Much of the Maldives may be underwater by 2050. That’s not a lot of time. Maybe it’s a good thing we got this trip in.
We actually wanted to go to the Maldives for a while, but the sheer distance just delayed the trip. An opportunity arose when we travelled to India, and just like that, we were visiting the Maldives (it would only cost an hour or two, as our destination was in the South) . We had a layover in Abu Dhabi, as we were flying on Etihad. It was in the middle of the night, but at least the lounge food was good.
On that topic, food would be an issue in the Maldives. Famously expensive, a single meal for a family of four in the Maldives could cost you more than a thousand dollars. This trip was meant to be a splurge vacation, so spending a little money in the most expensive place on earth seemed acceptable, especially when compared to the cost of the trip itself.
The resort we were staying in was the Conrad Maldives Rangali resort, situated quite far from Male. This was because we wanted to experience a seaplane ride, an extremely unique experience.
The plane was approaching Male, and we could see the city. The Friday Mosque towered over the densely populated metropolis. Though we were visiting one of the most luxurious places on Earth, Male looked quite modest, like any other city. It was hard to see any green room, which made sense: land is hard to come upon on a small atoll. We wanted to visit the city, but in the end, decided against it, since our tour guide would only take us to the green zone. There are three different zones in Male. The first is the green zone, where alcohol is allowed. It’s a tourist place. The yellow zone introduces more restrictions, as does the red zone, though these two are usually the most genuine places. We then visited the lounge. Fancy. There was food, a nice bathroom, and so many amenities. Do you want a massage during your layover? No problem, as the lounge has a massage station. Just imagine the resort itself.
Finally, we went to the seaplane harbor. It definitely wasn’t like an airport. There was one small room filled with plastic chairs, and when the planes arrived, you just entered the port, which was similar to a fishing dock. The only difference was that instead of boats, the dock was filled with small seaplanes. There were perhaps 10 in the dock. We got on one, and were on our way to the resort.
The flight itself was a spectacle. Before it even began, we got a seat near the front. We would get the best views, and we could see the controls of the plane. Even better, the pilot let us into the cockpit, which was amazing. There were so many controls that I didn’t understand, I was getting dizzy. Then the plane took off. We were met with the roar of the turbines, and we took off. We got the best views of the clear blue water and atolls that marked the Maldives landscape.
We finally arrived at our resort, and we were greeted by one of the staff. They gave us slushies and a cookie. Not bad at all for customer service. First, we checked in, a long and tedious process. Afterwards, we went to where we would stay. It wasn’t one of the expensive water bungalows, but it was a house. A large house, at that. There was only one level, but with a bathroom, bed, TV, and toiletries, it was more than complete. There were even some chocolates. Nice.
What really capped things off, though, was the beach. It was literally the backyard. All you had to do was open the back door, and you would be in the middle of a beach paradise. And this beach wasn’t just any beach. This was the Maldives. So of course the beach was infested with sharks. Harmless black tip reef sharks, but still sharks. You could see around ten by just walking up and down the coast. We cleaned ourselves, and then got back to the island. We needed to eat, so we settled for pasta. It was good, but there wasn’t a lot, and it was very expensive.
We went back to playing on the beach, almost until dark. We ate dinner (Italian food), and then went to sleep. The first day was great.
We woke up in paradise the next day. After eating a huge breakfast at the buffet (we woke up early so that we got the best food), which had some wonderful tropical fruit, we relaxed in the pool. We didn’t even need to eat lunch.
Our pool time took up most of the day, and since we needed to take a shower afterwards, we didn’t do much else, except for booking two events. The first was a scuba diving session. The marine biodiversity of the Maldives is unparalleled, making it the best place for scuba diving. We might’ve done a whale-finding excursion if I knew how to swim.
We scheduled a three hour photo taking session. We brought three sets of clothes for this purpose: fancy clothes, normal clothes, and white clothes, which were fancy clothes, but white.
After that, we ate dinner, which was a buffet again, and went to sleep. One one hand, the thought of scuba diving was uplifting. On the other hand, we had to smile for three hours straight. The first activity was scuba diving.
Scuba diving was totally worth it. First, we had to learn all the rules of scuba diving. There were a lot, most of them pertaining to drowning situations. I was partnered with an instructor who had worked previously in Washington State. We started in shallow water to practice, and it was definitely a unique experience. You can’t hear anything through the suits, which is why you have to use hand symbols, which they covered during instruction. But what I didn’t realize was how much you could see underwater. Since I can’t swim, I hadn’t really seen the depths, and it was wonderful to see what had been previously invisible. We got out of the water, and then moved on to the boat. It was a small tugboat (I think), and we rode the ship for a good fifteen minutes. When we arrived, I jumped into the water, and sank down. We were in the middle of a coral reef. It was amazing, just like the underwater photos suggested, It was a sea of life, of color. I could see tens of fish, plus a few eel. We didn’t see any manta rays, but that was fine. I looked around. There was another group of people, one of whom brought a waterproof camera. Smart. We went around, and we saw so many fish. It was amazing. We had to get out, and I was freezing cold when we got on the boat, so when we arrived, we went back to the cabin (a short five minute walk) to wash off. People see the surface, but what’s underneath the depths is half the show, especially in the Maldives.
Then the photoshoot. We walked around the less crowded second island of the resort (the resort was split into two islands, but we mainly visited the first), and the photographer we hired got some great images. But it was boring. I didn’t really enjoy the photoshoot.
And just like that, the day neared its end, and we were at our last day in the Maldives. We decided to end it off with a huge breakfast buffet, and relaxation on the beach. We would have a hectic day ahead of us, so we enjoyed it when we could.
We left the island, but not before taking pictures at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island sign in front of the seaplane through which we were leaving.
The seaplane ride was also fun. It was the same thing as before, but it was still amazing to see the atolls we called home for a few days. We arrived at the lounge, then drove to the airport. We had a great time in the Maldives. That was for sure.
The Rangali resort was very hospitable and friendly. I really enjoyed it, and if you visit the Maldives, it is a good choice – if the Maldives still exist. The Maldives is slowly being destroyed. From coral bleaching to global warming, the whole of the Maldives and its ecosystem is in severe danger. Action needs to be taken to save this fragile nation.
- Currency: The US dollar is accepted everywhere, so there is no need to convert money to the Rufiyaa.
- Seaplane: Make sure to be near the pilot to get the best views. The pilot may even let you enter the cockpit.
- Scuba diving: Scuba diving is quite expensive in the Maldives (around $300), but so is everything else, but scuba diving is unique in the Maldives due to its biodiversity. I would highly recommend scuba diving, especially if you don’t know how to swim.
- Underwater restaurant: Kids aren’t allowed to the underwater restaurant in the Conrad Resort.