Images of the Maldives conjure up fantasies of a holiday paradise which is why it is near the top of many people’s bucket list of places to visit in their lifetime. You can get there via India, Colombo (Sri Lanka), Singapore, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Doha (Qatar) and Dubai. Budget airline Air Asia has recently announced new flights to the Maldives via Colombo, Sri Lanka so there is even more reason to go there now.
The first thing to consider when planning a vacation to the Maldives is what you want to do there. Are you interested primarily in water sports or is your priority to relax? Are you planning a family holiday, a holiday with friends, a romantic getaway, or your honeymoon? You will want to pick an island resort that best caters for your needs. As an example, for families with children between 5-12 years old, resorts with kids clubs are very popular for keeping the children entertained. BTW I’ve heard that it’s fairly easy to arrange for resort staff to baby-sit younger children if you want a little alone time.
If you are interested in seeing more of the country than just one resort, then you’ll need to island-hop as the Maldives are made up of nearly 1200 small coral atolls. Most people choose one resort island for their holiday but you could make one of the main islands your base from which to take day excursions to some of the smaller inhabited and uninhabited islands. As an example, Lhaviyani atoll is an approximately 30 minute flight by sea plane from the International Airport in Male, the capital of the Maldives.
With the Maldives being an island nation there is the opportunity to indulge in a myriad of water sports if you feel like being active. Every resort has amenities which cater for a range of different activities, from fishing to kayaking, jet skiing to banana boating. You can even try water polo, which is a popular games among the locals. If you are interested in surfing, it is best to visit the Maldives between June and September, when the monsoon brings the big swells. There are resorts located right next to the best surfing areas and lessons are available for beginners. The three main surfing areas are the Male Atolls (season mid-April to October), the Central Atolls (May to October) and the Outer Atolls (late February to April).
The most popular activities to do while on holiday in the Maldives are snorkelling and/or diving. Make sure to choose an island with a coral reef as these have the best underwater life. All diving resorts offer the necessary training and it is possible to get your PADI certificate within 4 days. The waters around the Maldives are famous for their clarity which means the underwater visibility is excellent and you will get great views and camera shots of the coral and fish. There are over a thousand different species of fish found and over three thousand coral reefs waiting to be admired. It is even more exciting when you go snorkelling or diving at night! You will discover even more underwater creatures that you normally wont see during the the day.
If a purely relaxing holiday is what you’re after then the Maldives caters for your every need too. Spas are popular and most will have a particular treatment and method that they specialize in, so it?s best to check beforehand what they offer and see if they match your requirements. For example, one spa might do traditional sand massage which is good for relieving joint and muscle pain, while another will use specially extracted coconut oil and Gandhakoli leaves.
A great way to meet the local people is to visit the fishing villages and chat to the fishermen when they come back from their expeditions. You can relax in the shade under a Holhuashi, a traditional wooden gazebo found on the beaches.