Two weeks in the Maldives!
It has been in my wildest of dreams since forever to visit the Maldives and experience this magical part of the world that is truely the definition of Paradise! From flying over the islands by sea plane, swimming along side turtles and giant manta rays, eating at an underwater restaurant and waking up in an over water villa every morning, it was a truely unforgettable experience. The whiter-than-white powdery sand beaches and luminous azure sparkling waters is like nothing I've ever seen before! It is completely and utterly mesmerising.
Kyle and I were lucky enough to be invited over by Anantara to capture our own unique experience within all four of the island resorts over a two week period. The four resorts incl. Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli, Naladhu Priviate Island & Anantara Kihavah. Our first week there we stayed at Anantara Dhigu, and spent our days exploring the island and the other two resorts, Anantara Veli & Naladhu private islands, which were all situation around the same azure blue lagoon. Getting the true Maldivian experience, we were whisked away upon arrival to our gorgeous over water villa which we were staying in for the first 6 nights.
During our first week there we got to participate in some pretty incredible experiences. On our second day we took a boat out in search for dolphins and turtles. Unfortunately we didn't see any dolphins, & instead swam with some pretty cool sea turtles instead. So I wasn't complaining! They were super curious towards us, coming up close and personal; wanting to say hey.
Unfortunately it rained for two whole days during our first week there :( where we then filled our time mostly relaxing with either a spa treatment or a nice lunch by the ocean. One of my favourite things about these particular islands of Anantara, was that we were surrounded huge surf breaks - making for an exciting back drop! When the sun was out we spent most our time either paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling or just exploring different corners of the islands - and yes that is a glass bottom canoe!
All three resorts have their own restaurants that serve a wide variety of cuisines. My favourite restaurant here was Baan Huraan, the Thai restaurant situated between Veli and Naladhu. Amazing authentic dishes that leave some incredible bursts of flavours in your mouth!
If you are after a more romantic stay I would suggest staying at Veli as it offers a more romantic and intimate experience. Naladhu Private Islands is perfect if you are looking for a secluded & quiet getaway in paradise. The interior of the villas in Naladhu were by far my favourite! (see images below) Although there are no over water villas here, you have the choice of ocean front houses that face the spectacular surf surroundings.
On our sixth day we were flown by seaplane from Anantara Dhigu to Anantara Kihavah, where we would stay for the remaining 6 nights of our stay. It was my first ever experience flying by sea plane, making it one of the highlights of our trip. Up in the air, flying over the thousand tiny islands that make up the Maldives; you become completely and utterly blasé at the perfectness of the surroundings & all the resorts that have become inhabited on most of them.
Arriving at Kihavah, we instantly knew why it is one of the more luxurious and sought after resorts in the Maldives. The surroundings looked way too perfect to be real. The island was almost overcrowded with tall lush palm trees that are lined beneath with sandy paths weaving in and out - from one side of the island to the next. Arriving at your over water villa is an experience in itself! Villas almost as far as your eye can see, hovering above some of the bluest water I have ever laid my eyes on! We spent a lot of our days just relaxing at our villa, swimming off our balcony or sun baking on one of our overwater hammocks. It's hard to walk out the door when you have your own private pool backed directly into the water.
After being told that the island had one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, Kyle and I grabbed some snorkel gear and headed straight out. I, myself, have never been to the Great Barrier Reed, nor any other world heritage listed reef; so I didn't have much to compare too; but I was blown away and absolutely fascinated at the site of the coral and the huge drop off the reef boasted. All I could think whilst snorkelling around was 'I was witnessing the real life Finding Nemo :P haha!' There is a vast array of tropical fish and bizarre looking sea creatures that you'll have the pleasure of swimming along side.
Although it is a relatively small island there is so much to do and see! During our stay we indulged in a spa treatments, rode our bikes around exploring every little quaint part of the island; swam with Manta Rays; Star Gazed with the Guru himself; rode an underwater jetskii (sooo much fun!); went tube riding; dined underwater; watched a movie under the stars; and of course, drank lots of wine :P. The service we experienced during our stay was truely incredible! Not one single negative comment to make :)
Dining in SEA was truely remarkable! The marine biologists there have worked super hard to restore the reef - and boy have they done an excellent job. There is an abundance of colourful corals surrounding the restaurant that is now home to many colourful schools of fish. I was also told sea turtles, sharks and even dolphins have been spotted underneath! Whoah! It was rather mirky conditions when we were there, so not a lot of visibility. Still an incredible sight!
I honestly have soo many pictures to share with you all, but I don't want it to be too overwhelming :)
Also as promised I have answered some questions you have asked about our time in the Maldives.
What was your favourite part of the Maldives?
I would have to say the landscape and the sea life! I got to swim with turtles, manta rays, moray eels, thousands of different species of fish & witness some incredibly colourful and lively coral. Whenever you walked out of your villa you were bound to see either a small reef shark or an eagle ray swimming by.
Would I ever go back?
Of course! Once I start earning the big bucks ;)
Which resort did I stay at?
I stayed at Anantara Dhigu, Anantara Veli, Naladhu Private Island, & Anantara Kihavah. Technically I didn't sleep at Naladhu & Veli but spent a lot of time there.
How costly was the Maldives for me?
I was working on a photography job with Anantara, so I had all expenses paid for. But I was able to see how much everything cost and it was a lot! The resorts we were staying in were extremely luxurious, so not affordable for myself. Although I am sure there are other affordable resorts in the Maldives :)
What was the weather like?
Visiting in Monsoon season you are bound to be hit by some tropical storms and frequent clouds. Wegot maybe 3 full days of rain and storms, but other than that it was mostly sunny. The main downfall was that it was fairly windy most days and the water visibility wasn't great - making it hard to see whilst snorkelling. The great thing about this time of year though was being able to swim with Manta Rays. They don't migrate to the area in the high season.
What kind of work were you doing there?
Kyle and I were there working to create content for the resorts social media accounts.
Special mention to the team, Corey, Vanessa, Jess, Karl and Clare! Was a pleasure to work/meet you all :).