Growing up, I could always count on my parents giving me the same gift each and every year – an annual calendar to hang on the outside of my bedroom door. It was a simple, predictable, stocking stuffer of a gift, but for some reason I always looked forward to receiving it, turning the pages with anticipation upon the start of each new month.
One year, around the age of 10, rather than my typical calendar theme of kittens, my parents decided to switch things up and gift me a tropical getaway themed calendar.
I remember hanging it up and perusing through the pages, admiring the ethereal turquoise waters and expansive beaches. February featured a gorgeous shot of Thailand, while July showed off a lazy sunset along Hawaii’s black sand beach. I continued to flip through, and then a single image stopped me. A beach unlike anything I have ever seen. The waters were the clearest blue I had ever laid eyes on and two lone palm trees supported a hammock that appeared to be lazily swaying in the breeze. I caught my breath and studied the image, then shifted my glance over to the location credits.
From then on, I was completely enamored with this tiny slice of paradise off the coast of India. My calendars soon turned into mood board collages tacked to my wall, and downtime in school consisted of me scrolling through videos of this small patch of islands. I told myself I would never rest until I got to go and experience it for myself.
Fast forward years later and I stared at our computer screen in surreal amazement, studying our reservation confirmation for our flight to the Maldives. Kevin and I worked hard to make our dreams come true, and it was finally happening. We would be going to Singapore and The Maldives for our honeymoon!
A Rocky Start
Kevin and I got married on a Sunday in Austin but were planning on driving back to Dallas on Monday to make our overseas flight in the evening. We were a little over two hours away when we received a text notification from American Airlines.
“Your flight to Chicago has been canceled.”
We stared at each other in panic. What was that supposed to mean? We were scheduled to go to Chicago, then to Dubai, and following that to Singapore. We began to panic and frantically search for customer service’s number, but then we received another text message notifying us that they had updated our reservation and had us ready for a new flight… that left 3 hours EARLIER than our original flight. The new flight was set to leave in less than one and a half hours, and Kevin and I were still an hour away from our apartment by itself.
I’ll just spare the in-depth details, and give you the Sparknotes:
- Even though we arrived at the airport with 15 minutes to spare, we were not allowed to board our flight due to our bags needing to be checked.
- We were moved to a new flight, where we waited an hour just to find out this flight had been canceled too.
- We moved to YET ANOTHER flight but were notified that even if it made it in time, we would miss our connecting flight from Chicago to Dubai. But then we’re told that we HAD to go to Chicago to pick up our bags.
- I went full “LET ME TALK TO YOUR MANAGER” Karen and cried openly without shame in the DFW airport.
- Kevin and I made the decision to shift our honeymoon over a day in order to not miss out on our trip because of our canceled flights, which ended up costing us over $2.5K (Thanks American!).
- American/United lost our bags for the entirety of our trip to Singapore, so I was definitely not feeling my best and brightest.
Despite spending over 10 hours in the DFW airport, an overnight in San Fransisco, and 17 hours on a flight across the world, we finally made it to Singapore.
Kevin is a Civil Engineer, and because of that, it wasn’t a surprise to me that his bucket list vacation was Singapore.
I won’t lie, a majority of our time there felt tainted with negativity and stress due to our lost bag fiasco, which required us to spend a healthy chunk of our time there walking through malls trying to replace the things that had been lost. But past this, the only word I can use to describe Singapore was impeccable.
I had never seen a city like Singapore before – the streets were completely immaculate and clean, the architecture was engaging and awe-inspiring, and the culture felt lavish and upscale.
We had fallen in love with the Marina Bay Sands hotel after seeing it featured in Crazy Rich Asians and decided to treat ourselves by staying there throughout our honeymoon. The hotel staff was amazing and so accommodating, ensuring we were given a beautiful room with a perfect view of the Gardens by the Bay from our balcony.
I remember before leaving on our trip so many people told me that Singapore was not a romantic city, but I quickly found them to be completely wrong. Kevin and I strolled throughout the city, dined on authentic Asian foods at the Hawker Market, swam in the famous Marina Bay Sands infinity pool, admired the light show at the Gardens by the Bay, and were awestruck by the beauty of the Cloud Forest.
It’s safe to say we quite literally felt on top of the world here.
Stepping off the plane to the Maldives, one of the first things I noticed was how expansive the ocean surrounding this tiny set of islands were. I stared into the distance and saw the turquoise water extended for miles and miles with no interruption.
We stayed at Centara Ras Fushi, and I can validate that this may have single-handedly been the most wonderful resort I have ever visited in my life.
Centara is an all-inclusive resort located on its own private island a quick 20-minute boat ride from the airport in Malé. This gorgeous expansive resort featured spacious, over-the-water bungalows, five restaurants, a world-class spa, and literally any water activity you can imagine. I always avoided all-inclusive resorts because I feared the feeling of being trapped or stuck, but not once did I experience that feeling here. In fact, the one and only feeling I experienced in the Maldives was pure, unadulterated bliss.
So did the real Maldives meet my childhood expectations?
Absolutely and so much more.
I literally can’t describe to you the beauty of this island paradise. The water is a color of blue I had literally never experienced and am fairly certain I will never experience again. Because many islands are located within a sand belt, waves are nearly non-existent. The water is often so still and clear that you can see colorful fish and small (friendly!) sharks swimming along the beach.
Kevin and I spent our entire time in the Maldives lounging on the beach, snorkeling, and gorging ourselves with some of the most wonderful seafood and fresh mango juices we have ever tasted. Our nights were spent sitting in the sand admiring the surreal, watercolor-esque sunsets that painted the sky.
Although we dealt with plenty of hardships and frustrations throughout our honeymoon, our final leg in the Maldives made up for it all. More than anything, I was so grateful to have married a man who worked his butt off to help make my dreams come true and give me the honeymoon I had always imagined since I was a little girl.
If you are considering visiting Singapore or the Maldives, I seriously cannot recommend these beautiful countries enough. My pictures absolutely do not do the true feel and beauty of these places justice.
I am absolutely counting down the days until we are able to return. Fingers crossed that I can convince Kevin to take me back to the Maldives every year (hey, a girl can dream), but until then I will be here reminiscing over the most wonderful experience of my life.
Where is the most beautiful place you have ever visited or your favorite trip you have ever taken? Share in the comments below!