Flight of fantasies on a seaplane for an ultimate Maldivian holiday

By Nivi Shrivastava

The minute you touchdown the Maldivian capital Male, you get to know you are in holiday heaven. As you step out of the airport, the thing to remember is all transfers to resorts, atolls or islands happen via the sea on a speed boat or ferry. However, for ease of commute and to save time, seaplane rides are the best way to arrive in style for an immersive uber-luxe Maldivian holiday. Fun fact, seaplanes are lightweight compact carriers with a capacity of fewer than 20 passengers at a time. To describe it, I’d compare it to a cramped floating boat with a cockpit area at your arm’s length and a loud noisy engine. The ear-deafening sound goes away once you plug in the noise-cancellation buds, and the rest is a smooth sail.

Right from taking off from the deep sea surface to landing on the powdery white shores of Noku Maldives Resort, the seaplane ride for us was less than an hour from Velana International Airport to our pristine destination. It was my first hydro-aerial aircraft adventure, and the views from the little window were just magical. As we floated over the newly formed circular atolls, they gleamed like blue-green jewels sparkling in the middle deep blue Ocean. As most hydro flights are highly dependent on the weather – strong winds or tides in the sea are bad indicators for departure, so last-minute cancellations are very common. Thankfully, ours took off without delays and in no time, we splashed on the oceanic runway and reached the luxurious Noku in the Noonu Atoll.

The Magical view of islands from a seaplane

A picturesque island with 20 spacious beach villas and 30 over-water villas spread across the white sand shores, Noku Maldives is a high-end boutique property that offers some amazing dining and wellness experiences along with water sports and seaside activities. On arrival, we were welcomed at the Thari Restaurant and Bar, famous for its South-East Asian cuisines and had a variety of selections from Thai, Japanese and Singaporean cuisines. As I savoured my hot and hearty bowl of ramen with a punchy cocktail, I noticed some pretty ladies at a distance playing around a wooden swing installed in the seawater, close to the infinity pool where a few couples were soaking in the blissful natural air and sun.

On the other side of the island is Palms restaurant with a beautiful bar. Known for its local Maldivian and international cuisines, this is the best place for a lavish breakfast and dinner over interesting drinks. Manoharan Mannarlingam, Area General Manager at Noku Maldives, informs us, “We try our best to use ingredients from Maldives in our menu. We also have our hydroponics garden where we grow and use the vegetables for our dishes. It is important for the chef to know where the ingredients are from and to maintain the quality, and it supports the local community and their livelihood.”

Enjoy evening shark feeding

The Palms restaurant opens to a unique house reef beach, where guests can participate in the evening shark feeding and enjoy the thriving ecosystem of dolphins, rays, and other aquatic animals. After an eventful day, we spent an evening at the Noku spa and tried to align our chakras with the help of a local Yoga instructor for a complete wellness experience. Back in our ocean villa, a beautiful bubble bath awaits to wrap up the day on a relaxed note.

The next morning, the staff arranged a floating breakfast for an indulgent start. The day is reserved for water activities, and we sailed on a Dhoni boat to snorkel in the clear sea. As we jumped in the seawater and floated over the colourful marine fauna, the underwater beauty left us speechless. While no one wanted to leave the calm waters, we had to surface back and return to the land at some point. As we headed back to our luxurious ocean villas toasted under the sun, we made sure to click tons of pictures for a reminder to go back soon.  

(Trip courtesy: Maldives Tourism . The article was published in FE, to reach the writer connect at [email protected] )