Wander-full Destination Holiday
Magical Maldives – My happy place.
When I started working out I said to myself that if I trained three times a week for at least three months, I’d treat myself to an island holiday.
I purposely decided to work with a personal trainer because I needed some guidance when lifting weights. In my mind I figured that one month should be enough, after which I’d know what to do in the gym by myself. Five months later I was still going at it quite diligently.
I suddenly realised that I owed myself a holiday!
The destination search started. I was looking for an island with white beaches and clear waters, somewhere I’d be comfortable travelling solo (not feel awkward not being in a couple), and not need to be shy walking around in a swimsuit. I must have googled for about two weeks when I realised that my birthday was less than a week away. The next day I called a travel agent and I said:
‘Get me to an island in the Maldives for my birthday!’.
That call took place on a Friday.
With a small list of preferences, she came back to me several times that day with options. None of the options had direct flights, but two options could get me there the day before my birthday. After quick and careful consideration, I settled on Kuredu … and I want to tell you … it was the best decision ever.
An Island birthday
I’m used to making quick decisions, but this was by far the most spontaneous one I’ve made in a long time. That Friday afternoon I signed the travel booking and received my tickets, giving me a whole two days to get ready before departing on Sunday!
I think not having a partner for so long, someone to do these things with, made me wake up to the fact that if I had to wait to be with someone, or for my friends to ‘not be busy’, I would not be going anywhere awesome anytime soon.
I’ve always said, ‘you have one life’, and on that fabulous Friday I decided to live a little.
My Travel Agent
With so many holiday deals to choose from online, I was a little overwhelmed and decided to contact an agent instead. I sort of narrowed it down to three agents, after which I settled on Thompsons, simply because their site was well structured.
I called and got through to Mishka who literally got on the ball. With such limited time for her to pull it off, I can honestly say, I will book through her again.
It was a long flight, and I had a layover in Dubai of six hours. But this is what happens when you book spur of the moment…. all the direct flights get taken up!
I managed to book a sleeping pod in the Marhaba lounge. The connecting flight was at half past crazy hour in the early morning, so I was happy that they offered to wake me at my requested time. Lucky for me the boarding gate was only about 200 meters away.
Arrival in the Maldives
I was so happy to arrive in Male. From the moment of landing everything moved along quite quickly. All the travelers who arrived with me sort of scattered to their various transfer points and that’s when I realised that the Maldives really have many many little islands. I later learnt that there are about 1200 islands making up the Maldives.
Bloody hell. Out of 1200 islands, I managed to pick one. Right about then I started hoping that I had picked well!
From Male Airport there is a short 10 minute drive by bus to catch a Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane transfer
from Velana International Airport for Kuredu Island. The flight itself is about 45 minutes.
Walking to my seaplane
I have arrived!
Pilots have the best view
Welcome to Kuredu
From the air I could see that Kuredu looks exactly like what you see in the pictures and on their website. You are escorted from the jetty to the reception where you pass by a welcoming group of hosts drumming and clapping.
Your luggage is taken and will be in your room when you arrive there. At the reception you receive an arrival mocktail and you are assigned with your personal host.
Adam came up to me and introduced himself and from the get go was full of puns. He was proper funny, a real character and I felt immediately at ease.
At first there was so much information to take in, that I must admit much of what he said went in one ear and right out the other. But that was not a problem since he was available for any queries, or ready to book any excursions, even to just make sure you are still happy.
I have to say, the service from every staff member was impeccable. Everyone is eager to assist, friendly and chatty and once they’ve met you they literally remember who you are. I mean there are so many people who come and go and yet they remember everyone’s names, where they like to sit, who they mingle with. It was mind-boggling and amazing.
'Home', for the next 5 days
Adam called a golf-cart and drove me to my room. He said at any time if I’d like a cart, I must just buzz him, and he’d organise. I opted to walk my way around most of the time though (get in some exercise).
When I arrived at my room I was pleasantly surprised and had a giggle at the bathroom which is outside of the rooms. Obviously closed off, but outside with a little garden! This was new to me, but quite cool.
The whole island is on sand. Some of the islands apparently are tiled in areas, but Kuredu is au-natural. I loved that. It was exactly what I wanted. To walk out of my room onto white soft sand, and into clear waters.
I was in the beach bungalow, which is on the skirt of the island, so you are literally within meters from water. I did have some trees in front which gave some privacy if I wanted. Not that I spent much time in my room.
Walking around the island in the shallow water, can you spot the fishi
After settling in I went strolling about the shops to see what swimsuits they have and while not very hungry, decided to go check out the Bonthi restaurant for lunch. Now obviously being on my own, my first instinct was to spot any other loners. There were many, but it was quite deceiving because their partners would show up eventually or you’d see them later with their respective other. I didn’t want to approach anyone, be all friendly and in the process offend someone. So I just enjoyed my lunch, taking in the scenery.
Now remember, I have just arrived. I am on DAY 1, lunching on my own when a tall chap walks past and greets me with a big smile. He went and sat behind me, also on his own. I mean it was the kind of a big smile that made me feel like, ‘hey, everything’s gonna be alright’. I did imagine that he’d have his wife following past soon, but no-one joined him.
I finished lunch and went to sit at the Babuna bar for a beer. Yes, beer. It was hot and I needed a quenchy drink.
The tall smily man walked in a bit later to have an espresso, which evidently he did after every meal. We chatted from afar and then moved closer to meet properly. Turned out he was also travelling alone, and just like that on DAY 1 I had made a friend on an island in the Maldives.
That night we met up again at the Babuna bar where a band was playing old school music like Eagles, Led Zeppelin. They were really good, and I was loving the atmosphere. We popped champagne and well, in true Heidi style, next I was friends with the band members when they had their break, and getting to know some of the couples. There was a girl from the UK who is married but likes to travel alone (she essentially became my dancing partner), and a couple also from South Africa. Mostly everyone enjoyed meeting their fellow vacationers.
I had the time of my life, right from my first day.
Happy Heidi day!
It’s my day of birth, and I’m on an island in the Maldives, yay!
I woke up feeling absolute bliss and I couldn’t stop saying “I’m in the Maldives”. I received a message to my room to confirm the birthday dinner Guido (Mr. Tall & Smily) had planned at the Far East restaurant. I vaguely remembered saying we would meet at 6pm.
I leaped out of bed and pushed open my doors and took in the island air. I was the happiest 43 year old in the world.
I booked a massage treatment at the O-resort’s Duniye Spa. If you go back to the map, you will find it on the north edge. My Kuredu stay was booked all-inclusive, so this was one of the vouchers I used for a free massage, but I topped it up for a Balinese Massage, a gentle and calming massage using acupressure, skin rolling and relaxing strokes to sooth, restore and calm the mind and body.
When you arrive you are introduced to your masseuse who offers some ginger and lemongrass tea, after which she lets you select your oil of choice and presents you with a bowl of stones.
She says to pick one stone, ‘pick any stone you feel like picking’. I was kind of staring her down wondering if this was a trick, and while the stones looked almost the same, one did stand out to me. I picked it up, turned it over and it had the word ‘love’ carved into it.
Ah, ya! Of course it says love, I’m on an island, I bet all the stones say ‘love’.
But no, she showed me and there were various other words ‘peace’, ‘happiness’, etc. I picked love. I thought it was kind of funny… being single for so long ‘n all.
When entering the massage room, you are told to lie face-down where a window in the floor lets you see the fish swimming underneath. She placed the stone ‘love’ facing up in the middle of the window.
SO for the whole time your back is being massaged you are faced with this message of love! It started wondering if the universe is trying to tell me something…
But no, I quickly came back down to earth when she asked me to turn around.
After the massage I walked to the pool bar and tried a Caipirinha. Guido showed up and reminded me of our ‘date’ at 6pm. I still had plenty time so I went back to my bungalow to try on my new bikini and went walking along the water to get some colour and relax a bit.
I walked past the water villas which are near my room. They’re pretty much the same as the other villas, just on stilts over the water.
Birthday dinner at The Far East
I saw Guido nod his head at our waitress, who promptly came walking in with a birthday cake. They baked me a cake! I had a moment of absolute speechlessness. I couldn’t find words. My mouth literally hung open with the look of true surprise. I didn’t expect this. I especially didn’t expect it from someone who just met me. I felt so blessed. Like in the middle of the Indian Ocean where I traveled alone, someone cared enough to make it special for me.
The Far East Restaurant is known for its Teppanyaki, a journey of Japanese flavour cuisine. The course consists of an appetizer, Miso soup, vegetables, fried rice and then your chosen main, followed by desert.
This would be my first time trying scallops and it was heavenly with a ginger soy based sauce. Guido had prawns, while our UK friends had the lobster and steak if I remember correctly. The desert was to die for. A coconut herb infused ice-cream that was as refreshing as it was decadent.
Our chef was from Sri Lanka originally, and I was flying out via Sri Lanka this time, so over and above his awesome theatricals we had great chats.
Back 'home' for the night, and more surprises....
Sangu beach side, snorkeling, and the Retro party
Woke up on DAY 3 again with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart and too much excitement, cause this would be another day of firsts! S
I’ve never gone snorkling before. I’ve literally lived by the sea all my life, and never been snorkeling…
First time snorkeler
I was able to rent a GoPro camera at the Prodivers desk for my half-day snorkeling outing. In hindsight it was maybe not the best idea considering I was not a master of breathing with the mask yet. It took a while for me to NOT breath through my nose, cause it just steams up your mask, and that’s why there is a dangly mouthpiece! Haha,
Trying to get to used to the mask in deep water AND take pictures was a bit challenging, but I managed. A little bit.
Our diving instructor Birgit (also from South Africa) was great and helped out here and there.
So when spotting a shark, what do you do?
I get a fright, swallow water, steam up my mask, take a blurry picture and go up for air.
Sadly those were my best photos while snorkeling. But, … it is better than nothing! There are so many different sites to go snorkeling, I wish I had more time.
For this outing we went to the ‘Aquarium’ first where you can spot:
parrot fish, oriental sweet lips, snappers, damsel fish, clown fish, fusiliers and jack fish.
Second site was called ‘Reethi Faru’ where you look out for:
puffer fish, angel fish, moray eels, clown fish and hawksbill turtles, and sharks.
I do want to return to Kuredu and see the Manta Rays. Everyone I spoke to was raving about the Cave site, but the available dates was after my departure date.
On a totally different note:
there is an all-glass undersea restaurant (that needs booking way in advance), that I couldn’t get in time.
The 5.8 Underwater Restaurant. It is 5.8m below Hurawalhi. There is a choice between a 5-course lunch or 7-course sunset dinner that holds just 20 seats serving exquisite dishes.
Definitely have to go back.
The Retro party
At the front of the island opposite reception is a theme board where you can see events and food themes coming up.
This evening there would be a Retro party around the pool. They were busy setting up the deco and I was intrigued. ‘Definitely going to check out the Retro party later on’.
Guido had some friends arrive from Belgium and while he was excited to introduce us, I had to remind him that I had my Sunset Cruise on this evening. We did have some language barrier, as his English wasn’t great. It was good enough! But I couldn’t understand French that well, and when it came to time, we got it wrong on this day. Haha.
I kept explaining that my cruise is at 5PM and I would be back at about 9PM. He kept saying he will see me at 5PM. I said no, I leave at 5. Anyway, he was waiting for me at 5PM. I was on a boat dolphin spotting.
Wind surfing, relaxing and White Night
and a little bit later...
Going home, the sad departure.
On the night before your departure they inform you when your seaplane will arrive in the morning for your transfer to Male. So it was during the White Night that I heard my flight would leave Kuredu at 11AM. I was already starting to feel sad that I had to leave. I mean it is just such a different world at Kuredu.
So many people who have been to Kuredu have returned again and again, and I see myself becoming one of them. Already Guido has plans for an October visit and asked me to come back then too. His girlfriend passed away a few years ago, and she loved diving and was so happy in the Maldives, so he returns every year in October in honour of her.