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Island hideaways

Getting around in the Maldives

Clive Wedderburn October 28, 2015


I love travel – but I hate travelling. I’m not alone in this, because I see plenty of other nervous passengers. I’m not a fan of the bits in the air or the bits on the water – if I’m totally honest.

However, when you’re travelling to a destination as remote as the Maldives, well, you’re either arriving by light aircraft or speedboat, or you’re not arriving at all. This would be a shame because the Maldives has so much to offer from breath-taking vistas and gorgeous accommodation, to watersports such as paddle-boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and reef diving.

Your speedboat to paradise

Remember, these transfers add the wow factor to your holiday, and if both seaplane and speedboat connections are available to whisk you to your Maldivian island paradise, it’s well worth considering how you’d prefer to arrive.

Nonetheless, I was particularly uneasy about the transfers and I wouldn’t blame you at all if you felt the same. But, having now visited several Maldivian islands I can now tell you not to worry at all. I was being a wuss – so can now confidently assure you that you don’t have to worry.

The connections to the islands are so seamless. The moment your larger plane of choice touches down on the main island of Malé you’re whisked through the terminal (it’s not a big airport after all) and into a relaxing club lounge to await the next leg of the adventure.  

My first taste of island travel Maldivian-style was a speedboat transfer to the exotic Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa.

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa

It was the evening before my party was ushered on board our vessel in Malé Harbour, and a gentle rain had begun to fall. The ocean was a tad choppy too – I was feeling a little anxious. Yet I shouldn’t have worried at all.

Our courteous boat crew made short work of the crossing. I was led to believe that it would take us approximately 15 minutes, but they managed to cut this down to eight minutes. Before I had much time to take in our marine environment, gazing out at island lights twinkling in the night, our nippy little craft was making its final approach to the quay at the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa. I might add that this is the perfect setting if you’re thinking of renewing your vows. It’s a sophisticated yet serene resort and we were greeted like minor European royalty by awaiting staff. Nice.

Not the best flier in the world, I still consider myself lucky enough to have flown on several light aircraft in my time and I have to say I prefer them to the heavyweights. There’s something to be said for the personal nature of these short-hop island taxis. You sit within a few feet of the pilots who always look calm and cool – a detail I personally find comforting.

This time my journey was to the fabulous Atmosphere Kanifushi. The fight took a little over 30 minutes and was an amazing way to experience at first hand all those gorgeous coral island dots you may have only viewed from a glossy magazine – but this time from 5,000 feet. By the way, my flight was smoother than a James Bond pick-up line.

Furthermore, you feel intrepid, glamorous, and one of the elite few (even though this is a busy route). The transfer employed the talents of the twin-prop De Havilland Otter seaplane. This mild-mannered workhorse of the Maldivian skies seats approximately 15 and performed the smoothest take-off and landing I have ever experienced – kudos to the pilots. I was just wondering how easy it was to land on a liquid surface when the plane touched down - effortlessly.   

Land at the jetty of the Atmosphere Kanifushi

The Atmosphere Kanifushi is the perfect place for families, especially with their amazing Platinum Plus all-inclusive offer. I bet the children that I saw on the island loved splashing down at the jetty in their very own seaplane. Here the staff greeted me as though they were expecting Brad and Angelina – with a band of island drummers and a chilled glass of bubbly. I feel I fully deserved it.  

Travel in the Indian Ocean is stylish, sophisticated and swift, and quite frankly you wouldn’t have it any other way; it’s part of the experience. The Maldives is a special region – but as you’re all aware, it’s not just the destination, but the journey that counts.

For a taste of Maldivian multicentre magic, combine your stay with a trip to Sri Lanka or a stopover in sparkling Dubai