As I wrote in my previous reports I always dreamed of going to Maldives and this dream has finally come true. Local islands that were open to public in 2005 offer affordable accomodation with access to Maldives main attraction - beach and underwater life combined with a possibility to observe some everyday life of the locals. Our choice was Gulhi - a small island inhabited by 1000 locals and located 30 minutes from Male by speedboat and up to 1 hour by local ferry. Beneath you will find some photos of my stay in Gulhi and Male.
It's hard to talk about tourist attractions in Maldives where the best thing to do is
it's quite hard to stay out of water that has almost the temperature of the air and is more than crystal clear
Another thing you do here every day is watching beautiful sunsets
My beach friends
Our island Gulhi was a local one which means it is inhabited and you can watch the everyday life of people that are very friendly and talkative. There was a school, a mosque, a couple of guesthouses, 4 small shops and 4 or 5 restaurants
I always heard that food in Maldives is terrible and boring. It is not. And it is not expensive at all. Maldives are full of coconut, tuna and other fresh fish.
On the way back to the airport we had a short stay in Male. "Short" is the key word as we planned to be there 4 hours but 2 were enough. The city is totally cramped with 150.000 people living on a small island with tiny streets full of motorbikes. There is nothing to do there, so a walk around is enough to see the mosque, the presidential palace and some everyday life of this capital of the water world
There are artificial beaches on both ends of the island, the one close to the airport may be really interesting as it provides nice spotting facilities
In order to reach Male airport you need first to get to Male and then you can either take a taxi and pass the bridge (that will cost you a couple of USD) or take a ferry that connects the city with its airport for 1 USD (the journey lasts 10 minutes). We tried both ways as we went to the aiport first by taxi, left the luggage in a storage point and then went to see the city by ferry.
MLE is a very strange airport. On the one hand it looks small and local, on the other it has connection to world's biggest hubs and is daily invaded by dozens of A330s and B777s. The terminal itself is small and you rather won't get lost there.
I would like to try this airline one day but unfortunately this time I'm flying in the opposite direction :(
Current departures. As you can see on the second photo, there are 4 flights to CMB within two hours.
KAL check-in desks. Whole procedure is much faster and easier than on the flight to Male, no questions for how long we are going to Sri Lanka and when we are flying back home, just a quick labelling of our bags and printing of boarding passes.
The airside is quite boring with many shops offering things that you can buy elswhere but here they cost a fortune cause you are in Maldives!
What I like about this airport is the waiting area located close to the food court and offering a great view on the tarmac
Cockroach Airlines also known as Air India A 320
Spice Jet Q400
Sri Lankan A333 arriving from CMB
My blue Korean bird with Alitalia tail in the background
I continue spotting from the gate area downstairs that gives even a better and much closer look. Alitalia taking off to FCO.
Air India A320
Etihad A333 in special livery - it looks really great!
A very close meeting with this QR A350-900 that has just arrived from Doha
My date with A350 ends when our boarding starts
As our A333 is parked a little bit far away we are taken there by bus, yet the ride so close to so many big birds is a very nice one
Let's get onboard
This time our seats are on the right of the cabin at the tail section. The flight seems pretty full with many pax flying to ICN
IFE screen showing our current postion - as I used to say during the last few days: in the middle of the Indian Ocean
Sri Lankan pushing back. It will depart to CMB just 15 minutes ahead of us.
The Great Triple from the Gulf
Oman Air 737 MAX 8, Indigo and QR A320
Taxiing to the runway
Take off with great view of Hulhumale artificial island bulit as a suburban area for crowded Male
Soon after some resort islands appear… bye bye beautiful Maldives
For the next hour we will see just clouds and ocean
Service starts almost immidiately after the seat belt sign is off. This time we are served a cold lunch with full range of beverages. I ask for Korean beer and tea and to my astonishment I receive hot water and a tea bag
The "main dish" consists of a croissant and smoked salmon sandwich - they are both tasty
Jeju water always makes me laugh as "jeju" in my language means something like "oh my gosh" :) Beer is very light and refreshing.
Crew on this flight seems a little bit warmer than on the previous one, yet the same high standards of organization and discipline are maintained during the entire flight.
Our flight path
Descending to CMB - finally some decent land benath!
Welcome back to Sri Lanka.
We park next to Sri Lankan A330
This time during deboarding I ask for a possibility to take a picture of business class and here it is
Last shots of our bird and Saudia 777 that must have arrived in the meantime from MLE
Should you ever arrive to Colombo, before collecting your luggage, don't forget to buy a new fridge or vacuum cleaner! They also have washing mashines and everything you may need at home.
It took a little bit for the bags to arrive but as they finally got there I didn't have to take this yellow one
Many thanks for reading. It will be continued soon.
Malé - MLE
Colombo - CMB
Korean is again an airline of high standards of crew and service, clean and well maintained aircraft and perfectly organized boarding. Male airport is far too small and local for its traffic and CMB was once more a trip to aviation's history.
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