The Maldives is once more open for business and while relaxation is to be expected from the beautiful atolls and islands of this Indian Ocean paradise, there is much more to occupy your time.
photos courtesy of
visitmaldives.com, MALDIVES PR South East Asia,
MARRIOTT.com, IHG.com, the barefoot, lifeaboard, Baglioni,
bliss dhigurah, ISLAND BAZAAR, Oevaali Art SHOP,
Niyama, sea underwater restaurant, conrad maldives
The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Westin Miriandhoo Resort will provide you with the privacy in which to shut out the rest of the world before welcoming you to its restaurants, beaches and wellness activities that include spas, tennis, and snorkeling. The range of award-winning accommodation includes beach villas, over-water villas, and even a beach front villa with a private pool that will make you think it is your very own island.
InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort
Arrival at the Raa Atoll, a 35-minute seaplane journey from Malé, drops you at the doors of the Intercontinental and, according to Conde Nast magazine, “the favourite romantic hotel”. A choice of over-water villas and residences with private pools are a highlight, as are the restaurants, bars, and private chef options. You can also choose to dine in stunning locations on the island including secluded beaches and sandbanks.
Baglioni Resort Maldives
Dreamily resplendent on the island of Maagau in Dhaalu atoll, a 40-minute hop by seaplane from the capital, Malé, this remarkable resort is awash with tropical natural beauty. The elegant furnished villas are surrounded by stunningly beautiful beaches, coconut palm trees, crystal clear waters and breathtaking sunset views. The Baglioni Resort offer an unforgettable stay with a blend of sports, relaxation and prestigious gourmet dining to suit its exclusive international clientele.
If being close to the water is paramount in your Maldives plans, you simply have to choose a Liveaboard option. The Adora is a 37-metre diver’s paradise with airconditioned, en-suite cabins, a communal saloon and separate sun terrace, and a 20-metre Dhoni for the dive trips. Able to accommodate 21 passengers in total, the Adora puts you within touching distance of sharks, mantas, whale sharks and more.
Is it possible to experience the Maldives on a budget? Yes, and staying at the charming Bliss Dhigurah Guest House in the South Ari Atoll gives you the same access to island life and water-based activities. Reachable by either plane or speedboat from Malé, your choice from a range of room specs is accompanied by a rooftop with jacuzzis, and an in-house restaurant. Your Maldivian experience is assured.
The Barefoot Eco Hotel
The Maldives is aware of its tourist footprint which is why staying at The Barefoot means you are contributing to conservation through visiting. This GSTC-certified Eco hotel is located on the forested Hanimaadhoo island and offers a range of water and land-based activities including diving, snorkelling, and learning more about the ecology of the area. 52 high standard rooms are located on or near the white sand beach.
With bespoke commissioning and styling also available at Malé’s Island Bazaar, a visit to this freestyle, island life emporium offers up collections in homeware, apparel, and jewellery. The inspiration behind the designs comes from the natural way of life in this singular part of the world and 2% of their quarterly profits are donated to worthy causes.
Oevaali Art Shop
Located in Malé, the Oevaali Art Shop is the Mansoor sisters’ dream brought to life. Here you can find collections for jewellery, home and living, stationary, and accessories, all inspired by the colours to be found within the beautiful surroundings. You can also find an in-house art gallery and meeting spaces.
SUBSIX Underwater Bar
SUBSIX Underwater Bar at Niyama Private Island Maldives is the first underwater clubbing spot in the world at this time. Located nearly 6 meters below sea level, it is now an underwater playground opened for lunches, special events and parties. Hide away in the swooping curves of the clam-inspired bar, tucked into the soft anemone chairs beneath the soft waves of capiz shells draped from the ceiling.
Sea Underwater Restaurant
Sea Underwater Restaurant at Anantara Kihavah Maldives has been voted the World’s Best Underwater Restaurant for 4 consecutive years, and is home to the world’s first underwater wine cellar. Sea offers a dreamy out-of-the-world experience for both adventurers and gourmet food lovers.
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
No trip to the Maldives could be complete without experiencing the sheer wonder of dining while surrounded by an underwater landscape. Set five metres below the surface of the Indian Ocean, in the midst of a coral garden, the set lunch and dinner options are paired with incredible wine selections that highlight the fusion of local and western culinary sensations. A visit to the Ithaa Restaurant guarantees memories never to be forgotten or outdone.
The Muraka is a fine dining option that sits calmy at the end of a jetty. Located within the Mirihi Island Resort, you can watch as the sun gently dips into the ocean while enjoying remarkable cocktails created by the talented staff. For food, dinner may be a choice of wagyu beef, tuna tartare, or locally caught lobster.
Huvafen Fushi Underwater Spa and Resort
As accustomed as you may be to a massage, this spa resort takes things a step further. Forget the incidental music designed to allow your mind to wander as your body receives professional manipulation. Here, the surroundings are the myriad sea creatures that live around this exceptional underwater location. Guests may also use the other healthy facilities that include the yoga pavilion, meditation, and gymnasium.
Pump Up the Adrenaline
Flyboarding is an extreme sport taking water skiing to a new direction – upwards. The flyboard itself is strapped to the feet of the user and is connected to a jet ski by a hose. The power of the jet ski emits water through the hose, jettisoned out at great pressure beneath the flyboard. This powers it and the flyboarder, supported by the hose, up to about 9m to 10m above the water. The flyboarder controls everything about the flyboard except how much power it’s receiving. The power portion of the experience is controlled by a certified instructor on the accompanying jet ski.
You want to try the local food and there is so much of it that looks delicious and tempting, we understand. With Maldivian fayre being so much more than coconuts and fish, we suggest the first step into the local delicacies is the Keyn, a sort of cross between an Indian Thali and Spanish Tapas. Here, you will find rice, meat, fish, curries, and sweet dishes, served on a round tray for you to experience the breadth of flavours available. Enjoy!
Malé has a varied colonial history and a tour around the island will expose you to wonderful buildings such as the Mulee’aage Palace, the Sultan Park, and the Friday Mosque. A tour will allow you to not only experience the city from angles you may not have considered, but also to enjoy local snacks and beverages that include the delicious black tea the country is famous for.
Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasures
Wreck diving, for many, is the ultimate experience. That being said, Maldives is an ideal destination for diving among caves, tunnels and shipwrecks. Some of the most spectacular shipwrecks lie on the ocean floor of this tropical diving paradise. Divers can get to witness how marine ecosystems adapt to take over these sunken relics, and explore the sunken treasures beneath the deep blue sea. Some of the favorite shipwreck locations are North Malé Atoll and Keyodhoo in Vaavu Atoll.
Freediving with Tiger Sharks
Whether you are an experienced freediver, or just wanting to learn a new skill, the Maldives is the place to go. Don’t take our word for it, though. Listen to freedive champion, Beth Neale, who says the Maldives is among her favourite places. Once you have some skill and the help of local guides, you can freedive amongst these wonderful, much-misunderstood creatures.
A Daytrip to Paree Fengandu
In the middle of the Indian Ocean, in the middle of Gan Island is a freshwater pool surrounded by trees. Standing here, feeling as if you are the first person to have ever stood here, you are enveloped by a sense of mysticism, possibility, and wonder. It comes as no surprise, then, that this is known locally as the Fairy Pond. A wonderful destination for a day trip.
Addu Nature Park
Addu Atoll hosts the second largest wetlands area in the Maldives. The Addu Nature Park encompasses the beautiful Eydhigali Kilhi wetlands and protected Koattey area in Hithadhoo Island. The park features charming piers extending out to the lakes, mangroves and scenic cycling routes through the lush vegetation of the wetlands. You can take a guided nature tour through the park and observe the unique fauna and flora of the rich habitat.