Maldives | Drift Thelu Veliga
The Maldives has been on my list since I was 5! Yes… 5!
The closest neighbouring country to the Maldives is home, Sri Lanka. Going back 25 years odd years now, my Dad would travel to and from these islands for work, back when the coral was not so bleached, the waters were not as polluted, and roughly one and a half million people did not touch down on her shores. Natural beauty can still be found on these islands, sadly though it is fleeting.
My Dad would bring back with him the most beautiful sea shells, curiously shaped, shiny, and pearlescent. I would play with them for hours on end, arranging them into little families of same colour and shape, and my dad would tell me stories of impossible turquoise water and coloured fish which were more curious of stray bare ankles more so than they were scared. Stories of the softest, whitest sand you could sink your toes into, and... right there and then I knew I needed to go, and Pronto. We made it, minus the pronto, but it was magical all the less.
Hotel: Drift Theluveliga
Journey: Sydney > Malaysia > Colombo (overnight stay) > Male City > Sea Plane (35 minutes)
The uniqueness of the Maldives comes from its geography, it is a string of many, many coral islands, 1192 little points of refuge from the rest of the world. Near each inhabitable island is taken up by private resort and thus, your stay will very likely be isolated to the resort of your choice for the duration of your stay, outside of boat trips and seaplane adventures...so do your research!
Drift is a beautiful small resort with just 10 beach villas and 20 water villas. It is small, and private, and quiet. Perfect. It has all the amenities and features of a 5 star resort, with an attentive staff and food delicious. Word to the wise, delicious buffet meals + small, small island = hedonic eating + nil exercise = dust off your gym membership when you return, you will need it.
Most, if not all resorts offer meal packages from half board, to full board, to all inclusive. Now, if you aren’t big eaters or big drinkers, I suggest a half board option allowing you to have some flexibility. Though if you can put away a few and are no stranger to a stray Coconut Sambol with Rotti or five, then go for the all inclusive and avoid the room checking, admin, and balance paying at the end of your stay - just rock up to your table at each breakfast, lunch, dinner like the personality you are and let the hedonic feasting take hold. Remember though, gym pass, you have some work to do when you get home, it happens to the best of us don’t sweat it.
Drift has an inclusive boat trip setting off in the late morning to neighbouring reefs, allowing for some snorkelling, and to see what the open water holds - Turtles! - this was a real nice touch as it allowed us to explore deeper waters outside of the island's house reef. There are other activities including speedboat tours, jet ski, fishing, native island tours and special dinners. My other half tried his hand at Wake Boarding, for example, I had never seen a man skim the water so fast on his face alone before, and I am glad I had the opportunity. He's okay.
It is impossible to miss a sunset on these islands, Sol turns the serene water into an endless mirror stretching out across creation, and colours you thought could not exist in the wild come out to play across the sky with the Grey Herons ending their day. All the while the ice in your glass melts, and you are taken back out of trance to reality, and you are on a beautiful, tropical island and all this is real.
A trip to the Maldives may well be one of the most expensive trips you will make, with prices equivalent to Bora Bora or Tahiti. A recommendation I would like to make to you dear reader, is if you are going travel, travel well, splash out on an overwater bungalow on your Maldives adventure. It will be you own private home on the water, your temple of tranquillity, a spot in time where the troubles and stresses of whatever awaits at home cannot grasp - something you will not get to experience anywhere else. A bungalow dweller can wake to a beautiful sunrise over the water, two strides from their bed to the sea and into warm, tropical water. Or, just a coffee and some quiet contemplation on your private deck whilst the Clown Fish and Reef Sharks swim underfoot.
Night time brings a gentle calm over the island, the lanterns are lit, the mood softens and the temperature relaxes from its noon high to a balmy middle, comfortable and quiet. You are free to do as you please - one last swim, Amaretto Sours at the bar, Maldivian Barbeque by candlelight, or a word or two with relaxed and friendly strangers, whichever your heart pleases. Then to retire to your Bungalow for whichever the next morning brings.
I didn't want to leave, but left all the same, because that just how life works right now. One day I'll return, but for now I'll just whisper quietly take me back.