Things to see and do in Maldives
Attractions in Maldives
Beautiful Addu Atoll, the most southerly of the Maldives island groups, is definitely worth visiting. There are four main inhabited islands and a smattering of around 20 uninhabited islands and sandbars. Lush greenery covers these islands and villages are surrounded by trees heavy with tropical fruits. This atoll is particularly famed for its coral Here, the coral is said to be the best in the country, and there is an influx of large manta rays and sea turtles. The modern road linking Gan's Equator Village resort to the city of Hithadhoo is a great place for a bike ride.
Big game fishing
A fishing trip on a modern speedboat equipped for big game fishing is a great experience for any wannabe Hemingway. Head out during the day for tuna and sailfish, or go at night to catch grouper, snapper, squirrelfish or barracuda. Round off the trip by barbecuing the day's catch.
Climb aboard a traditional dhoni (Maldivian wooden boat) and find your bliss as you cruise around uninhabited desert islands. This blissful experience is best enjoyed at dusk when the sun dips below a multi-hued horizon. As you cruise, you’ll enjoy tropical cocktails, drinks and snacks, while local musicians beat their boduberu drums to attract the dolphins.
Many of the better resorts now have a dedicated team of scientists taking care of the local marine life. They will usually have volunteer programs allowing guests to get involved even for a short amount of time. Typical activities include seeding coral reefs and looking after juvenile sharks, turtles and rare fish in captivity.
Hulhule, Maldives Victory
A once in a lifetime experience for divers is the wreck of the merchant ship Maldives Victory. The wreck is submerged at 35m (115ft) below the waves near Hulhule, an island in the North Malé Atoll. Sinking in 1981, the ship has become an artificial reef, with coral, sponges and tropical fish all making it their home. Seasoned divers can explore the decks and even float through the Captain cabin.
The ferry trip from Malé to the nearby manmade island of Hulhumalé, is a look to the future. A utopian town, Hulhumalé is set to become the new hub of the Maldives in decades to come as sea levels rise. Predicted to be a centre of youth development and new traditions, this idyllic development was designed to be a ‘city of days out’. Visitors can take advantage of the many shopping and dining options, explore local markets, undertake wildlife safaris and dive and snorkel. At 2m above sea level, it is mountainous by local standards.
Malé, Whale Submarine
Divers and non-divers alike will revel in the opportunity to journey into the underwater world of the Maldive’s teeming reefs. Docked a short distance from Malé, the comfortable windowed ‘whale’ submarine gives a unique perspective on the local coral reefs. Once in the depths, you will be treated to up-close views of manta rays, reef sharks and colourful fish as the submarines feeding systems attracts the creatures nearer. Be sure to bring your camera, as these sights will be a once in a lifetime experience.
Malé, fish market
The whole of Malé is a hive of economic activity – everybody seems to be buying or selling something, but this is nowhere more the case than at the vibrant, busy fish market on the waterfront, where produce fresh from the sea is gutted and sold right before your eyes. The sheer volume of the catch with massive yellowfin tuna and skipjack, barracuda, grouper and dolphin fish will no doubt impress even the most squeamish.
The tiny capital of the Maldives is its beating heart. Crowded and full of activity, it is a fantastic place to visit for a taste of Maldivian life away from the intimacy of the resorts. It is a quirky place, with colourful buildings and lively markets, juxtaposed with island sensibility and buzzing local culture. Though there is not a huge array of sights, a visit to the beautiful 17th century stone Hukuru (Friday Mosque) or Malé’s National Museum to see the Sultans thrones is a great way to spend the afternoon.
North Malé Atoll, surfing
For a taste of some of the Maldives’ more challenging activities, try your hand at windsurfing at Lhohifushi and Dhonveli in the North Malé Atoll. These two relatively reasonably-priced island resorts are where the country's most famous breaks can be found. The season for surf lasts from March-October.
Shop for local crafts
Many resorts offer day trips to islands where you can usually visit local artisans in their workshops and buy some of the beautiful local arts and crafts. Traditional crafts, though often limited to the tourism market, are exceptional examples of Maldivian skill. Crafts are traditionally created with coral, wood, shells, stones and natural pigments. Boat building, mat weaving and lacquer work are also popular. Malé also has several markets of fresh and wholesome food produce for those wanting to sample the local fare.
For an enormous range of treatments, including massages, relaxation therapies and other pamperings, make an appointment at your resort's spa – now a feature at almost every resort on the islands. For an extra special treat book a double massage for you and your partner. End your day with a traditional tea ceremony on the beach.
Just one dip under the glowing blue waters and it’s easy to see why the Maldives is a top destination for divers around the world. So, get your flippers on and take a plunge beneath the surface of this extraordinarily diverse country. Some of the world’s best sites are found in the Maldives, and all resorts have professional, fully-equipped dive schools. A dive that shouldn't be missed is at Mushimasmingili Thila, where you'll see grey reef sharks, giant snappers and tropical reef fish in a pristine section of Ari Atoll. The Maldives boasts five different turtle species, and they can be found most prominently in the Baa Atoll. January to April is generally considered the best time for diving, with fine weather and clear visibility.
If Malé’s crowded streets leave you searching for relaxation, make a short ferry journey to the quieter side of the Maldives and visit the tranquil neighbouring island of Villingili. Historically used as a holiday island for sultans, this hidden gem is now the perfect place to enjoy the quaintness of Maldivian life. Join the locals at the beach, watch a cricket match in the park and picnic under the multitudes of gently-waving palm trees.
Visit an uninhabited island
There are around 1000 uninhabited islands in the Maldives, many of which are no more than a scrap of sand and forest. However, some of the islands are perfect examples of picturesque paradise and those in search of a little adventure can opt for a day tour exploring their rugged shores. Another option is to combine a visit to a fishing village with a trip to an uninhabited island, where the day is often rounded off with a beach barbecue as the sunsets.
Maldives Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB)Address: H. Zonaria , 2nd Floor, Boduthakurufaanu Magu,
Telephone: +960 323 3228.