MALDIVES DREAMING – by Helen Owen

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“The Maldivian islands have always been an imaginary destination that I used to tell myself I wouldn’t believe was true… until I saw it for myself” – Helen Owen  

Follow one of our favorite sun-kissed beauties on her journey through our worlds dreamy natural wonder – The Maldives.

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Since the beginning of our month-long excursion in Thailand, Zack and I have had Maldives on our minds. We tried passionately to tack a quick Maldives stop on at the end of our time in Thailand in late March, but quickly learned that Maldives is not a “quick stop”, and it’s definitely not a casual weekend getaway in the month of March or April, which is typically high season in the Maldives (honeymooners galore).

Back in Los Angeles and even more determined than we were before, we set about to plan a Maldives trip. We made it happen, and witnessed it for ourselves. It’s not an imaginary place. Let these photos be evidence.

Our experience was an 8-day long whirlwind of mid-May Maldivian paradise. If you’ve looked into the Maldives as a travel destination, you’ve probably come across the term “monsoon season” that’s typically assigned to the months May through October.

It sounds much more daunting that it was in our experience – we found it to be a preferable time to travel simply due to the fact that both the islands we visited weren’t packed with people as we’d expected. The few times it did pour with warm tropical rain you could find us either splashing around in the ocean or snorkeling with the fish.

We broke up our stay into two chapters, with 3 nights on an island in the Southern region of the Maldives, and then 4 nights up on the Northern side. If you aren’t flying over this area of the Indian Ocean (or scrolling over it on Google Earth, much less magical) then you might not understand just how many little islands are scattered around. Choosing which island to visit is like being in a small ice cream parlor with 1,190 flavors to choose from, all of which look incredible.

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Being that our trip fell at the end of high season and on the brink of more unpredictable weather – a friendly way of describing “monsoon season” – we basically had all 1,190 flavors to choose from. After much research and deliberation (as well as help from our friends at The Luxe Nomad) we decided on Six Senses Laamu, a resort down on the Southern Laamu atoll of the Maldives (an “atoll” is a set of islands and reefs made up of coral – the Maldives is divided into 26 atolls) followed by Dusit Thani, a resort in the Baa Atoll closer to the top.

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 Our experience of Maldives was greatly shaped by the resorts we stayed at, as it seems most of these smaller islands are actually entire resorts / package experiences as opposed to island cities you can freely visit.

To get to almost any of these tiny paradises is not a simple hop skip and a jump either. We first flew into the larger skyscraper-dense island and capital of the Maldives, Male, which houses the international airport as well as a launching point for the rest of the more remote destinations in the Maldives.

From Male, we had the enchanting experience of flying down over the clusters of atolls that make up the Maldives to a domestic airport in the Southern Laamu region, and from there we took a boat ride to the actual island. This plane + boat transfer sequence was repeated for getting to Dusit Thani, so I suspect it’s the same for almost any island in the Maldives that you might choose to visit.

Our first impression of the Maldives rendered us entirely speechless. I wish I had a video recorded of our initial reaction because to describe in words how surreal the Maldives is would be much easier by showing you the expressions on our faces when we first arrived. Rather than explaining in detail every magical moment of our trip, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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Some of the highlights for me were eating fresh tropical fruits on our back deck which was sitting atop the bluest, clearest ocean I’ve ever encountered, as well as biking around the docks and islands barefoot (most of Maldives seems to have a “no-shoe” policy much to my delight as it really simplified outfit planning).

On both islands I was almost always frolicking around in light, flowing Faithfull the Brand pieces thrown over a bikini. The atmosphere of the Maldives plus the free flowing fabrics of these pieces were a match made in heaven – you’ll have to try it for yourself, but it truly felt like these beautiful pieces were designed with island living in mind.

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 All in all, we clearly had a pretty incredible glimpse into the desktop-screensaver-imaginary paradise that is the cluster of 1,190 little mini paradises that is the Maldives. There are quite a few flavors yet to taste, so I have a feeling we’ll be back.

 Words by Helen Owen

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