Maldives... the destination of dreams
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
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Wow! Just wow. Visiting the #Maldives is definitely one of those “bucket list” locations. From America it would be near impossible to make that trek with little kids. Yet from Bangkok it was only about a 4 hour flight to the capital, Male, and then a sea plane to our final destination. With 106 resort islands to choose from, I wanted to share with you the questions I wish I had asked when deciding which resort we would stay at.
Before booking your trip, it's important to know that monsoon season is from May - October with a peak in June. We did travel in September and had great weather, but it is something to be aware of when planning your trip. You may be able to find affordable flights to Male, but you need to consider the location of the island you are going to stay at, and how you can get there. Some islands are close enough for a speed boat ride. However, most resorts require a flight on a sea plane, which can cost an additional $200-$500 round trip/adult (children were half the price) depending upon how far you need to go. You may be tempted to stay close to Male to save money and only need a boat ride, but make sure to read reviews on the resorts, as they could have noisy air traffic overhead from international flights and the sea planes.
As much as we didn’t want to spend the extra money to fly to our resort, the view while flying was worth it! From the air you will be amazed at the beauty of the sparkling crystal clear turquoise water surrounding the many partially submerged islands.
We chose to stay at the Nika Island Resort & Spa because it was relatively affordable and they have 2-bedroom bungalows (with a living room) on a private section of the #beach. It was perfect for our family of 5 at the time, as we could be right outside enjoying the beach while our youngest child napped. It was the ideal set up and just gorgeous. I will say, considering the island is essentially a rainforest, we did have ants and geckos in our room. This doesn’t surprise us any longer as we live in Thailand - even our house has multiple geckos who take up residence and ants find their way in when food is sitting out. So that didn’t bother us, but be warned! Do not leave food out in your bungalow! Over the water housing likely does not have this same problem however, most resorts don’t allow young kids to stay in an over the water bungalows and we didn’t think it was wise either.
Questions to Ask
1. What time zone does the Island go by?
Although the official time zone in Maldives is GMT+5, each Island can CHOOSE whatever time zone it wants to work on. So #NikaIslandresort chose to run on the same time zone as Thailand (instead of being 2 hours later). This helped us out as I’ll share below about meal times. But it would have been nice to know prior to our arrival.
2. What meal plans are offered at the resort?
Most islands are private resort islands. There are no other options for meals. You will be paying the resort for your meals anyway, and it is typically more affordable if you can purchase an all-inclusive or all-meal plan with your booking up front.
3. When are meals served? And what style of meals are they? Can you order food at anytime of the day?
Our island was small. It did not have a kitchen open all the time. Meals were at set times. Breakfast was served from 9am-11am, Lunch from 2pm-4pm and Dinner was 9pm-11pm. Since Maldives Islands are a prime vacation spot for Europeans, they catered their “Island Time” and meal time to the later dinners typical for Europeans. Considering our kids are typically up by 7am and in bed by 7pm, we had to adjust our family sleep schedule by a
few hours, which isn’t surprising when traveling. Yet for most people traveling without kids, it likely doesn’t matter. As adults, we can be flexible, but not so much for kids.
The meals were typically buffet style or a few evenings you could choose from a list of entrée’s and the sides & salads were buffet style. The food was very good, with lots to choose from! We never went away hungry and there was always something for the kids. There was a bar on the Island, although I don’t personally know if you could order food there or just drinks throughout the day.
4. What is the house reef like?
Most islands have their own reef for you to snorkel from the beach. Ours also had a diving school and would organize diving expeditions if you desired. If diving is important to you, see if that is available at the resort you’re considering staying at.
5. What Excursions are available?
It is likely you can show up at your resort and tell them if you’d like to do any excursions at that time verses scheduling ahead. But if you're set on an activity it would be wise to inquire ahead of time.
We booked a boat tour to go snorkeling, visit a deserted island and search for wild dolphins. It was a spectacular day! And although it’s never guaranteed, we were able to see a family of about 8 dolphins in the wild! How amazing!
We also went on a sunset fishing trip where we learned how to fish by just throwing the line in the water and pulling it up with our hands. It was a group of about 15 of us, so there was always someone catching something. Even a few very poisonous fish were caught and quickly released! The other fish were added to the dinner menu for the evening.
A few side notes: Whenever we know we will be on boats, we always pack our kids’ life vests. Yes it takes up luggage space, but you just never know if their sizes will be available (and typically they are not). By pure luck we had brought our infants round floating seat. She was 9 months old and although she didn’t use it very much it was perfect for our older daughter to lay across when snorkeling with her life vest. She could put her face in the water with the snorkel gear but didn’t have to worry about swimming (she was 4 at the time). She gained a LOVE for #snorkeling on that trip. We saw so many amazing creatures – sea cucumbers, sea urchins, black tipped reef sharks, sea turtle, eels, so many beautiful tropical fish, puffer fish and my husband even saw a lion fish (very poisonous!!)
If you’re considering visiting the Maldives – DO IT! You will not regret it. It is somewhere we would definitely visit again!