Things to do in Maldives
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Tel: 323 3228.
Things to see and do
Divers and non-divers alike will love this alternative way to get underwater and see life under the waves. Docked a short distance from Malé, the comfortable windowed ‘whale’ submarine gives a unique perspective on the local coral reefs. It’s particularly popular with children, though adults get just as excited.
Beautiful Addu Atoll, the most southerly of the Maldives island groups, is definitely worth visiting for divers. Here, the coral is the best in the country, while a modern road linking Gan’s Equator Village resort to the Maldives’ second city of Hithadhoo is a great place for a bike ride.
Many resorts offer day trips to islands where you can usually visit local artisans in their workshops and buy some of the beautiful local arts and crafts. Malé also has several markets of fresh and wholesome food produce for those wanting to sample local fare.
A fishing trip on a modern speedboat equipped for big game fishing is a great experience for any wannabe Hemingway. Head out during the day for tuna and sail fish, or go at night to catch grouper, snapper, squirrelfish or barracuda. Round off the trip by barbecuing the day’s catch.
For a taste of some of the Maldives’ more challenging activities, try your hand at windsurfing at Lhohifushi and Dhonveli in the North Malé Atoll. These two relatively reasonably-priced island resorts are where the country’s most famous breaks can be found. The season for surf lasts from March-October.
The whole of Malé is a hive of economic activity – everybody seems to be buying or selling something, but this is nowhere more the case than at the busy fish market on the waterfront, where produce fresh from the sea is gutted and sold right before your eyes.
The tiny, crowded capital of the Maldives is a fantastic place for a visit as it gives you the chance to see real life away from the resorts and meet Maldivians on an equal footing. Don’t miss the beautiful 17th-century coral stone Hukuru (Friday Mosque) or the interesting exhibits, including the Sultan’s thrones and palanquins, in Malé’s National Museum.
A day and a night spent alone on an uninhabited island is quite the experience, and you can usually do so as part of an island-hopping tour. Another option is to combine a visit to a fishing village with a trip to an uninhabited island, where the day is often rounded off with a beach barbecue as the sun sets.
The ferry trip from Malé to the nearby manmade island of Hulhumalé, is a look to the future. A utopian town, Hulhumalé is set to become the new hub of the Maldives in decades to come as sea levels rise. At 2m above sea level, it is mountainous by local standards.
For an enormous range of treatments, including massages, relaxation therapies and other pamperings, make an appointment at your resort’s spa – now a feature at almost every resort on the islands. For an extra special treat book a double massage for you and your partner.
Many of the better resorts now have a dedicated team of scientists taking care of the local marine life. They will usually have volunteer programs allowing guests to get involved even for a short amount of time. Typical activities include seeding coral reefs, and looking after juvenile sharks, turtles and rare fish in captivity.
A sunset boat cruise aboard a dhoni, the wooden boat that is the Maldives’ standard mode of transport, is a blissful way to end the day. You’ll cruise around uninhabited islands, where you’ll be served drinks and snacks while local musicians play their traditional bodu beru drums to attract dolphins.
If Malé’s crowded streets leave you searching for relaxation and the quieter side of the Maldives, make the short ferry journey to the tranquil neighbouring island of Vilingili. Join locals at the beach, watch cricket matches in the park, and picnic under the multitude of gently-waving palm trees.
To appreciate the abundant underwater life, go diving or snorkelling. Some of the world’s best sites are found in the Maldives and all resorts have professional, fully-equipped dive schools. A dive that shouldn’t be missed is at Mushimasmingili Thila, where you’ll see grey reef sharks, giant snappers and tropical reef fish in a pristine section of Ari Atoll.
An unforgettable underwater experience for divers is the wreck of the merchant ship Maldives Victory, which lies 35m (115 ft) below the waves near Hulhule. Sinking in 1981, the ship has become an artificial reef, with coral, sponges and fish all making it their home.