7 Essential Travel Tips When Planning for The Maldives

The Maldives was heaven on Earth. I loved every bit of my time there. The place looks exactly like all the stock images. I spent a lot of time capturing pictures- you can see my travel diary here. I listed a few tips below based on my experience & research , to make your trip as magical as you want it to be:

  1. Pack swimming shoes, or  your feet will hurt from all the dead coral! unfortunately, most coral is dead due to global warming, which is devastating but also painful for your feet as most of the coral feels like hard rocks now  (even by shallow waters).
  2. Research the island of your resort,  as islands have different marine fauna & set of activities , so make sure you research before you go. There is an average of 1 to 2 resorts per island which means that you might be confined to the activities of your island if you don’t rent a boat. And since each island is known for a special marine specie or a set of activities, a little google on the resort/island of your choice might be very helpful to you. For example, some islands are known for glow in the dark Algae, or a type of sharks…
  3. Book the right hotel, as you are most likely to spend most of the time on one island. Transportation is not easy to arrange in the Maldives unless you rent a boat or your use a travel agent.
  4. Book at least one night in a water villa. It is a cliche, but a very sweet one. A morning swim and tanning in the privacy of your villa, is some real unparalleled luxury. I thought I was too cynical to enjoy something like this, but I loved it. Even on a budget, or while  backpacking through Male, you can find resorts that can offer the experience for affordable prices.
  5. Resort food is not that tasty & it is expensive, so pack some protein bars. Or plan an excursion to  Male, for some authentic Maldivian cuisine. Fish is a scarce resource in the Maldives (lots of fishing regulations), so don’t be surprised of you only  get to have only frozen fish throughout your trip .
  6. Pack Mosquito repellent & sunscreen. The islands are very lush and beautiful, hence Mosquitoes.
  7. Budget for extra activities. You might notice activities on the island that you’ll want to try. So make sure you inform your hotel ahead of time, as sometimes spots are limited. Also, not all islands have Scuba or Snorkeling, so a little research or a call to the hotel prior to the trip can help you avoid disappointments. You don’t need cash in the Maldives, everything can be done with credit cards (unless you are in Male).

travel tips for maldives

Have a safe trip! and let me know if you have any further tips.

– Koko

Sunset walk by Burj Al Arab

I love sunsets. Not much of a secret. The mute colors and the soft light are my obsession. Hubby and I went for a walk by Jumeirah beach, hunting for BuQtair . It’s a casual fish restaurant. They serve curried deep-fried fish and shrimp from the catch of the day at very affordable prices . It’s one of the best kept secrets of Dubai. I love it. A blend betweed Dubai’s fishing culture and India’s fish spices.

After the food, we walked by the Burj. I took a few pictures and my full belly was not bothered by that loose dress I had the good idea of wearing. If you like the pictures below. Leave me a comment!

Koko

Outfit details:

girl by Burj al arab at sunset

A Day in The Jais Mountain

Jebel Jais is the UAE’s tallest mountain and is every bit as mesmerizing as a tall mountain should be.

The Mountain is located in the Emirate of Ras El Khaima,  on the border between Oman and United Arab Emirates. The height of the mountain is 1,911 m (6,268 feet).

We drove from Dubai, and it took us 1,5 hours to get to the highest point of mountain (you can drive up, no climbing needed).  The temperature was 12 degrees Celsius cooler than Dubai. we had a picnic in the open air, something we haven’t had in a while due to the high temperature in Dubai. 

I loved every bit of our little excursion. The place was grand, refreshing and…in complete isolation!

 

 

Outfit Details:

My Summer trip to Santiago de Chile

Alladin always wanted to go to Santiago. He often told me how he would love to retire there. So, it was obvious would be part of our South America Trip. 

Chile was as expected: calm, modern and intriguing. Santiago, in particular, was delightful. We loved touring all the main area from the Mercado Central to the Barrio Bellavista, the Moneda, San Cristobal Hill, Alameda, The Museum of History & Human rights…

We took a couple of Turistik buses around Santiago (to tour comfortably), and we stopped at many restaurants to get a flavor of the local cuisine: Baked clams, Grilled fish, Ceviche…

I tried capturing the air & culture of Santiago though these pictures. I hope that you will like them; and if you do, please leave a comment below.

The beautiful streets of Santiago

Plazza de Armas

Plazza de Armas Chile Santiago

Plazza de Armas

El Mercado Central Sasntiago de chile

El Mercado Central

Empenadas of Cheese & chrimp. Yum!

Empenadas of Cheese & chrimp. Yum!

Chilean clams are the best!

Chilean clams are the best!

Pink Clams. Something I only saw in Chile!

Baked chrimp & cheese.

Baked chrimp & cheese.

The colors of Bellavista

Como Agua Para Chocolade restaurant, came highly recommended in Bellavista.

Cocktails in Come de Agua Para Chocolade

Touring the Vineyard of Andurraga

The beautiful Andurraga

Sunsets over the Andes in Santiago 🙂

San Cristobal Hill

Views from Santiago

My Trip to Brazil: Rio De Janeiro & Sao Paulo

Brazil is never boring. There is always someone dancing somewhere or drinking Ciapirinhas. There is always music in the streets and pick-pockets to watch out from. Brazil cannot be taken for granted. 

Our first stop in Brazil was Sao Paulo. We were very fortunate, because a couple we are friends with offered to host us and show us around.

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is a very chill city, with lots of activities and artsy installations. We stayed in Pinheiros, a colorful & hip neighborhood.  The Brooklyn of Sao Paulo, if not Brazil.

Our friends were very kind taking us around the city. we were around the Carnival time (mostly around the end). So, we witnessed a couple of festivities in Sao Paulo and Rio.

Since most official Carnival festivities are taking place in Rio, each neighborhood or university in SaoPaulo organize their own Carnival Bloco (And apparently, these mini organic carnivals are more fun than the real deal in Rio).

Things we did in Sao Paulo:

The Municipal Market of Sao Paulo: this place is so vibrant and full of Brazilian produce and goods. The perfect place to taste Brazilian flavors.

The Municipal market in Sao Paulo Brazil

The Municipal market in Sao Paulo

Brazilian Tapioka fritters at the Sao Paulo municipal market

Brazilian Tapioka fritters

Santa Theresa Quarter: This place is more colorful than a bag of Skittles. Graffiti is covering the walls of this neighborhood, and the themes featured  are psychedelic.  The Quarter is close to many great bars & restaurants. Loved wandering around and loading up on ice-cream!

mSanta Theresa Quarter in Sao Paulo Brazil

making a silly face in Santa Theresa Quarter

 

China Town in Liberdade: This place is straight out of a movie. Very interesting and paradoxical. The contract & fusion between the Chinese culture and Brazilian one is intriguing. This place is full of snack bars & restaurants, and leads to the Liberdade Street Market.

A temple in Chinatown in Sao Paulo Brazil, Liberdade

A temple in Chinatown

Liberdade Street Market: This open air market is full of  traditional crafts and authentic Brazilian street food. If you want woven items or fresh sugar cane juice (flavored with lime!), you came to the right place. I had a delicious fried Galette filled with local Cheese and it was out of this world. 

Sugar Cane Juice in progress in Brazil

Sugar Cane Juice in progress

street food in Brazil

Street food at its best!

 

The Sao Paulo Cathedral & Banco Central in Sao Paulo: The Cathedral is absolutely beautiful and so close from all the places listed above. The Banco Central is within 5 min walk from the Cathedral and has an interesting theme going on on its facade; furniture is hanged on its walls, and it is quite a sight!

Cathedral of Sao Paulo in Brazil

Cathedral of Sao Paulo

The hanging furniture on the walls of the Banco Central in Sao Paulo Brazil

The hanging furniture on the walls of the Banco Central in Sao Paulo

 

Rio De Janeiro: 

In Rio, we stayed in the Miramar hotel in Copacabana. The hotel is in front of the Copacabana beach and great value for money. Through the hotel we booked tours & restaurants, since it is much easier to have it done through them.

Copacabana is not known to be safe, so we had to be careful when walking around. No jewelry or phone are  to be displayed on the street or the beach, if you want to remain safe. Naturally, I couldn’t take lots of pictures because I had to leave the Camera in the hotel room.

 

Our room in the Miramar Hotel

Copacabana beach: This beach is lovely, with a view on the Sugar Loaf mountain. This beach is an icon. I got to observe the locals, and what they say about Brazil is true. This the land of thong bikinis and Caipirinhas. This coast is filled with kiosks selling all kind of cocktails, and beautiful girls parading in their Bikinis and Havainas. I felt so awkward in my one-piece, but I upgraded later!

A Copacabana Sunset

A Copacabana Sunset captured from our hotel

Ipanema Beach: This beach is known by the locals to be more fancy than Copacabana. Mostly because the restaurants and buildings around are more high-end. I loved this beach too and loved the kiosks around it. On the corniche, I recognized many Brazilian influencers trying to get that perfect shot. There is a big rock that you can climb by the beach to get the best views of the city. We just sat there and soaked the moment (the reason why Alladin (hubby) got a sunburn).

Selaron Steps:  These steps are known to form the most beautiful staircase in the world. We went there as part of our Rocinha & Christ the Redeemer tour. It was booked through the hotel, and we had a guide and a bus with us. That’s why we were felt safe. The guide recommended that we all stay together. Maybe it is paranoia, but we wanted to avoid getting into weird situations.

The captivating Selaron steps

The captivating Selaron steps

Artsy Selaron!

Artsy Selaron!

Favela Rocinha Tour: We booked a Jeep tour via the hotel to explore Rocinha. The guide was very friendly and took us around the community but also inside the community. Rocinha is one of the biggest Favelas or communities in Rio.

Our first stop were the art merchants at the entrance of the Favela. I bought a few paintings. Then the guide took to the inside of the community were we saw what houses looked like from the inside. At the end of the tour we walked through the commercial street in Rocinha. There were banks, shops, Snack-bars…

Art in Rocinha in brazil

Art in Rocinha

Inside Rocinha

houses Inside Rocinha

Goods in Rocinha (all types of beans)!

Goods in Rocinha (all types of beans)!

 

The guide took us to an orphanage were we witnessed the traditional Capuera dance. This wall in particular caught my attention.

Art is everywhere!

 

views from our hotel on the Santa Theresa Favela

views from our hotel on the Santa Theresa Favela

 

Houses in Rocinha

I loved every bit of this trip. And I loved creating this diary. I would love to hear from you in the comments!

 

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