HH Around the World: South Ari Atoll Maldives!
Posted on November 05, 2014
This post is long overdue, but I've finally been able to go through all the photos and video's of our trip to the Maldives! If you follow us on Instagram, you may already know that my husband and I booked a trip to Zanzibar - well, one thing led to another - we had to cancel the trip and booked a trip to the Maldives that took off later that day (crazy... I know). We were able to find an awesome resort with private villas within hours notice!
Located in the Indian Ocean, there are officially 1,190 islands in the Maldives with only 192 of them inhabited and about 80 of them developed into resort islands. We stayed on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in the South Ari Atoll at Lux* Maldives. (You can also read my Trip Advisor review).
After a short flight from Dubai to the capital, Male, we took a seaplane to the resort island and were welcomed by the wonderful staff and general manager, Maamoun (he's Egyptian and his real name is Mohamed! Sweet!).
We were escorted to our villa complete with private pool and jacuzzi. Our outdoor pool and patio area was 100% private and very hijab-friendly. The beach, on the other hand is shared with other guests, so I did have to wear a burqini when swimming in the beach in front of our villa although there were hardly any guests on the beach so it definitely still felt private.
While we didn't use the outdoor shower, it was a nice touch ;)
You gotta give me props for unpacking everything I packed for Africa and re-packing for an island resort - in half a day! I got this floral skirt from the Philippines back in 2008 at some random store on the street! Cross-over top is from Banana Republic and necklace from Francesca's.
One of the excursions was this sunset cruise in the Indian Ocean - Ahmed and I had the boat all to ourselves!
It was overcast so no Hollywood sunset, but it was still beautiful :)
The next morning we woke up bright and early and headed over to a nearby island inhabited by locals followed by a whale shark safari!
Maldives is 100% Muslim! We visited the nearby mosque and talked to locals all around the island - who were delighted to see other Muslims! Those two girls were adorable - I practically chased them down to get that shot ;)
Maldives has the most beautiful waters I've ever seen - and the variations of turquoise to seagreen to dark blue are sudden and stunning - subhanAllah.
On our whale shark expedition! We found one! (see fourth video below). The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea and completely harmless - we got right up close - swimming with that creature was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life!
After the snorkeling we were starving! The resort had plenty of awesome restaurants to choose from from casual to swanky with amazing views of course ;)
Nothing like juicy burgers and fruity drinks after a long swim!
My second (and final) nice outfit of the trip (it pretty much goes downhill from here, lol) with an Anthropologie blush linen skirt and beaded belt.
The third and fourth day of our trip we spent lounging by the pool, jet skiing, getting our grub on and enjoying some R&R at the spa - in the water villas! We thought it would be sweet to stay in a water villa, but wanted a private pool so it was cool to experience it at the spa.
Check out the third video below for a sneak peek inside the water villa's!
This photo is not edited in any way. Yes. It's that gorgeous.
We left early morning back to Male - can you see the hint of *I don't wan't to leave* written on my face? hehe
I never expect to have a spiritual experience when traveling, but then again how can you not? How can you not glorify and thank God when you're surrounded by his vast and magnificent creation? When you're swimming with sharks, turtles and all kinds of fish, when your eyes are cooled by the various shades of turquoise, seagreen and cerulean in the sea, by the night sky and the thousands of stars shining so bright in an unpolluted sky. How can you not be affected spiritually when everything around you was created for your own eyes and enjoyment- to be looked at, pondered upon and taken as signs of Allah's existence and power? We have to get back to nature in whatever capacity we can to appreciate and connect with Allah's creation and have these spiritual experiences that rejuvenate our very belief and conviction in Allah (S) - something we assume is always going to be there - until we wake up one day and it's not.
Swimming with this magnificent creature was one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done! The whale shark is completely harmless and the biggest fish in the entire ocean - subhanAllah I was in total awe of Allah's incredible creation, I almost had to pinch myself. What am I doing swimming with sharks??? #whaleshark #maldives #HHaroundtheworld #swimmingwithsharks