The Maldives is best known for its powdery sand, swaying palm trees and coral reefs teeming with vibrant marine life. Begin your trip to paradise with a comfortable Emirates flight over the archipelago, taking in the sights of the azure ocean and the coral islands fringed with dazzling white sand.
The pristine environment is the perfect place to unwind. You can easily spend your days diving the reefs, laying on the beach, being pampered in the spas or swimming in the sparkling lagoons, but if you want to get a bit more from your holiday then there are plenty of other activities to keep you entertained.
The Maldives may be best known as an indulgent retreat, but that certainly doesn’t mean you’ll get bored.
What else is there to do?
Diving, windsurfing, swimming and sailing are all popular sports in the Maldives, but did you know it’s a popular surfing destination too? The southwest monsoon attracts surfers from across the world to ride the swells. Surfing is at its best from March to November, with a great variety of waves ranging from four to eight feet. Stay at Dhonveli Beach and Spa where you’ll find Pasta Point – one of the region’s most consistent surf breaks – a few minutes away from your accommodation. Other popular spots such as Honkey’s. Jailbreak and Sultans are just a short boat transfer away. If you want to get away from the crowds, and experience the waves outside the North Malé atoll, you’ll need to book onto a specialist surf charter.
The ocean is a vital part of life in the Maldives. Both fishing and tourism rely on maintaining the balance of the delicate reef ecosystem.
You can learn how the locals fish by taking a night fishing trip. Head out to a nearby reef after sunset and enjoy the calm evening as the crew show you how to catch your dinner. Learn a traditional skill and enjoy the satisfaction of catching your dinner which you can cook on the barbeque when you get back to dry land. Taking part in this trip will give you an insight into the importance of the ocean to island life.
For an authentic experience, visit Hukuru Miskiiy – the oldest mosque in the country. Surrounded by modern buildings, this well preserved piece of history dates back to 1656. The impressive coral stone walls are intricately carved with patterns and scriptures, and the interior is famed for its elaborate wood carvings.
It was built on the foundations of an old temple that faced the setting sun, not northwest to Mecca, so worshippers have to face into the corner of the mosque to pray.
A great way to experience any destination is by visiting the local market. Malé feels a million miles from the island resorts, many of which are uninhabited islands taken over entirely by tourism. The local market is where people from the atolls bring their items for sale. This includes fruit, vegetables, spices and handicrafts. Taste some of the local nuts on offer and drink fresh coconut milk as you wander around enjoying the atmosphere. Close by is the very busy fish market, which shows how important fishing still is in the Maldives.
Experience the sights and sounds of the Maldives and gain a true sense of what it’s like to live there and be part of the island community.
Another interesting sight in Malé is the National Museum. Housed within a palace in the Sultan Park, the museum contains ornaments and costumes belonging to various kings and queens, musical instruments, sculptures, manuscripts and photographs that depict the history and the rich cultural heritage of the country.
Many visitors don’t leave their resort, so if you make it to Malé on a tour or a boat trip, make an effort to discover the history of this stunning country.
More to the Maldives
You don’t have to spend your entire holiday in the Maldives sunbathing – whether you want to try out some traditional activities, some challenging watersports or learn some fascinating history, there is more to the Maldives than meets the eye.
This guest post was brought to you in partnership with Emirates.