The view of majestic deep blue ocean waters lapping on the white sandy shores with shimmering sunlight is what Maldives is all about. But, there’s more to the Maldives than meets the eye. Located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, Maldives is a small country that is known for its archipelago of 1190 coral islands that form a chain of 26 atolls, extending from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.
With a population of only 515,696 inhabitants living in mere 298 square kilometres, Maldives is the world’s smallest Asian country both in terms of area and population. There’s a lot to do and explore in this densely populated city if you know where to start. The best way to experience any place is to travel like a local and not a tourist. So, when you plan your Maldives vacation, make sure you have all the important tourist destinations as well as a few of the local sites.
To make it easier, here’s a list of important places you must visit in Maldives: –
Located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll, which is one of the atolls in Kaafu Atoll, Malé is the ideal place to start your Maldives tour as it lets you experience the land’s culture and traditions in its purest form. A paradise for foodies, Malé has plenty of delectable cuisines to offer. Here, one can taste the authentic Dhivehi cuisine, which is mainly based on three ingredients – coconut, starch, and fish. After satiating your taste buds, you would definitely want to stroll through the local market which can be an interesting touristy activity for the souvenir junkies. Malé has a lot to explore, a day or two… or even three won’t be enough!
Here’s our pick of places (which prominently feature in Maldives holiday packages) that you should not miss when in Malé: –
2. Artificial Beach
One can start their day with a calming walk on the crescent-shaped Artificial Beach, which is, as the name suggests, artificial. Ideal for locals and tourists alike, you will find shimmering white sandy beaches almost everywhere in the Maldives, but the Artificial Beach has its own touristy charm with plenty of entertainment options such as water sports, live music shows, and carnivals.
3. Fish Market
A visit to the iconic Fish Market is a must if you really wish to explore Malé in and out. You can find all kinds of seafood here; you name it, they have it. More than buying, this place will allow you to understand the local lifestyle and eating preferences.
4. Hukuru Miskiy or Old Friday Mosque
Any trip to Malé is incomplete without delving deep into the history of the place you are visiting. Constructed in 1656 during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, the Hukuru Miskiy or Old Friday Mosque is the oldest mosque in the country and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage cultural list. Built of coral stones, the mosque has intricate carvings on its wooden doors and lacquer calligraphy on its walls which showcase the artistic brilliance of this architecture. This ornate piece of art is grander that this photo suggests.
5. Banana Reef
Deep-sea diving can be a transcendental experience. Located in North Malé Atoll, Banana Reef is one of the oldest reefs in the Maldives. A dive here can give you the opportunity to witness the vast array of marine creatures including sharks, barracudas, and groupers. What sets Banana Reef apart from the rest of the deep-diving spots in the Maldives is its stunning coral growth, turning the reef into a vivid piece of art. Creating a surreal world of its own with striking overhangs, caves, and cliffs, Banana Reef should not be missed at any cost.
6. Bioluminescent Beach
Straight out of a fairy tale, this glowing beach can be a rare sight with stars twinkling in the lapping waves of the ocean. The beach is a part of Vaadhoo Island, which is one of the islands of Raa Atoll in Maldives. Imagine standing on the shore and glowing stars touching your feet. Island-hopping becomes the norm when you are in Maldives and making a stop at mystical Vaadhoo Island is a MUST!
Where to Stay
With 1190 coral islands, the Maldives consists of a number of luxury beach resorts and choosing one of them can become a bit tough. To make it simpler for you, here are some of the best beach resorts and spas: –
1. Olhuveli Beach & Spa, Maldives
Strategically situated on the South Malé Atoll, Olhuveli Beach & Spa is only 34 kilometres from the Malé International Airport. When in Maldives, Olhuveli Beach & Spa, with options of beach villa as well as water villa, ensures that you have a relaxing stay. Not very far from the main attractions of Maldives, Olhuveli Beach & Spa is well-known for its picturesque beaches.
2. Soneva Jani, Maldives
With a huge movie screen placed in the open, an astronomy cruise and dolphin safari, Soneva Jani knows how to deliver memorable experiences for the guests. If you wish to live Maldives, Soneva Jani can be a great pick. With a myriad of activities, Soneva Jani makes sure that you have an enriching experience. To make it all the more worthwhile, Soneva Jani Maldives packages have a lot of exclusive offers for its valued guests.
3. Sheraton Maldives Full Moon, Maldives
Touted as one of the most elegant and beautiful resorts in the Maldives, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon is located on the Furanafushi Island, North Malé Atoll. Your visit to the heavenly Maldives can become even more memorable with a stay at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon, which is surrounded by panoramic landscapes and an infinite expanse of ocean. Despite witnessing heavy footfall during all seasons, this place offers a peaceful stay to the guests. With a customized Sheraton Maldives package, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon can be an ideal place to stay during your Maldives vacay.
Soaking in sun, walking barefoot on the white sandy beaches, and hearing the ocean waves sing while the gentle breeze caresses your face – it doesn’t get more therapeutic than this…