A Guide to Maldives
When I came back from the Maldives, I got a series of same questions that were always followed by the same answers. How long did you go for? Wasn’t that too long? I heard one can get bored in the Maldives, did you? How was the weather? Was it expensive? Did your daughter enjoy it too? Is it a good place to take your kids? How did you reach the hotel?
Should I go on?
The number of times I heard the same questions and repeated the same answers made me realize that although Maldives is notorious for its secluded islands and heavenly breathtaking resorts, few feel as if they are kept in the dark.
Ultimately, this article gave me a difficult time because there was just so much information I wanted to share with you, I decided to break them apart.
Maldives is a place to go for a romantic escape, true, where you experience luxury, from dining in underwater restaurants at ithaa, Conrad Rangali Island to the best spas or to a close-by diving center at Adaaran Resorts. Where taking a private jet plane is available to you to have a bird eye view of the country. Where reality is finally better than your dreams.
What people tend to miss out the most, is that Maldives is also for beach lovers, divers, explorers, sailors, surfers, poets and writers and most of all families with children, yes CHILDREN and not just honeymooners. There are no ‘minimum’ amount of time you can spend on an island or ‘maximum’. You just go with all your heart and if you are well prepared, then you can spend a lifetime there where luxury is really having the time to do everything you ever wanted to do with the water.
You will learn that all islands are worlds unto themselves, that to come to an island, was to come to another world. The world made up of people who you will fall in love with. The people who make the island worth coming back to. At the end of your trip, those people will bring you back.
You will accept the silence it brings to your heart and you will learn to let go of all the people in your life and keep the things that matter the most.
If you ask me what I miss most about the island, it’s the letting go part. The lack of pressure, the stillness of the days, you and the fish develop some sort of respect towards each other, you are vulnerable to the ocean. The people, the natives, the staff.
You get to see what the earth looks like.
Sadly, you may not always have a chance to see the Maldives, due to climate change the islands are slowly disappearing and sinking. So make sure you visit soon!
I hope you fall in love with my journey with the upcoming posts on Maldives. Here is a short introduction on Maldives. Let’s call is Maldives 101.
Thanks to TMA inflight for providing me with fabulous info!
Photos were taken with a Canon PowerShot D30 (It is the greatest underwater cam that I have used so far! Very simple to use and goes up to 25m underwater and still provides great resolution and light for above water images!)
The Maldives consists of approximately 1,190 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 27 atolls, spread over roughly 90,000 km making the country one of the most different destinations in the world. The islands stretch over a distance of 800km from north to south. The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. Before I go on, let me explain to you briefly what an atoll is, for those who might be clueless as I was at first.
An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. An atoll surrounds a body of water called a lagoon. Sometimes, atolls and lagoons protect a central island. Channels between islets connect a lagoon to the open ocean or sea.
Atolls develop with underwater volcanoes, called seamounts. First, the volcano erupts, piling up lava on the seafloor. As the volcano continues to erupt, the seamounts’s elevation grows higher, eventually breaking the surface of the water. The top of the volcano becomes an oceanic island.
You can find out more information Here.
The Temperature of Maldives ranges between 24c & 33c throughout the year. The constant sea breeze helps the air to keep moving, you won’t be able to feel any heat! Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. When you do experience the rain, it might be just in the very early mornings you would probably be asleep, or if it happens to be during the day like what we experienced as well, then it would only last between 5 minutes to 2 hours. No matter what, switch on that jazz music, lay in and read a beautiful book and you will finally understand what freedom means. To have no worry, you will yearn for these moments.
There are different categories of resorts in the Maldives. 5 star luxury accommodation, accommodation that caters to families and children, some that don’t allow children and you do find accommodation for divers and those who only visit the island for surfing. Here is a list of hotels. In my experience, don’t only look for the property, read for reviews on the staff on each property. The next article will be reviews on the hotels we have stayed in during our trip and the staff and how everything about our experience. Click HERE. for listings of hotels in alphabetical order. Best time to go? Off peak season of course you get fantastic rates and money worth! Ideally, high season due to holidays and Christmas starts in November. Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, our first resort had a full board offer while Conrad Rangali Island had the half board.
The population in Maldives has increased rapidly during the last few decades reaching up to a total of approximately 360,000. The country still remains one of the smallest independent nations in the world.
Maldivian are 100% Sunni Muslims. There are also rules that every island should have a mosque in each inhabitant island even resorts for the people to attend their daily prayers.
When they spoke of their history, it was filled with stories of tales and legends. Some would say they believed everything that was told. And some just didn’t buy it. There is the story of the Rannamaari, a tale about a sea monster than demands a virgin sacrifice every full moon, until a brave man from Morocco, Mr Abdul Barakaath-Ul Barbary decides to confront the monster and prohibit him from coming into the Maldives. There is the story of Bodu Thakurufaanu, renowned for its length, who saved the Maldives from Portuguese Invaders. No matter what story you want to believe, archeological remains excavated in different parts of the country which proves that people were living in the Maldives as early as 3rd century B.C. In 1965, they received their Independence from the British and in 1972 – The first island resort is developed; tourists begin arriving to the Maldives . Tourism in Maldives started with just two resorts with a capacity of about 280 beds in Kurumba Village and Bandos Island Resort. Kurumba island resort is the first resort which was opened in Maldives then Bandos island resort was opened. At present, there are over 105 resorts located in the different atolls constituting the Republic of Maldives.
Dhivehi spoken throughout the Maldives is a language that belongs to the Indo-Iranian group of languages. In the resorts, you will find all different languages that are spoken by the staff.
Male which is only 2 sq km(!!!!) is the capital and the hub of trade. More than 100,000 people live in Male and the rest, live in other smaller islands which also have schools, hospitals etc. One island even have 500 people! Their very own community and everyone is happy!
Their currency is Rufiyaa. $1 is MVR15.25. If you are going to resorts, almost all resorts take credit cards and exchange money. We mostly paid tips and our bills in dollars.
There are two ways of getting around. Simply by boat or sea plane. When you look at Maldives through a sea plane you realize how fragile it all is and how they tell you the story of how one day it can and will all sink. The country has land accounting for only 0.01 percent, the rest, just water. Trans Maldivian Airways or TMA is now the world’s largest sea plane operation and flies daily to resorts. If you were not fortunate enough to go by sea plane, you can always sign up for a scenic photo flight from your resort.
This will blow your mind! Currently, Maldives holds one of the highest literacy rates in the world with 98% of the country’s population can read and write and speak perfect English! Education standards are high, amongst the highest and they follow a British system.
Things to do
Diving – One of our purpose to fly into the Maldives was to explore their diving centers. Beautiful coral reef, caves, shipyards with history, wrecks and it never gets boring. If you have never dived before you can always learn with the best here on the islands and complete your PADI open water certification with ProDivers 5 star instructor Development Center at Kuredu Island Resort which is one of the largest and best run diving operations in the country. If you get a chance, try diving in the new atoll up north which currently only has 3 resorts which means plenty of unexplored diving territory or just snorkel taking beautiful pictures. Just don’t drop your camera! Luckily I have my new underwater Canon PowerShot D30 and I absolutely LOVED it!
Surfing – From Kite Surfing to Surfing the massive waves all year round!! The main surfing areas are up North and South Male Atolls and Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. If you like to stay at a resort you can try Dhonveli Beach Resort and Hudharan Fushi Resort.
Quiet and stillness – Sometimes you need quiet. Conrad Rangali Maldives have two islands, and one of their island is given the name of The Quiet Zone where you can take your Kayak to that island and just stay still on the beach privately, or in their infinity pool that is…ON the water!