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Scuba diving - Jungle trekking - Snorkeling - Kitesurfing - Eco-tourism - Kayak angling
Turtle sanctuary - SUP - Kayaking - Mountain hiking - Angling - Yoga - Freediving - Seawalking
Flyfishing - Beach walking - Jetski - Wakeboarding - Summer camp - Legoland Malaysia - Sailing cruise
If you're looking to get away from it all at a remote castaway island, then Maldives will absolutely not disappoint. You get all the goodness that Maldives offers on a sweet, almost private, little paradise island. Best of all, whilst not exactly cheap, Maldives won't necessarily break the bank.
We arrived in Male in the afternoon and were whisked away quite promptly on a Maldives speedboat by friendly staff. The ride took about 20 minutes, but the boat is new and comfortable and the trip feels more like 2 minutes. In fact, all told, we were in our resort room within the hour, courtesy of a very streamlined process. Excellent.
And a lovely room it was; well maintained, blissfully cool and with a breathtaking beach view to boot.
We took to snorkeling later that afternoon and were blown away by the clarity of the sea, the whiteness of the sandy beaches and the beauty of the coral. But the fishes and all the other marine life also left us in awe. The sea, the location, the snorkeling, it was all very Maldivian: top of the bill.
Our meals were buffet-style. The spread was quite extravagant and the many dishes are prepared by chefs who are obviously in the know. The service staff, too, clearly know what they're doing. They're there when you need them without being too visible.
Activities-wise, well, let's just say that you won't go bored on the Maldives. There's para-sailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing, scuba-diving, banana-boating, SUP, catamaran-sailing, etc etc.
All in all, it's safe to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Maldives and we'd book Maldives again in a heart-beat. In fact, we're thinking of going again this coming spring :)
Tip: Due to the Maldives' ever-increasing popularity and the growing number of budget airlines, most of the Maldivian atolls' resorts are booked quite far in advance. Up to 6 months is no exception. Best make sure you book your resort of choice early to avoid disappointment. Agoda tends to offer great Maldives promotions, so give them a try. Maldives may be a once-in-a-lifetime paradise, but that doesn't mean you can't save some money while you're there.
Tioman, whilst offering panoramas as stunning as on Maldives, alas, is no Maldives. In fact, whilst the snorkeling around Tioman's coral patches is above par, no doubt about, it doesn't really compare to the unique reefs off the Maldives. The coral species and other marine wildlife variety is more impressive off the innumerable Maldives' atolls.
Accommodations-wise, most hotels on Tioman also tend to be of a somewhat more modest lineage as compared to Maldives. There are exceptions, such as Bagus Place and Japamala, but by and large, you won't feel the "wow" factor on Tioman as much as you do on Maldives. This also applies to general service levels at most places on Tioman. Again though, there are exceptions.
That being said, the good news is that Tioman offers a pretty hefty slice of paradise at a more friendly budget. In fact, Tioman's various beaches cater to a whole range of holiday-makers, from budget backpacker to first-class traveler. Just take your pick.
Getting to Tioman is faster and more convenient than the more remote Maldivian islands, which requires quite a plane ride, followed by a ferry trip, or a ferry ride, as in our case. Of course, if it's remoteness that you're after then the journey to your Maldivian island is no issue. Tioman, being located a litte more within Asia, is easier to travel to. There's no shortage of airlines that fly to Kuala Lumpur from anywhere in the world and there's plenty of land transfer options to Mersing. The final ferry hop to Tioman takes just 1.5 hours.
Mind you, given its distance offshore, Tioman Island, too, has that far-flung off-the-beaten track feel, although perhaps it's not quite as one-of-a-kind an experience as on the Maldives.
Tip: Tioman is has been enjoying a popularity boom amongst European, Australians and Americans, the result of the various "Survival" type TV reality shows having been recorded in the Tioman vicinity over the years. With this in mind, to avoid disappointment, it's a good idea to book your holiday, as well as your ferry tickets, well in advance.
If it's a veritable pamper-fest you seek and you're wiiling to spend money, then Maldives is for you. It simply can't be beat. Not in its breathtaking beauty, the countless professionally-run sea-sports activities, the unique edge-of-the-world atmosphere, nor the awesome service offered, or, in fact, Maldives' sheer paradise factor. Whilst Tioman has most of this too, it's just not as top-notch as Maldives.
However, as noted above, magnificent Maldives do come at a considerable price tag. If you're ok with spending top-dollar, then Maldives it is. If your budget is more moderate but you still want to spend quality time on a coconut-tree-peppered beach, then Pulau Tioman offers plenty of bang for your buck.
Click here for a Tioman trip
to remember for ever!
Maldivian resorts offer romance galore
The view from your seaside villa window?
There's a time and a place for doing
absolutely nothing. This is it.
Maldives resort, a bird's eye view
Stunning vistas guaranteed in Maldives
Maldives, your private little paradise
"Thank you for your very clear reply.
It is such a relief to correspond with
someone who understands!"
The view from our main deck
Breathtaking multi-hued sceneries
are guaranteed at our resort
Expedition Robinson was here