Experience summer all year-round in Maldives, a tropical island nation located in the Indian Ocean. It has 26 atolls, composed of more than a thousand islands—most of which are used for tourism and other economic purposes. With its white sand beaches, clear blue waters and other underwater wonders, Maldives is an ideal destination for those who want to experience an exquisite tropical holiday!
To give you an idea of what it is like to have a vacation in Maldives, here’s a list of some of the most interesting activities you can do here.
1. Go scuba diving and snorkelling
Located in the Vaavu Atoll, Alimatha Island is one of the primary diving and snorkelling areas in Maldives. It welcomes both beginners and expert divers, offering a glimpse of rare marine creatures. You can go on either morning or afternoon dive trips offered by certain resorts, while full day diving is also available. For those who are travelling with kids, you will find an area with shallow waters where the little ones can swim and play. Another must-visit is the Banana Reef, a protected marine area that is home to various species of reef fishes.
2. Enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach
Private luxury beaches are spread throughout Maldives, some even catering especially to couples and honeymooners. There’s Veligandu Island, for instance, where you can enjoy a romantic dinner by the beach under the starlit sky. Couples can also get relaxing spa treatments, lounge on private porches, enjoy jacuzzis and go on a cruise. Bottles of wine and cocktails are available in the island’s mini-bar. Also, when in Veligandu, you have to forget your shoes and frolic barefoot! The island has a “no shoes” policy, and with the soft white sand surrounding the area, it is not actually a problem!
3. Visit a local fish market
Male, the capital of Maldives, offers a few inland attractions and they reveal more of the colorful Maldivian culture. First on the list is the Male Fish Market, the city’s commercial center, where you will see hundreds of freshly-caught fishes and other seafood. The market is most crowded during the mid-afternoon, when the sailboats arrive to unload the day’s catch. Fishes are usually laid on the floor, and the moment they are displayed, buyers automatically flock to the open-sided market. Fresh fruits and vegetables also available here.
4. Marvel at the oldest mosque in Maldives
Maldives is an Islamic nation. One of the oldest mosques in the country is Hukuru Miskiiy, also known as the Old Friday Mosque. It is made of coral boulders, which were collected soft but became sturdy when dry. In 2008, the mosque was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. It is also regarded as one of the best examples of sea-culture architecture. If you want to enter the mosque itself, please take note that you have to wear proper Islamic clothing.
5. Discover underwater wrecks
Aside from coral reefs and marine animals, Maldives offers diving enthusiasts a string of interesting underwater wrecks. Wreck diving is a great opportunity to see how marine life has adapted to the relics of sunken boats and ships. There’s Maldives Victory for an instance, located 15 to 35 meters below the North Male Atoll. It was a Singaporean cargo ship carrying goods, which sunk in 1981. At present, several items like cigarettes, bottles, and mosaic tiles are still found around the ship. Other underwater wrecks in Maldives include Kuda Giri in the South Male Atoll, Fesdu Wreck near Fesdu Resort Island, and British Loyalty in the Addu Atoll.
6. Get a spa treatment
Since you are already in paradise, why not make the most out of it and get a heavenly spa treatment by the beach? In Vihamanafushi, there’s the Veli Spa, which offers indigenous Maldivian spa rituals and yoga classes for beginners. Meanwhile, for couples visiting Male, you can go to Duniye Spa and enjoy Asian-inspired massages, body polish and tropical baths. They also serve fruit platters and champagne. More luxurious spa options in Maldives are the Banyan Tree Spa in Vabbinfaru and the Lime Spa in Niyama.
7. Check out artifacts and antiques
Learn more about the history of Maldives by visiting its National Museum, located near the Sultan Park in Male. Various artifacts are displayed here, including stone objects, traditional costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments and even armors. Included in the highlights of the museum is an 11th century coral stone head of Lord Buddha, a 13th-century engraved wooden plank, and a weaved Sultan costume from the 16th century. Meanwhile, a notable feature of the museum building itself is the handwritten Quran engraved on its interiors.
8. Stay in a water bungalow
Ditch the usual hotel rooms and go for a unique type of accommodation—a water bungalow! At Nalaguraidhoo island, the two-bedroom suites with parquet floors and wooden furnishings are found over the waters and can only be accessed by a wooden jetty. Secluded from the main resorts, these water bungalows are equipped with a personal sundeck which offers a great view of either sunrise or sunset. If you feel like taking a dip, all you have to do is walk down your private staircase!
9. Hangout at a manmade beach
Although the rest of the country is blessed with white sand beaches, the capital city of Male is mostly composed of inland attractions and commercial establishments. It is the primary reason why they have created an artificial beach, located at Boduthakurufaanu Magu near the airport. It might not be the best beach in the country, but the fact that it is the only man-made one makes it interesting to visitors. Here, you will see locals swimming and frolicking under the sun during afternoons. On some days, you will also find some local entertainment including live music shows.
10. Experience parasailing
You will never run out of fun water activities here in Maldives! While it is true that it is sunny here all year round, the most suitable months for parasailing is from December to April. Even if you’re a beginner, there’s no need to worry because parasailing is one of the safest yet most exciting water sports in the world. Participants are usually taken by a motorboat in the middle of the water and that’s where you will take off. Two of the best places in Maldives for parasailing are the Furanafushi and Vihamanaafushi, both of which are located at the North Male Atoll.
11. Catch a glimpse of the presidential palace
Muliaage, the Official Residence of the President of Maldives, features a colonial bungalow style building that was completed in 1919. To date, it has been a witness to the government of four Presidents of Maldives. It has also served various functions such as the Residence of Crown Prince Hassan Izzuddin, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court of the Maldives. Visitors are not allowed to enter the premises, but its colourful mosaic gate is a popular photo stop among travellers.
12. Pay a visit to the Tsunami Monument
Another popular photo stop in Male is the Tsunami Monument, a landmark built in remembrance of those who died in a tsunami in 2004. Located nearby the artificial beach, the monument is made of steel on a circular base that extends into the sea. It also has steel rods, which represents the number of people who lost their lives while the steel balls represent each of the atolls of Maldives.
13. Catch big fishes
Only one percent of Maldives is composed of land; the rest is water, where marine animals thrive. If you’re done snorkelling and diving, you can try fishing via a chartered boat and try different fishing techniques like popping and jigging. Most tour providers and hotels offering such services provide the necessary fishing gear as well. Some of the fish you might encounter are big dogtooth, GT (giant trevally), and barracudas. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a yellowfin tuna!
14. Take a stroll in the Sultan Park
There are not many public parks in Maldives where you can stroll around, making Sultan Park a must-visit. It is located on the southern side of the former Royal Palace Grounds of Male. It has a massive Iron Gate that welcomes visitors and a pond filled with water lilies. There are also shady trees where you can rest and simply enjoy the green oasis. At night, the is beautifully illuminated when artificial trees light up.
15. Enjoy a dolphin cruise
The Maldives is rated as one of the top five destinations in the world for dolphin watching. The country is home to over 20 dolphin species, which is why dolphin sightings are a common occurrence. If you wish to see these marine mammals, you can go on a dolphin cruise provided by most resorts in Maldives. The year-round tropical weather makes the cruise easier and more comfortable. Ride on a traditional Maldivian dhoni, a sailboat running on motors, and then see the dolphins right before your very eyes!
16. Ride in a submarine
Too afraid to dive on your own? You can still see the underwater beauty of Maldives by riding in a submarine! No need for diving lessons, the submarine will take care of bringing you underwater, passing by coral reefs, tropical fishes and other marine creatures. You can submerge as low as 45 meters (~150 ft) beneath the surface, and depending on current, the submarine can even bring you close to underwater caves. Submarines have exterior lights that allows passengers to see things underwater.
17. Shop for souvenirs
Time for some souvenir shopping! The biggest shops in Maldives are located in the capital city of Male. There’s M Souvenirs for an instance, which offers a wide array of Maldivian souvenirs and hand-made gift items. You can also check out STO Trade Center, the biggest supermarket in the city. Its stalls offer items ranging from household products to food items. Meanwhile, if you are coming to Kurumba, there is Nala Boutique filled with swimming clothes, accessories and other beach necessities.
18. Have a taste of Maldivian cuisine
You have never truly experienced a place without tasting the authentic local food. Here in Maldives, the cuisine is primarily focused on their main food product: fishes and other seafood. Most of the Maldivian dishes are hot and spicy, an influence of Sri Lankan and Indian cuisine. Maldivians love rice to go with their meals. A clear fish broth is also a staple, which they call garudhiya. Some of the local food you shouldn’t miss include the curry known as riha, a counterpart of Indian roti called roshi, and papadhu, which is the Maldivian version of crispy Indian poppadums.
19. Cook your own Maldivian food
Like the hot and spicy Maldivian food? Learn how to cook the dishes on your own when you join a cooking class in Maldives! Many hotels and resorts offer such classes, but often with a minimum number of participants. Chefs and experts themselves will teach you how to prepare a traditional Maldivian soup and different types of curries, as well as making the perfect marinade for fish dishes. If you are bringing kids, you can ask if your resort or hotel can arrange special classes for them!
20. Learn how to surf
There are three major surfing zones in Maldives, which have different peak seasons. First, there’s the Male Atolls, where waves are the most suitable for surfing from March to October. Next is the Central Atolls, a great surfing destination from May to August. Meanwhile, the Outer Atolls have two surfing seasons: one from late February to April and the other one from late August to October. You can either go on a resort-based surfing activity or charter a private boat to take you to all the surfing destinations on the atoll of your choice.
A paradise like no other
Needless to say, Maldives should be the go-to place for every beach lover out there. Whether you are going on a well-deserved family holiday, a honeymoon or a personal retreat, the islands are ready to cater to all your vacation needs!
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