My last holiday review before baby! The Maldives.
My trip to Hakura Huraa before baby…
Sitting at work on a gloomy day I jumped in the deep end and booked a holiday to the Maldives on a travel agent website. What? I was miserable and it was raining! (This was the reasoning for spending £3000 I gave to my long suffering boyfriend on returning home from work. He was less than impressed until I showed him where we were going!!)
3 months later after surviving on beans, bread and rice (not all together) so we could afford to go we boarded the 11 hour flight to Male. (by the way – when typing in Male on Google to see pictures of where you are going please ensure you type in the ‘island of Male’ otherwise you get very different results!!! Not great when you have your boss waiting to see pictures of where you are going and a big willy pops up!- so to speak)
We flew with Monarch and you know what? It was ok. Ample leg room – even in economy – and good service. Im quite frightened of flying so when we do go away it has to be worth it – they were great – the entertainment was ok – other than there being no screen in your seat – and the pilot must have been good cos their were no bumps at all! Smooth sailing! I had three seats to myself because it was quiet so we just spread out! BONZA! The next step of the journey was the sea plane. Maldivian Air Taxi – sorry. Again , im a nervy flyer. No need. Smooth, amazing and the pilots are quite entertaining. They fly bare foot and seem happy. Well – you would be wouldn’t you? The plane takes about 40 minutes. But the views you see! W.O.W. – The colours are amazing. The novelty of the sea plane will just never wear off.
Landing at Hakurra the word paradise does this island no justice. Its like Paradise magnified by 100 and then X2. Crystal clear water. Blue and white. Soft soft sand – peaceful. Private – just lush. It’s a tiny island. You can walk round it in 10 mins easy. Watch out for the hermit crabs though! I stood on one – I felt so guilty I spent about 10 mins apologising and trying to find it a new shell. It was not impressed and I felt rotten all day. But that’s just me.
The weather in December on the internet said sunny. This was not strictly true. The sun certainly did not have his hat on. He was in bed in a grump. Every now and again the sun would peep out from behind the clouds but it certainly wasn’t playing. We still got uber brown though- we perfected the art of cloud bathing. The few days where the sun did grace us with its presence it was so hot we had to keep nipping inside so to be honest the clouds were a welcome sight most of the time. I would stick with factor 25 and above at first. I have olive skin courtesy of greek daddy and even in the clouds I was feeling the burn with a 25 on. My fella burnt his eyelids (go figure) with a 30 on – so for a week everyone thought I was dating a man in pink eye shadow. Not the best look.
The island is surrounded by a moat. No – not a moat – a lagoon. You see the most amazing things bobbing about.(and I don’t mean the kind of stuff you see bobbing about in blackpool) Little reef fish – big reef fish – tiger fish – lion fish – jelly fish (not so keen) – sharks ( ‘nothing to panic about madam they wont bite’ as I come running out of the lagoon screaming like a banshee), small crabs , medium crabs , crabs as big as your head, sting rays , manta rays , puffer fish and Nemo. There is just constant activity in the water and it’s fabulous. The day trips are not all inclusive. But they are well worth doing. Most prices range between 35 – 70 dollars. The snorkelling safari I strongly recommend if you’re in to that kind of thing, and even If your not I say do it. It’s incredible. For a first time snorkeler it was just amazing to see under the water. The gear is first class once you figure out how to stop it leaking and misting up – ‘spit madam – spit’. They take you to three reefs and it’s spectacular. We saw turtles and every kind of reef fish imaginable. (Well every reef fish I ever imagined – but I didn’t spend lots of time imagining so I enjoyed it).
The deep sea fishing was a hoot. In my mind I pictured us on a big white yacht with leather seats sipping champagne and looking thin (I always imagine myself looking thin) but it was a far cry away from that let me tell you – (boat wise not body mass wise) You go on a ‘Doni’. Picture a caravan on water and you’ll nearly be there. The Doni never stops moving and you are given bits of wire and gardening gloves. Funny as can be and so clever. They use fish guts as bait and you never stop moving. Everyone caught something (except one who claims he was trying not to be cruel so left them where they were). We caught a barracuda and the other couple caught a ‘big Maldivian fish’. (this was what we were told it was… ahh ok.) Word to the wise. If you get easily sea sick – deep sea fishing is NOT for you. Its like sitting on a plank of wood on a see-saw. I’ve never seen so many shades of green and that was just on my boyfriends face. Social suicide to puke over the boat. On the deep sea excursion though we also saw dolphins and two turtles giving each other a piggy back. (ahem).
The evening entertainment in the bar is great. Bingo , crab racing (funny funny funny), acrobats and DJ ranga. The music is a bit loud (and I like to think of myself as fairly young) so if you do get chatting you usually have to shout to each other. Embarrassing if you are having a private conversation and the music stops just as you scream ‘rash’. not that that happened to me you understand.
The word that springs to my mind when I think of the food is – spicy. Even having a bacon butty in the morning was blow your mouth off spicy. Figured out towards the end of the holiday the ketchup has chilli in it so that’s probably why I was gasping for water after every meal. Seriously though. The food is exquisite. So much to chose from – most cooked in front of you by the friendliest smiliest (no smelliest. Smiliest) waiting on staff ever – and for someone who gets ill from eating well done steak I was pleased to say I wasn’t ill once. They take hygiene very seriously. It was a welcome result.
There are birds everywhere too – crows – watch your food with the crows. They are not shy about nicking your donuts at snack time. (Which by the way is at 4.30 in the bar) And don’t panic too much if you hear screaming. (You’ve not been transported in to a 1960’s horror flick) it’s just the neighbourhood birds. (‘Madam calm down’)
They do dinner on the beach for 100 dollars. It’s very romantic if your boyfriend isn’t in a mood. (Only kidding honey) And definitely worth doing.
The Spa is out of this world and if you’re the kind of girl that needs pampering then walk about 3 feet from your bungalow and get pampered up duck! Pedicure manicure, aloe vera scrubs , coffee scrubs , Indian head massage (not for people who are head sore) , sweeeedish massage – lots to keep you going! And all done in amazing surroundings. However beware of coconuts falling on to the roof, they are loud and if your half way through a relaxing massage they can give you a shock (she says pushing her hernia back in).
All in all I would give this island 21 out of 10 and I would love to go again. They say it’s a three star but it’s so much more in my mind. You see I just can’t picture novotel arranging your bedding in the shape of a heart and surrounding it with flowers. I mean they might but I doubt it… There is no pool but it doesn’t matter. The water sports are fairly limited but the ones they have are great fun.
The staff are just fantastic and really make you feel special – and not just for tips. We had flowers on our bed and palm tree birds sitting on our table – our waiter even bought us a gift from the shop with the money we gave him as a tip. (How guilty did I feel? – we gave him some more and told him off!) However reception staff aren’t that helpful to be honest. I think reception are open between 8am and five past 8am and if you miss your five minute window they tend to frown and say yes a lot but nothing gets done. But im not one for grumbling.
The dive school guys are great. Especially ‘magic’. He is such a character. The bungalows are air conditioned and clean and luxury. The Beach ones are just as nice as the water bungalows, the only difference is they are on the beach so there is no glass panel to look through.(im not going to explain why not) You can snorkel outside the water bungalows too even If you aren’t staying in one. That’s pretty amazing too for a novice.
In short – It is what you make of it. We could have gone and moaned all week about the weather , the ketchup , the reception , the weather , the slight smell of sewage from 7am to 5 past 7am , the weather , no square crisps , the weather , the hermit crabs didn’t sing .. but we didn’t. We went, we couldn’t find a single thing to moan about – which is saying something – I mean we are british after all. 21 out of 10..without a doubt the best beach holiday I’ve had so far. (Even without a proposal!)
So here I sit back at my desk. Im looking at prices for Fiji – but I think 3 years of beans and rice is a bit much… then again Im miserable to be back and it is raining..