Upon arrival at Hulhule International Airport, Maldives, my friends and I were greeted by our local friends, together with a posh speedboat at the docks. On our 7km trip to our resort island from the airport in the speedboat, we were served mocktail drinks and were laughing and talking amongst ourselves.
We were in complete awe as we stepped out of the speedboat onto the jetty of the beautiful Bandos Island. The very first thing I saw were the colorful fish swimming about, visible in the crystal-clear waters. I looked around me, drinking in the sensation of being in a paradise island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I was in a resort nestled among the swaying palm trees, lush tropical vegetation, sparkling turquoise waters, and white sandy beaches - The Bandos Island Resort.
The Bandos Island Resort takes up the entire island of Bandos, approximately 1.5km round, and was built in the early 1970s. To me, the island is the epitome of beauty and serenity, and I knew my trip to the Maldives has only just begun.
We had two chalet-like suites connecting to each other, one for the guys and one for the girls. The cozy suites were facing the sea, and just imagine waking up in the morning, stripping down to my bikini, running off onto the beach, and plunging straight into the sea for a morning swim… heaven! The suites had a double and single bed, so we could snooze off anywhere we wished. The rooms were spacious, with all the basic amenities, and it felt homey and welcoming every time we came back from our long days under the sun.
On our first day there, we were given a tour around the entire island, visiting the numerous facilities in the resort, including the sports complex, the diving centre, the clinic, and the staff headquarters. We traveled around the island in a bungee and explored all the different beaches surrounding the island, each one more lovely than the other.
Most days, my friends and I would spend afternoons just lazing around and sunbathing at the beach just outside our suites. We would play cards and build sandcastles like little children on the beach, or bath and canoe in the sea. There are numerous water sports available, and we tried the Banana Boat ride, a long float for six people with handles for everyone. A rope tied to the speedboat drags the float along the water. It was an exhilarating and bumpy ride, with all of us screaming on the top of our lungs! Our boat capsized a number of times in the middle of the ocean, and we had to push and pull and climb back on it again. One of my friends was even blown off once, and we left him floating right in the middle of the ocean until someone noticed he was gone! We also had a go on the Doughnut ride, which gave me an excellent bum massage! There are other rides available at the water sports centre, like parasailing, windsurfing, and jet skiing, and the list goes on.
Sometimes we would go over to the other side of the island, somewhere near the dive school, to snorkel. Beautiful corals and reefs decorate the ocean floor, and colorful fish swam around us as if we were part of the sea. After witnessing the beauty of the underwater world, we would always hang around at the Sundowners Bar on the beach front, enjoying the sea view and cool breeze with a margarita and a plate of french fries.
When the sun gets too scorching in the afternoon, there is always the sports centre to entertain us. The guys would always be found glued to the television or having an argument on who won the last round of darts. At times, they can be found having a go at badminton, squash, or table tennis. The girls, on the other hand, would rather pamper themselves when they are out of the sun. There’s always the sauna and the ever so relaxing and soothing Thai massage.
Whenever hunger seeped into our stomachs, we would head to the resort’s main restaurant, the Gallery Restaurant. The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner buffets, as well as á la carte. Sometimes, after a meal, we would just hang out the restaurant and play cards until we get hungry again!
During the night, when all beach activities died down, we would always be found chilling at the Sand Bar. There would be local bands playing there on most nights, and most of them are rather good. Hotel guests and honeymooners would sometimes pick up the momentum, and the dance floor can get rather crowded. It was karaoke night one of the nights we were there, and it was fun just opening up and singing at the top of our lungs! At the end of most nights, we would all head back to our rooms laughing nonstop and, well, walking in zigzags!
To me, the beauty, serenity, and seclusion I found during my vacation at the Maldives is simply unparalleled to anything I have ever experienced before. I loved sitting down by the beach and watching the sun rise at dawn; spending quality time and witnessing nature’s beauty with my close friends; and waking up each morning knowing that I would see something more beautiful than the other every single day I was there. I guess I found my very own private hideaway at Maldives while staying at The Bandos Island Resort.
For more information on The Bandos Island Resort, visit the resort’s website at www.bandos.com