The Maldives. Asia’s smallest country, both in terms of landmass and population, is comprised of 1,190 atoll islands sprinkled throughout the delightfully warm and colourful Indian Ocean. Home to some of the world’s most impressive coral reefs, geologically unique atoll after atoll, and dizzyingly crystal cyan waters, the Maldives is one of the top luxury holiday destinations available. From the over-water villas to beachfront rooms with private pools, each resort across the Maldives is situated on its own private island. Seaplanes operate like Taxis, speedboats ferry holidaymakers from island to island, and the community spirit and magical hospitality of the Maldivian locals create lasting memories of paradise.
Whether you’re interested in a full-blown all-inclusive honeymoon retreat, an island getaway, or a holiday dedicated to exploring the beautiful wilds of the Maldives, we’ve got everything you need to know and more for your Maldivian holiday in 2018/2019.
The photographs you’ve inevitably seen of the Maldives - its pure white beaches, stunning blue waters and villas that seem to float on an endless expanse of blue - don’t do the Maldives justice. Every resort is located on its own island and there are plenty to choose from, as each atoll has its own unique personality. Half the joy of a holiday to the Maldives is discovering the islands for yourself, whether that be by boat, bicycle or from beneath the waves.
Even if you’re an inexperienced diver, donning the scuba gear or snorkels is an absolute must. Rays, turtles and docile sharks are just a few of the glimpses you’ll see of this diverse ecological system. Almost every resort has facilities for diving. There’ll be lessons and transport to other islands, plus tour guides and all the gear you might need. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in an above the water villa, then you can take matters into your own hands, and dive the shallow blue waters at your own leisure.
Wine and Dine
All-inclusive luxury should be a byword for the Maldives. Although public alcohol consumption is effectively banned under Islamic law in the Maldives - which you’ll see most evidently in the capital of Malé - the resorts provide alcoholic beverages at extremely reasonable costs, considering the nearest supermarket is miles of ocean away. It should be noted that you can’t take alcohol in or out of the country.
In a country that is 99% water, it’s obvious that the most popular culinary imaginings involve a variety of seafood. Fish curry, rice dishes and plantain make up the staples of island diet for a typical local, but in your all-inclusive, you can expect to find a wider range of cuisines available from acclaimed chefs. Because of the logistical difficulties of running an island resort, the restaurants in the resorts are generally limited to three or four different cuisines. This can’t compare to some of Mexico’s or the Caribbean mega-resorts, but you can bet your cocktail that quality is certainly more important than quantity when it comes to these yummy restaurants.
Coconuts are a major part of many dishes in the Maldives and can be served in grated form, as milk or as coconut oil which is used to deep fry foods. A few popular dishes include Garudhiya, a fish broth served with rice, lime, chilli and onions. Mas Huni, which is the most popular breakfast food in the country, is shredded smoked fish with grated coconuts and onions. And for those who love a barbeque taste, they should try Fihunu Mas, barbecued fish that has been basted with chilli.
Known primarily as a honeymoon destination, the Maldives doesn’t get much rep for being a family holiday top pick. Whether it’s because of the cost or the lack of facilities, most don’t offer much information on whether the islands are child-friendly. This isn’t exactly fair on the resorts. Many will cater excellently for children with child services and facilities, even if you are on an atoll and surrounded on all sides by water. Taking your children out on a boat to look at whale sharks or manta rays is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a little one and will be remembered forever. The villas and rooms are generally large across the Maldives hotels, and you’ll definitely be able to find a space large enough for your family. It’s always best to check with the resort information before booking just to make sure. Our deals on hotels flights can help keep costs down, with all-inclusive also being a suitable method of reducing expenditure in the long run.
Action and Adventure
Luxury relaxation is just half the part of a holiday to the Maldives. If you can tear yourself away from the lounger and cocktails - don’t worry if not, this is your holiday - the marine life and lush vegetation of the islands are definitely worth exploring. Almost every resort has their own diving centre with experienced tour guides and instructors ready to take you beneath the waves. Generally, whilst staying at a resort you’ll be restricted to the use of just your resort’s diving facilities. However, snorkelling is available almost everywhere, and if you find the right shallow spots around your island of choice you can easily spend a day lost beneath the waves. Most resort islands will offer free access to bicycles, definitely the best way to explore your holiday home.
It’s said that almost half of the visitors to the Maldives are doing so with the intention of snorkelling or diving, and sometimes in fact both. Even those who hadn’t really entertained the notion of doing so, usually find themselves wanting to the very moment they see the crystal clear waters for the first time. Through the azure ocean, you can see colourful fish and coralline waters and it’s a fun activity for the whole family, whether you’re a new learner or a seasoned pro.
The Maldives is also home to 21 species of whale and dolphin and venturing out to spot these magnificent mammals is also a hugely popular pastime. Many resorts organise cruises to do just this so make sure you book a trip while you’re there. Another fun activity you can do on the water is to go out on a dhoni, a traditional Maldivian-designed fishing boat, and try your hand at the ample fishing in the area. For those looking to get their kicks on the more solid ground then beach football is popular on the islands, billiards and table tennis are available at almost all resorts and there is a nine-hole golf course in Seenu Atoll.
Life's a Beach
If life's a beach, then life’s also the Maldives. These are some of the best beaches on the planet. Enormous sandbanks appear out of the ocean. Sometimes underwater, they are then exposed by the tides, which creates your own private, slowly receding paradise. On the larger islands, the beaches are flanked by lush vegetation, essential to keeping back the ever-increasing rise of sea level. Even though these resorts are popular holiday destinations, due to clever management and a recent governmental focus on sustainability and the climate, you’ll find that moments of peace and seclusion can still be found as tourist numbers are controlled by regulations on construction.
You’d be right in laughing at the premise of nightlife on the Maldives. This island nation isn’t designed for clubbers and cheap drinks in the sun. Despite this, you can expect that your resort, whichever you might choose, will have its own entertainment. This can range from world-class DJs at some of the more exclusive resorts, right down to the beachside shack bars, nestled in the trees, where you can make new friends and experience the slow-paced ‘shoes-off’ lifestyle. Malé, the Maldives capital city, has a number of cafes, but because of restriction on alcohol consumption, there are no mega-clubs and few bars.
The Maldives are Muslim so public places do not serve alcohol, however, tourism is massive here so there is plenty of nightlife centred around the resorts or holiday hotspots. There are some truly unique clubbing experiences that are worth checking out. If you can afford it, the underwater party at Subsix, Per aquum, Niyama is an amazing bar that is actually submerged beneath the water, reachable by speedboat, the bar is part of a resort stretching out into the ocean. Sip cocktails as you watch fish swim past the window. In Karumba, there are DJ club nights every day of the week with different kinds of music. Kuredu holds a white night party every Friday with everyone wearing white under UV lights. For a quieter night, Gili Lankanfushi has an open-air cinema; surrounded by jungle and with sand under your feet, you can enjoy an ultra-romantic date watching films under the stars.
The Maldives is one of the finest honeymoon destinations in the world, easily rivalling destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean. What can you expect from a couples holiday to the Maldives? Candlelit dinners on the beach organised by your handy host, bioluminescent plankton illuminating evening walks on pristine sands, and romantic snoozes on your own private beach bed, moments from the sea. Hotels and villas are just the start of your holiday in the Maldives, and with our deals on seven nights holidays and low deposits, you can make this idyllic dream a reality. With resorts designed primarily for romantic getaways, we can’t think of many other places as perfect for a week away with someone you love.
This is island life at its most blissful. Malé, the Maldives pint-sized capital, is crammed onto its own island and bustles with life. Malé is known for its colourful buildings, beautiful mosques and busy local markets, mostly selling seafood produce. The Maldives, actually one of the richest Asian countries if you consider GDP, has its own delicate culture, a mish-mash of the original Indian settlers and its own unique island way. Expect delicious cuisine, great museums, and generally a culture of hospitality from island to island. Although each resort has their own island, the islands work in a sort of co-operative. Tour guides from other islands and resorts can be booked at your own hotel, and the resorts will often share where needed.
The Maldives has a varied culture with influences from India, North Africa and Sri Lanka all adding to the style and history of the islands. A great way to get a taste of the local way of life is to try some island hopping and visit different places as much as you can. The Old Friday Mosque – Hukuru Miskiiy – is a beautiful old mosque set in tranquil surroundings and is made with coral-stone and decorated with beautiful old Islamic tiles. Remember that it is an Islamic culture here so bring long sleeves and scarves to cover yourself with respect. Near Malé, there is also a disused Minaret made of the local coral-stone. Also in Malé is the National Museum which has been newly moved and reinstated and is the best place to understand the rich culture of the islands.