Maldives — Overview
The jewel of the Indian Ocean, last year alone the Maldives saw more than 600,000 visitors journey to this remote corner of Asia to experience a holiday of epic proportions. Located only 400 miles southwest of India, the island chain is seemingly a world away from any other destination on Earth in terms of beauty and extravagance.
The Maldives is famous for its simplicity. Holidays in this nation can consist of weeklong gorging, relaxing, swimming and sunbathing. However, for the more active traveler, the Maldives also produces a buffet of atolls, each with unique landmasses and coral cays to pamper snorkelers, scuba divers and boat lovers. With more than 25 atolls and hundreds of inhabited islands, the Maldives provides the perfect backdrop for sun-seeking vacationers.
With the likes of Fushifaru Thila, Fish Head, and Banana Reef luring scuba-diving-lovers from around the world, the Maldives is not short on splendors. The city of Male, which is the only major ‘metropolis’ in the country, has a range of interesting landmarks. Many of these, such as the Old Friday Mosque, give tourists insight into the religion of the Maldives, a culture unmatched anywhere in the world. In addition to the Islamic structures, numerous historical and shopping sites make Male an interesting daytrip for visitors.
The Maldives is notorious for its high cost. Apart from some backpacker lodgings and guesthouses on the streets of Male, the Maldives does not cater to budget travelers. Four and five star hotels are the norm in the country, with many islands around the Maldives boasting high-end, all-inclusive resorts with food, accommodations and tours included in the cost. The privacy and luxury of these islands doesn’t come cheap, but you will certainly get what they pay for. The food throughout the Maldives is delectable and most restaurants are found in the resorts dotting the atolls. Therefore, eating out is comparably more expensive than in other nations in Asia.
Historically, the best way to get to the Maldives was by boat from southern India or Sri Lanka. Today the fastest and easiest way to reach the country is by air. Each year, flights and carriers continue to rise. Boating is no longer a viable option, even for private yachts. The reefs around the country are quite hazardous for non-experienced sailors, and permits are expensive and difficult to obtain. Male is the main international gateway, but Gan has also recently obtained international status, hosting flights from India and China.
The fun doesn’t stop just at the islands. Getting around the Maldives is an exhilarating experience. Sea planes are a popular way to get from Male to the outlying islets and various types of boats can be found throughout the region, including rapidly expanding speed boat facilities.
- Cruise by luxury liner from one uninhabited island to the next
- Snorkel off-shore from a resort laden island
- Scuba dive the popular sites of Fish Head and Fushifaru Thila
- Shop the souvenir-rich streets of Male
- Venture across the country via sea plane
- Stay in a reef lagoon room, which sits above a thriving yet secluded marine habitat
- Laze upon a private beach with nothing but the glaring sun and sound of Mother Nature’s tropical symphony