Zareena's lucky holiday: A true 'Maldives Experience'

A holiday in the Maldives has always been perceived as a very expensive affair by foreigners. People assume Maldives to be a luxurious destination with only high-end resorts that charge exorbitant amounts for s stay at one-of-its-kind watervillas and delightful cuisine. Maldives has always been seen as a holiday destination for the 'rich and the wealthy'.

However, only one who has truly experienced Maldives will know the archipelago has more to offer than catering only to high end clientele. A 'Maldives Experience' will leave one astounded by what the island nation has to offer for budget travelers. One such person is Zareena, a tourist from Malaysia.

Zareena won a sponsored trip to the Maldives when she correctly answered a question posed by Tourism Minister Ali Waheed during the World Tourism Conference held earlier this year in Malaysia. The minister asked the audience what the 'tagline' of the Maldives' tourism is, similar to Malaysia's 'Truly Asia'. Out of the almost 100 people in attendance, Zareena was the first to confidently answer 'The Sunny Side of Life' - and guess what? Her answer won her a sponsored six-day holiday to the archipelago!

Under the holiday package Zareena won, she could have an all-inclusive 'Maldives Experience'. When her name was announced at the conference and she was called to come up on the stage to receive her prize, Zareena was in an astounded 'shock' from happiness. The first thing she said when she came up on the stage was 'I am shocked!'.

During her much anticipated visit to the Maldives, she spent one day at a luxury resort. She then headed to a liveaboard, after which she experienced a stay at a local guesthouse. She then went island hopping, visiting several islands of the Maldives and experiencing the local island life. She tasted local delights, and even learnt to prepare the famous 'Maldivian Mashuni', a typical Maldivian breakfast, composed of tuna, onion, coconut, and chili. All these experiences left Zareena amazed and astonished - Who knew Maldives had so much to offer?!

The lucky tourist was still in a state of elation when she departed from the Maldives after concluding her visit to the island destination. By the time she left the country, she had learnt that Maldives is not just for the rich and the wealthy but also a desirable and affordable destination for budget travelers - and she is already telling the world the same.