January is the middle of the high season for visiting the Maldives (which runs from December to March) but even outside those months you can generally expect good weather from November to April.
Of course if you are primarily going for the scuba diving then the monsoon season when everything becomes a lot cheaper is definitely the best time to go, since who cares if it is raining on the surface when you are underwater having the time of your life?
Having said that, the monsoon season also brings storms which could ruin the entire holiday, but the chance of this is far lower than you might expect.
The arrest and conviction of former prime minister on charges of terrorism have rocked the world. He was the country’s first democratically elected PM but was ousted last year in a bloodless coup.
Many travel companies sell the Maldives as a place to relax. They point to the Ayurvedic Spas and the beautiful beaches and say “In the Maldives you will be more relaxed than you ever knew possible”.
They are right, but it is not the massages and beaches that are the most relaxing thing you can do, its the diving.
I discovered this was true on my third dive. The first two had been hectic affairs; drift dives where a wall of coral kept rushing past my eyes as I desperately tried to remember how to keep my buoyancy, what depth I should be at was and what the signal for “bloomin’ great big shark behind you” was.
The third dive was a different thing altogether. No current, crystal clear water and a gentle garden of candy coloured corals spread below me. I slowly dropped down to a couple of feet from the sea bottom and just lay there, as if levitating, the only movement being a gentle rise and fall as I breathed in and out. From beneath a rock a little black and yellow Moorish Idol (remember ‘Gill’ from the movie ‘Finding Nemo?) about 6 inches long swam out and bobbed between stones and corals in a small patch just a short way in front of me. I knew that making any movement would scare the little chap off so I made an extra effort to breath even more slowly.
For the next 10 minutes, that little fish and I shared an intimate space as he or she weaved around the seafloor, less than an arm’s length from my face. I just watched, doing absolutely noting else, totally transfixed by being so close to this beautiful creature.
And then, the thought came to me. Those promises of being totally and blissfully relaxed had come true; not up there on the beach; but down here on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
No shoes is how most people enjoy the Maldives. We let the silver sand massage and exfoliate our feet for a week, leaving us with beautiful baby soft toes for the first time since… well since we were babies.
However not everyone is comfortable going barefoot. Maybe you hate the site of your own feet, and why should I impose my no shoes rule on you? No, if you want to wear sandals then you are free to do so.
In fact here is a tip my wife recently threw at me. Since I am forever going into the water wearing sandals (when not in the Maldives obviously) I should get myself a pair that will not be harmed by salt water.
A bit of online research later…
http://www.saltwater-sandals.com/ are available online and claim to be able to withstand the ocean but only appear to be in kids sizes. Surely they are missing a trick there. Apparently these are ‘huge’ at the moment but not huge enough for my feet to fit in them.
Teva have lots of funky looking ‘sports’ sandals that would fit me and I do like the look of the Terra Fi Lites (despite the hefty pricetag). Actually, Teva also do leather look sandals and this is what I really want. Actually, if I am being totally honest I want my old cracked Birkensocks to magically be waterproof and comfy once more.
… So I went to the Birkenstock website and what do you know, it seems I can send them off and get them properly rebuilt by the makers.
So, it seems I will soon have some lovely sandals again, but I still wont be wearing them on the Maldives.
A good sized island (52 acres) on Noonu Atoll with 2 jettys of water villas and plenty of beach villas too. A newer addition to the holiday islands Irufushi is well designed, has some great facilities (such as a golf simulator) and plenty of restaurants so there is more choice than many other islands.
The ocean is deep here so drift dives can be enjoyed close to the island, a bonus for scuba fans seeking a little extra excitement.
The Couture travel website is currently offering 15 different Maldive offers on their website.
Amongst them are a few utter gems. 7 nights for the price of 5 at the Angsana Veluvaru caught my eye as did the complimentary upgrade from half board to full board PLUS book in advance and save over 20% offer for Iru Fushi.
This second offer in particular appeals because (as regular readers will know) one of my pet gripes is half board being offered for maldives holidays. It simply isn’t good enough to sell a half board holiday to an island where there are no real options for getting off the island and eating where you want. You also cannot pop down to the supermarket, so full board really is the only option, and indeed all inclusive makes the most sense. Anyway (grip over) it is nice to see the Couture Travel Company thinking about their customers needs.
Have you ever phoned Couture? I have. You always get through to either Charlotte or Vicky. They both have lovely telephone voices and are always good for advice on holiday destinations.
The Maldives are perfect for just getting away from it all and are definitely a great romantic destination. That is why we chose them for our honeymoon… but… and this may come as a shock to some of you… my wife got bored about 10 days in.
Sure we were having a great time, but the island was small and she was always used to high octaine action packed holidays. She wanted elephant rides, ancient temples, white water rafting and bungee jumps. She wanted jungles and tigers.
The maldives have the scuba diving which can deliver all that excitement and more, but due to a dodgy eardrum she could not enjoy this aspect of the holiday; leaving her to just sit around on the beach relaxing… which was great for 10 days but then no more.
We SHOULD have gone for a 2 centre holiday, 1 week in the maldives to relax followed by a week in India or Sri Lanka doing all the adrenaline fueled activities we would have normally opted for.
There, I have said it. For some people (a minority, it must be said) the maldives are not the perfect destination. However a two centre honeymoon could well be the perfect combination.
The good news is that you really can travel ‘ultra light’ when visiting the Maldives. Most people wear less than half of what they bring with them. A pair of swim shorts or a bikini are pretty much all you need when staying on an island resort. A short sleeved shirt and perhaps a locally bought sarong for evening wear and one long sleeved linen shirt if you are heading out to explore Male or an island inhabited by locals.
Shoes are not needed except for the plane flight. Bring flip flops or neoprene boots for wading among the corals. A pair of sandals are probably a good idea for some people, bust most people go barefoot in the Maldives.
If you are travelling in monsoon season you might want to bring waterproofs and a warm top in case a storm blows up, but you would have had one with you from the flight, so packing another is unnecessary.
On some islands there is a ‘special’ restaurant where dress code of a sort is adhered to. This might mean no shorts or even a short and tie requirement for men and some form of evening dress for ladies. If you wish to book one of these ‘luxury’ meals then check the dress code.
Lux is a five star resort on one of the larger Maldive islands. Guests can borrow bicycles to get around, although everything is very much within walking distance.
Eight different accommodation types means that they can cater to all family sizes and most budgets. This resort is not in any way a budget Maldives experience, you will be pampered and cossetted throughout your stay, hence the higher prices that seen in some other maldive resorts.
Kenwood Travel are offering 2 for 1 deals at the Lux, maldives
This resort is given five stars and has great visitor reviews.