travel

Maldives 2015: Angsana Ihuru

Angsana Ihuru jetty

We have just come back from a wonderful trip to the Maldives. A friend once asked why we have gone there so often, when there are more than 200 countries in the world. It is a very good question, which is hard to answer. Anyone who has been here before (unless you hate the beach and marine life) will probably understand just how amazing it is.

Here are some of my previous posts on the Maldives:

So after gushing so many times about why we love the Maldives, I shall try not to gush again (too much) here.

 

Snorkeling this way!
Snorkeling this way!
This trip we returned to the Angsana Ihuru. We had previously snorkelled here 4 years ago (I think?) when we stayed at the sister and neighborhood resort of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru. The Angsana Ihuru, not to be confused with the Angsana Velavaru, is touted to have one of the best house reefs in the Maldives (don’t take my word for it, google and see for yourself), and it was our “mistake” to have stayed at the Banyan Tree on our second trip to the Maldives (the first was to Club Med Kani, which in those days were pretty impressive in terms of marine life too, not sure about now), because in the subsequent resorts we tried, we have been quite sorely disappointed with the marine life. And I am not exaggerating!

Our friends on a kayak. Yes, this was taken by us!
Our friends on a kayak. Yes, this was taken by us!
If the coral reef is located too far away, chances are there won’t be many fish. Some resorts will have a house reef somewhere near the resort, and sometimes you need to take a boat out to snorkel, but usually kids below 8 are not allowed on snorkeling “excursions”. We are not the kind of people who need a kids club, jet skis, banana boats, a full day’s list of activities, or nightly entertainment. We are just there for the sun, the sea, the sand, and of course, lots and lots of fish. So to us, a very good house reef that is close to the resort is one of our top priorities.

This was taken by my husband.
This was taken by my husband.
Both the Angsana Ihuru and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and have a “faru” topography, which means coral reef surrounding the island. Some of this reef starts a mere 10 meters from your villa doorstep! And this is one of the main reasons we chose to return here. One of our friends with us said she loved that she could be snorkelling, and look up to check on the kids playing at the beach. And we had access to the reef from our rooms 24/7.

Sting ray feeding
Sting ray feeding
Just from the jetties we saw black tip and nurse sharks (please see my previous post on how these sharks are not dangerous), triggerfish, squid, unicorn fish, needle fish, parrot fish, zebra fish, and a whole load of other fish. Snorkeling we spotted more fish, including puffers, gobies, clams, and Mittens saw a spotted eagle ray and was nipped by an over enthusiastic juvenile triggerfish. He was a little shaken, but he now has a pretty awesome story to tell for a while. I wouldn’t have minded spotting some turtles! But we did get to see baby Green Sea turtles at the Banyan Tree Marine Lab, as well as see a real nest (although it just looks like a bump in the sand). The baby turtles are kept until they’re older and their shell is harder, before they are released into the wild. They’ve only had this programme for around 5 years and already tracked some of their turtles to Australia!

Kids playing among sting rays
Kids playing among sting rays. Not too close, of course.
One of the other highlights was also the sting ray feeding at the Banyan Tree, which happens every afternoon, and the greedy buggers, who are apparently even more intelligent than sharks, will congregate before feeding time every day for a bit of fish. It is an amazing site to see, and even more amazing to see them in the wild as opposed to an aquarium tank. We definitely learnt a lot from the marine lab.

The haul we had for lunch. Perfect for the beach, wouldn't you say?
The haul we had for lunch. Perfect for the beachside, wouldn’t you say?
As part of our package, each room was given 2 free night fishing trips (more like dusk rather than night), so all of the 9 boys went, from age 5 to 45 years old. They had a lot of fun, and I’m so happy that my boys caught at least 2-3 fish each, especially since they have been asking me to bring them fishing! I’m crap at prawning, so I’ve been trying to evade their requests. We had the fish for dinner and lunch the next day, grilled with just salt and pepper.

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We spent most of our time snorkeling or playing at the beach, kayaking, and hanging out with cousins. I’m thankful that we had such wonderful blistering weather that I didn’t need to figure out how to work the TV, although I did come prepared with some wet weather entertainment. We came in a group of 18 people, so there were always kids around to play with, and babysitters when we needed.

The villas here are not the most luxurious, but they are very comfortable, and one of the few resorts that I know of that can accommodate a maximum of 4 people, and didn’t mind that we squeezed in 5 in ours (since 3 are little people). There are only 45 villas so it is very cosy and intimate, unlike the mass hysteria that you get at larger resorts, which we now prefer to avoid. The island is only something like 600metres in circumference (our friend jogged and logged that), so it’s easy to get around.

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(The water near the shore was a little murky because of the sand being tossed about as the tide pulls up to shore).
Some practicalities:

  • We went on a half board plan which includes breakfast and dinner, because usually the oldies like myself don’t have the metabolism for 3 big meals, and we would just order food for the kids.
  • There is no swimming pool, but who needs one when you have the vast Indian Ocean to swim in?
  • There is no kids club, but I prefer the kids spend more time with us and Mother Nature anyhow.
  • Tap water is potable after boiling so you don’t have to pay or lug a week’s worth of water over.
  • The breakfast spread is limited, but pretty good quality. We liked the buffet dinners (and their curries!) better than the a la carte menu.
  • We usually visit from May, as prices drop from 1 May for the start of the low season, but since Mittens is now in primary school, we came in June and had only days of blistering heat and no rain. Do note though that the weather is unpredictable and some rain in low seasons should be expected.
  • Snorkeling equipment is free for rental.
  • We often book with agents instead of with the resorts direct because they often get better package deals which include the transfer, promotions (pay 3 stay 4, or spa promotions), and meal options. All 18 of us booked with Holiday Tours, whom I received great service and promotions from for this trip. This is not a sponsored post!

 

This was the view from our room. I love how it seems like the sea goes on for eternity!
This was the view from our room. I love how it seems like the sea goes on for eternity!
Undoubtedly, this resort would be the one resort that I would recommend to anyone, well this and the Banyan Tree. I would of course love to visit more resorts to have a good range of comparison, but it has been our favorite so far. After 5 full days at the resort, we were still reluctant to leave.

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26 thoughts on “Maldives 2015: Angsana Ihuru

  1. Hi, I loved reading your blog. Because you been to Maldives several times and recently too. Need your opinion. I am 4 months pregnant and thinking of visiting Maldives in 1st week july this year. Would you suggest us going there keeping in mind it would be monsoons there? Also will speed boat ride be too bumpy?

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    1. Hello!! Thank you for reading the blog. I have taken speedboats twice, I think both times I was around 5 months pregnant, and it was ok. The choppiness is quite unpredictable, some days it can be choppy and the next day calm. Also apparently the skill of the boat captains play a part. If you are not visibly pregnant please do tell the boat crew so that they can advise where would be the best place in the boat to sit, and please do check with your gynae to have his approval too πŸ˜‰

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  2. Thanks a lot. Such a relief. My gynea has given me heads up to travel stress-free in 2nd trimester. She doesn’t have much idea about speed boat. She has asked me to take progesterone tablets while I travel. And not to take stress at all. To keep a watch on what I eat and to keep drinking water thats it. By 9th July, I would be in middle of my 4th month. Just that Its our first pregnancy and my husband is way to worried about the whole thing. Moreover because we heard that it would be monsoons there then, and if it rains it would keep raining. Our flight from colombo might also not fly if the weather is bad and all that stress behind. We also staying for a night at Male and then staying at Shereton Full moon resort n spa which is in north male atoll. Do you suggest seaplane over speed boat? Any handy tip from you or special precaution that I need to take care of while on this trip would be very appreciated.

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    1. Last year we had friends go in July and the weather was fine, maybe a little bit of rain, but there was still quite a lot of sun. So far the monsoons don’t seem to be typhoon kind of thing. Sheraton is one of the closest resorts to Male airport, only like 5-15minute speedboat ride, so a seaplane would be unnecessary but also I’m surprised to hear that you’re staying in Male first and not going directly to the resort?

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  3. Ah you are tempting me!!! Ok definitely gonna put this on our places to go list. I keep thinking my kids are too young (I can’t even imagine them agreeing to go snorkelling) but this looks doable! They would love the beach and the resort!

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  4. I have been wanting to take a trip to Maldives, but was put off with all the research I need to do to ensure we score ourselves a kids friendly resort, yet with no compromised to what we can do and see! Looks like this is going into the shortlist! Thanks Ed Lyn!

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    1. You can always let me know if you need help πŸ™‚ I think I wrote it somewhere in one of my posts, but my top tip is – if you’re reading the reviews of any resort on tripadvisor, do be discerning, look out for ones by people who have been to several resorts. Otherwise, most people on their first trip are usually blown away and think any ol’ resort also paradise. Hee!!

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  5. I learn something new today, “faru”. Love the aerial shot of corals surrounding resort!
    It must be awesome for the kids to get so close to wild stingrays πŸ™‚

    cheers, Andy
    (sengkangBabieS)

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  6. Envy that you have been to Maldives a few times already! I haven’t been there even once! This place is definitely one of my to-go places, have to start saving $$ now and visit there before it disappears!

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  7. We’ve been to Mauritius but not Maldives. I’m generally not v sporty but I’ve recently picked up snorkelling from Club Med and dying to snorkel again! Shall try to persuade David to try a couple-only holiday to Maldives on our 20th Wedding Anniversary πŸ˜›

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  8. Lucky you to go to the Maldives so many times plus with the boys to. The clear blue waters where they touch the sky is such an unbeatable sight and wow you get to be so close to the sting ray too.

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  9. The Maldives is simply beautiful and after looking at the waters an beaches, I can understand why you are going back so often. Will want to try out the Angsana too! The hotel looks beautifuL! πŸ™‚

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  10. OMG. The stingray feeding looks pretty awesome, must be an experience! I really want to visit maldives soon, another bucket list item yet to be checked! Will definitely ask you when I plan my trips next time! πŸ™‚

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