We opted to go to the Fihalhohi Island Resort, Maldives because it was easier on the pocket. We were actually staying on Maafushi, which is a budget island. The excursions were available to both Anantara and Taj Exotica but it was so expensive for me. Most of the islands take day guests. So, the population on a resort island is made up of tourists who are staying at the resort and floaters like us, who visit it just for a day. Fihalhohi is a beautiful island but then so is Maafushi.
The most expensive part for us about this island hopping was the cost of the speed boat once again. It was 65 US Dollars per head. In contrast the resort entry fee was 24 dollar and with lunch 48 dollars. We opted for the package with lunch because we knew we would be hungry by noon. Staying outdoors does something to the appetite. We were told that the lunch was from 11.30 to 1.00 pm Male time. That puzzled us. They said this island was 1 hour ahead of Male time. Now this was new for me, that different islands were in different time zones in Maldives.
The water bungalows were a sight to behold! I was completely mesmerized with them. There was a staircase going down straight from each bungalow to the sea! When I came back to Maafushi I checked the price of the standard room at Fihalhohi island Resort, Maldives. It was about 200 dollars without taxes. I didn’t even bother to check the water bungalows as I am sure they would be much more expensive. They surely looked good though. On both the islands everyone accepted US dollars. In fact I never used the local currency anywhere except Male. My nephew did use it on Maafushi too. I am not sure if the local ferry will accept dollars though.
The water was so clear around the resort that I could see fish right from the sitting deck near the reception. So, I clicked this picture with my 70-300 lens like I would click a bird! After Maldives I am wondering if I should buy camera casing for the cell phone so that I could take it underwater. You see I always find ways to spend more money!
By afternoon the paradise became incredibly hot. Even a die hard photography person like me was forced to retire to the shade. I did venture in the middle to click this group of fish that came swimming right by the shore. The black spot is formed by a group of fish!
Grey herons were the only birds I could photograph at Fihalhohi. Though I saw Koels and fruit bats too. These herons were such fearless birds that I could click them with my cell phone. They knew no fear of humans or cameras being waved in their faces. They flew away when you tried to get extremely close. Even then they would just hop around lazily a few steps away from you in the most bored fashion.
But by mid afternoon even the birds were looking for shade. It was time to move in and have lunch. Lunch was in a big restaurant. They had stuff for vegetarians and a nice dessert section. They started closing the counters right on time, by 1.00 pm Male time they started removing food.
For us island hopping was expensive but then it was beautiful too. The islands get a lot of day visitors. The only trouble was that they had nothing really going for day arrivals. I thought there would be a few changing rooms at least for day guests but I was told there were not. Wash rooms were there, so was an open air shower. I guess it would add a lot to the experience if they dedicated a few changing rooms for day visitors as anyone who came there would like to go to the sea. I managed to change in the bathroom and had no real trouble.
Overall, Fihalhohi is a beautiful island and by Maldives standards not too expensive. If you are wondering why I don’t have any sunset pictures, it is because we went back to Maafushi at 3.00 pm so that my nephew could play football with the locals at Maafushi!
For quite sometime at Bharatpur I roamed alone while my husband and daughter had a later start at that day. I had seen Black Headed Ibis at Mangalajodi too. So at Bharatpur I recognized it on my own!
I met these Rose Ringed Parakeets right at the beginning of the park.
I hate it that the birds camouflage so well. It was so difficult to spot this Grey Headed Flycatcher. A guide identified it for me after looking at it on my camera screen.
I managed to click this Oriental Magpie Robin at quite close range but there was hardly any light on the patch that she was playing.
I end this post with this Grey Heron. I have more bird pictures from Bharatpur, probably good enough for one more post. But after that I am almost back to rummaging through my folders. I hope I get to travel in April too.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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