The Maldives, contrary to expectations, is not only a luxury available exclusively to the strongest of this world. Surprisingly, it is here, practically at the other end of the world, on the islands washed by the eternally warm Indian Ocean, that everyone will find exactly what they were looking for. The Maldives is a country of contrasts. Male, where the international airport is located, may well be added to the Wish List by extreme and non-standard travel lovers. The fact is that the Maldives is perhaps one of those few countries where luxury contrasts sharply with poverty, heaven with hell, and the happy life of vacationers - with the poverty of the local population. Malé is a dirty, unkempt, frighteningly gray and uncomfortable city, but it is worth sailing (or flying away depending on the distance of your island from the capital) a decent distance,a completely different picture opens up - flawless clear water, snow-white beaches and, of course, palm trees - in general, absolutely all symbols of a happy and rich life.
Through low clouds, a flimsy-looking seaplane, but as the locals say - the safest of all available modes of transport, carries me over the ocean to a mysterious island, on which, judging by the numerous pictures in the world network, the water is obscenely blue, the sand is almost pearl, and the sun shines even at night. The Maldives is a name that is familiar to us almost from the cradle and, just like photos on the Internet, gives off the romance of long journeys and promises “heavenly delight”. As I contemplate the days ahead in paradise, the plane circles one of the many islands and lands on the water. Already from the window it can be seen that it really has that shade of blue, which we are accustomed to achieve except through Photoshop and numerous photo processing applications in our smartphones.
Where to live
The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is about 52 acres of land located in the northernmost part of the Maldives archipelago. The hotel, which in our traditional sense is least like a hotel, is located on an island forty-five minutes from the capital of the Maldives. Its owner, Ahmed Siam Mohammed, is local, which, I must say, is a rarity for these parts. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands, as a rule, in an endless search for work, sooner or later find themselves enrolled in the staff of one of the many hotels (their number, fortunately for the locals, only grows every year), but the story of Ahmed Siam can be considered truly magical. Once upon a time, a Maldivian boy traded by meeting guests with a sign at the airport, but it seems that he always dreamed of more. Today, Mr. Siam is the owner of several hotels at once and is not going to stop there.
You learn about the existence of a completely different life immediately, barely stepping on a platform balancing among the waves, near which our plane stops. Unlike Male, the sun seems to always shine here, even in the rainy season, it manages to break through the clouds, creating a natural backlight for the azure and crystal clear water. In short, an absolute fairy tale, about which one had only dreamed of before, enviously watching a commercial, familiar to everyone, about heavenly pleasure. Massive tops of palm trees are swaying around, the sand pleasantly massages the feet, plus - add another light salty breeze.
It is not customary to rush here - except perhaps to the ocean in order to have time to watch the sunset in the evening. However, this only applies to those who live directly on the island. Those guests who choose a villa on the water (a great rarity, by the way - you will find rooms on the water only here and on Bora Bora), will be able to enjoy the setting sun without leaving their home, moreover, if they so desire, without getting out of bed … Panoramic windows are located in such a way that not a single detail of the local landscape escapes the eyes of vacationers.
Other onshore villas, however, are in no way inferior to the first - almost every room is equipped with an impressive pool and other amenities that are so lacking in other similar hotels: several shower options, outside and directly indoors, comfortable loungers under a canopy from banana leaves, wide terraces where you just need to drink coffee in the morning. For me personally, the most attractive are the villas with ocean access. In what other resort, in order to plunge into the azure waters of the Indian Ocean (yes, after all, any salt water), you need to cover a distance of only ten meters? Like any luxury resort, The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi has a suite for the most discerning guests. True, the number is huge, much more like a castle,it is difficult to name the structure - several bedrooms, a view of the lagoon, a personal chef. What else can you dream of?
Where to eat
Perhaps, on no other island in the archipelago you will not find such a variety of restaurants and cafes. Here you will find an institution for every taste.
- For breakfast at the Iru restaurant you will be offered a huge selection of both national and traditional dishes, freshly squeezed juices (and orange juice only opens the list of attractive fruits, the juice of which you have to try at breakfast), cereals, fruits and vegetables.
- Do you like Vietnamese food? Head straight to Bamboo: several types of noodles, grilled vegetables, exotic soups with meat or seafood, and, of course, desserts, which I bet you are unlikely to be able to cook at home.
- For those who prefer European cuisine - Trio restaurant: carpaccio, fettuccine, spaghetti, and a small deviation from the rules: Maldivian yellowfin tuna, which, I must say, is in no way inferior to the classic. Is that the size. So, it is difficult to stay hungry on the paradise island.
- Last but not least, for the most discerning palate: Flavors, award-winning TripAdvisor. The cuisine is in the best traditions of the most expensive restaurants in the world, where not only taste is important, but also design. If you want to impress your companion - choose Flavors, he will have no doubts about your impeccable taste.
Things to do
What a resort without a SPA-center, you ask, however, let's be objective, the center is the center of strife. The quality of services, alas, sometimes absolutely does not correspond to their cost. The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi is a happy exception to the rule. Suddenly, barely opening the massive doors, you find yourself in a completely different world of enchanting music, water lilies and … ginger tea, which you will certainly be treated to both before and after the procedures. As for the "menu" itself, it is more extensive than one could imagine: the famous Thai massage, massage with essential oils, massage with medical cups, acupuncture and finally - the undisputed leader - massage with hot herbal bags. Scented bags are dipped in hot oil, and then methodically knead the whole body with them. It would seem - nothing specialbut the feeling of a complete "reboot" after the end of the procedure does not leave for several more days. By the way, if you like the masseuse, there is every chance to leave SP not only with a renewed body, but also with an intricate hairstyle, with exotic flowers woven into your hair.
The Maldives does not end with Iru Fushi, there they only begin. Not far from the island there are other - completely different shores, where fishing villages are located. One has only to get out of the limits of his small "all-inclusive" world, and your gaze will open a completely different life, another, unlike our culture, so different that sometimes it seems - this is a parallel universe, access to which is open only to a select few. Here you have a unique opportunity to spend a whole day with fishermen, get to know their way of life, practice English with children in a rural school or chat with the fair sex, it is quite possible that local beauties will share their culinary secrets with you.
Iru Fushi is just the beginning of an epic journey called the Maldives. The blue waters of the lagoon, pearl sand, unhurried and very kind of joyful life that makes you forget about the problems and permanent stress of big cities.
The Maldives is different, so unlike our planet of endless sun and endless happiness. It smells of damp earth, the wind is salty and powerful, and the sun's rays strive to get entangled in the hair, which will surely lie on darkened shoulders in neat curls without any styling. "I love you, I love you, I love you …" - I repeat to myself, not really knowing who or what exactly I am confessing my love to: the sea, the sun, an island in the ocean, life, or something else, then what is still I didn’t find a name, but maybe it’s not necessary.
Photo source: archives of the press services
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