The Maldives; Made up of over 1,100 islands and with its white sand beaches and every shade of blue oceans, it is the ultimate holiday! When you think of the country, it’s easy to think of it as nothing more than a Honeymoon, but its so much more than that!
I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Maldives and it was truly a once in a lifetime trip! I started my journey in Auckland and flew to Gold Coast with Air New Zealand, caught a flight to Singapore with Scoot Airlines (my first time flying with them!), and catching a flight to Male the next day (also with Scoot). We were greeted by Four Seasons staff at the airport who led us into the exclusive FS waiting area, where we were treated to drinks and snacks before boarding a speedboat for The Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa in the North Male Atoll. We had landed in a pretty bad storm and it had only gotten worse as we were going through immigration, so I thought we wouldn’t be able to depart in the stormy weather. After a little waiting around in the airport, we were advised that getting to the resort was “doable,” so 40-minutes later, myself and a couple of other hotel guests were on a speedboat headed to our resort.
We were shown to our villa, which had our own private pool just 10m from the beach, as well as free fruit and snacks. The breakfast buffet was even better – they had so many cuisine choices and even had their own section for fresh juices! The rest of the morning was spent by the pool and getting in a short scuba dive just off the beach before boarding the Four Seasons Explorer liveaboard for the next week.
During our week on the Explorer, we were treated to the most delicious three-course meals for lunch and dinner every day and night. Every morning started at sunrise with an early morning scuba dive or snorkel. We’re woken 30 minutes before the dives to get ready, then we hop onboard to a smaller boat that takes us to our dive site. You can have a light breakfast before the activities, or wait until after the dives, where we were treated to fruit and snacks right after drying off from being in the water. The sea life got a little bigger and more exciting as the days went on. The first 3 days were pretty slow – we saw lots of beautiful coloured fish, turtles, barracudas – but it wasn’t until the second half of the trip that we got to have encounters with Grey Reef Sharks, White Tip Sharks & Nurse Sharks, Sting Rays, Eagle Rays & Manta Rays, and even a 7m long Whale Shark!
After we were welcomed on the Explorer and given a tour of the boat, I found the rest of the afternoon to be pretty difficult due to sea sickness. I decided to skip lunch and the dives that day and spent it in bed, hoping by tomorrow I’d feel better.
On our second day on the Liveaboard, we visited Thulhaadhoo, a local island in the southern Baa Atoll, made up of just over 1,000 people. It is best known for its production of wooden lacquer work. During our tour of the island, we were shown how these items were made, checked out the health centre and were invited into a local’s house for traditional Maldivian snacks made from tuna (a staple in Maldivian meals) and sweets made from coconut.
On our third day in the Maldives, we got to visit a little island which we had all to ourselves. I thought it was shaped kind of like a fish after seeing it on my drone. The Four Seasons staff got to work and built a table for the dinner we were supposed to have that night, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other ideas, so we ended up having a BBQ back on the boat instead. One thing people don’t show you in the Maldives is the amount of plastics on the beaches and in the oceans. On this island, there was a pile of trash that looked like it had been collected from the beach and moved to the back where I assume people wouldn’t look, which included plastic bags, m&m packets, bottles, even dirty nappies. Later in the week, I also collected two plastic bags that were in the coral during a scuba dive.
On day four, we started the morning with a sunrise dive, where we got to swim up and through a cave, which was filled with lobsters. We also spotted barracudas, a guitar shark and I got to swim around a resting sting ray, making it the most exciting dive up to that point. Not long after our dive, we stopped at Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru, one of the most beautiful resorts in the country! A family from England, and a solo traveler from New Zealand disembarked the Explorer at this destination, and two families (a couple from Canada and a family of four from Hong Kong) came aboard for the last few days on the liveaboard.
We only had just over an hour at this resort, which was enough time to have breakfast (possibly be the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever seen!) and ride around the island on the bikes we were all given. Each bike even had our initials on the front of them! I spent about 20 minutes on Blue Beach, which is the only part of the island where you’re allowed to fly drones, before heading back to the lobby to get ready to re-board the Explorer.
The next morning, we woke up to one of my favourite dives we experienced on the trip to a place called Rasdhoo Madivaru. No more than five minutes into the dive, we came across a school of grey reef sharks. We hooked ourselves to the coral and watched as they circled in front of us. After breakfast and lunch, I opted out of the afternoon dive with the rest of the guests on the boat and had staff take me to visit this little island near the boat, which had to be half the size of a rugby field! This is where we would be having dinner later on that night. I had it all to myself for about an hour before other guests from the Explorer started to arrive. I used my time to fly my drone around the island and pick up some of the plastics and glass that were scattered on the beach.
The Four Seasons staff worked super hard that afternoon, taking hours to prepare dinner here by making our table and chairs out of sand and hoping for good weather. After some fishing and water activities, we were all taken back to the Explorer to get ready for our BBQ. During this time we were treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen! When we got back to the beach, the staff had gone all out to make sure this was a night to remember. We were served champagne and mocktails on arrival, and a telescope had been set up for us to watch the blood moon. We ate like kings that night, feasting on the most delicious steak, lamb, chicken, prawns, fish, vegetables and dessert, before celebrating the week with a dance on the beach.
The next day was my biggest diving day on the trip. We had a pretty late start due to starting the morning off with a talk about Whale Sharks, which we went looking for after our first dive but didn’t have any luck. After lunch we had another dive before visiting Dhangethi, supposedly the most popular island with tourists in the Maldives. We visited two mosques, saw kids and girls playing volleyball (one of the most popular sports in the country) and a protected tree that is believed to be 800 years old! Shortly after returning to the Explorer, we got ready for the night dive (my first night dive ever). There were only two night dives during the week long trip and I missed the first one due to sea sickness. We saw a shark and a frog fish, which everyone seemed pretty excited about. One of the experienced divers that was holidaying on the Explorer with his family explained to me how sought after they are when it comes to scuba diving. They are able to change their color and blend in with their surroundings. The one we saw was black, which makes sense since it was a night dive and we couldn’t see anything at all without underwater flashlights. Once we got back on the Explorer, we finished the night with a beautiful Arabic dinner.
Our last full day on the Explorer started with a dive to to a shipwreck called the Machchafushi Wreck, which was a Japanese cargo ship sunk for divers in the late 90s and is 32m deep. We saw 3 Nurse Sharks around and on the ship, and I got close enough to the third shark to take some photos with it. After our dive, we were served breakfast on top of the boat while the staff got all of our dive gear ready for the next dive. On our way to the second dive site, we spotted some manta rays and then a whale shark, which made our morning even better! Everyone rushed to get back downstairs to put their flippers and masks on, that some nearly slipped and fell off the top of the boat. We had about 30-40 mins with the whale shark and some friendly mantas. At our second dive site, I swam alongside a couple of eagle rays. They weren’t shy at all and let me get pretty close. One was a lot smaller than the other, so I’m guessing it was a mother and child. I decided to opt out of the afternoon dive as I wanted to end the trip on a high note. My goal for the trip was at least 10 dives, and I did 12, which I was stoked about.
On our last day in the Maldives, we were dropped back off at our starting point, The Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa after breakfast. Upon arriving, we were told we would have our own room to wait in free of charge until we departed for our flight at 7pm. I spent a few hours exploring the resort and flying my drone around the island, which I later got in trouble for (rebel lol). We had pizza by the pool for lunch before watching the shark feeding at 5:30pm, 30 minutes before our departure. We took the speedboat to Male Airport, where we were greeted by FS staff who accompanied us and carried our bags to check in. Inside the terminal, I had the most expensive Whopper Jr. meal I’ve ever had from Burger King (it cost $12 USD) before boarding our Scoot flight back to Singapore.
Overall, I had such a great week staying with Four Seasons Maldives. I’d recommend it to anyone, who was looking to visit the country. However, I understand the price range of staying in luxury resorts is out of a lot of peoples’ price range.
I’d recommend looking around online and seeing what’s in your budget, check to see if any resorts have any deals, or stay on one of the local islands, like Dhangethi or Omadhoo, which have significantly cheaper hotels but just as amazing beaches.