Maldives: The Not-So-Cheap Getaway in the Paradise Island

My father had a stroke, twice. It was definitely a life-shaking event for the entire family as my father's health condition became very critical. This was a challenging time for us but I praised God for the gift of chance, health, and life. I sincerely appreciate all friends and online buddies who checked on me when I disappeared from social media. Thank you all for the prayers and concern. 

This Maldives trip resumes my travel life as I cancelled my other trips to take care of my father's medical expenses. Afterall, these Maldives flights were already booked even before the stroke happened.



I thought of reviving this blog because it's my first time to visit Maldives. Like Japan, I've always wanted to see Maldives and check why the world is raving about it.


dreaming wide awake



Not Your Usual "Maldives on a Budget" Blog
First things first, I don't eat instant noodles and other instant crap food variation. Even before the stroke happened, I started to eliminate those crap in my body. Arte lang. This even got more serious when the stroke happened and the doctor advised our family to restrict salt, sugar, and fatty food. So for this Maldives trip, no instant noodles or canned goods are consumed. Haha!

The Initial Plan 
It was a 7-night trip to the island paradise situated in the Indian Ocean. My Maldives buddies Kirk, Atty Julius, and I booked our Manila-Singapore-Male flights on a promo via FlyScoot (used to be TigerAir). Initially, we planned for the usual budgeted Maldives trip because the heck with the prices in the island resorts. They are extremely expensive! It's unbelievable that some island resorts charge P1,000,000 a night! I know I know, may market ang ganyang exclusive resort. Move on. We planned to book a resort in the public islands like Hulhumale, Maafushi, or Male. However, we had a change of heart when we glanced upon The Velassaru Maldives. We couldn't stop thinking about it. We have other choices but our hearts surely knew we wanted to experience that kind luxury.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World 
What made us choose Velassaru Maldives among the hundreds of resorts in Maldives is its certification with the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. I had the chance to experience this deluxe service in Misibis Bay when it was once part of Small Luxury Resorts group. It was exceptional, incomparable, and unforgettable. The current resorts in the Philippines with this tag are Pangalusian Island Resort in El Nido, Eskaya Beach Resort and Spa in Bohol, and Anya Resort in Tagaytay. Since Velassaru Maldives has this tag, there's no way our trip won't be amazing and there's no way our money will be misspent.

..and I was right! It was definitely worth it.

a hydro infinity pool in the middle of an atoll



Velassaru Maldives
For the record, this is NOT a sponsored trip or a paid blog post. We booked for the least expensive villa in Velassaru. It was 40% off at that moment and it amounted to P22,000 per night. This includes breakfast for the 3 of us. The water villas cost around P75,000 per night. Not an option for us, kalabisan na.

Come to think of it, the price was just right for a small luxury resort. What made us think twice was the speedboat transfers which costs USD131 which is subject to 10% service charge and 12% GST. Excuse me while I faint, that's around P8,000 per person! Yes, the rate is per person and not per group. This is not even private since the exclusive transfer is pricier. Ang mahal nga talaga sa Maldives! There's no other option for the record. This speedboat transfer by the resort is compulsory.

Then again, it was all worth it. This is exactly how we expected our Maldives getaway to be: exceptional!

the view that welcomed us to the private island

the famous over water villas

 preview of a lovely stay

lounging in serenity

joie de vivre in Maldives

These were the very first pictures we had in Maldives and we were already blown away. This is the kind of Maldives vibes we went all the way for.


Deluxe Villa with Jacuzzi for 3 Days
We may have gotten the least expensive room, but it still looked well appointed and stylish. It was so spacious and spotless clean. The highlight is the outdoor bathroom with jacuzzi. Worth mentioning is the unlimited supply of L'Occitane toiletries. What we also loved about the deluxe villa is its proximity to the main infinity pool and restaurants. We just loved our stay!

 a 75sqm deluxe room

wished we extended our stay

 outdoor bathroom with lanai and jacuzzi

unlimited supply of L'Occitane

our accommodation comes with jacuzzi with lanai area

I can't stress enough how well we enjoyed every corner of our room. House keeping service comes twice a day. Wifi is strong. Actually, there are no deadspots in the whole island. Malakas ang wifi everywhere!



The Beach and the Infinity Pool 
Whenever someone asks me how beautiful Maldives was, this is my default answer: "The google images come to life! No tricks, no editing needed, the Maldives STILL looks like the images you searched for in the internet". If you know what I mean.

living in a postcard

clear skies and island vibes

 create your own calm
 
i love hue
  engage the soul as much as the core


While the beach is already outstanding, the infinity pool has a charm of its own.

infinity pool fronting the gorgeous beach

 the infinity

just my 2nd favorite pool in Maldives

Even the water activities area is this flawless! This side has the same clear water and extra fine sand. We can't believe how good this is. Sea creatures pass by each time! Yes, these include reef sharks and sting rays sightings. Amazing!

those dark spots in the water are schools of fish!

Not a moment that I wouldn't stop, catch my breath, and appreciate the paradise whenever I walk around. Everything seems perfect. I adore the beaches we have in the Philippines, but hands down - this is the finest waters I've seen. This is surreal!

 
Events and Complimentary Activities
As expected, what made our experience so memorable was the exceptional service in Velassaru. They really carry the Small Luxury Hotel brand. Every staff is very well trained, knowledgeable, and communicates fluently. Each and everyone of them never failed to smile and greet us every single time. They seemed very pleased to serve each guest. Lakas maka-goodvibes!

On our first night, I attended a sunset yoga class. I've been wishing to practice yoga outside Pinas, now this in a beachfront facing the sunset in the Indian Ocean. Divine!

sunset yoga in the finest spot to do sun salutation

On the second day, there's this Cocktails Night with the management. It's a meeting between executive staff and guests. This came with free champagne, wine, and bar food. I loved this event since we got to meet and compliment the staff, specially the chefs in Vela and Teppanyaki!

cocktails event with the management

Speaking of the chef, we had the pleasure of meeting at least 4 Filipino staff at Velassaru. I believe all of them are superstars in their fields. All of them takes pride of being part of the luxury hotel.


 sashimi platter, teppanyaki, kani salad, and angus steak for a whooping $195! omg!

 super yummy dinner made by the superstar Filipino chef

They also held a movie night under the stars, with free cheese and caramel popcorn. Another spectacular experience we had in Maldives.

movie night under the stars

They also offer complimentary morning cruise, but we failed to attend that due to the obvious reason I need not to disclose. With the offerings in this resort, we really think we got more than we paid for.

 
Natural Beauty and Man Made Luxury
On our last day, we chose to splurge one last time and avail the spa service. We convinced ourselves that we traveled far enough so gora na and experience the best of Maldives. This definitely is the icing on our stay in the luxury island.

 a hydro infinity pool in the middle of an atoll

time and health are the new luxury. charot!

 this little luxury on our last day

dreaming wide awake

And these, devils and darlings, are the few reasons why it's OK to spend more than the usual in Maldives. 
Never forget: #hindisponsored



Realizations, Tips, and other Ganaps
► Why Maldives?
Why not? I adore the Philippines and I take pride living in our own tropical island with gorgeous beaches, but as per my beach standards - the exclusive islands in Maldives have the most stunning water I've seen. It's just crazy beautiful, breathtaking, and surreal!

Really? Better than El Nido?
Come on, El Nido just ranks 10th place in my best beaches list. El Nido has its own unique and lucky for us, Palawan is much more affordable. For around $120, a fully tailored, luxurious, and all inclusive Palawan packages are already available. This $120 in Maldives can only afford a day tour. 

El Nido or Coron or Boracay are obviously our favorites but it's not at par with what I've seen in Maldives. Well to be fair, the public / all-access beaches in Maafushi and Hulhumale seem at par with Puka Beach.

the public beach in Hulhumale 
gorgeous beach pero malulungkot ako kung ganyan lang dadayuhin ko sa Maldives

However, the beaches in the exclusive islands like Velassaru are incomparable. The beach is really pristine, has extra fine sand, and well-maintained. They sweep the shore day and night, seriously. The reef sharks, turtles, and sting rays seem regular visitors of the island. The very reason why the beaches in Maldives are famous.

Obviously, if your Maldives budget is around P30,000 - then this blog is not for you. I do not recommend flying all the way to Maldives and just see the public beaches. In this category, may laban ang Pinas, bakit lalayo ka pa? Sayang kasi ang punta if you won't experience the real reason why people around the world are raving about Maldives.
 
OK, so how much is the budget for 1 week in Maldives?
For a group of 3 staying 7 nights in Maldives, prepare P200,000. That's around P65,000 per person and that's all-in, with round trip tickets. Pwede na. Actually 5 nights is enough and that means lesser expenses.

And how expensive is the food?
Very expensive! I cannot believe that a foodcourt meal in the airport can cost $50!

the most expensive food court meal at P2,500

Eventually, I realized that the food and all other supplies in Maldives are pricey because these are imported from other countries. Not enough food are produced in Maldives, that's why. And bear in mind that it's not that easy to reach Maldives due to its location. With that, I understand why everything in Maldives is extra pricey.

I felt bad for the locals, they might be buying the expensive items for the same price. Tax is crazy! I really hope the tourism industry allocates their revenue well.

Aside from Velassaru, we also stayed at White Harp Beach Hotel in Hulhumale and Ethereal Inn in Maafushi. Both are good but the best value goes to Ethereal Inn.

It is very very very crucial to check the location of your chosen hotel. There are a thousand of islands in Maldives and some of them can only be reached by a seaplane! This means you could be spending P10,000 for the resort accommodation but you need to pay P100,000 for the transfers. I'm not kidding!

best to consider the location of your chosen resort

We availed the half day island hopping tour for $25 and the whole day tour for $50. Worth it? Hhmm, pwede na. Good to experience but not doing it again. Makalat at mabato ang picnic islands nila. The bare islands in Pinas are better.

Since we got bored, we decided to do a day tour in a resort. At that time, we were offered to visit Adaaran Prestige Vadoo. Not our first choice, but since it's the one being offered that day, we went for it. Eventually we found out it won't matter much whether there are no other groups to join us. Anyway, the day tour is priced at $100. This rate includes speedboat transfers, decent buffet lunch, and unlimited alcoholic drinks. Fyi, alcohol is only allowed in exclusive islands . They secure permits for this. Thanks to the alcohol which kept us busy. Charot! Bottomline, hindi maganda. Vadoo is not worth the money!

Adaaran Prestige Vadoo - so-so, not my favorite.

What thrilled us among the tours we availed was seeing the sharks and sting rays. No dolphin sightings but that's OK.

reef sharks sightings on a normal snorkeling trip

On a side note, I appreciate living in a country like ours. We don't have to spend so much to see the beauty of nature. We don't have to import our food. Our country is blessed. We are lucky, everything here is affordable!

We found a lot of foreigners working in Maldives, mostly from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Philippines and other south east asian countries. With this, I realized that we really belong in the working class and that's not even a negative thing! Filipinos can find jobs and even standout anywhere in the world. I felt happy for these Pinoys in Maldives who seem to really love their job.

Aside from being very accommodating, Maldivians are very good English speakers! I'm amazed. A guide told us English is not being taught in school yet almost all of them speaks English fluently, without any buckle. Husay!

If I would visit Maldives again, I will skip the tours and just allot all the money for a stay in an exclusive resort. Medyo nabored na kami sa Maafushi.

 may all beings everywhere be happy and free!


To each his own and I am definitely blown away by Maldives' beauty. Grateful for the chance of traveling again, the sunny weather all throughout, the good vibes of the people, and for my first-time travel buddies Atty Julius and Kirk. Definitely bringing home the Maldives vibes we went all the way for.
 

10 responses:

blissfulguro said...

Nakakamiss ang sulat mo! Kainis ka! Ang ganda ng Maldives! :)

chyngreyes.com said...

Aaww salamat sa pagpapahiram ng travel buddies mo!

Lance said...

Ang Ganda! I'm happy you enjoyed this trip. Ang mahal nga! Hehe Sana ma afford ko rin to in the future. May cousin ako na nagwowork sa isang spa dyan sa maldives but I don't know where exactly.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Chyng. I check your blog every once in a while and so happy you have a new post. As always, very satisfying. Tc! Levintology :-)

Kirk Acebron said...

Amazing ka po! :)

Charotness said...

I agree with the water, I was amazed by how clear it was, pamatay ang kulay.

I'm jealous you were able to experience the luxurious kind of Maldives trip. Ipon muna haha.

Also I remember getting a BK burger meal from that food court in the airport. I couldn't believe I was having a 600-700-peso burger meal haha.

Michi said...

I enjoyed all your IG pics, ang ganda ng Maldives pero mahal pala talaga. Mahabang pag-iipon ito. :)

Raine said...

Wow! Love your post! Glad I've read about your lastest travel blog at GT. Sobrang ganda naman sa Maldives! Sobrang ganda din ng mga presyo *cries in corner*

Someday sana makarating din :)

iamjessiegarcia said...

It's nice to see you blogging again... sharing your thoughts and trips to us (your avid followers). Just keep on doing what you love to do. Miss you friend... mwahugs

Photo Cache said...

Yes, to each his own. Maldives is personally not for me, but I enjoy seeing bloggers document their trips to this gorgeous location.

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