N E W S L E T T E R
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Tuesday, 3 January 2017
All my friends are getting married or having babies and I haven't unpacked since 2009. Ok, I'm exaggerating. But trust me to still be floundering when even Bridget Jones has got her sh*t together. You know what, 2016? You can really do one...
Anyway. Since a friend announced yesterday that her honeymoon shortlist (Bali and the Maldives. I KNOW) has been whittled down to two, I've been called in to mediate the decision. Because I've been to both.
And - importantly - I stayed in the same resort (Club Med) in both countries. Which is handy, since when I was at school, my (formidable) chemistry teacher taught me that to conduct a proper experiment, all but one variable must stay the same.
However, for all my theoretical genius (too strong?), I was quite exceptionally inefficient in the execution of The Trip. You see, my flight plan was London-Doha-Male-Doha-London. Overnight in London. London-Dubai-Bali-Dubai-London. In hindsight, a lot of man hours and miles could have been saved if I'd just transferred at Doha rather than coming all the way home for a night. But If I'm honest (and I probably really shouldn't be here - sorry, mum) I didn't realise they were particularly near each other... anyway, it all worked out fine. And here - because this post really rather ought to have some form of point - is what I found…
Food - I fell in love with Balinese food. The tempeh and nasi goreng are next level. And I was surprised how easy it was to find gluten-free meals. Shelter Cafe was a particular highlight. I couldn't actually tell you what traditional food was in the Maldives.... lots of fresh fruit?
Drink - My hut-on-stilts in Kani (the Maldives island I chose) had a very honeymoon feel. Fittingly, there was a bottle of champagne chilling for me when I arrived. Which is mainly what I drank for the trip. Bali had much more of a party vibe. Enough frozen margaritas that I temporarily adopted a local kitten and challenged a bunch of Aussies to a game of water polo. I lost.
Local culture - In Bali they have ceremonies for just about everything. And that can really mess with roads and make journey times hideously unpredictable (see below). In Nusa Dua (where Club Med is) the roads are significantly better, and actually it has a bit of a toy town feel compared to the bustle of Seminyak.
We were less enveloped in local culture in Kani, although there is one example of a traditional Maldives hut for you to check out. Apparently this is a stipulation for development on the islands.
Transport - The roads are hectic in Bali. According to a well-placed ex-pat, the Balinese believe that the Gods will protect them so they don't bother looking at junctions. Which is slightly unnerving. That said, traffic tends to move pretty slowly so you feel fairly safe. Scooters are a bit more efficient but you must wear a helmet. On Kani, the only motorised vehicle I saw was a golf buggy. I'm pretty sure I moved faster than it on my 2.8k lap of the island. Well. That's what I told everyone at breakfast, anyway.
Accommodation - Kani won on this front, purely because of the huts on stilt thang. I mean, it was an unfair advantage, really...
Activities - You can do pretty similar things in both places. In Kani, I went parasailing and skinny dipped off my hut with a baby shark. Accidentally, I should add. In Bali, I snorkelled and went sea kayaking. Both places have dedicated kids clubs too, if that's your thing. That surprised me about The Maldives.
So in conclusion. I have no conclusion. Club Med have pushed The Maldives out of their honeymooner comfort zone and made it family friendly and activity focused. Which makes it a strong competitor for... just about anywhere. I think I need to repeat my experiment. Immediately. Before this tan fades...