Q and A’s

Query: Independent Travel

Hello Donna,
Me and my wife have read your book (the full version) and we really enjoyed it.
We really liked the story about your boat travel. If you read it… it… feels like a big adventure 😉
And not many tourists have contact with local people.
We are planning a short trip (5 to 7 days) at the Maldives. We are arriving at Male and then we want to do something similar like you did. Can you still recommend “catching a boat to Addu Atoll”?
Is there a boat leaving every day?
Can you recommend a flat or a guesthouse somewhere?
Thanks for your answer
Best regards
Dirk & Karin (from Germany)

Donna says:

Dear Kirk and Karin,

Cargo ships leave regularly, often at night, and you can check by enquiring down at the Fruit and Vegetable market. Ask how much it would cost to take you to Addu, the price may have changed since I took the journey.

They do stop at various islands along the way too, which I think is part of the adventure in a way, but does slow the arrival.

Typically the journey alone will take three days each way, so you may want to catch a flight back to Male’, as I did, otherwise all your six days will be spent travelling, unless that is what you want?

I took a three day boat trip aboard the Best Line vessel from outside the Fruit and Vegetable Market and paid for a cabin room for approx 100Rf per day (300 RF).

Call Captain Hakeem of Best Line on Maldives (00960) 792 3414 or 799 5737. I would suggest to call him or go to the fruit and vegetable market in Male’ to try to hitch a lift with another cargo boat. Typically they leave and then return on a 10 day cycle, so you can blag a return trip too. This was back in 2011 though, so things may have changed.

Once you arrive in Addu, there are plenty of guest houses now but when I went I had to stay at a local person’s house and a resort! That’s how much things have moved on. I have lots of contacts in Addu so I can take the hassle out of it for you and arrange the booking but would need to know when you arrive. Tell me your budget and travel patterns and I will get back to you. As for travel around Addu itself, you can follow my handy guide for tips on what to do when on the island: https://backpackmaldives.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/backpacking-around-addu/

Query: Christmas in the Maldives

Donna, Firstly, thank you for the great information on your blog! It has been a huge help so far!

My husband, his brother and I have decided to visit the Maldives for Christmas and New Years this year. We are in our 20’s and thus are doing it on a budget, but a decent budget nevertheless. We are looking at an apartment on Villingili because it is close to Male and other resort islands, and of course the price of accommodation is cheaper ($90/night). I see that I cannot wear a bikini in Villingili but I can on nearby
islands. This is a sacrifice that I am willing to make as a result of cheaper
accommodation. Is this a good idea?

We are looking forward to this holiday as it will be the first Christmas as a married couple and in an exotic destination. We are mostly excited for relaxing on the beaches, trying local foods and experiencing the culture. My brother-in-law is looking forward to the night life and hopefully some dives too. I read your blog post on diving – do you recommend that we get certified before we come or is it easy to find divers
who will take you down without certifications?
Or better yet, is there school that can teach you there?
Thank you so much for your help and your time in reading my questions! It is always much easier to travel when you are organized and aware of what you are walking into! Thanks Carla

Donna says:

Thank you for reaching out Carla. First of all, I can confirm that there is a very good diving school on Villingilli which comes highly recommended. Divers Lodge is located on the island of Villingi and is run by Fiyaaz and his brother Yasser lead the dives and are friendly and experienced. In fact the whole crew on the boat are full of information about the area and other dives spots on other islands.

In terms of spending Christmas on the islands as a married couple, I would warn you that displays of public affection are not allowed in the Maldives, and Christmas is not recognised, so you may want to book in to a resort like Kurumba for Christmas? I can enquire to get you a really good deal and you can still stay in Vilingilli as it is but a 20 minute journey. Of course as you know bikinis nor alcohol are allowed in the islands so I would recommend that if you would like to celebrate in the traditional fashion.

Hope this helps!

Query: Fruit and Vegetables

Hi DonnaHope all is well with you.I read your post on Hulhumale. My husband is currently posted at Hulhumale. He’s in the telco industry.I will be heading over next week for a short trip. Am currently pregnant, hence hubby is pretty worried about food. He says fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to get.

Are you still staying in Hulhumale? Hope to hear more from you.

Thank you!

BR, Yvonne

Donna says:
Hi Yvonne,
Thanks for getting in contact.
Maldives cannot grow its own produce as there is no soil as such plus the islands are so tiny, although experts are cultivating some permaculture projects on some islands that have the capability to grow their own fruit and veg. Some islands down south grow their own bananas and guava and coconuts are plentiful.
On the whole, though most fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by in the islands as they are imported. Naturally they go first to the resorts, then to Male’ and then to the other islands – usually in that old!
Of course this is because of the time it takes to transport the goods from nearby islands in the first time, this is why they are often past their best.
However, it is possible to visit the fruit and vegetable market in Male’ which is the hub for all the cargo ships which come into the harbour. I would recommend that you perhaps visit the fruit and veg market to purchase your fruit which will be the freshest in the Maldives.

Query 3: Hulhumale general information

Dear Donna, Thanks so much for your blog post on Hulhumale.

Both me and my husband are Indians and we plan to visit Maldives in April.
We weren’t very sure of the island we wanted to stay in but after reading your blog about Hulhumale we are convinced of our stay there 🙂
Was wondering if you could spend few minutes to answer four questions on Maldives that will make it easier for us as travelers
  1. What is the cheapest way to travel from the Airport to Hulhumale?
  2. We are on an budget trip, which place would you recommend for stay? Our budget is between USD 50 – USD 100.
  3. You mentioned it is a muslim island. What would you consider appropriate dressing? Bikini is a complete no – no but can a girl wear shorts and tube tops or is one required to dress even more conservatively (covering legs and arms)
  4. We haven’t surfed or done water sports but are very keen on trying it. Do you have any suggestions for the first time water surfers?
We really look forward to your reply.
Thanks once again for your blog post.
Best Regards,
Yasha
Donna says:
Thanks Yasha we are working on getting you an answer.
Dear Donna,I’ve googled your blog, because I’m going to visit Hulhumale island next month, and I’m searching all available information about Maldives.
Your post about Hulhumale is the most valuable from everything which I found until now. Could you please provide me some more info about the place. I’ll stay in a quite new guest house, which is called Le Vieux Nice Inn. Could you please tell me something more about people, their culture, what they like or dislike.
I’d like to point that I travel a lot, and I know very well Muslim culture, but I’ve never been on Maldives before, and I know very well  that different country means different people.
With all the best wishes from cold and wintry Poland!

z poważaniem / sincerely yours SylwiaDear Donna

Your article (https://backpackmaldives.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/backpacking-around-addu/) was not just informative but like reading a novel. Very descriptive and lively. Thanks for sharing these information.I am resident of Scotland and planning to visit Maldives as a FIT 😉 I am trying to Atoll Hop, but don’t see any options like the Atoll Explorer has folded. If you are based in Male, is it possible to meet for a coffee and get your opinion (which I can via email too), but felt meeting will give the pleasure of knowing and planning a more detailed trip.

I plan to arrive in Male, around 10th Jan. Looking forward to hearing from you, appreciating your busy schedule.

Best Wishes

Suresh

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