Given its extreme isolation from the rest of the world, it seems unlikely that anyone willing to put in the time, effort and huge sum of moola in order to visit this pristine paradise, would only spend 3 days here. If however, like me, you find yourself here for work (tough gig I know), or have perhaps tied a few days on the back of a holiday to say India or Sri Lanka, I thought it might be useful to run you through my thoughts on how to get the best coming here for a short period without completely (OK somewhat yes) trashing your wallet.
While we weren’t after the finest resort in Male, we figured this might be the only time we come here (unless we win the lottery). For that reason we decided we still wanted the resort/have your own island/stay in a water bungalow with steps into the sea etc. experience the Maldives is so famous for. That said, like most mere mortals, we simply couldn’t afford to the pay the substantial sum that so many places charged. So here comes tip number 1:
- TIP NUMBER 1: Pick the best (correction: RIGHT) time to visit the Maldives.
If you come here when everyone else does, (aka the high season) expect to pay through the roof for the privilege. The seasons basically fall into 3 categories. Low season (gonna be quite god damn expensive). High season (holy cow that’s f****** ridiculous). Super high season (pretty much limited to the rich and famous). I recommend the low season. Yes this is monsoon season but the deals are SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER. Why on earth would you want to spend all this time and money to visit the Maldives during a time when it rains nonstop? Well that’s a valid point but I’d counter that IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET this is the right (not best) time to visit. Further more the weather being the weather, it can be massively unpredictable. You could very well luck in. Equally you could very well luck out during the high season. This is just my opinion but I stand by it. Of course if you’re here for work or certain circumstances have dictated the timing as to when you visit then disregard. We happened to visit during the super high season (yes think clenched buttocks and wide eyes)! Anyway onto my next tip:
- TIP NUMBER 2: Do your research.
That’s an obvious one no? You’re right but I’m always surprised by how little research some people put into their holidays. So I’ll emphasize it. Do. Your. Research. For me going on holiday is what I live for – much more than work – and to get the most out of it I find the more research the better the holiday. You might be thinking I don’t have the time or prefer to wing it as that’s part of the excitement… Fair enough although I’ll point out this is a resort based holiday in the Maldives and you’ll get burned badly (pun intended) if you don’t think ahead. Further more research has shown that people often get as much enjoyment from planning a holiday as they do from going on one. I know I do. Anyway onto my next tip.
- TIP NUMBER 3: Find ways to cut your costs.
Given the sheer number of island resorts in the Maldives it’s hard to know which one to go for and which ones are worth the hefty price tags attached. As we only had 3 days we decided a great way to maximise our time and minimise our costs while narrowing our field of choice was to choose a resort based on its proximity to the airport island of Male. There are arguably much prettier island resorts elsewhere in the Maldives but since the majority of these required the substantial extra cost of taking a float plane to and from, not to mention the cost in precious beach time, we decided this was a wise course of action given our constraint of just 3 days here. For that reason we settled into researching nearby resorts that only required the cost of a short boat transfer to and from the airport. Without labeling the point too much more tools such as TripAdvisor and/or other review based websites and blogs will give you some great Intel into which resorts are worth your hard earned cash and those which frankly are not.
Something else to consider once you have settled on a choice of resort is to look into combining the price of your room with a full or half board package that includes food and drinks. Because of the strict laws regarding bringing your own food and alcohol into the Maldives, plus the fact that all the food is shipped to each individual resort, means they charge a high price for food and drink that, if not careful, can often add up to cost more than you paid for your room! A trick passed onto me by fellow resort goers to the Maldives is to buy a half board package that includes breakfast and dinner (and lunch if full board) plus all you can drink (alcohol too depending on the resort) during your stay. If you’re anything like me in getting your money’s worth then I guarantee it will work out cheaper than paying for food and drink individually.
- RESULTANT RESORT: CENTARA RAS FUSI
So after a great deal of research and with the above tips in mind, we settled on staying for a mere 3days and 2nights at the beautiful Centara Ras Fusi resort and spa. We paid a little extra for one of their west facing water bungalows as we felt we didn’t want to miss out on that quintessential Maldivian experience. The food and drink was decent and surprisingly reasonable compared to most other resorts in the Maldives however don’t go here expecting super fine dining quality. We paid for the half board and made sure we filled up at the breakfast buffet to keep us going till dinner (another little tip if you’re debating between half and full board packages). The staff were largely pleasant and felt that most of the snorkeling excursions we went on were well run and again not unreasonably priced. As for the island itself, the surrounding reefs were spectacular with plenty of marine life. We saw all manner of fish (just beware the aggressive trigger fish) and even a baby reef shark one morning. I was a little concerned about its proximity to ‘trash island’ however we barely took notice of it once we arrived. Furthermore if you choose a West facing bungalow you won’t even see it! Anyway Rasi Fusi was pretty much what I was hoping it would be. A very nice resort with spectator reefs at a reasonable price (I stress, for the Maldives at least)! Anyway whatever your budget and whatever you choose, I’m sure you will fall in love with the Maldives. I’ll leave you with these photos…