Maldivian escapade

Stunning white-sand beaches, azure waters and exotic coral reefs make the Maldives the ultimate island destination to visit



By Mitchelle D'Souza

Published: Thu 17 Jun 2021, 9:53 AM

Last updated: Thu 17 Jun 2021, 12:08 PM

Maldives - the very name conjures up images of azure waters and lush beaches with palm trees swaying in the breeze. Of miles and miles of sandy white beaches with lazy waves lapping up the shore in a rhythmic dance. Of exotic coral reefs that are a feast of colour and hint of an underwater world far more beautiful than anything, you can imagine.

Yes, Maldives is all this and more. a lot more.

Maldives lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian mainland. The chain of 26 atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south. The country is comprised of 1,192 islands where around half a million inhabitants live making it the second least populous country in Asia. Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate. It has two distinct seasons - wet season (May to October) and dry season (November to April).

Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and a select few on each of the atolls are resorts and some of the islands are used for industry and agriculture. Each and every atoll in the Maldives has a special and unique feature. It can be a place, tradition or even a food item.

With coral reefs that are a feast of colour, the tiny jewel-like islands are rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine.

World-class resorts

From club-like resorts to chic boutique stays, there are resorts and packages suited to all kinds of tourists. There are over 140 resorts and 330 guesthouses open. The country's unique geography has resulted in a reputation for luxury tourism, with resorts often being housed on their own island and offering the perfect, all-inclusive private getaway. Imagine having a room on a pier jutting out from the shore with a glass floor under which tropical fish can be seen swimming.

For adventure seekers

Adventure seekers can engage in snorkelling and catamaran sailing on Bandos Island. While the vivid blue lagoons are perfect for snorkelling, the reef walls offer a kaleidoscope of sea life for more experienced divers, making it a haven for water sports enthusiasts. There are a huge variety of water sports available like parasailing, surfing, kite surfing, and much more.

Coral reefs

The Maldives has different habitats including deep sea, shallow coast, and reef ecosystems, fringing mangroves, wetlands and dry land. The Maldives is home to about five per cent of the planet's reefs that comes with an explosion of colour contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. There are 187 species of coral forming the coral reefs which are home to a thousand species of fish, including manta rays and whale sharks.

Culture

The Maldivian culture, craft and traditions have been shaped by the island environment and the seas that surround it. Dhivehi is the language of the Maldivian people. Maldivians are master boat builders while the traditional cuisine is heavily based on fish and coconut, with several dishes that have no parallels anywhere in the region.

The music and dance display strong influences of East Africa, Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. There is a rich tradition of Maldivian crafts; lacquered wooden ornaments, finely woven reed mats, and coral carvings are crafts that have been passed down through several generations.

'Normal' vacation

In these uncertain times, Maldives is offering a 'normal vacation, with most of its hotels and resorts isolated due to the geographical lay of the land with visitors staying in resorts rather than venturing out. The Maldives was one of the rare travel successes of 2020, and it looks like that trend is poised to continue. 

For more information, visit www.visitmaldives.com


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