Dress Up, Wander & Dine: Why A Solo Birthday Trip To Maldives Must Be On Your Bucket List

Not just for couples and honeymooners, there's a different side of Maldives for the ones travelling solo.

by Tejashee Kashyap
Dress Up, Wander & Dine: Why A Solo Birthday Trip To Maldives Must Be On Your Bucket List

As a travel journalist and writer, I have had many chances to wander places solo and bask in their tranquillity. But the island of Maldives makes you even more aware of your travelling status. Typically known as the ultimate destination for lovers and honeymooners, you can still embrace the serenity of this tropical paradise alone. As the plane approached the island country, the spectacular sight of the coral islands appearing as ring-shaped structures took my breath away. As I found myself slowly landing in this paradise, I realised it was probably the best gift I have given to myself in a while.

The Solo Odyssey To Maldives

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

The pressure to enjoy your birthday is a subtle yet pervasive aspect of contemporary society. Yes, I am laden with a peculiar kind of pressure—the pressure to enjoy. I had been dead set on the concept that if I started my birthday off well, the rest of the year would only get better. And like most adults, the pressure to have achieved certain milestones by a certain age or to be in a particular life stage turns your birthday into a moment of self-scrutiny rather than pure enjoyment. But this year, I astonished even myself. It may have been a topic of quarter-life crisis, but it had also been a year of turmoil and changes.

Blame actor Julia Roberts’ classic movie, ‘Eat Pray Love’ based on the memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, when it dawned on me: Why don’t I just hop to one beach location on my birthday solo, if not three new places altogether? And just like any other movie protagonist, I was aggressively searching on every travel aggregator’s website for a destination to pursue my happiness and fulfilment. I narrowed it down to Maldives; after all, what could be more spectacular than singing my heart out in this paradise?

Once the seed was set in my mind, there was no turning back: I booked an early morning IndiGo flight to Male. The best of all? It took me just 4-5 hours and is visa-free. As I landed, while fellow travellers stared at me with curious, goggling looks, my eyes encountered a few who offered me a warm welcome. I’d travelled alone previously, but it wasn’t until this trip that I realised how self-sufficient I could be.

So Much To Do In Maldives Even When Solo

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

For quite some time, I have longed for the bliss of dolce far niente to satisfy my craving for nothingness. Probably that’s why I chose Maldives–to gaze into far-flung serenity. And that’s what luxe resorts offer here. I picked Patina Maldives which is set on a manmade quad of islands named Fari. And for real, it was my home; for it included everything, from shopping, and eating to water activities. Opting for a villa that overviews the pristine blue Indian Ocean provided my much-needed sanctuary. Every day, I would wake up to the gentle lapping of waves and uninterrupted views of the vast ocean. Oh, what a bliss!

Not exaggerating, but as you step onto the powdery white sands and breathe in the salty ocean air, you’ll instantly feel a sense of serenity and freedom. The stage is set for your transformative journey. There is no doubt that you’ll not gain a new perspective, and appreciate yourself while exploring and enjoying the beauty of the island alone.

1. Sunset Serenity

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

Maldives has some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. The sky transforms into a canvas of warm hues, casting a golden glow over the tranquil waters. The sun casts hues of pink, orange, and gold across the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, you have the privilege of choosing your front-row seat to this daily spectacle. Whether it’s from the privacy of an overwater bungalow, a secluded beach, or the deck of a traditional dhoni boat, the options are as diverse as the colours that paint the evening sky. The rhythmic sound of waves and the gentle rustle of palm leaves create a symphony.

Every day, I took a solitary walk at the beach from my pool villa, relishing this serene moment in solitude. Sometimes, I sat and contemplated life’s wonders and appreciated the simple beauty that surrounds them.

2. Wine & Dine

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

The prospect of dining alone on my birthday did not frighten me. But on my first dinner date in Patina’s Greek restaurant, Helios, I sat on a middle table amidst a family with kids and couples. However to my surprise, one of the parents commended me for my gumption to see the world alone. Throughout the rest of my trip, I encountered similar positive experiences: tourists and hotel staff were quick to wish me well when I stated that I was travelling alone. The advantage of requesting a table for one is this: You’re much more likely to be winked and engage in conversations regarding local islands, Maldives’ way of sustainable fishing, green seafood practices, saving coral reefs and wonder at cultural immersion at its best.

3. Diving Into Adventure

Maldives is a haven for underwater exploration. The coral atolls are home to a diverse marine ecosystem, offering some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a novice snorkeler, the vibrant coral gardens and exotic marine life will captivate your senses. Dive into the warm waters, swim alongside colourful fish, and explore underwater caves, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

There is nothing like the thrill of jet skiing if you enjoy being on the water and desire thrilling activities. I chose to take my first jet-ski lessons here and I am happy to report I was a natural.  The adrenaline rush you get as you cut through the waves and feel the warm breeze against your skin, and the freedom to speed without any traffic make it an exciting experience. The sweltering sun on the back of my neck; the sea breeze blowing through my hair; the salty water spray on my face and the action of going up and down against the waves made this trip all the more worthwhile.

4. Sunset Cruises

For those seeking an exclusive experience, solo travellers can indulge in a private sunset cruise. Drift away on a traditional Maldivian dhoni or a luxurious yacht, surrounded by the endless expanse of the ocean. The sun, painting the sky with its final strokes of brilliance, becomes a companion on this solitary voyage, offering a sense of peace that only the open sea can provide.

Also Read: From Maldives To Paris, These Are The Most-Visited Global Destinations By Celebrities

5. Allure Of Solitude

One advantage of travelling to a new location alone was having the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I could spend hours wandering around this tranquil island resort. I could touch and photograph every little detail that delighted me, such as their design shift from inside to outside within the villa. Moreover, I could have all the delicious options from their buffet menu and dance in my aesthetic abode. What I enjoyed most was the fact that I could sit leisurely looking out at the ocean and have breakfast from 7 a.m. onwards. This was the ultimate birthday present.

Image Credits: Tejashee Kashyap

I ended my birthday celebration here with a bubble bath in the marble tub, a glass of champagne and fries. It was one of the most enjoyable vacations I’ve ever taken.

I couldn’t help but admire myself. For not only have I matured another year, but I’ve also been able to cross a destination off my travel bucket list in my own way. The best part is knowing that I am perfectly capable of having a grand time on my own. On the other hand, despite its reputation as an exclusive ‘couple’s retreat,’ the Maldives offers much to offer the lone traveller.

Cover image credits: Canva

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