The Maldives – Bandos Resort Island
After 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 Bandos.
There are so many island resorts to choose from that it can be over-whelming. They all offer similar things but can range in price from £200 a night to £20,000 per night and even more for some of the most exclusive resorts. We were only having one whole day and two nights at such a resort so narrowed our choices down and did lots of research before choosing. The main criteria were
- Price – it had to be within our budget which was boosted by Anna’s Mum, so no £20,000 over the water villas for us. We were instead looking at treating ourselves to a resort at around £200-£300 per person per night.
- Location – It had to be close to the airport so that transfers there and back wouldn’t take long.
- House Reef – We wanted an island with a good quality House Reef for snorkelling on.
- All Inclusive – We decided to go for all-inclusive. We wouldn’t make the most of it as we don’t drink much but it would mean we could just eat and drink what we wanted without worrying about additional costs.
Bandos resort fitted the bill perfectly and did indeed turn out to be just what we wanted.
The storm was still raging so the boat trip to Bandos was a little bumpy and there wasn’t much to see. We were indeed thankful that it was only a short ride and we soon docked at the jetty and clambered out of the rocking boat. The resort staff dealt with our luggage and took us into the shelter of the reception where we had some welcome drinks and a refreshing face towel.
After checking in we were taken by buggy through the sandy streets of the island to our beachside villa. Our luggage followed soon after. The villa was spacious and well appointed and pretty much on the beach. It was set back just a short distance and sheltered in amongst the vegetation. The island iself was very green and dense with vegetation but well manicured and looked after. Staff were seen everywhere, keeping things tidy, gardening and ferrying people and luggage to their rooms.
We took a quick look at the beach outside our villa during a break in the rain and due to the delays at the airport it was now lunchtime so we headed back to the main restaurant for a buffet lunch.
There was plenty of good food and lots of choice on offer and the staff were all really friendly. One waittress from India seemed to adopt us as her personal favourites and we had some lovely chats with her over the course of the next day or two. I think she felt a little sorry for us at first due to the weather.
The weather didn’t improve during the afternoon. In fact it just got worse and worse. We did have a quick dip in the sea just because we thought we should but otherwise we sheltered from the storm for most of the afternoon.
We did have to venture out for dinner though and sensibly took the umbrellas that were provided with us. These didn’t help much as the rain was torrerntial and we discovered that our route to the restaurant was completely flooded. We had to walk through ankle deep water all the way there. Anna was particularly wet by the time we arrived as her long trousers had soaked up quite a bit of water.
It was at least warm and the food was once again very good. The rain, winds and flooding weren’t quite what we were expecting though and not what we were prepared for. We took a different route back which was a little drier and then chilled in the room before heading off to bed hoping for better weather the next day.
Swimming with Sharks
Day 2 did dawn much drier. There were even some blue skies.
Breakfast was good and with the sun trying to make an appearance we had a quick dip in the sea. I then headed off for a swim to explore for a little, while Anna chilled by the beach. Each of the beach villas had a small area of beach that seemed almost private to them. They were in fact shared with other guests but people were spaced out enough and seemed to settle in the loungers and hammocks next to their own villas so it felt as though each little area in amongst the coconut trees was your own.
I headed off in an anti-clockwise direction around the island, past a hammock in the water with reef fish everywhere. The house reef was just as promised and full of life. It was easily accessed right from the white sandy beach all around the island and then dropped off into deeper water about 50 metres from the shore. It was like swimming in a giant aquarium with coral everywhere, anemones had resident clown fish, there were angelfish, butterfly fish, trigger fish, surgeon fish and every other sort of tropical marine fish you can think of. Cleaner wrasse were busy manning their cleaning stations and there was a kaleidoscope of colours. The water was clear and blue. I could have spent all day swimming and snorkelling here.
I hadn’t planned to go far but soon got carried away. After the hammock I could see the watersports area and Huvan restaurant that was on a jetty over the water so I thought I’d carry on towards that to see what the reef was like there. I swam out towards the edge of the reef and was soon greeted by several quite large Black Tip Reef Sharks. I hadn’t expected to be swimming with sharks quite so soon. I almost headed straight back to get Anna, but decided to continue on for a little while and then saw more and more sharks. They were completely un-interested in me.
I swam around the restaurant and could then see the over-water villas a little further on so kept going. I swam past these into huge clouds of Black and White Striped Butterfly fish. There were thousands of them. By now I thought I must be about halfway around the island so had ideas of swimming the whole way around. I soon came across the harbour entrance though and thought it was probably best not to swim across it so ended up heading back the way I came. There were now loads of sharks about.
Once back at our part of beach I decided that Anna needed to swim with the sharks too, so we donned our snorkelling kit and headed out for a snorkel together, Yes, we managed to snorkel with the sharks too. There were also some other larger fish a little further out such as Giant Trevally and huge clouds of black fish with bright blue fins (Blue Triggerfish?).
After a morning in the sea we headed off for lunch and checked out the watersports centre. They had some windsurfing kit but didn’t seem that keen to let me use it. I went snorkelling again in the afternoon and then we had cocktails in another restaurant and watched rays and sharks in the lagoon. There was also a large heron hanging about and lizards scampering around all over the island. The little rocky jetties were covered in crabs too. We walked around the island in each direction a few times to get to the restaurants, we checked out the pool area and we had a look in the little shops.
It started raining heavily again by dinnertime so the umbrellas were put to good use again.
Back to Malé
Unfortunately, after a good nights sleep we had to leave this little paradise behind. It was windy this morning and I would have loved to go windsurfing but there was no time for that today. We had breakfast, packed our bags and then hopped on the speedboat back to Malé. Back in the city it was hot and sticky but we soon met up with the others ready to head off on the Much Better Adventures Island hopping and activities part of our holiday. All in all it had been a lovely day in paradise and made adding these nights in Bandos onto our Much Better Adventures holiday well worth it. Seeing this side of the Maldives as well as the local islands was perfect, thanks Pat.