A chain of islands in the Indian Ocean upon which are individual five-star hotels or quintessential inhabited islands with houses and guesthouses. Find your slice of paradise here among the turquoise sea and beautiful white beaches with lush palm trees.
Whether you choose blissful luxury in plush water villa eating in Michelin star restaurants, exploring inhabited islands full of cultural charm, or simply getting away from it all like Robinson Crusoe on the virgin islands that no one has ever stepped foot or to shopping for the latest fashions in the thriving capital of Male’.
Anything is possible in Maldives.
Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, just off the tip of Sti Lanka, is an archipelago of 1,200 islands. There are over 200 resorts scattered across 26 natural atolls. Ten new resorts opened in 2021 and a further dozen are scheduled to debut in 2022, giving a stunning array of choices for all kinds of holidaymakers, from couples to families, from luxury-seekers to adventurers. And as a region, the Maldives is also seeing a new drive for sustainability – a change reflected in some of the eco-friendly activities being offered by many of its resorts. A further 200 islands are inhabited and the sheer spread of its geography means each island has evolved its own customs and has its unique cultural makeup. About 800 islands are left abandoned in their natural state. Resorts often use this land for day-trip excursions for guests to see them in au naturale without any building or infrastructure.
With pristine, powder-white beaches, and coral-ringed atolls, Maldives is a tropical paradise. A Muslim nation since Arab traders in the Indian Ocean in the 12th century influenced the last Buddhist king of Maldives Dhomvemi to convert to Islam between 1153 to 1193 The king thereupon adopted the Muslim title of Sultan. Arab interest in the Maldives also was reflected in the residence there in the 1340s of the great Moroccan explorer Ibn Battutah. Another learned man from the Horn of Africa called Shaykh Najib al Habashi Al Salih, stamped further African Islamic presence here. In fact, there are a lot of African elements to this island nation, as the Arab settlers brought slaves with them who stamped their culture on the islands. Indeed, the Maldives islands are multi-faceted. The culture, traditions and customs of the country are influenced by Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Arab, Persian, Indonesian and even African influences. From 1887 the Maldives became a British protectorate. By the mid-1880s, India and Ceylon were under British imperial rule. The Maldives gained independence from the British on July 26, 1965, after 77 years. The Maldives hosted a British airbase on the island of Gan in Addu in the South of the archipelago between 1957 and 1967.
The capital is Male, while Addu is the beloved second city of the Maldives. There are 24 other atolls stretching from North to South. Most now have a tourism footprint with luxury five-star developments being the status quo but a growing independent travelling network. The method of travel is by boat or seaplane. Charter a safari boat to access the distant uninhabited islands of the archipelago. The gorgeous Baa Atoll is a UNESCO biosphere with incredible marine life and tropical flora and fauna as well as beautiful corals. Unfortunately, most of the Maldives’ coral have been bleached by the El Nino phenomenon but this is one of the richest and most abundant places to dive.
Taste the quintessential Maldivian vibe at Male’ market on the capital island. Located on the north waterfront, this bustling bazaar tempts foreigners and locals with local handicrafts, mementos, and gift items. Championing local flavours – souvenir stalls with handcrafted knickknacks and fresh local spices, fruit vendors selling juicy, tropical fruits and fishmongers merchandising their catch of the day. The market itself has stalls bursting with imported vegetables, apples, kiwi, mangoes, and bunches of bananas hanging on coir ropes from ceiling beams. Another building just next door sells smoked and dried fish. Along with the fruit and vegetable stores that sell the freshest fruit. As this is an island that is purely reliant on exports for wares so sometimes, they are not as fresh as one would expect and slightly more expensive than we would pay at home. Dhoni’s from all corners of the country unload dried fish, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
The pace increases in mid-afternoon as fishing dhonis start returning with their day’s catch. The catch, mainly tuna is carried across the road into the open-sided market and laid out on the tiled floors. As fast as the fish are brought in, they are snapped up by eager purchasers. The market is kept scrupulously clean, washed down each day and disinfected. On the northern waterfront, close to the busy port, you’ll find Male’ fish market where you can choose one of the huge tunas lined up on the floor and watch as it is flipped onto a counter and then sliced and diced into portions by energetic ‘muscle men’ who attack each carcass with fervour.
The bright and colourful city of Male’ is one of the smallest capitals in the world in terms of its physical size with a third of the country’s population. So much life can be found in these streets, with their brightly coloured houses set out against the azure lagoon of Male’ port. Generally, this concrete, graffiti-clad city is different from any other island in the country with all of its high-rise buildings and paved roads, a warren-like maze of streets where one can get happily lost.
The adventure begins at the ferry port from here you can walk around the island perimeter, taking in local government offices, shops, cafes and offices facing the seaport and cargo areas. The streets in the residential areas and parks are also shaded with trees, at places forming an arch overhead. A fair number of main streets are lined with big trees providing shade on both sides, including the main square. Locals spend their time shopping in the evenings along Majeedhee Magu – the main road on the island is lined with various shops selling anything you can think of, from shoes, clothes, electronic gadgets, souvenirs and more and this is open until 11 pm with 15-minute breaks for prayer. Occasionally there are night street markets.
Seawalls surround all its sides. However, a landscaped artificial beach area and adjoining breakwater stretches all the way round to the harbour in the southwest of the island and provides a pleasant jogging route, especially popular in the evenings when it is cooler. This is a popular meeting spot for surfers. Don’t expect to sunbathe here for it is forbidden. Catch a dhoni 20 minutes away to a better and longer beach on a man-made island called Hulhumale or to Villingili just 10 minutes away.
Hulhumale is a man-made island built to help the struggling infrastructure of Male and provide housing and shops for locals, but it has become an attractive alternative due to its relatively generous space. Hop on a ferry from Male’ a part of the city where motorcycles clog the narrow streets and fishermen gut their morning catch on the sidewalk. Just 25 minutes later, you arrive in a brand-new world, the island of Hulhumale’.
This is an artificial island built by engineers, not volcanoes, yet strangely it feels almost natural. Its elder sibling Male’ is the natural island, yet it with its concrete jungle interior as opposed to Hulhumale’s fairly recently planted trees that now outnumber buildings, it appears vice-versa. Perhaps the contrasts between the two islands betray one of the Maldives’ many paradoxes. When the ferry arrives, you step up onto this island. The streets are straight and wide. There’s a hospital, schools, government buildings, apartments — all several feet higher than the rest of the Maldives. The flood-resistant island was created by a huge dredge that sucked up sand from the ocean floor and disgorged it into a shallow lagoon. Eventually, Hulhumale’ rose from the waters, not made by volcanoes but by man.
With long, wide-open roads, it’s perfect for those who love the outdoors. Much of the island is undeveloped, which means there are plenty of open roads to jog or cycle around as you discover the magic of the island. A causeway separates the inhabited island from the airport, full of international flights and brightly coloured seaplanes.
Hulhumale’ has a fully-fledged marina, so it’s not surprising that most of the safari boats are permanently docked here. That means there is a huge surf and dive tourism market. More and more guest houses are springing up on Hulhumale, specifically with surfing and diving in mind. This accommodation is just a short walk or pick-up truck ride away from the main marina where the safari boats rest before venturing out into the wider ocean. There are many local dive spots accessible by dhoni too as well as famous surf spots. Plus being semi-land-based gives the creature comforts of home for a few nights and access to shops and facilities not found on the open ocean. Divers can choose to mix their dive time with a stay on the local island and at the same time get to grips with the culture and local customs. Anyone visiting Hulhumale or any of the local islands should note that they are Muslim islands so be aware of local customs like females must cover up and there is no alcohol on the islands.
Villingili is also a charming, inhabited island just 10-minute ferry ride from Male that offers foliage and wide, open sandy streets, plus a decent house reef - a perfect antidote’ to the big smoke. From the moment you step onto the island, you are astounded by its greenery and quaintness. There are two beaches: one, facing the house reef or another facing the skyline of Male’. One of the island’s main attractions is its excellent house reef – a haven for snorkellers. Alighting from the ferry continue on from the harbour and enjoy one of the best house reefs n Male’ outside of a resort. Under the water, some of the most beautiful fish and marine life can be found in abundance, all in view of the capital’s skyline. Marvel at how it is possible to slip a pair of fins and swim out to the edge of the reef, what a difference to Male’ where there is nothing but a concrete sea wall.
More than a decade of settlement has seen the jungle vegetation disappear but for a few ancient trees to give an interesting mix of rural-suburban mix taking some of Male’s urbanness and the best of more remote islands’ naturalness. You won’t see many cars on the island, except licensed taxi. That’s because the previous administration banned the use of motorised vehicles, forcing people to use their two legs to travel. with. For an island less than a couple of km squared this is not too arduous. In fact, it can be very pleasant.
Addu, south of the equator is the island nation’s unadopted second capital and the pace of life is slower down here, but the infrastructure is wonderful, owing to its history as a former base of the Royal Air Force. Far from the well-trodden tourist route, yet with the best transportation links in the archipelago, the Addu atoll (known locally as Seenu) retains oodles of charm which has been lost in many parts of the Maldives in its quest for luxury. The Maldives is renowned as a honeymoon destination and its somewhat tricky geography makes the navigation of these tiny islands, yet Addu is easily on its way to becoming one of the most travel friendly atolls and its infrastructure makes it very easy to get around.
Indeed, adventure awaits the independent traveller, in Gan, in the form of bike rides, diving and historic sightseeing. All of the islands in Addu Atoll, with the exception of the north-east islands of Hulhumeedhoo and Villingili, are linked by a causeway built by the Brits, which makes it easy to navigate. A total of six islands makes up the western side of Addu Atoll - Gan, Feydhoo, Maradhoo-Feydhoo, Maradhoo, Hankede and Hithadhoo. Situated on the edge of the atoll, the island of Gan has some of the best reef diving and snorkelling available in the country. The chance to explore island life on your own terms is one of the best ways to enjoy the Maldives.
The island of Gan is the former base of the former British Air Force where the Equator Village resort is now located. Its port Feydhoo, in the south-west of the atoll commonly known as ‘Gan-side’ has a bustling harbour that buzzes day and night. Many vessels sail in from as far as Male’ transporting cargo to the atoll and safari boats dock just across the lagoon. From the port, you can take a taxi from one end of the island to the other. Except for Gan, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Caranee and South Palm Resort Maldives, most of the islands are inhabited by locals. The contiguity of local island life and resort life, plus the excellent transport links give travellers the chance to see the local Maldivian way of life which they can rarely experience so easily across the rest of the archipelago.
Equator Village Resort has all the creature comforts of home, it is a perfect pit-stop to recharge the old batteries before heading off to explore the rest of the island by bicycle, which can be hired from the resort. The former air force airport became the new international one and remnants of the old airbase remain amongst the grounds, making for a pleasant day’s exploring. The buildings used in the 1970s which were not knocked down to make way for new factories for the former government include the Astra cinema, the ‘NAAFI’ (selling cheap supplies), the Gan Post Office and the Gan workshop. All these are reminders of its service history. There is an RAF memorial in tribute to those who served, and a mosque stands on the site of the former church.
Several souvenir shops line the entrance of the gated resort, and the reception is fashioned out of the former officers’ mess and, save a lick of paint, the rooms remain little changed from its service days. The wicker furniture adds charm and offers a very different experience to the clean lines of some of the Maldives’ newer, sleeker resorts. Charmingly rustic, this resort has a quintessentially English feel to it.
The open beach hosts a spectacular house reef which fortunately appears unspoilt from coral bleaching – with some of the best dive spots in the country. Snorkelling is pretty good here too, go a little deeper to the drop off point and expect to see baby devil rays, trigger fish and other tropical varieties. The resort enjoys a European, predominantly German occupancy.
The Gan-Hithadhoo Causeway is the way to get around these islands stretching 13 kilometres or so across the six islands. There are also inland routes through each island, but only the coastal route takes you directly through all the islands. Shops and roadside carts selling coconuts and mangoes uniformly line the roadside, with the occasional coral cottage as you leave the bustling port of Feydhoo behind. Hire a bicycle and explore.
Maradhoo is a traditional village well worth taking a detour off the spectacularly rugged and aqua blue coastal path to explore its traditional way of life. The basics are here, from local shops to cafés, schools, and houses. Amidst the coral cottages and roadside carts selling home-grown mangoes and bananas, various signals of economic development are evident. New cafes have sprung up and sports cars are parked outside fine clothes shops probably belonging to a businessman or politician. Meanwhile, the general population there and in neighbouring Hithadhoo lives on less than a dollar a day.
Hankede is the name given to the long stretch of road leading to the island of Hithadhoo. It is another five or so kilometres down a jungle-lined dual carriageway, which has tested the fitness of many a brave soldier. Hithadhoo is a traditional village but home to the southern region’s only public hospital and most of the population of Addu. Here you can shop for souvenirs and there are quite a few shops selling the latest trends. Most importantly you can explore the local way of life. Make sure you pause to drink from a freshly cut coconut. There is a small beach to the rear of the hospital, reached by travelling a distance down a palm fringed jungle path.
Across the lagoon lies local tradition lies an island made up of two adjoining traditional Divehi villages (classed as islands in their own right) with a total population of about 2,600, many of whom live in little coral cottages with gated fences made from palm leaves and bordered by quaint coral walls. Known as Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo respectively, these villages sit side by side and have very different personalities. A ferry, operated by MVK, departs daily from Feydhoo to Hulhumeedu.
Legend has it that an Arab was shipwrecked at Hulhudhoo almost three centuries before Ibn Battuta (who is said to have converted all the islanders to Islam). The people are warm, friendly and hospitable. This is a fishing community, and the port is a busy hub of activity day and night. Both have their own island chiefs and beliefs. Some of the surrounding islands are so beauteous that they make for idyllic castaway destinations.
If it’s history and culture you’re after then look no further than the sleepy island of Meedhoo, nestled in the far northeast of the atoll. It is home to one of the oldest graveyards in the Maldives.
The Koagannu cemetery is known for its ancient giant headstones many of which are carved with the archaic Dhives Akuru script. There are a few local shops, a park, three schools, a couple of mosques – including the oldest mosque in the Maldives, which is attached to the cemetery. Turn right out of the cemetery and take a walk down the unmarked sandy ‘beach road’ (in the absence of ‘infrastructure’ here all the roads are unmarked) and you will arrive on a spectacularly dramatic rocky beach on the south of the island.
The islands are situated on the edge of the Indian Ocean with no landmass south until the Chagos Archipelago. At low tide, one can walk along a former reef and exposed coral. Beachcombing is one of the best activities on these islands, you can find perfect specimens of skeletal coral and huge unspoiled shells. Sadly, these islands suffer quite badly due to beach erosion. The beaches of Addu are uncharacteristic of the typical Maldives picture postcard but have their own charm perched upon ancient reefs looking out to the ocean with a backdrop of jutting palm trees and coved bay behind.
Some of the local women dressed top to toe in ‘abyaas’ (Arabic robes) spend their days catching up with friends, sweeping the yard and cooking. Their husbands leave the house at dawn head off to sea on fishing vessels. Of the two islands, Meedhu is the oldest and is more conservative. Close to Meedhoo harbour, there is a path that brings you out at a secluded stretch of beach. Only a short wading distance across the lagoon is a small circular island with a lush green interior, which has been earmarked for resort development later this year.
The Hulhoodoo side is covered in coral skeletons for the most part, and seaweed, but the most magnificent unspoilt shells and dried coral can be found by combing the area. Known locally as ‘Ismehela Hera’, locals wade across for picnics or take a ‘dhoni’ (boat). It is a prime spot to see the sunset against the dramatic backdrop of the lagoon. From Meedhoo, Hulhudoo is a short distance with dramatic coastline views. Take a jungle beach path beside a mangrove through the coral village through Hulhudoo and eventually straight to Canareef Resort. Meedhoo is seen as more conservative and traditional, while Hulhudhoo is hipper. It boasts a modern harbour and many shops as well as traditional stone cottages. Many young people hang out in Hulhudhoo. There is a school, an island office, mosques and cafes. Generally, there are more shops and things to do here for local people than in Meedhoo.
Fishing boats leave Meedhoo harbour early in the morning and return in the evening or you can charter a speedboat at time of the day to travel in style. Catch a daily ferry from Hulhudhoo harbour to Feydoo. From Feydhoo there are also links to the beautiful island of Fuvahmulah which is one of the few islands here that have freshwater lakes and a special a fish and a bird native exclusive to this island.
So, while all these inhabited islands offer beaches, for the picture postcard bounty advert version, head away from the cacophony of the concrete jungle and suburban islands to the resorts. Not only does the Maldives have wonderful circular resort islands with pristine rings of white sand encircling them there are also dreamy long stretches of sandbank.
The mélange of Maldives topography can even be experienced on island hopping tours from your base in Male’ or Addu and you can explore each island. However, tourism in the resorts is very much still a one island one resort model. The Maldives now has nearly 200 resorts across 26 natural atolls, around 10 of which opened in 2021. A further 12 are scheduled to open in 2022, giving a stunning array of choice for all kinds of holidaymakers, from couples to families, from luxury-seekers to adventurers. And as a region, the Maldives is also seeing a new drive for sustainability – a change reflected in some of the eco-friendly activities being offered by many of its resorts.
Until 1972, the Maldives was a remote archipelago inhabited only by fishing families, unknown to the outside world, with only a small airstrip on Hulhule Island, built by volunteers and with no regular flights. There were no banks and no telephones, only ham radio and Morse code contact. With little infrastructure, it seemed an unlikely destination for international tourists. Then came a chance meeting in Sri Lanka between George Corbin, an Italian travel agent seeking pristine islands to which to bring Italians for swimming and fishing, and Ahmed Naseem, a junior with the Maldives Embassy who later became Foreign Minister. The two visited Malé by cargo ship in 1971, and Corbin vowed to return with guests. The following February he brought mainly journalists and photographers to stay in modest lodgings in three houses in Malé. These first visitors were enchanted by the Maldives’ swimming, sunbathing and fishing, and Corbin promised to bring more tourists if there was somewhere to stay.
Shopping is seldom a priority on a visit to the Maldives, but the capital of Male’ presents many opportunities to engage in this pursuit. Explore Male’s warren of streets containing traditional corner shops which smell of mothballs and peddle tinned and fresh produce to the glossier fashion stores that grace Ameeni Magu one of the larger streets in the capital, Majeedhee Magu that runs right across the island from east to west and Chaandhanee Magu on the other hand that runs from north to south.
Souvenir shops line the northern end of Chaandanee Magu, known as the Singapore Bazaar – a treasure trove of souvenirs. The old bazaar area still houses the country’s hub of wholesale and retail trade with lanes so narrow that the only traffic that can pass is the moped.
However, for those willing to travel by ferry there is the Marina at Crossroads in the Emboodhoo Lagoon is now being touted as the next shopping mecca of the Maldives. Crossroads, is the Maldives first extraordinary multi-island, fully integrated leisure destination. Nestled amongst the breathtakingly exotic Kaafu Atoll and Emboodhoo Lagoon, and it is a 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport and Sunset Restaurant making transfers and day trips quick and easy.
While here, choose to stay at one of two fabulous resorts: the tropical, vibrant SAii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton or the iconic Hard Rock Hotel Maldives. Discover The Marina @ CROSSROADS showcasing the legendary Hard Rock Cafe, incredible retail stores and diverse dining options. Rejuvenate and revitalise at one of the holistic spa and wellness centres. Sail, dream and discover at the prestigious Yacht Marina @ CROSSROADS and weigh anchor at the magnificent 30-berth quay.
Restaurants & Bars
Maldivian cuisine revoles around seafood, coconut and rice. These produce delicious curries. Every luxury hotel boasts international cuisine - from Arabic to Indian, Chinese to Japanese and French to Spanish!
The National Museum in Male’ is housed in the only remaining building of the former Sultan’s Palace, which is now the Sultan’s Park. The colonial-style building is home to thrones and palanquins used by former sultans to the first printing press used in the country, the rifle used by Mohamed Thakurufaanu in his fight against the Portuguese in the 16th century, ceremonial robes, headgear, and umbrellas used by Sultans to statues and other figures dating from 11th century, excavated from former temples. A variety of artifacts from times past would give an idea of the unique and rich culture and history of this island nation. A visit to the museum gives an instant insight to the wealth of history most visitors never suspect existed. No longer will you think of the Maldives solely in terms of a tourist destination.
Another site to behold is the Friday Mosque. The spectacular golden dome dominates the skyline and symbolises the importance of Islamic religion, which has ruled all aspects of life in the country since the 17th century when it was known as Huskuru Miskiiy and served the population of Male’ for almost four centuries. Built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar in 1656 the mosque is a masterpiece of coral curving and traditional workmanship – probably the best display of coral curving anywhere in the world. The area surrounding the mosque is a cemetery with a legion of intricately curved coral headstones. The Munnaaru or minaret in front of the mosque, used to call the faithful to prayer was built in 1675 by the same Sultan. In 1984 it became the Friday Mosque and contains space for 5000 people, an Islamic library, conference hall, classrooms, and offices. Observe the pace of life as dutiful Muslims file in and out.
Right in front of the Hukuru Miskiiy is Mulee-aage, a palace built in 1906 by Sultan Mohamed Shamsuddeen III, replacing a house dating back to the mid-17th century. The palace with its wrought iron gates and fretwork friezes on its roof edges and well-kept garden was intended for his son, but the Sultan was deposed. During World War II vegetables were grown in its garden to help relieve food shortages. It became the President’s Official Residence when Maldives became a republic in 1953 and remained so until 1994, when the new Presidential Palace was built. At present Mulee-aage houses the President’s Office.
Chartering a safari boat can be the perfect way to experience the amazing sea life of Maldives. A fantastic fleet is available to allow you to set sail in the turquoise tropical waters and anchor at one of the many uninhabited picnic islands. Yacht charter is a wonderful way to see the tropical islands and sandbanks of “paradise”.
The finest in Maldives is the Four Seasons Explorer.
The whole of the Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Maldives and is a largely undiscovered gem with a fascinatingly rich reserve of marine fauna. Baa Atoll consists of three separate natural atolls, nine inhabited islands and eight resort islands. It has a high diversity of reef animals, with stony and soft corals, reef associated fish species, turtles. It is thought to be one of the few places in the world where Whale Sharks meet to mate and mingle with Manta Rays.
There are a lot of amazing surf spots in the Maldives to tempt adventurous thrill seekers. A popular surf point can be found in the heart of the capital city Male’ along with a vibrant local surf scene called ‘Towns’. Surfers in the know will charter a safari boat and head to Himmafushi where a collection of surf breaks with wide barrels can be found (Sultans, Honkeys and Jails).
A special surf camp called Coke’s can be found within two hours travelling distance from Male’, just off the island of Thulusdhoo. Named after the Coca-Cola factory on the island, this is a big wave tube spot ‘Chickens’ is just 10 mins away, considered the best left-hander in the Male’ atoll. For those who want luxury base yourselves at Four Seasons. Chickens has fast sections and can get hollow on a south swell. Friday is the local day, but they are super friendly and it’s an amazing ride, seldom crowded. To get to the spot you can hire a dinghy for two hours or it’s around a 20-minute paddle from the island to the surf. If you are an avid surfer, it’s a world class wave and very consistent. Additionally, there are special surf resorts such as Cinnamon Dhonveli close to Pasta Point or Niyama Private Islands for access to Vodi.
Being surrounded by water it’s not surprising that scuba diving is one of the premier sports of this nation and a reason that many of the 1.3 million tourists visit. Create unforgettable underwater memories when you dive deep into the many dive sites peppered across the archipelago. Banana Reef, British Loyalty wreck in Addu or the Fesdu Wreck of Ari Atoll are some of the best places to get up close and personal with the abundant marine life and the stunning coral reefs. The best time to dive in the Maldives is December to April during the high season, as the British summertime months bring the Maldives monsoons.
Golf, football, and tennis are also popular in the resorts. Camps at some of the more exclusive resorts by top pro players help foster unique experiences for their exclusive guests. For instance, Soneva Jani put on an exclusive football camp for youngsters with legendary player Ronaldinho. Maldives is a beautiful setting for golf. Tee off at one of the many resort courses lined with palm trees and natural vegetation. There best golf course in Maldives is Velaa Private Island (Golf Academy by Olazabal) and the most visited golf club in Maldives is Kuredu Resort & Spa.
Bashi is a Maldivian sport that involves two teams, one who takes turns to whack the tennis ball, and the other who stand in rows and try to catch it - this is a local sport that can be found in the inhabited island and Male’.
Bodu beru, literally meaning “big drum”, is one of the oldest surviving aspects of Dhivehi culture and is a popular tourist attraction for those visiting the Maldives. It is a tradition thought to have brought to the islands by African slaves who travelled with their masters from the Arabian Peninsula according to historians. It is widely believed that these people and their magnificent beats settled in the Maldives in the 18th century. They wanted to remain close to their culture so passed down their drumming knowledge. Now, today these enthralling drums beat out the very pulse of the islands, hailing back to their African ancestry. The beat is hammered out with bare hands on a goatskin drum of traditional design. Sometimes Stingray skin is used. The tempo starts slow and builds up into a crescendo and this intensity continues before reaching an abrupt end. During the music, performers do a splendid dance.
Must Buy Souvenir
The most iconic thing to buy in the Maldives is a lacquer ornament –emblematic of this island nation. Many islands have now forged their own successful cottage industry in hand-made wood carvings such as vases, jewellery boxes and ornamental dhonis (traditional boats) finished in lacquer designs. This artform was brought to the Maldives in the 17th century and its protective properties took on popularity with items painted in intricate floral designs, in bold colours of red, blue, green, and gold, traditionally these were made from the juices from trees and insects. However, recent times have brought into question the survival of this rich cultural heritage. This skill has been preserved in Thulhaadhoo in Baa atoll. Modern Maldivian craftsman have adopted ancient arts to create mass souvenirs true to Maldivian tradition, for gift shops throughout the capital of Male’ and in the resorts.
A one island one resort model for many of the 200 resorts, and a growing guest house scene, the islands of Maldives are known for their pampered luxury.
Male’s Velana International Airport connects to major airports all over the world. Once you arrive here in this island nation, on the tiny island of Male’ in the Indian Ocean, you can access an intricate network of sea planes, a domestic carrier to service the country’s main internal airports, a ferry network and a speedboat charter service as well as a burgeoning safari boat industry. There is no way about it to get around this watery island archipelago one relies on air or boat travel. However, once you are on land, in the populous capital that is Male’ which you reach via speedboat, you can get around by car or moped. On the resorts, golf cart, bicycles or feet are the best way forward!
Speedboat or ferry are the most convenient way to get from the airport to Male’ and other destinations around the island. Once on land everywhere is within walking distance but there are also many taxis. For inter-island transportation, Maldives ferry services, aboard Dhoni’s, are very convenient and reliable.
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