Ibrahim International Airport, Friday, 6th March 2015, 11:30AM. I was fuelled with excitement when I saw the airport in a whole island. The island name is called Hulhule and if you notice there’s an oblique island connecting to the airport, it is called Hulhumale. That’s the place the travellers sleep for a night before going to other island, and some stays at the City (you cannot see it here).
Photo courtesy from Maldives Airport.
The whole island is an airport with only one hotel (Hulhule Island Hotel) that caters alcoholic drink and pork in the whole country of Maldives. Alcohol is prohibited but as what I’ve heard, drugs can go in due to high volume of different ships from different countries. Pork is also not allowed as this is a pure Muslim country. Bible and other Christian materials are prohibited as well. What you can do is just respect their culture.
Ibrahim Nasir International Airport map.
It was a hot, sunny day at 31ºC. There’s a lot of shuttle waiting outside the airport, bringing every travelers to their respective hotel in Hulhule or Hulhumale. Well, Hulhumale is the only island that connects the airport by bridge, the rest are by boat or seaplane.
January 2014, Tiger Airways opened their door to Maldives from Singapore, which the promotion starts at SGD133 (USD95) round-trip and tax inclusive. Before it, the normal fare from other airlines is around SGD800 (USD595), a difference of USD500, whew!
I booked the ticket six months before flight (as per promotion) at SGD225 (USD167), round trip and tax inclusive. It’s an opportunity that cannot be missed. What I didn’t know with this promotion was that March 6 is a Friday and there are no boat operating from Malé to the other islands. Well, too much information feeding in your brain sometimes is confusing. I read a lot in the internet getting here and there and there’s a lot of information and I don’t know which one to follow. Well, I follow as what I’ve thought the most reliable one and I was disappointed.
Informations I gathered a week before my travel:
1) There are no boats from Malé to the other islands on Friday.
2) There are no bus from the airport to Hulhumale but when I check some of the site, there are buses, only the timing is different. Solution? I asked the hotel to which I will stay and the owner, Nasih of UI Hotel emailed me back that there are buses. Problem solved.
3) I didn’t read this one. A friend told me that her husband told her that us, women, especially those who cannot dive won’t enjoy Maldives. Let’s see!
4) I didn’t read this one as well (this happened after I travelled and posted pictures on my social media). A friend told me that he thought that we cannot stay in Maldives if we don’t have SGD1,000 per day. I told him that I spent below SGD1,000 for my 5 days stay in Maldives.
So, I arrived at 11:30 and the first thing that I saw was the super clear and clean water in the port. It was like you want to jump in there anytime. It was freaking hot as well. No mountains, no buildings, only boats and crystal clear water.
Port in Ibrahim International airport
I don’t know where’s the bus stop is so I asked around in the airport. One guy told me there is no bus and he can take me to my hotel for MVR50. I refused because I want to know where is the bus stop and how much is the fare. I asked another guy and he told me to walk on my left (that is when you go out from the airport). He said that there is no bus at this moment, I have to wait an hour.
Outside the airport:
See that tree? That’s where the bus stop is.
Yes, the sign board is hiding, lol. You cannot see it so take note of the tree.
Hulhumale bus schedule
Place take note of the timing of Hulhule to Hulhumale bus schedule. It states that on Friday afternoon, there is no bus from Hulhumale to Hulhule from 12:15 to 1:00PM. And there is no bus from Hulhule to Hulhumale from 12:40 to 1:30PM. The schedule on the left side is from Hulhumale to Hulhule while on the right side is from Hulhule to Hulhumale. But expect delays as this is Friday, Islam’s praying time.
I still have lots of hour so I walked around the airport. I went inside Bali Thai to see what I can order. It’s lunch time in Maldives while early in the afternoon in Singapore, and yes, I’m hungry. Singapore is 3 hours ahead in Maldives. The price in the airport is per USD and one order will be around USD10. Fuckin’ expensive, lol. I don’t want burgers so I just order the cheapest one just to have my stomach stops from growling. I was queuing when I overheard our language and I butt-in with them. They were stunned because they thought I am Chinese. Dear Lord, a lot of people thought I’m Chinese. So we ate together, we talked and we instantly became friends! They even agreed each other that they will tour me around the city and they even send me to my hotel and even pay for my bus fare! Bus fare is MVR16 (USD1.00). I don’t want them to do it but they insist so I just said thank you and enjoy the moment. While waiting for the bus, one of them got impatient because of the hot weather and the long hour of bus arrival. She then suggested that we can take a boat to Malé. As far as the information that I gathered is concern, I told her that there is no boat going to Malé on Fridays. She grinned and said, “Eacel, we came here by boat from Malé. There is a boat from Malé to the airport and to Hulhumale on Fridays, only there are time that needed to wait.” Well, well, well, grinning embarrassment alert! But one of them said that she haven’t experienced riding a bus in Malé in her years of stay! lol. She didn’t even know that there is a bus operating from the airport to the other island. So there, we stayed and waited for the bus.
I just put my things down in the hotel and went out with them. There are buses going to the port of Hulhumale and take a boat going to Malé. Bus fare is only MVR3 (USD0.20) from UI Hotel to Hulhumale port. Ferry fare is MVR5.50 (USD0.35) for only 15 minutes.
For more information regarding ferry schedule, click here.