When you think of the Maldives, what comes to mind? White sands, water villas and the most Instagram-worthy place for your bae to get down on one knee and pop the question (just make sure the drone is on standby)?
If these things did come to mind, well, I hate to break it to you but… it’s all that and more. And it’s not just a romantic destination, it’s also the best place to run away from the world for a bit; drink cocktails and read to your heart’s content, only getting up to eat meals because you paid for it in your all-inclusive package. But what I recently came to realise is that it’s also perfect for a girls trip (think of all the matching bikini pics #VacayOnFleek). We work hard as businesswomen, entrepreneurs, mothers, wives etc… that we can easily forget that we deserve to spoil ourselves. What we should never forget is that we are worth it. Also, taking time out is also better for the rest of humanity because it makes you a nicer person.
My love affair with the Maldives, a tropical nation in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, started in December of 2018 where I ventured out on my own to find the sunniest weather, the warmest and bluest waters and resort staff that were more than willing to ensure that I had the perfect Instagram picture (the perks of travelling alone). I stayed at Reethi Faru Resort in a water villa, and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. The food was delicious, the water was a dream and the people from the resort never made me feel like I was alone. As fate would have it, on New Year’s Eve, I ended up winning a competition where I was crowned Miss Reethi Faru and I got 4 nights free stay for 2019 (a blog post for another day). Cut to 2019 and Tumi Morake was the lucky friend who got selected to come on a Girls Trip of a lifetime with me.
We planned our trip for September and even though Google did say it was the rainy season, I just neglected to believe that in our full week of travel, we wouldn’t get a single day of sunshine. Thankfully we did get some sunshine, but it wasn’t exactly the island weather we were hoping for but even with the rain, we managed to have the best time (scroll through our Instagram with you don’t believe us).
It all started with the Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane. After hours of travelling, most people would be disappointed to know that you still had to get on a sea plane, but this is the kind of travel that we need more of in our lives. My first time was particularly memorable. So after a long flight from Johannesburg to Malé I remember the excitement of watching everyone get on the planes and fly off to their resort and once I experienced it, I wondered why more people don’t talk about it?
From the moment you land in Malé, the check in process is seamless and then you are shuttled to your terminal where you get to wait for your seaplane. For the Girls Trip, we were fortunate enough to get VIP access and enjoyed some delicious snacks and massages as we waited for the sea plane. (The massage chairs are everything and I may need one in my house). You don’t even notice the time go by until they let you know that it’s time to board your flight.
From the water to the air…. Words cannot begin to explain the views from up above as you fly past the over 1000 coral islands that make up the Maldives. It really is an unforgettable experience. And then the landing on water is something that truly never gets old and it was something that I couldn’t wait for Tumi to experience. When most people see my seaplane pictures, they get nervous but it’s truly one of the most relaxing and exhilarating experiences. By the time you get to your resort, you are no longer tired but rather super amped for the rest of your holiday especially if the landing is anything to go by.
Most islands in the Maldives are actually resorts and there are a few to choose from. I love Reethi Faru Resort because they have a variety in restaurants and bars but also activities on and off the island.
If the resort life gets boring, you have the option of visiting the locals island to see what life is really like for the Maldivian people. You really make your holiday what you want it to be.
Even with all the rain we experienced, we still managed to go out on a dolphin safari and even dance the night away at Reethi Faru Resort’s disco nights. There really is so much to do. I advise taking an all-inclusive package because then you don’t have to worry about the bill that comes at the end of your holiday. I would also strongly advise that if you are going all the way to the Maldives, do it for the water villas. Whilst beach accommodation is still great, the real experience comes from waking up in your house in the ocean and stepping directly into your own “backyard” which is the Indian Ocean.
Try book your holiday outside of the rainy season. September was pretty rainy for the days we were there, but the locals assured us that it was not the norm. That’s another thing, the people in the Maldives make you feel at home that you forget about the bad weather whilst you down another all-inclusive tequila.
Even checking out is done differently in the Maldives. The one thing that I really love about Reethi Faru Resort is that even if check-out is early, they accommodate your check-out based on your seaplane flight time. The day before departure, the resort co-ordinates flight times with Trans Maldivian Airways and then you either get moved to a different room or you get to stay in your room until your flight is almost ready for departure (obviously this is dependent on room availability).
Going back home is bittersweet but at least you get to venture through the clouds and look down at the beauty that is the Maldives with Trans Maldivian Airways. Once you land back in Male, you get shuttled back to the airport and Tumi and I were luckily enough to get our own private shuttle, we really felt like celebrities. But whatever package you choose, it still will be worth the memories.
So next time you want to do something little different with the girls, try the Maldives…