The last 2 days in Maldives.
Viligili Island is an uninhabited island located approximately 10 mins away from Huraa. This is a favorite spot for local people to enjoy. Residents will hop on this island to chill, families will have barbecue on the beach.
Again, this trip was also organised by our guest house owner. All activities on the islands are usually organised by the accommodation as there isn’t a travel agency or tour operator. However if you are in Hulhumale Island there will be a lot more excursion options offered by local tour operators. It can be very competitive therefore the average price is cheaper than the tours organised by your accommodation.
We arrived on Viligili Island, there was a barbecue facility on the beach. In a very short time we noticed there were a lot mosquitos on the island. As in the previous 2 days on Huraa island or in Club Med, there weren’t noticable. Our private chef who came with us to the island just to make the barbecue lunch told us that on the other inhabited islands there are local services to spray mosquito repellent at 5am every morning to keep mosquitos away.
Our chef had burnt some dry coconut shell as he claimed this is the local way to keep mosquitos away, however it didn’t seem to work for us. The mosquitos are very much attracted to the 4 foreign visitors to the island. Our captain was kind enough to go back to Huraa and brought us mosquito spray. We really appreciated such a kindness of him.
Viligili Island is very small, there was another family on the other end of the island enjoying a quiet moment too.
The barbecue is on! Our chef used dry coconut shell as fuel to cook the food. What’s on the menu? Fresh tuna steak, a local fish, some vegetable salad and some coconut rice. Mmm, what a delicious lunch!
I think we were lucky to be able to share those day excursions with the other couple we met through the guest house. It would still be private tour but less costly and more fun to share the experience.
In the blink of an eye we are almost at the end of our time in Maldives. We arranged a private transfer for the 4 of us back to Hulhumale island. It cost USD 100 for the transfer, it’s same price as if you would go with the shared speedboat service. But with private transfer you have all the flexibility and we went straight to Hulhumale island instead of share service to Malé.
On our way towards Hulhumalé island, the captain pointed towards an industrial area. I could see one of the large Chinese state owned construction company’s name printed on one metal chimney. So I heard this is the largest project in the country that year to build a bridge that will connect Malé with Hulhumalé. I am pretty impressed to see the construction site…
As I am writing this post, I learnt The Sinamalé Bridge links Malé and Hulhumalé and the Maldives. The 2.1 km long bridge will have dual carriageway and separate lanes for bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians, it’s estimated to open on 30 August 2018. It was originally called the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge due to funding received from the Chinese government. It will also be the first inter-island bridge in the Maldives.
The idea of a bridge between the two islands was proposed by an Indian company earlier entrusted with the expansion of the airport. Due to diplomatic wrangling between India and the Maldives, the Indian firm lost the expansion project for the airport, and he construction of the bridge work went to the Chinese. This bridge project is also helping providing affordable housing and resolve other social issues.
Hulhumalé is a reclaimed island located in the south of North Male Atoll. It’s an artificial island that was reclaimed to establish a new land mass required to meet the existing and future housing, industrial and commercial development demands of the Malé region. The airport is just located on tip of Hulhumalé island.
In comparison to Hurra, Hulhumalé island is a lot larger. The shape of the island looks like a finger from west to east is a short walk within 10-15 mins, but from north to south… I suggest to go with a car.
Hulhumalé has road network which was planned together with the development of the island. The network covers the entire island and support all types of road vehicles.
The island is connected via a causeway to the airport island Hulhulé Island, allowing road transport to easily travel between the airport and Hulhumalé. With the opening of the Sinamalé Bridge between Hulhulé and Malé Island in September 2018, the road networks of the three islands were connected for the first time.
The beach front on Hulhumalé is filled with residents and everyone dresses conservatively when they go into the water.
The 4 of us walked around the beach front on Hulhumalé trying to hunt for a good restaurant. We wanted to try a Chinese restaurant before our friends left for the airport. It was a Friday, the opening hours are a little different in Maldives on Fridays. All restaurants are closed during lunch hours. We were told to come back after 2pm. We learnt later after speaking to the owner of the restaurant, by law they are not allowed to operate during 11am – 2pm. (I may have remembered the hours wrong…) They may lose their business license if they don’t obey this regulation. The Chinese owner has also shared what his life is like in Maldives which was interesting to hear. Due to the prohibition of alcohol in the entire country, he was quite pleased to see he’d lost some weight after only 3 months of living in Maldives.
While we enjoyed our conversation with the owner, another young girl who looked in her early 20s arrived. Not very surprised that she was also from China. She was doing her internship in one of the resort in Maldives. There were so many other students from China doing their internships in those luxury resorts. Life was not hard for these students but they don’t earn as much versus full time employees. The main source income was from tips.
We said goodbye to our Chinese friend shortly after our lunch in the restaurant and we headed back to our accommodation. Our last day ended with heavy rain.
The center in Hulhumalé is small but with some good shops where you can buy reasonable priced snacks and drinks. The airport shuttle bus is right in the center, bus cost USD 1.5 and it takes approximately 20 minutes to get to the airport. Most hotels can arrange taxi ride which costs USD 10 and required pre-reservation. As our flight was in the early morning we had to go with the taxi.
End of blogs in Maldives.