Relaxation, seclusion and tropical paradise are probably the first things that come to mind when thinking of Maldives – after all, post after post on social media reflects as much. Indeed, Maldives is in all its glory a poster child of pristine beaches and idyllic views but to think that’s all the country provides would be almost criminal.
While most travelers will go to an island or resort in the Maldives thinking of nothing but tranquility and peace, pleasant surprises await. Within no time the unwinding visitor will be enthralled with more activities than time allows – blending both serenity and fun into the most exciting combo. For this traveler, we have devised a list to help with this desirable problem.
Diving and Snorkeling
Could it really be a list about the Maldives without including these two? Diving and its cousin snorkeling. One simply cannot visit the archipelago without doing at least one of these two. You’ve got whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, eagle rays, stingrays, moray eels and that’s just off the top of my head – there’s over 2000 species of fish you can encounter – that’s about 1990 more than I know. If that’s not captivating enough, the reefs and corals are so colorful, you’d think you’ve died and ended up in an animated Disney film. Most islands and resorts in Maldives have world class diving equipment and certified PADI divers.
Let’s go biblical now. Imagine standing – I mean paddling – on top of the water while the breeze of the Indian Ocean is caressing your body with water from a 10-foot wave cascading through the hair. It sounds almost erotic and while I can ensure you surfing in Maldives is not actually erotic, it is absolutely mind blowing. The country is home to some of the best waves in all of Asia, with Cokes and Chicken breaks being extra popular amongst seasoned surfers. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran of surfing, Maldives will most definitely not disappoint.
Maldives is made up of a whopping 1190 islands, out of which around 200 are inhabited and most are accessible. Whether you’re backpacking or staying at a luxury resort in the Maldives, Island hopping is readily available and an absolute must because every island is as beautiful as the last (if not more). This opens up possibilities like going to inhabited islands and interacting with locals to experience a culture that is centuries old. Then there’s the uninhabited islands where nature untouched by man thrives.
If you ever find yourself in Maldives’ Baa Atoll –a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – first of all, congratulations, you’re in one of the most sublime places in the world and second, if you can, make sure to take a submarine dive. While submarine rides in themselves sound quite fascinating, when you add in dolphins, turtles, sharks amongst an extremely diverse sea life, it’s like living a dream. You’ll have a captain navigating you through vibrant corals where a 360-degree view will make you feel part like a tiny spec of dust in this great planet we live in.
Explore the Culture and History of Maldives
Considering the history of Maldives stretches back for centuries, it would be safe to assume that their culture and heritage are as rich as they come. Eid time best reflects the jovial nature of Maldivians as well as providing an insight into what makes Maldives, well, Maldives. Don’t forget to watch a boduberu performance (traditional Maldivian music) as it’s almost impossible not to dance to its rhythmic drums. The capital city, Male has some significant historical landmarks as well as a museum that one must visit when in the capital.
Somewhat related to the history and culture of Maldives, dhoni cruises are excursions on traditional Maldivian boats (dhonis). These boats have become a symbol of the island nation and a trip on one of them would be the icing on the cake known as Maldivian culture. Bask in the sun or watch schools of dolphins or perhaps enjoy seemingly endless horizons of the Indian Ocean, they’re all perfect ways of unwinding.
This one is self-explanatory. Whether you live to eat or eat to live, Maldives will not disappoint. Fresh fish is pretty much a guarantee and with local spices, it will have you craving for more even as your stomach pushes against the belt. Whether you’re in the mood for local cuisine or are homesick, the options are almost endless – there will be no unsatisfied stomachs here.