Maldives is the smallest Asian country, blessed with an exceptionally scenic landscape of stunning beaches and a rich underwater world. It is located in the Indian Ocean and is made up of about 26 atolls and 1200 islands. Maldives also exhibits a vibrant mixture of multiple Asian cultures – Arabian, Indian, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Persian and Malaysian. The Maldives is a paradise for honeymooners, and one of the world’s most bucketlisted destinations, that sees over a million visitors each year.
The capital of the Maldives, Male is a densely populated city where you can experience the culture and tradition of the Maldivian people. Home to a few Islamic monuments and mosques, this bustling city is dotted with brightly coloured buildings, cafes and restaurants. Some of the city’s prime highlights are, the National Museum, Grand Friday Mosque and Old Friday Mosque. The main international airport in the Maldives – Velana International Airport is located in Hulhulé Island and it is connected to Male with the impressive Sinamalé Bridge (also known as China-Maldives Friendship Bridge).
Let’s be honest – nobody visits the Maldives to explore cities, instead, people come here to experience the spellbinding beauty of the country. The beaches of Maldives are some of the best in the world – with blinding white sandy shores and sparkling cyan-blue waters. More than 100 islands now serve as resorts – you will have plenty of options, from budget stays to high-ends exclusive stays to choose from. All over the country, you will come across excellent opportunities for scuba diving, diving, snorkelling, swimming, parasailing, windsurfing, jet-skiing and others.
Ari Atoll is a large natural atoll, which provides excellent diving and snorkeling. While the southern part of the atoll is a protected marine area, where you can encounter the world’s biggest fish – whale sharks, the northern region of the atoll has an abundance of hammerhead sharks. The nearby Rasdhoo Atoll is home to Hammerhead Point, where you can dive with hammerhead sharks, mantas and other large marine animals. The atoll’s main island Rasdhoo has several guesthouses and souvenir shops and is one of the most backpacker-friendly destinations in the Maldives.
Maafushi island lies about 25km south of Male and is popular among independent travelers. Here, you will find some of the most affordable guest houses in the Maldives, good beaches and activities like night-fishing. You can also go on one of the many day-trips to the nearby islands and resorts that depart from here.
Baa Atoll is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and home to Hanifaru Bay (locally known as Vandhumaafaru Adi) – a breeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks. In order to preserve its corals and diverse marine life, diving and fishing is banned here. However, you can still enjoy snorkeling – which is limited to a maximum of 80 people at a time. Keep in mind that it is one of the most visited sites in the Maldives, so come prepared to share it with a crowd.
You must note that since the Maldives is an Islamic nation, alcohol is banned here – there are no liquor shops or bars. You will be able to find and drink alcohol only in the private resorts.
The Maldives is a tropical wonderland of picture-perfect beaches and crystal-clear waters. The island nation features some of the world’s best resorts, where you can experience its unmatched hospitality. Alongside its luxury tourism, the independent travel scene has also seen a boom in recent times.Be it your honeymoon or a solo trip, the Maldives will never disappoint you.
The Maldives is made up of nearly 1200 islands.