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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.
Sumptuous ! Delicious!
We were on half board and we chose to have breakfast and dinner. Both were buffets in the main restaurant. Food was really fresh and tasty. For breakfast, there were cereals, fruits, hot stuff, egg station,, etc and most importantly drinks! Yes, this is the only time when drinks are served with a meal. Even though we were each given a 500ml of mineral water each day, at all times in the resort you have to pay for your drinks, even if it was just plain mineral water.
Dinner was sumptuous! We particularly like the pastries..I know some one had reviewed at TA and said that the pastries were nothing to shout about but for the 4 nights that we had our dinner there the pastries were good. The honeycomb cheese cake and banana crumble were really good. We talked to some of the staff and were told that they used quality ingredients for their pastries. One night we had lamb kebabs, this was good depending if you have a just cooked one or one that was overheated too long at the chef station. It went very well with the sauce that they were serving,
There were usually at least 3 types of fruits served with dinners. One night we had dragon fruits, the red and white ones,. We also had pink guava, pomegranates and pomelo to name a few.. It is so much better than to see the usual, apples and oranges. Ok, this is a personal choice, some may prefer the usual fruit. Anyway Well done to the kitchen
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.
Saw dolphins but still abit disappointed
Set off in a big boat with many people. There were three boats that set off together. We met at the Sand Bar at 4.15pm. Some one took attendance to make sure people who had signed up were there.
There were many small kids in our group. We boarded a big boat with many people. We sat outside the covered seat. Initially was a bit concern about the young kids. Later the staff gave life jacket to the kids. The boat went very fast and it was enjoyable ride with the wind blowing on our faces. About 20 minutes into the ride , some people started shouting and clapping and we saw dolphins quite far away leaping out from the water. The boat then moved In a slower pace to catch up with the dolphins. We could see the dolphins at some distance. Actually there were quite a lot of them but not many jumped out of the water. I guess we are so used to dolphins shows with dolphins jumping up and down all the time, that seeing so many of them just swimming around was not so exciting.
Then the boat crew handed out some nice cooling sparking juice to all of us. Did not expect this so was quite a pleasant surprise.
Good trip but could have been more enjoyable if the dolphins were more cooperative.
Good experience for first Club Med stay
This was our first Club Med stay. We have read about the village concept and the GOs (Gentle organizers) and guest being the GMs (Gentle members )!! It certainly met our expectations of what we know about Club Med. Generally all the GOS were very helpful and friendly. Two GOs joined us for dinner on the first day. Subsequently when we met them throughout our stay, we were greeted like old friends ..that was nice.
Our Family Club bungalow was clean but far from the main activities area. A third bed was 'added', a thin mattress over a sofa. Bed was firm and comfy. The sheets were clean but not changed daily. Would have been nice to see the beach from the bed, lying down but view was blocked by vegetation. You could heard the waves though..no complaints. No wifi at all from the room. To get wifi, you need to be in the main reception area. The receptionists were more than willing to give you slips of papers with id and password for you to log into their wifi. The wifi connection is however limited to that area. Please note that even if you have bought a local SIM card from the airport shops, you cannot get any connections in the room. This is not Club Med's issue but do note if you intend to do surfing at the beach. No sure if this is common across all the islands.
There is no hair dryer in the room. For long hair guests, a hair dryer would be nice. There is a bottle of shampoo, a bottle of body lotion and a bottle of shampoo. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste. Towels are provided in the pool area and in the Gymnasium. The Gym faces the beach so instead of the usual TV, you look at the sea. However the equipments are not state of the art!
Ate all buffet meals from the main restaurants. Had variety and changes everyday for the main meals. There were some sand flies in the restaurant which was troublesome. Lots of fruits to choose from, which was good.
Attended the yoga lesson at the beach, which was cool. Everyone sat on an exercise mat and did the yoga on the beach facing the setting sun..The aqua gym at the pool was a blast too. Sailing with the GO was fun and informative!
Excursion..went on the glass bottom boat! Four of us were totally sea sick. Maybe the timing was too early, could have been scheduled later so that our breakfast was digested. Would have been good if we were reminded that for some people it may caused sea sickness. One lady was totally sick less than 5 min into the trip.
Great stay. Would recommend to those who just need a break and do nothing except swimming and snorkeling. Note that for the current season,the sea is rough and not advisable to swim if you are not a strong swimmer. You can only kayak in the morning only.
At the end of June we return to the Maldives!! I did not expect to be able to go back to that paradise this summer, I had a serious problem in my family, and instead ........ so I started with a visit to the websites of the most famous airlines, and especially those that had flights from Venice.
Last year I flew for the first time with Qatar Airways, and especially for the first time with scheduled flights. Before, if we had to make a journey to distant countries, we relied more on charter flights, and then we had to go to the nearest airport (Milan ). But to go to Milan from Venice also involves time and cost of parking and highway, in addition to hours to go in the car, very tiring especially on the way back because we were exhausted.... long story short, we found that it is very convenient a booking scheduled flights from Venice a few miles from home! So I immediately tried to document on prices and any offers of the moment... and the choice fell on Turkish Airlines. I had read good reviews about this airline, and then I said "why not try?" . The price then was quite lower than Qatar and the Emirates Airline, and then I booked... starting June 29th !
It was towards the end of March and I booked the flights for both the outward and the return (of course) and seating for arrival.... but for the return anything! In the site appeared an inscription explaining that I was able to book the seats for the return only from 6th April... ! After April the 6th sometimes I tried to book those seats in the site of the Turkish Airlines, but I did not succeed ever. In mid-May, however, (it was a Saturday night) I have lost patience a little and I wrote an e-mail to the information office of the Turkish Airlines in Venice, wondering to them how to reserve those seats for the return flight, and with the same opportunity I was wondering even though in the airport in Istanbul I would find someone who spoke Italian, to get information on transit in case of difficulty.
The next day (a Sunday!) I had the response: I had the seats booked from the assistant of Venice's Turkish airlines (and she wrote to me which numbers) and if I wanted he could grant me assistance free of charge for the transit in the Ataturk Airport. After two e-mail for further information, all written within two days (and thus without long waits for answers), I have also had the free assistance for transit. Good, good, good! That's efficiency! For the moment I can only be happy with my choice of airline, now I look forward to the journey itself, then I will update you on other aspects of the flight!
Our flight from Istanbul, with reported five minute delay, is instead started with a delay of approximately half an hour, which he held until the arrival in Male. Aside from that, the rest of the trip was really great.
The very large aircraft (a 330), with seats arranged in rows of 2, 4, 2 seats, had a space between the seats rather large for me, which are low in stature, but not exaggerated for people with long legs (see photo). The screen placed in front of each seat worked perfectly and it was full of proposals to pass the time. After choosing the language (8 languages including 4 European but not Italian), appeared a screen that brought you 6 choices: the discovery of Turkish Airlines, Applications, Customer Service, Frequent-flyer program, Entertainment, Internet (which was empty).
Applications and Entertainment were definitely the two choices that I preferred. Among all the Applications I found very interesting flight informations, with the camera that allowed me to see live images that I would have seen from the cockpit (I followed both the departure from Istanbul that landing in Male '), and the map, with which every now I checked on which point of the trip we had arrived.
Also interesting was the "phone", with which you could either call on Earth a person, using a credit card, either call other people occupying the seats. The "entertainment" offered hundreds of proposals with which to pass the time, choosing between audio tracks of various kinds, games for young and old (for the mind, logic, mathematics, for memory, with cards, puzzles .... ) movies taken from TV series, documentaries, films for adults and children, cartoons ....
Just boarded we found on each seat a soft pillow, a light blanket and earphones to listen to the programs offered. Immediately after a flight attendant gave everyone a pretty tin box, containing a kit consisting of a pair of non-slip socks, earplugs, eyes bandage, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip cream.
The trip was absolutely quiet, with no turbulence, I was also able to get some sleep.
We were served a very good meal at a choice between two proposals: I preferred grilled chicken breast with mixed vegetables, rice pudding with pears; my husband chose the rigatoni. Before arrival to Male we also received breakfast (see photo of menu, if anyone is interested).
Every now and then I raised the "window" to look out: even in the dark of night you could see on the horizon the red dawn still far away, which contrasted with the dark silhouette of the plane's wing, an exciting spectacle, but never as seeing again, after a few hours, the atolls of the Maldives, then the islets, the resorts, the green lagoons .... what wonder, we had arrived in paradise!!!
…but… that bad landing in the rain in Male!
After a long queue to check-in at the airport of Male (due to my "unfortunate" request for assistance during transit at the airport in Istanbul in the first leg, also for the return I was refused the online check-in!), we boarded on time under a light rain. We left at 23:40, with the dark you could not see anything in the beautiful landscape of the Maldives seen from above, so I spent the most time of the first leg of the flight (seven and a half hours) sleeping, watching cartoons animated or check in the "Applications" at which point of the flight we were on the map ....
The plane was, as for the first leg, a 330, so large and comfortable, the staff friendly, with an eye towards young children, to whom was given a crib/cot opposite to the seats of the parents, where the space is wider.
Good meal and breakfast; also in this route there was provided a box full with earplugs, non-slip socks, eye bandage, etc. ...
In Istanbul, the transit was easy. There are very clear indications written in the boards arranged a little everywhere.
We arrived in Istanbul almost at dawn, under a clear sky and with a wonderful view of the city still illuminated by the lights of the night below us.
I noted with great pleasure that the checks at the airport in Istanbul are very accurate. While waiting for the next transit to our gate, in the gate beside the staff was embarking passengers bound for London: passports were often also checked by an expert equipped with a magnifying eyepiece and camera.
Also the second part of the flight, to Venice, is spent in the best way : flight on time, seats like by reservation in Italy, good breakfast.
While we were flying over Croatia, we had under us a carpet of white clouds so dense as to seem of cotton, a dazzling spectacle. Flying over Istria then we could recognize around Pula areas that we frequent regularly, almost every year; it was really nice, how exciting it was to revise the Emilian and Venetian coast, shortly before arrival in Venice .... and already thinking back nostalgically to the beautiful lagoon of Biyadhoo, what we were doing there just 24 hours before and then to dream the future and new projects for the next holiday Maldivian holiday !
My first trip with Turkish Airlines started with a little unexpected: I was not able to check-in online.
After several attempts, with an email I asked the customer service of Venice if they could clarify the reason and almost immediately they replied (very nice for the promptness!) That depended on my request for assistance during transit at Istanbul airport. Moral: if you want to check in online, do not ask for assistance (free of charge) during transits.
Luckily at the counter of Turkish Airlines the queue was one person, but next time I will not ask more such aid, also because in Istanbul it was very easy to get to our gate.
The plane arrived at the gate in Venice quite punctual, but he left with almost an hour late. We do not understand why (a storm that broke out in the meantime?), but because of this we came to Istanbul at 23:25 instead of at 22:45 (stunning vision of Istanbul all lit up at night!) .
We would have to embark at 0:05 .... I thought: "I'll have the assistance, then where's the problem?"
But no! At the exit from the terminal we found just no one to guide us!
Luckily, just before you get off the carrier, on the screen in front of the seat, I found the information about flight connections, with reporting of the boarding gate, and with that information it was really easy to find the way forward, I would never have believed it!
Ataturk Airport is really huge, crowded, with people of every ethnicity, colorful ... shame about the definitely not clean bathrooms.
Negative note of flight: the screen in front of the seat worked at times. It was full of games, movies, entertainment, but you could not send commands easily with the touch of a finger. (The plane was a 321, with seats arranged in two rows of three, a bit uncomfortable if you wanted to go to the bathroom, but it was fine the same , given the short route to go).
Positive notes: friendly staff and excellent meal, although small in quantity (delicious eggplant stuffed with chicken and vegetables with rice in tomato sauce!
looking for a doctor
The excursion to Guraidhoo did not fit in our plans but unfortunately our baby got sick and we had a bad surprise. The doctor of Rannalhi was not there. We were told at the reception that since at least 8 months he is gone and has not been replaced . In fact, in front of the clinic you will find a nice adv: if you need a doctor : contact the reception in case of need . And in the case of non-urgent needs they will transport you free to Guraidhoo , the closest island on which there is a medical clinic , in case of an emergency or serious cases instead they will establish a speedboat carrying you directly to the Male hospital . our case was not urgent and so we were told to arrive at reception the next morning at 8:30 am to take us to the doctor . In reality, we have been inserted in the excursion to island of fishermen and with other couples of tourists at 9 we left with the dhoni direction Guraidhoo . The sea was flat and it was a pleasant trip with Dhoni about 1 hour . we saw several islands along our journey . Fihalohi ( where we were going next week ) , Biyadhoo and the neighboring island on which there was a resort that was now closed, the Cocoa Island FUn and more' away Olhuveli . Once arrived we found several guides that were waiting for us , one for each room. Our guide spoke Italian and led us straight to the clinic where a friendly nurse checked us in and then the doctor has visited the child. The guide was very friendly, took us to the pharmacy for the ' local purchase of drugs ( manufactured by Glaxo , for 2 drugs cost only a few dollars). then he offered to let us visit the island .. in reality we went through a couple of streets and we were already on the square close to embarkation , where we could rest under the shade of the palm trees waiting for the tourists to visit the island . The guide stubborn made us pass right in front of shops of some of his friends who wanted to propose the purchase of any kind. Unfortunately, we did not want to make any purchase but only to return to the resort. Fortunately, the tour ended shortly after for all of us and taken back to the dhoni 's and at lunchtime we were back in Rannalhi . the island is not small, there are many houses, the chickens roam free in the courtyards , there are hammocks hanging under the palm trees , also do not miss the mosque , the school , the clinic and there is also a mental hospital . Our visit was in the pre-election period and flags were everywhere for the party of deposed president . The inhabitants thought he would be re-elected but it did not happen . the island would be nice if it was a bit' more ' clean. There is trash everywhere . empty cans , bottles, abandoned everywhere. Near the harbour they are building a 3-floors building that will become guest house with diving center, is a gray cube of concrete that clashes with the environment. Too bad because there are tall palm trees around and a beautiful beach near the pier . I hope that with this guest house and then with a greater influx of tourists, residents will find the desire to take better care of their island, which has suffered damage caused by the tsunami and is little frequented by tourists since Rannalhi is no longer run by Ventaglio Tour operator . They have the good fortune to be born in a wonderful place , sorry to see that they neglect in this way. The guide told us that once they used to build the walls of houses with corals ripped from the barrier. Fortunately, this practice is not over widespread and now the barriers are no longer massacred to build houses. This is already a major achievement . Maybe one day even the tourists will stop stepping on the barrier or break off pieces of coral and then leave before they leave home. Once back from the excursion we thought that we would be charged for the trip since we had been stuck in a group excursion. instead they were very nice and did not ask anything for this transport because they could not provide a medical service on the island . I will Talk more about the kindness of the staff of Rannalhi in the next review , but I must say that on this occasion they proved to be very friendly and helpful and they were also interested in following the state of health of the child, we have very much appreciated it.
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