Off to the Maldives

It’s not every day that we have a holiday such as this, but it’s our 20th wedding anniversary this year so we thought it was time to save up and treat ourselves to the holiday of a lifetime in the Maldives.

Most people that go to the Maldives, at least from the UK, tend to choose one of the many resort islands. A tourist resort in the Maldives typically consists of a hotel on its own island, with its population entirely made up of tourists and work force. They offer plush, 5-star luxury villas either on the beach or in many cases over the water. Most of these resorts are owned by large international companies and offer all the luxuries you would expect with all-inclusive deals, all the food and drinks you can manage, spas, water sports, pools, bars and much much more. These come at quite a premium and we couldn’t really afford it, nor would we necessarily want to spend a whole week just relaxing by the pool. They do of course offer plenty of excursions at an additional cost too.

You can now however also visit local islands. In 2009, local island guesthouses started popping up in the Maldives. This was thanks to a change in regulations that began to officially allow tourists to stay among the local population, rather than just on privately owned resort islands. These guesthouses are in the most part owned by locals, they aren’t quite as luxurious as the resort hotels and they are on islands where the locals live. The fact that the Madives is a very Islamic nation does mean that there is no alcohol on the local islands and that you have to remain covered up except at a few designated ‘bikini beaches’. The local islands are however cheaper and give you a real taste of the Maldives rather than the manicured, highly managed experience on the resort islands.

Much Better Adventures had a new ‘Island Hopping in the Real Maldives‘ holiday in their collection that offered an activity holiday staying on local islands complete with snorkelling trips, kayaking, SUPing and plenty of other things to do. It was one of their more relaxed, less challenging offerings and looked perfect for us.


We had booked the holiday about a year ago and chose to go in January 2024 as that would be our anniversary year and would provide us with some winter sun. What we didn’t know at the time was that Anna would have started a new job just one week before we left. That couldn’t be helped and her new colleagues were fine with it. So, we’d been looking forward to it for ages and the anticipation built once Christmas and the New Year had passed.

Our flight was scheduled for 18:20 on Thursday 11th Jan. So, due to a combination of the fact that we live miles from anywhere and that we don’t like to be rushed or stressed when travelling, we (as usual) set off much earlier than needed. We could have left on Thursday morning with plenty of time to get to Heathrow, but instead decided to leave on Wednesday afternoon instead! This allowed us to stop off at my parents house just outside of Bristol.

A stop in Bristol

We stopped at Mollies for dinner and to charge the car.

Pit Stop at Mollies to charge the car and fill our stomachs
Pit Stop at Mollies to charge the car and fill our stomachs

Stupidly, I decided to buy a new phone whilst we were at the Mall. My old one was cracked and the Apple Store offered me a decent trade-in on it despite the damage. So, I upgraded to a new iPhone 15 plus. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I now didn’t have a 2nd device to two-factor authenticate on. I therefore had trouble logging into and accessing many of my accounts and apps as I tried to set it up.

The last thing I needed whilst in the Maldives was the stress of setting up and trying to access things on my phone. I know I shouldn’t let such things stress me out, but they do. Thankfully, Dave, our next door neighbour who was looking after the cat and the house while we were away came to the rescue. Whilst at my parents house, I talked him through logging into my computer at home where we could do the two-factor authentications for me and I could get up and running with things on the phone. Those things that I hadn’t activated would have to wait, but I did at least have access to the most important things such as my email accounts that had the booking confirmations and such like within them!

In case you are wondering, I went for the green coloured phone and decided on the plus size as my eyesight isn’t getting any better!


After a relaxed breakfast on Thursday morning, we set off en route to Heathrow. We had plenty of time to stop at a McDonalds in Slough where we charged the car in preparation for the journey home. We then headed to the car park. We left the car with them and jumped on the shuttle bus to Heathrow. Yes, we were early but there had been snow disruption so we’d given ourselves plenty of leeway. Now we were here we could relax and enjoy the airport.

The 18:20 British Airways flight left on time and we were soon in the air for our overnight flight to Malé. The flight was fine, we were of course in economy seats but we had booked a row with just two seats so it was just the two of us. We both managed to doze here and there and about 10 hours later we were descending into Malé airport for a 9:30am landing.

Unfortunaely we appeared to have brought the Welsh weather along for the ride. The skies were grey, the Indian Ocean was dotted with white-caps from the wind and although the islands that we flew over looked idyllic we couldn’t see that well and there was no tropical sunshine to be seen.

The weather did at least look better for later in the week. The wind led to a somewhat bumpy landing and then we taxied to a stop only to be told that we couldn’t get off yet. As we sat there a storm was raging outside the window.

Waiting on the Plane

We were told that the Maldivian ground crew had deemed the wind and rain too dangerous to put the steps up alongside the airplane so we had to sit there until the weather improved. Only we could land in the Maldives and be told that the weather is too dangerous to go outside! The runway was several inches deep in water so I think we were lucky to have landed at all. Eventualy, after sitting on the stationary plane for 2 hours we were allowed off. The wind was still blowing and it was pouring with rain. The bus to the terminal was leaking and things looked decidedly un-tropcial. If it weren’t for the fact that it was of course 28ºC we could have thought that we had simply flown around in circles for 10 hours and had landed back in the UK in the middle of a winter storm.

We did at least receive a very warm welcome and a nice smile from the immigration officer and soon had our bags and headed out of the airport to find our transfer to our first island.

Off to a Resort

Despite saying earlier that we were off on a Much Better Adventures Holiday to local islands rather than resort islands, we had decided to treat ourselves to two nights on a resort island first. The idea was to have a full day of relaxing to allow us to recover from the flights before heading off for activities. It would also give us a taste of a typical Maldivian resort island. After much research, we’d picked the resort island of Bandos and were soon met by staff from the island and on our way. You can find out all about our stay on Bandos in the next post.

1 Response

  1. Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024

    […] a long flight and arrival in the Maldives during a torrential storm, we were soon on board a speedboat for a 15 minute transfer to the island resort of […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Avatar forComment Author

Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

You may also like...