So you’re planning a trip to the Maldives but don’t know what to do, yet you know that it’s definitely more than soaking in the sun? No worries, the Maldives may be known for its beautiful beaches, emerald green water and dramatic sunsets, but there also several great activities that you can do here:
1. Island Hopping
Most visitors to the Maldives remain in their resorts without seeing much of the country, speaking, visits to local islands aside Male are very rare. As it’s not possible to explore the Maldives by car, there are two common ways of getting around: by boat or by plane. Boats are great for shorter distances while planes allow you to cover more within a short period. Almost all resorts and local travel agencies based in Male offer Island Hopping by boat, whereat trips are usually made to local islands to catch a glimpse of typical Maldivian life.
There are small domestic planes (a number of small airports can be found on larger islands) which cover mainly farther destinations but there are also sea planes that connect resorts with the airport in Male, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. The latter one is ideal for covering islands and resorts in neighbouring atolls. There are currently two seaplane companies that allow you to charter planes, Maldivian Air Taxi and Trans Maldivian Airways; you can contact their counters in the airport or via the reception in your resort.
2. Robinson Crusoe Experience
Let’s be honest, haven’t you ever thought about living on a deserted island with nothing more than a few coconut palms, white sandy beach around you and direct access to the beautiful turquoise ocean? At least for a couple of hours, you can make this dream come true. Resorts as well as many travel agencies offer this unforgettable experience where you’re left alone on an uninhabited islands (in reachable distance to your hotel) , equipped with nothing more than a picnic basket and a mobile phone for emergency cases. Tour organizers may have a fix schedule, therefore, ask your resort’s Guest Relations for a customized itinerary.
3. Explore Male City
Male is the only island which can be considered a city. With a population of over 100.000 on just 5.8 sq km, Male is among the most densely populated cities in the world and walking along the busy streets doesn’t feel different from cities like Bangkok or Jakarta. Male may not be the most beautiful city, but it’s a vibrant and bustling place that is worth a visit, while major places can be easily seen within half a day. Wake up early to visit the famous fish market (great spot for taking amazing photos), followed by a visit to the Islamic Centre, an interesting place which serves as mosque and museum. Other spots to include in your itinerary are the National Museum, Sultan’s Palace and the Tsunami Monument. Don’t forget to indulge to Maldivian cuisine as well; while main dishes are mostly served with tuna, you should try traditional sweet dishes along with a hot coffee and for snacking, go for ‘Hedhikaa’, so called ‘short-eats’, where you can select between various sweet and savoury snacks of your choice, available in many local coffee shops or bakeries.
4. Go Underwater
What would be a visit to the Maldives without seeing the mesmerizing underwater world? Luckily, you don’t need to be a certified diver to see the wonderful corals and extraordinary marine life. Resorts /hotels/guest houses usually offer goggles and fins for rent at affordable prices. Watersport shops that offer snorkelling equipment can be found on various lager local islands as well, but it’s not always the case. The Maldivian underwater world varies from north to south, speaking no place is like the other. South Ari Atoll is widely considered as the atoll with most beautiful corals and marine world. A different way to go underwater can be found near Male, where you can go aboard an underwater boat, known as ‘Whale Submarine’.
Even if you have never tried fishing before, you should seriously consider giving it a shot when visiting the Maldives. There are two major ways of fishing here: the traditional way and the action-packed Big Game Fishing. The traditional way takes place just before sunset, where a dhoni (typical wooden style boat, motorized) sets off from the resort and stops usually in close distance to an uninhabited island. Your equipment is nothing more than a classic wooden rod, but it allows you to catch groupers, white –and red snappers. Big Game Fishing is ideal for adrenalin junkies where you leave with a sport boat before sunrise to distant places in order to catch marlins or tunas. Most resorts offer to fry/grill your catch afterwards.