in Maldives..
A small PS.. I MUST underline this, because I am already sure!! I will never, ever have such an incredible, amazing, smooth " very,very late check out" as the one I had on Eriyadu!! Thank you Aaron and Reservation Team Eriyadu! This was a 'care' that 5* and more can still long dream of.. ;)
Island of Smile
FUvahmulah - The Big ISland of Maldives is the most beautiful and Different island I ever been.
Being the nearest atoll to the Equator and the first atoll in the Southern Hemisphere among the Atolls of the Maldives, Fuvahmulah has many distinctive features which make the island unique and more beautiful than the rest of the islands. As H.C.P Bell says in his Monograph, throughout history Maldivians themselves have fairly judged Fuvahmulah to be the most beautiful island in the Maldives
Being a one-island atoll itself and the second largest island in the Maldives (if not for land reclamation), Fuvahmulah includes a diverse range of habitats ranging from tropical woodlands and wetlands to freshwater lakes, well-vegetated marshland areas, white sandy beaches of different variations and pebble texture plus gravel beaches and fertile lands of humus greater in area than any other island in the Maldives. The two freshwater lakes in the island plus the many number of swamps and marshland areas in the island give habitat to different plant and animal species not to be found anywhere else in the Maldives. Among such species, the Common Moorhen (locally known as Valikukulhu) is a bird natively confined to Fuvahmulah only in the Maldivian archipelago. Also, the dense forest of Syzygium cumini (Jambul), locally known as "Dhanvah Baal".
That's the one island i never want leave if i go there.
Lux is Paradise!!
I started out my search for a honeymoon resort very early in the year!! I looked online and researched several resorts. I settled on the Lux after a recommendation from Purely Maldives. The price was great compared to what I had seen so to be honest I wasn't expecting a whole lot... I figured the nature in Maldives will make up for any inadequacies!
Oh boy...How wrong I was!!!! Lux is amazing!! The welcome we received, the brilliant staff, the activities, the snorkeling, the view, the cleanliness! Everyone goes the extra mile to please you.
We went with my 4 year old son and he had the best time at the Kids club!! Barbara and Shaama are wonderful!! My son woke up each morning asking to go to the kids club and we were so confident leaving him there! He had so much fun with the hermit crabs and we even went on a free excursion on the glass bottomed boat! Barbara and Shaama truly love kids its so clear to see by the dedication they put into the kids club. I cant thank them enough for the time they spent with my son. I actually had tears in my eyes when I had to say good bye to them because I felt like we had known them for ages.
All the staff were so nice to my son as well. Most of them would call him by name and would stop to chat with us or suggest activities he could do. It was like being in a little village. Strolling down staff would call out a hello and I guess this was infectious because other families and couples would also say hello as you walked past them. It felt so homely and warm. We also never felt like the Island was overcrowded. We would walk for miles on the beach without seeing anyone on the beach. Maybe it was the time of the year we went. It also rained on a few nights and the resort provided umbrellas...but I tell you what...we didn't mind! To be honest , we didn't mind a lot of things!! I'm so squeamish about bugs and ants but I found myself in such a good mood that I actually started rescuing the ants and placing them gently on the leaves instead of screaming as I would usually do...LOL!!
For the food, you should definitely go all inclusive...My husband and I had more cocktails than we have had in a whole year...he!he! Well considering we live in the Middle East!! There was so much choice for the food. My husband is vegetarian but he was more than happy with the selection. There were theme nights in the restaurants through the week. The swiss roll was the best I ever tasted. There was also the home made Island Icecream Ici.....OMG!! Delightful. I think I have added several pounds.....it was all too tempting.
For the honeymoon package we had a cocktail making class, a dinner by the beach and a starlight cruise all complimentary. There were a myriad of activities, we had a movie night and a karaoke night...what a laugh!!
The Island was also very clean, Ali kept our room spick and span and all the sand we brought in from our daily walks around the beach were banished quickly..he! he! He made us an alligator on our last night there. The Island was kept really clean , there were loads of staff out cleaning frequently. We ate al fresco most of the time and we weren't bothered by bugs or flies. Flies for me are a big NO NO. The Island gets fumigated every evening...I read this in the weekly schedule which Betty handed to me.
Getting around was easy as there Golf buggies which you could hop on and off.....we were really lazy and took these quite often. For the more athletic minded there were also yellow bikes you could use if you found one lying about. You could also hire silver or blue bikes for a fee a day. My husband thought all the bikes should be free, but I wasn't too phased out with this.
I am an environmentalist and care a lot about the environment and I was really happy seeing all the effort that went into keeping the Island green. No plastic water bottles! Yes!
There was an herb garden and a marine biology center . There's also a water sports center. We didn't get to do any water sports but did go snorkeling. It was my first time snorkeling and I was mead to feel so relaxed and it was really great!! The instructor even put on my mask himself to ensure I had a perfect seal. It was a great experience I will remember forever!
There was also a table tennis, pool/ snooker table and just as we were leaving they had put in an air hockey table. There was table tennis available with a very nice Australian tennis instructor. I tried my hands on the French game with the balls but I gave up after a while.... found it too boring. I'm sure someone out there would love it though....lol!!
There was baby shark and giant ray fish feeding every night. We never made the shark feeding but we did see a few tiny baby shark swimming. I believe they are harmless so no need to panic...LOL!! There were also bats and hermit crabs. My son was completely fascinated with the hermit crabs and wanted to take them home with him....we had to tell him they needed passports to come home with us and that would take us a long time to get them sorted. If we didn't I believe he would have refused to get on the plane home!! Phew!! My husband came up with that one.
If you are looking for honeymoon/family holiday then you should definitely book the Lux Maldives! It was an amazing holiday and we will never forget. Waking up to the greatest sunrise!
We have departed from Venice on April 15 th 2013 with Qatar Airways, and arrived ontime to the airport in Malè on April 16 th at 7.50. Our flight was comfortable and pleasant. Despite all my fears before the departure, being my first time with scheduled flights and speaking little English, the transfer in the airport of Doha was easier than I thought.
The airport in Doha, that is huge, in my opinion is much better organised of our Italian airports and there I could find, both during the outward journey and during the return trip, some people that have asked me if I needed help.
Then the planes are much more comfortable than the charter carriers (which until that moment I had used), not only for the much wider space between the seats, but most of all for the good service of the crew and for the rich individual screens (sets on the back of every seat) fully functional and full of proposals in order to pass the time on board.
The food was delicious and varied and it could even satisfy the most demanding palates. The only drawback: the waiting time is a bit too long in Doha for the transfer of the second leg of the flight; sometimes this wait might be really heavy in the case of traveling with young children. Despite this, the experience with Qatar Airways is absolutely memorable.
Etihad, you are cheaters
#Etihad_worst_Airlines_ever My nightmare started when I booked a round trip ticket from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt, and since not sure about the return I booked it refundable and paid extra charge, when I requested a refund, they refused and denied that option and when asked them about the extra charge I've paid, they simply answered "you lost it too". They simply let you do the purchase process and pay more for fake product, “BEWARE”
Aavun Spa lies in the South of the island, in a very quiet and secluded beachfront, next to the sports field.
When you arrive, you find an open area surrounded by huge trees, including the largest banyan tree in the resort.
In this area there are some umbrellas covered with palm leaves, sun loungers and a structure consisting of several small rooms, with a sort of living room-entrance to the Center, where there are tables and chairs.
One day two girls, who work at the Spa, did a walk along the beach, in the water's edge, presenting and offering to guests the opportunity to try one of their facials or body, based on natural ingredients such as papaya, coconut and cucumber. They explained that each of their treatments and massages had a specific property: it could be relaxing, rejuvenating, curative, beneficial for the soul as well as for the body, for the face or feet, to improve body metabolism or to achieve an inner balance.
Why don't I try? I would have just wanted to relax the muscles of my back, often contracts and aching throughout all the year, specially during winter. I could choose a time between 10 am and 8 pm. I chose 10 am o'clock , two days later.
Lying on the bed, I was massaged by expert hands with fragrant coconut oil and lime for fifty minutes abundant (for my personal comfort and privacy, every part of my body, that was not treated, was covered with a white cloth), and I came out as new, relaxed and regenerated.
Despite she looked like a young girl, the therapist who followed me has proven to be really prepared and professional.
Experience to be repeated!
Reef and snorkeling
This year we came to Biyadhoo for two weeks during the first half of July, which we knew to be a period a bit at risk as weather conditions. In fact, during our entire stay, except for a couple of days, the sky was now veiled, now wet, now a bit sunny, but always windy.
The sea was so constantly agitated, and therefore not recommended for snorkeling outside the reef. Luckily there was an area where the sea was always extraordinarily calm: at south-east of the island, starting immediately after the pier, between passage 7 and passage 1. So for almost the entire duration of our stay , twice a day, even in the rain (see photo), we snorkeled in that area, back and forth, or in the lagoon at west, when the waves calmed down a bit. After a week snorkeling in the same area was beginning to get a bit monotonous ... luckily the fish rewarded us for such constancy with their constant and varied presence.
A rich variety of specimens, singles, in pairs or flocks accompanied us and was photographed every day. Maybe it will depend on the season (or by luck, I do not know), but we saw fewer polyps than last year, no clown triggerfish, no emperor angelfish and only one turtle (during the excursion in the reef to the west of Biyadhoo, and not photographed because it went away too quickly).
There were, however, every day wonderful, large and giant moray eels; one day a light gray moray, almost white, passed, right next to the beach, less than a meter from my feet.
On the other hand, there were more titan trigger fish, blue and striated surgeonfish, royal angelfish, butterfly fish of all kinds, fusiliers, small blacktip reef sharks that swam even in small groups at a step away from the shore and even sharks a bit more long (one meter or more) that passed fast over the reef.
This year I have seen and photographed in the lagoon a quite large porcupine ray, almost completely white, which was very well camouflaged with sand, and a titan triggerfish in low water, close to shore. In slightly deeper water above the reef, we photographed the largest Titan triggerfish seen until this moment: it could move with his teeth a piece of rock at least a couple of pounds. Sometimes then, next to the pier, we photographed a beautiful lion fish with fins that looked like fluffy feathers, a wonder!
The corals of Biyadhoo are not at maximum of their beauty, according to me. The most beautiful, large and colorful corals are on the north and west of the island. They are fairly healthy and developed at the east, while at the south they are more destroyed, white, in pieces. You can see broken and dead corals a bit in all the reef around the island, but I have also found many of them in the lagoon where we went during our excursion, in the middle of the sea at the west of the beach, next to other majestically beautiful and great formations.
I do not know what is the cause of death of all these corals, especially thinking to those in the middle of the sea...
I took a lot of photos, which I will share with you even if I think they are not as beautiful as those of last year due to the cloudiness of the sky, which took away a bit of light and color also to the green and crystal waters of sea and of lagoon.
Manta Ray snorkeling
We are snorkelers and we love all the wonderful specimens of fishes that flock to these beautiful waters, so this year we decided to forgo the usual excursions, which we have already proved in our previous visits to the Maldives, to try to do the snorkeling with the manta rays.
I have to say that the desire to do this hike I had remained in my heart since last year, when I was still a guest of Biyadhoo, towards the end of April, and on that occasion I was told that at that time no one could certainly see manta rays, because the right time would have been from the end of May onwards, until July-August. This year, then, having booked from June 30 to July 14, I should be just at the right time !!!
At the Water Sport Center there was the proposal to do a "Manta Ray snorkel" on a catamaran, for $ 50 per person, lasting about three hours; if you had not seen manta rays, you could opt for a simple snorkeling on another reef, for $ 38 apiece.
My first thought was: "But how? ... If “I do not see mantas”? I came on purpose in June to see manta rays ... .they MUST be there! "
My husband, more realistic, had commented: "You'll see that if they tell you that there is the possibility not to meet them, it means that you do not see at all."
I am the usual stubborn and I insisted howsoever to make the trip, very hopeful..... we even waited a few days to get the optimal weather conditions, according to the skipper ... and rather unfortunately my husband was right, no manta rays! We paid the reduced rate and for consolation we swam right in the lagoon that we saw from our beach in Biyadhoo, at west, and that we repeatedly had the desire to get to know.
We started with a beautiful sun and a calm sea, but given the rather moist and unstable season then the sky is a bit veiled, but without never completely change to the bad weather.
The catamaran, under the expert guidance of our skipper, was spinning very fast, alongside beautiful islands. It was the first time for us to "navigate" with a catamaran and it was really nice to be so close to the water and at the same time feel safe. We soon arrived at Manta Point and there were already two Dhoni and a pair of speed boats that slowly moved from one side to another in the area. We also wandered us for a while, then, in order not to lose the whole morning, on the advice of our skipper we gave up and went back to Biyadhoo, to snorkel in the reef near the island, to the west.
It was a beautiful reef with very large corals, a couple of moray eels, a turtle and really a lot of fish, but it had nothing to envy to those of Biya’s reef, both as a quantity which as varieties.
Conclusion: nice snorkeling, but it was a big disappointment not to have seen the mantas.
Will it be a good excuse to go back to the Maldives?!
The Coconut Bar
To relax in the evening, but sometimes even during the day, there's no better place than the Coconut Bar, not only to eat or drink something, but also to chat and laugh with the other guests of the resort, frequented by tourists of all nationalities . You do not need to dress in an elegant way, indeed, you can even go in shorts and barefoot, since the floor is sandy.
In addition to snacks and drinks of various kinds, at the Coconut Bar you can choose from a wide range of spirits and cocktails, colorful and beautiful, as well as good.
Some examples of cocktails make nice view of himself on the counter under the shed of the bar, definitely tempting with their bright colors and their beautiful decorations, including flowers (see photo). The choice is wide: the most "beautiful to see" for me is the "blue maldivian" with blue curacao among the ingredients, but very refreshing cocktails are made with fresh fruit, such as "cat Biyadhoo",with pineapple, mango and passion fruit, or the "Fruit Fantasy", made with grenadine, pineapple and fresh orange and peach juice.
My favorite cocktail was, however, the "Pina Colada" because it is little alcoholic, very refreshing and with a slight coconut flavor that I like so much. The prices are not exaggerated, for the cocktails you pay between 8 and 10 dollars, plus tax (10% + 8%).
In the bar area around the service counter there are many tables in wood and glass, surrounded by plastic chairs or upholstered chairs. Alongside this central area, long tables with wooden benches are always part of the cafe; they are arranged under the trees, near two "gazebo" with the roof covered with palm leaves.
In one of these two there are coffee tables with plastic chairs as in the area to the left, in the other there is a sort of floor a bit higher on which young people perform for two evenings a week (Tuesday and Friday) to entertain guests in a slightly different way.
A tuesday I heard two really good maldivians guys sing and play, with an international repertoire of songs; I liked them very much, but the lighting of their corner was really very poor and with flashing lights, so I could not take photos. On a Friday, a group of nine boys allowed us to watch and listen the typical maldivian songs and dances (bodu-beru), to the sound of drums.
Unfortunately, on both occasions, the matches of the World Cup were broadcast on a giant screen at the same time in another area of the resort, so the public has been very scarce.
Pleasantly naturalistic note of bar: there are two palm trees that emerge from the roof, the roof looks pretty much built around their trunk, left intact so as not to damage them.
The restaurant at Biyadhoo
The restaurant is located in the north-west area of the island, next to the bar. It is accessed by a large paved square, which unfortunately becomes a bit slippery when it rains, crossed by a curved little street of sand.
Next to the front door there is a bulletin board, where they are exposed to the prices of drinks, special meals, information on the bar, the Spa, etc..
It is a low structure, with a roof covered with palm leaves, composed of two polygonal rooms joined by a central rectangular area, where there are tables with plates and containers of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. The two polygonal rooms, in which there are tables and chairs for guests (see photo), are not very bright, in spite of the large windows that allow you to enjoy the wonderful view of the greenery outside. The floor is tile, not sand, although I have seen many guests go equally barefoot. The atmosphere is very friendly.
When you enter a cook opens the door to welcome you with a smile. In the restaurant there is air conditioning, but never too cold, you're just fine. There are numerous waiters who follow the various tables and some of them can even speak a little in Italian.
In the morning breakfast is international, with a little salty things (chicken sausage, white oats, fried eggs, omelettes of your choice cooked at the moment, toast, pancakes, baked beans with a red sauce, baked potatoes ...) and a bit of sweet things (small croissants of five or six shapes with different fillings, even if the dough seems to me to be always with the same flavor, honey, jam, butter, fruit, maple syrup ...) . Surely everyone will find something to satiate themselves thoroughly, though I think there is a great assortment of salty things, but not of fruit (usually two different types of fresh fruit, but sometimes even fruits in syrup). The waiter brings to guests tea, coffee and hot milk, and two varieties of juices and cold milk can be taken also by three self-service dispenser next to which there are large bowls with corn flakes and other cereals (see photo) .
Among the dishes in buffet there is not a big difference between lunch and dinner. In a table shaped like a boat, on the right, you can find different baskets with various types of sandwiches (the sandwiches are a softness and a unique flavor, they are really delicious !!!), large bowls (at least eight) with finely sliced raw vegetables or with mixed salads and then there are smaller bowls with olive oil, sauces and condiments (see photo). Next to this table there is always a chef if you need a vegetable soup.
In the central table, rectangular, there are dishes and seven containers with hot food: in the first container there is always rice, white or with vegetables, in the second container it is generally put the chicken (or other meat) cooked with curry, in the third different vegetables but always prepared with spicy sauces. At the bottom of the table, at "head of the table" there is always the container with the pasta (penne, fusilli or spaghetti), cooked with sauces every day different. The pasta is often cooked too much, but we must not forget that we are not in Italy!
On the other side of the table are then the meat (beef, chicken, pork, lamb ... with various sauces, not too spicy), which unfortunately is very often tough, then the fish (always tuna, cooked in a different way, always good, ... but always tuna), and potatoes (roasted, boiled, mashed, with parsley ...) or other vegetables.
The third and final table, boat-shaped, has small plates for dessert, fresh fruit (we got almost always watermelon, pineapple, oranges and apples, rarely smallish bananas) and desserts. These are so beautiful and inviting that it is difficult to resist to tasting of a nibble for type. For me, the soft desserts and puddings win for goodness. The mousse (like last year) are really not to be missed.
I just do not like spicy foods, but despite this I have always found everything that I wanted to stop eating. That said, and adding that I do not come to the Maldives "to eat", I have to admit that the cuisine of Biyadhoo does not give a large selection for those who have difficult tastes and is quite monotonous and repetitive (without wanting to speak about the meat which, apart the chicken, is often hard to cut and chew).
Something different is on Fridays, or on some other feast day, when the cook prepares the omelette with ingredients of your choice, or skips the pasta in the pan for you , or prepares special sandwiches (especially for children), and among the bowls of the vegetables, rolls with vegetables are added, meatballs with excellent fish and potatoes, boiled and fried eggs (good!)
I saw that the chefs pay particular attention to children, always trying to satisfy their demands.
I must say, however, that between strengths and weaknesses, the quality/price ratio of this resort is really great
I agree with what reiterated a friend of Lugano, known at Biyadhoo in this year, who said: "There is someone who says that a person goes to Biyadhoo only if he has no pretensions .... I have a LOT of pretensions, but they aren’t about the food!"
Return to Biyadhoo: Welcoming
Upon completion of the inspection operations at the airport in Male in a very short time and collected your luggage, which almost dropped out first in five minutes I procured at the shop of Dhiraagu a recharge for Maldivian sim, which I already had, and we headed to the bench to our tour operator
Here we came up just a little bit of anxiety, because the bench was empty and I could not see anyone around. Actually I was expecting to see someone holding a sign of recognition from the airport exit, something that had not happened ..... to make a long story short, the person in charge of our tour operator was moving towards the exit of the terminal when we were already removed and was waiting for us there, while we were already at his desk waiting for him!
Luckily everything has been fixed in short, and in the rain we headed towards the fast boat that was waiting for us: in addition to the members of the crew were only and a girl who worked for one of the many tours operator of the airport.
We started under gray skies and a light rain, the sea looked just agitated, without annoying waves to disrupt or delay our trip. The colors of the sea were not as bright as in sunny days, but the incredible green colour of the Maldives was anyway everywhere you looked.
In 35 minutes we arrived to "our" Biyadhoo.
We were greeted on the pier from in charge of the reception, who offered us a refreshing towel, fresh from the refrigerator, and a coconut filled with its milk , to sip with a straw while we filled a form for the resort.
Through this module she has discovered that for us this was the fourth experience in the Maldives, and the second to Biyadhoo ... in the afternoon, to thank us that we gave preference to this resort for the second time, she did us to find in your room a bottle of wine with two glasses and a basket of fresh fruit.
I did not expect a reception so special and I was really surprised.
Walking through the narrow streets of Biyadhoo it was a bit like coming home .... "Look, last year this was not there .... here it is like before ... our palm! There's more! .... And what are they building here? ....
Like a lot of you probably already know, the rooms are not in bungalows, but in buildings with two floors (ground floor and first floor). Each building has 8 rooms on the ground floor (with veranda) and 8 rooms on the first floor (with balcony), which is accessed by a central staircase wide enough. Near the entrance there is a center tap to rinse their feet from the sand, if one so wishes. On the sides of each building a passage between the green allows you to get to the beach from the narrow street that runs along the inside of the island.
The four rooms at the ends of the buildings are larger than the other and have at least three beds. The buildings are six, three on the west side of the island, three on the east side, all facing the sea and all with high trees in front of the hide at the sight of the boats that may pass near the resort.
Of course I cannot say that all rooms are the same in Biyadhoo, having known only my room, this year the number 82, just below the one I occupied last year, the number 90,in the last building on the west side of the resort . I state that in April I wrote an email to the address of the resort found on the internet, asking for a room in this building, if it were possible, maybe upstairs to have more privacy. I was satisfied for the building, not the plan, but in view of the positive experience this year was much better as well. Being on the ground floor, in fact, I could go out to the sea from the veranda without locking the door and then take the key in my bag next to the beach bed; it took me a moment to go to sunbathe or swim, and the same to get back into the room.
The room was very spacious with three beds, but there were also four (in fact, I noticed among the guests of the resort also a german family with three children, approximately 2, 5 and 8 years old) . The beds were very comfortable, we slept really well!
There were two bedside tables with a drawer, a shelf and a lamp, and a table with chairs and two drawers, a large mirror on the wall with a shelf below, a small round table with two armchairs, a large shelf to support our two suitcases and a waste paper basket. The closet was closed by a lattice. In the closet there was room for a small fridge with well-stocked minibars, a shelf with some snacks, two bottles of wine, glasses, two cups, a kettle and some tea bags to make tea; then there were other shelves to store what you wanted, a drawer and a large enough space with a pole that held a number of hangers. The room was equipped with two adapters for the electric current. In the room there was finally the unit for the air conditioning and the bathroom door.
The bathroom had a large shower, wc, wash basin with large mirror, hairdryer, another basket. Everything was always very clean (the room was remade twice a day, with daily change of all towels, including those of the sea), but definitely all very dated, from the floors to the walls of the room ,the wc (dripped continuously unloading), the sink (if you emptied the Bowl all at once, the pipe under wafted). If someone goes into a resort expecting to find all nice and new, should not choose Biyadhoo. We knew as were the rooms and frankly they were so well for us, we knew that the cleaning was very accurate and that you slept just fine. If I could I would go back quietly tomorrow! Oh, I forgot to add that sometimes some big ant walked in the room, or some insect clambered on the walls, or a tiny gecko could pass under the door ... but we really did not give trouble.
Finally we had the veranda: it was equipped with two chairs, a coffee table with an ashtray, a kind of wooden drying rack ... and a bucket with water to rinse your feet from sand to return from the sea. Everything was functional and clean everything!
How to pass the time at Biyadhoo?
If a person is active and a lover of the sea and nature, at Biyadhoo he is not in danger of getting bored. First of all, for diving lovers there is the Diving Ocean, which offers fantastic diving (from what I heard) with very prepared instructors. You can see from the map, that I inserted between the photos, where are diving points that are proposed (at least for the period when we were on the island): there are both inside and outside of the atoll, and you can also see where is the manta point for the sighting of Manta Rays, of course, during the period of their passage.
We haven't taken advantage of the Diving Ocean, because we aren’t divers, and so we preferred snorkeling , which practically can be done throughout the course of the day outside the reef around the island or in the lagoon. There are fish in abundance, and time flies when you are swimming in an aquarium.
If you prefer other activities, there is the Water Sports Center, which offers you the opportunity to make courses of windsurfing and catamaran, or rent equipment for canoeing, windsurfing, catamaran sailing or simply fins and mask. Of course it also offers snorkeling trips, sailing, for sighting of manta rays and / or sharks and much more.
Instead the resort offers the classic hikes of each village: fishing at sunset, a visit to a local village with shopping, the barbeque on a desert island, dolphin sighting, the opportunity to visit two islands into a single output (another resort and a local village), the excursion to Malé and fishing in the morning.
This year we have focused on snorkeling and we gave up both the exit for fishing at sunset (which is usually my husband’s preferred), that other excursions. We have therefore chosen to experience the thrill of snorkeling with manta rays.
I saw that the Water Sports Center asks a certain amount of money honestly if you encounter manta rays during the excursion, a reduced price and a simple snorkeling in another reef if the meeting does not take place; also in case of uncertain sea or unfavourable forecast the hike is postponed.
If you just do not want to do water activities, there is not much to do in Biyadhoo, because the animation in the resort is practically non-existent ... the maximum you can play a game of cards at the bar, or watching something on the unique TV that is in the reception (apart from a giant screen which I'll discuss later), or to read a good book, taken from a discreetly well-stocked library, which is at the reception on a desk next to the TV. This library is basically composed of various books (and some old magazine) which were left to the resort by passing tourists, so there are books in all languages and approximately divided according to language. There are also some books in Italian; the majority is of course composed by books in the English language.
Adjacent to the homes of Maldivians who work on the island, this year we have "discovered" a giant screen, usually used by Maldivians to listen to the local news or other programs, but also valuable for tourists, who enjoyed in the company the matches of the World Cup.
We did not know the existence of this screen, until we were lured into that area by rumors that were exulting ... for a goal! .... I do not tell you the happiness of my husband and all those who, football fans, were suffering at the thought of losing the matches of their national teams!
The area was covered with a green tarp, for shelter in case of rain, and it was equipped with rope hammocks all side by side as armchairs, with the addition of plastic chairs on the occasions of particular crowding.
If you are looking for a resort that offers gym or other types of activity, do not choose Biyadhoo (it is true that there is a sports field, but to be honest I've seen use it only by Maldivians), but if you want peace and quiet, far from noise and confusion, then this place is just what you need!
The heart of the island and the beaches
Already alongside the sunbeds on the beach you can see some sample of micro-jungle which occupies part of the interior of Biyadhoo. There are groups of bushes and shrubs so thick that it is impossible to see inside where the maldivian white-breasted waterhens hide their nests, for example. I could hear the peep, like a chatter, of their small black chick, but I have never been able to locate the nest, hidden among the tangled branches of adult plants, the young seedlings growing, the coconuts almost marches on the ground with other large woody seeds, fallen from large trees that provide shade to most of the beds, and the dry leaves which cover everything like a soft carpet.
Among the buildings with the rooms and the sea there are huge trees which offer shade and protection to men and animals. It's gorgeous and majestic a huge banyan tree in front of the first building at the west side, very similar to the even bigger which is located next to the Spa, and are gorgeous also the tall palm trees, that can be seen almost all over the island.
Behind the buildings there are tidy gardens, flanking a narrow road that does all the way around the island. In these gardens and along the road you can find a great variety of flowers (see photo) and tropical plants.
Every street and every passable space is routinely swept and cleaned by a bevy of maldivian women who collect with care each leaf or other thing, fallen during the day and the night before.
Turning to the island you can see, here and there, small wooden signboards planted in the ground with a stake, to remember anniversaries, meetings, birthdays ... of some guests of the resort. Maybe someone appreciates them, but I personally do not like them at all, they seem to me too much some gravestones ...
Behind the narrow road that goes around the island, there are the dwellings of the Maldivians engaged in the resort, warehouses, a very nice and well-kept mosque, a football field, all quite hidden by a small jungle with many banana trees, palms of various types and many other tropical plants of which I do not know the name.
Unfortunately, we must also say that we found a very unpleasant area in the heart of the island: a large garbage dump of various kinds (rubble, pieces of plastic pipes and other materials, empty bottles, household appliances and other)... of course in an area not reserved to tourists.
This year, on the occasion of the World Cup, the guests have also found and enjoyed a space with hammocks and chairs placed in front of a large screen, next to the homes of Maldivians, with whom they have been able to follow the games live.
Bar, lounge area, restaurant, are located quite close to the sea, in the north-west of the island, the reception is next to the pier in the east and the Spa in the southeast, close enough to the sea.
I have to do a separate discussion for beaches, because I found that they were different, compared to last year. I do not know if the change is only a seasonal matter (in fact last year I was in Biyadhoo in April, this year in July), but in the west side the beach was very small, compared to last year, closer to at least 2-3 meters. Even after a storm, which had dug a stair at least half a meter in the shoreline, at some places the beds stayed just there, narrow near the vegetation.
At the east side, in front of the buildings, the changes were not evident, because in that area there are some concrete slabs that slide down to the water. Next to the pier, going to north, the beaches seem more spacious, and this change is most noticeable when you proceed towards the bar, in front of which there is now definitely a beautiful wide beach.
At the south side of Biyadhoo a sad fact happened this year, on July 6. There was a beautiful palm tree that stretched long on the beach in the direction of Villivaru: it was really nice, super photographed by me last year and again this year, although at the beginning of my stay I found it worn, with the leaves a bit yellow... on July 6, during one of my usual morning walks, I found it broken, falling miserably with the tuft of leaves in the sea. I was really sorry, as if the palm had been a little mine
Positive note: every morning all beaches are thoroughly cleaned and fucked by maldivian guys, who collect leaves, any garbage brought by the sea or abandoned by "distracted" tourists, and everything can spoil the beauty of beach; then every evening they go to check that sunbeds are all far away from the water, in order to avoid that during the night a possible storm drags them into the sea.
Animals in Biyadhoo
Who's going to Biyadhoo to spend a holiday does not believe to meet only fish or other aquatic creatures!
For a start there are the very nice Maldivian small hens. This year I got a surprise, or rather two, with them: they have become much more brave than last year, and I've met her with a small chick! Already on the first day of my stay she crossed in a hurry the sand in front of my beach chair with a tiny and all black chick ! And then, for all the fifteen days of my stay, with them it was a kind of soap opera ... one day you felt the chick cheeping loudly, and you could see the mother, or rather both parents, who returned at full speed from him, or both were next to my crib for crumbs, which they put into the beak of their small chick …an incredible tenderness! They were so beautiful! And they have become more brave because last year I had to run after them (so to speak) to photograph, but this year I saw one that rose on the beach chair of a tourist (see photo) to steal a piece of brioche, which then she went to eat from his hand.
Then there are the hermit crabs: I do not know if you call all in this way, but there are different types of hermit crabs with different shapes like shell, and a species of crab inside. I've photographed them in different colors and sizes. One in particular has really left me speechless: near the spa, next to the driveway that surrounds the island, among the dry leaves I saw a big white plastic cap move ... a big crab had chosen it as a dwelling !!!! (see photo) How sad! I do not know whether it is the result of animal adaptation to our pollution, but it made me really pain!
Then there are the cats, at least a dozen, all skinny and hungry. The invitation of the resort is not to feed the cats, but how do you do when they run behind you meowing in that tone of supplication?!? There is a large male cat with a white collar, that some German friends have deemed to have eaten the black chick for a couple of days, until the little "Calimero" has been revised in the company of the hen mother, then there is a female small cat, all white and very nice, some white and gray puppies, which always are near to the buildings to the east, other cats of various ages often curled up in the leaves near the Spa ... at the edge of the trees on the last day of my stay I saw a big mouse (maybe there are cats for this reason?) and tourists have seen one in the mouth of a heron.
This year there are also two parrots, which sometimes whistle near the diving, locked in a large cage (poor parrots!)
Of course you can meet herons, as in every Maldivian island, which have learned to live with tourists and are the protagonists of many photos in each album.
On the trunks or on the ground sometimes you can see small iguanas, or big lizards with bulging eyes and reddish belly, very shy and harmless animals
There are various species of birds, it is difficult to see them in the micro-jungle that is inside the island, but they feel their verses and their modulated whistles more or less acute.
In the corridors out of the room at night, you encounter many geckos, very shy and fond of insects (maybe manage to eat them all!)
In the south of the island last year, in every evening, you could see fruit-bats, ... are still there, but this year they moved to large trees to the west.
Lastly, there are insects, especially large ants, also in the room (just don't make us case). I have seen and heard very few mosquitoes, not least because it seems to me they often go to disinfest, towards evening, not to create inconvenience to tourists …
What can I say?... for animal lovers like me, you can not surely complain !!!!
Shopping in Biyadhoo
Every time I go on vacation to a far place, one of my recurring thoughts is: "What could I bring home to my grandchildren as a souvenir?"
Well, entering the small but well-stocked shop at the resort you'll be spoiled for choice.
The little shop of souvenirs is located next to the bar, adjacent to the restaurant. Really a side with window of the restaurant is BETWEEN the two rooms that make up the shop (see photo)
The two rooms are small, but provided with a little bit of everything. In the left one there are more things for kids or products of local handicraft, in the other there are a lot of pareo, shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, necklaces, perfumes, creams and sun oils, slippers for sea , hats, bags, costumes, masks, fins, ... there is even a sewing machine (for emergency repairs, I suppose).
I was not interested in clothing, or creams, so I focused more in the first of two small rooms. Multicolored wooden fishes, small and large ones, are proudly displayed in the window next to the illustrated books on the Maldives and the tabs on the fishes.
The wooden fishes are the most versatile in their use: you may see them on the ends of pencils, as toe cover, on key chains, bracelets, ornaments, glued on magnets... Then there are fish in special rubber: on their packaging I read that, if I put them into water for some hours, they can enlarge up to 600%! (I bought these for my grandchildren). For the girls there are necklaces, bracelets, earrings made with shells ...and other coloured things!
Of course you can also find postcards and stamps, small drums of various shapes and sizes, wooden statues, colorful distractions for babies, frames, boxes, posters, vases, paintings on paper, ashtray etc.
I am convinced that, if you go shopping to the island of fishermen, you could find a much larger range of products to ignite your imagination and fulfill your desires, but I can say that in the little shop of Biyadhoo the prices are definitely not exaggerated. I can not compare those prices with identical items purchased elsewhere, but the same little rubber fishes that I bought in Biyadhoo for $ 7 (plus 1.26 dollars for tax), at the airport in Male costed $ 10, then ... excellent the shopping in Biyadhoo !!!
I am reluctant to write a review.. I want to keep the place secret so no one goes and they will never be full and I can go whenever I please.
I was told to delete everything I saw before in Maldives and for the two days I was there.. I did.
Having lived in the country a while, I have seen resorts from 3* to 5*+, I have seen local islands, guest houses, Male’ and its surrounding islands and I cannot compare Fuvahmulah to anything I have seen here in Maldives. It is, as they say ‘Uniquely Different’.
I travelled alone and felt perfectly safe, I can’t agree with the comment that the staff are more focused on Honeymooners and couples.
Flights are now twice daily, some via Gan, I flew with Flyme and as always cannot fault the service. The flight was approximately 1hr and as you approach Fuvahmulah you understand the one island, one atoll concept. There is literally nothing around. You can’t see other resorts, local islands with communication masts, it’s completely isolated and in the middle of nowhere. I think this explains the community feel on the island. They have to rely on each other and be self sufficient.
The welcome I received was ‘Welcome Home’ and I am already planning to be welcomed back home before the end of the year.
The staff are a strong team, they are all from 5 star resort backgrounds so are keen to give the best service and a luxury feel what is in fact a local island. They have their heads screwed on and are focused on giving the best service and are genuinely proud of their island. Sadly some aspects of Maldives for me now feel greedy. Viluxer was a refreshing change, they are all so driven to showcase
The emails prior to my visit were handled by Thasneef and my ‘host’ during the stay was Zafar with Lonu as my designated driver, I think without these people, my stay would not have been the same.
I was treated to a tour around the island… shown every beach, lake, heritage site possible.. I think two days were nowhere near enough.
They are trying at the moment to get an area of beach to be used for their guests, this would be an advantage but I also like that the island is not ‘touristy’ at all. Viluxer Retreat is one of three properties there so far, two opening very soon. They are similar, good quality décor and such a strong team working together that I cannot imagine how these guys will not make a success of it.
The room was better than many resorts I have stayed, the bed was like sleeping on a cloud. There was AC, a safe, TV, small mini bar fridge, tea & coffee, rain shower and free wifi. The room was serviced twice a day. There were fresh local fruits in the room. Fuvahmulah is growing a lot of its own produce any almost every house had it’s own mango tree.
For the active, the guys love surfing and diving so would be happy to keep you entertained. They have excursions and dining options too. I was very well looked after by their chef, Luthufee. On a local island you start to expect the same kind of food but they are really lucky to have him onboard and he made every meal a banquet!
Overall, the stay was unforgettable. After being here a while, I didn’t think I could still be wow’ed. The people make this place stand out and the effortless service makes you feel like you are in a 5* resort on local island prices.
I urge anyone thinking to visit to just go and see for yourselves.
Anyone with questions about this new destination just ask!
Flying with Emirates, a unique experience
I flew twice in my life with Emirates Airlines, always in Economy Class, but I must say that the service, entertainment system and meals were first class.
It called my attention the great variety of nationalities of the members of the crew, which gives the possibility of talking with them in your own language without needing always to use english language.
New Dubai´s airport terminal is very good and you can find there many different services and also the Duty Free is very complete, and, if you need support or guidance, the staff there was very friendly.
I strongly reccomend flying with Emirates if you are planning to travel to Maldives.
Value for money
We were met at the airport by our travel agent office staff.The boat ride was a quick 15 minutes away. They did not insist that we put on the life jacket but it was placed in front of the boat.
On arrival, we were met by a staff who gave us a paper towel and a small glass of welcome drink. It was such a hot day that the glass of drink was really good. We were then given a short briefing on the Resort's Dos and Don'ts.
Less than half and hour later, our rooms were ready. We were lead to the room by the same guy who welcomed us at the front desk. Funny thing was, as we were walking to the room and chatting with him, he suddenly said our room was just ahead and told us to proceed on our own!! It was easy to find ( not straight ahead but we had to take a left turn) so no problem.
Our deluxe room had the biggest toilet that we have ever seen in a resort!, there was an enclosed area for shower- huge, can easily accommodate 6 people! Next to it was a long bath and next to it is the powder area with the the toilet bowls etc. It has tiles on the wall and floor . Basic but very clean and functional.
We had a living area just as we came in. Two armchair and a long chair, the wooden kind. Quite comfortable but the tv is placed in front of the bed so you cannot really see the tv when you are seated at the living area. No partition between the living area and the room. We had two single beds joined together. Huge bed but bed was just average. Sheets were clean. Two huge pillows each and a side desks by the bed too. A wooden cupboard for you to put your stuff, came with some hangers as well.
Outside the balcony there are two chairs and a rack for you to dry your wet clothes. It was quite good as the clothes dry fairly quickly in the hot weather. The only complain was when we hang out some clothes to dry,thousands of ants appeared and started crawling on that particular item. Funny thing was the ants only appeared to like that item. After removing that item, the ants disappeared into a hole in the rack!!
The island is small enough for you to walk around and explore the place. There were at least two great spots for swimming and snorkeling. The house reef is quite close to shore so great for those not so good swimmers. Since this is June, the water can be rough in the afternoon. Apart from that the weather was great for the days we were in Bandos.
There is also a recreation centre in the middle of the island. There is a gym there. It is a fairly well equipped. No problem getting on the equipment of your choice cos it was fairly empty when we were there. There was also a children's club and play area.
We had a great deal from our local travel agent for our stay in Bandos. If there are similar deals in future we will most likely come to Bandos again. According to the brochure there are also free classes conducted on certain days of the week by professionals. There is also an excursion room for you to book all the excursions, like dolphin cruise, night fishing etc. the staff there are friendly and was able to assist with our queries.
Find what you are looking for...