In ancient times, the shores of the Maldives welcomed lost travellers. Still welcoming, these shores remain to provide a tranquil haven for visitors.The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up out of 1 190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90 000 square kilometers. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness.
Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. A string of islands take their places among this atoll ring – each island has its own reef encircling the island lagoon. The reefs of the islands, alive with countless types of underwater creatures and vibrant corals, protect the islands from wind and wave action of the surrounding vast oceans. This unique structure of reefs and channels makes navigation almost impossible for the passer-by without sufficient information about these waters. Ninety-nine percent of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 90 islands are developed as tourist resorts and the rest are uninhabited or used for agriculture and other livelihood purposes.
The currency in Maldives is Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) and the official language is Dhivehi, however English is widely spoken. Islam is the official religion of the Maldives and therefore, tourists should adopt a certain level of cultural and religious sensitivity for the duration of their stay. The time zone in Malé, the capital city, Cheval Blanc Randheli and Shangri-La Villingili is UTC/GMT +5 hours. The One&Only Reethi Rah and Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru have a time zone of UTC/GMT +6 hours.
THINGS TO DO
The warm seas of Maldives have high visibility throughout the year, with water clear enough to see the passing fish as far as fifty metres away at times. Add to that of the marvellous formation of over 3 000 coral reefs and the free flowing tides of the monsoons. The result of these perfect conditions have created one of the world’s richest diving coral reef areas.
Over a thousand species of fish and other underwater creatures are inhabited under the Maldivian waters. The monsoon tides of the Indian Ocean create a collection of small marine creatures as well as microscopic plant cells. This in turn creates a hub for all kinds of underwater species who gather in these waters lured by the abundance of food. In the Maldives you will get to see everything. From tiny shrimp and groups of colourful swimmers to the magnificent mantas and sharks – a careful eye will give you enough to enrapture you for a lifetime.
The best thing is that you need not be a professional diver to enjoy the Maldives. All resorts- and safari boats give you basic to advanced training using well-monitored diving facilities of a high standard. Night diving is particularly beautiful as is a macro dive that lets you see tiny, interesting and usually disregarded creatures up close and personal.
In a place that is more sea than land, there is no end to the fun things you do in the water. Maldivians swim for recreation, play water polo with their friends at weekend picnics and surf addictively. Every single resort of the Maldives has a sports centre that provides a range of watersports activities.
These centres are well equipped with masks, snorkels and boards of varying sizes, whether you want to spend the day snorkeling, meeting glances with wide-eyed fish or feeling the wind in your hair on a windsurfer or catamaran. Some centres offer courses for beginners, advanced windsurfers and sailors. You could also choose to parasail, kayak, kite-surf, water-ski and jet-ski.
Maldives is a mecca to surf-enthusiasts from all over the world, with the southwest monsoon bringing massive swells, especially from June to September. The sizes range from 3 to 8 feet. There are several well-known surf breaks in North and South Male’ Atoll. Resorts near these breaks are perfect for surfing aficionados as you can get the full Maldivian experience while riding the waves to your hearts content. The lesser-known, but amazing surf breaks further away from Male’ atoll, can be accessed by specialised surf cruises offered by cruise operators in the country.Excursions or Leisure Activities:
The best way to experience the life of an ordinary Maldivian is to travel to an inhabited island. Some of these islands are slightly more modern with brightly painted house walls and harbour areas. There are also quiet fishing villages with lots of tree-shade, swings and traditional wooden holhuashi. A holhuashi is rather like an island-version of a gazebo, build with hollow wooden trunks tied together forming the large, bench-like seat and often with a thatched roof.
Fishing, agriculture and fish related manufacturing is what most people in the islands do for work while some go away to find jobs in tourism and trading. Some islands are also good places to buy local handcrafts.
It is a typical island custom to everyone to finish their work by late afternoon, take their daily showers or bath near their wells, dress the children in fresh clothes and go for a stroll in the island, visiting friends and relatives, delivering small bowls of fresh homemade curry or taking some time to relax at the beachside, watching the late afternoon sun while the children play around at the beach.
Fishing is in the Maldivian blood. It is so entwined in the lives of Maldivians to celebrate when a good catch was caught and complaints when fish is scarce at dinner tables. Maldivian fishermen wake up to the dawn call of island roosters, collect bait in nearby reefs and start a full day’s work at the deep blue seas, using the artful pole and line method of fishing.
To experience the satisfaction of catching and cooking your own fish, a night reef fishing trip (offered by a lot of resorts) is the way to go. Your boat leaves before the sunset to find a good spot near a reef. The boat crew will show you how to use the lines, hooks, and sinkers. You will catch enough to fill your barbecue grill in about an hour’s time.
Seaplane Photo Flights
Seaplane photo flight offers you the sightseeing sensation that gives you the opportunity of a lifetime. Enjoy your unparalleled Maldives holiday experience from the sky in one of the De Havilland DHC 6 Twin Otter seaplanes. The seaplanes are ideal for sightseeing and photography with their high wings, large view windows, untainted glass present panoramic views and unrivalled photo opportunities. The excitement of landing and taking-off from the sea is truly memorable!
You are guaranteed a magical tour above some of the most spectacular scenery in the Maldives. You will fly over the shallow lagoons, pristine and uninhabited islands, a variety of tourist resort islands, fishing villages and the continuously hue-shifting seas of the Maldives. Watch schools of dolphins, manta-and sting rays and schools of fish as they cavort in the crystal clear waters.
Relax and unwind
The Maldives is considered by many to be the premier tropical beach destination in the world and the best place to relax and unwind from the hectic and chaotic lifestyle of the modern world. The Maldives is an archipelago nation of 1 190 islands in the Indian Ocean renowned for its natural pristine beaches and island environment.
With over a 100 different island resorts to choose from each island has its owned distinct feel, character. The wide range of accommodation suit many budgets to cater for all. However, whichever island is visited in The Maldives, all of them are blessed with perfect coral beaches, lush tropical vegetation, warm shallow waters, fantastic hotel facilities and outstanding service that you would only expect to find in the world’s best tropical beach destinations. There are only a few places in the world that have this combination of unique turquoise sea and powder white sand with an all year round climate described as “a never ending summer”.
As soon as you step onto your resort island, you will experience an overwhelming sense of calm and tranquility that is a unique characteristic of visiting these beautiful islands. The stresses and pressures of modern life instantly becomes a distant memory enabling you to totally relax, rejuvenate and unwind like no other place. The resorts combine the isolation of being nestled on the equator in the Indian Ocean and being specifically designed and built with modern facilities and technology with one core purpose – to guarantee that the guests experience the most relaxing perfect holiday anywhere in the world. A holiday to your own Maldivian island is the perfect paradise escape…
The one island one resort concept of the Maldives means that no uninvited people can get onto your Maldivian island, reassuring you that you and your loved ones can totally unwind and relax in safety and in total privacy. Everyone who visits the Maldives say that “it is like being in a perfect dream”.
The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever changes – which makes packing for your holiday an easy task. With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun is constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave.
Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon) with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives (especially around the southwest monsoon months) can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies, slate grey seas and crashing thunder makes up for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a verdant, wet, thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain – the sea will be extra warm.