Maldives: Paradise in the Indian Ocean

When the weather is blustery on the Cloud, I long to return to the beautiful Indian Ocean country of the Maldives. This small island country is made of 1,192 coral islands spread over twenty-six natural atolls with only 298 square kilometres (115 square miles) of land in over 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles) of sea.

The Maldives nation is suspected to be more than 2500 years old according to legends and scriptures. The earliest arrivals where the Sinhalese people who were the descendants of the exiled Maghada Prince Vijaya from the ancient city of Sinahpur in North East India. In the Twelfth Century, Islam was introduced to the island and it became a Sultanate with close ties to the Arabian peninsula, Africa and the Indian Sub-continent. This blending of cultures means the Maldives are welcoming to all visitors. The Maldivian people are known as the Dheyvis and speak the language Dhivehi.

The future of the Maldives is in jeopardy due to Climate Change. The average natural elevation of the country is just 1.5 meters and its maximum is only 2.4 meters, making the Maldives the lowest country in the world. Much like Bangkok, rising sea levels are threatening the very existence of this paradise.

Some of the locals are “Big Mouths”!

The Maldives are actively fighting back by being an example of sustainable tourism and development. They were the first country to institute a policy of “One Island, one resort”; meaning that impact of tourism is lessened and the economic benefits for the indigenous population is maximized.

3% of the worlds coral reefs are situated in the Maldives, so the effect of coral bleaching from higher sea temperatures means they are extremely vulnerable. The Maldives have introduced a Coral Gardening Program which is a wonderful way to help preserve the ecosystem. Resort guests are welcomed to participate and contribute to helping rebuild the endangered coral micro-organisms.

Beautiful coral reefs must be protected!

If your idea of paradise involves pristine beaches, warm sunshine and friendly hosts then you will love the Maldives. Blue Lagoons, crystal white soft sands and the ultimate sunsets are all on show.  If you could create your own paradise, I’m pretty sure it would resemble the Maldives.  The resorts have pioneered such cool innovations as underwater restaurants, glass-floored water bungalows and sunrise yoga classes. Because the resources of the country are tied to the sea, the government of the Maldives has promoted tourism as its economic enabler.

Some of the most picturesque resorts, relaxing spas and excellent restaurants are all available. Typical pass-times on a Maldives vacation include, diving, snorkelling, fishing, surfing, sun-bathing and Ayurvedic yoga. There are even options to sleep onboard boats so that early morning or late evening dives are convenient. All of these will help you shed the stresses of modern life.

Water Villas are a perfect spot for enjoying the Maldives

Sailboats: Slow but Cool!

Here’s a pro-tip: The currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa but the US Dollar is widely accepted in the resorts. So, I’d advise taking dollars instead of paying high exchange rates for the local currency.

International flights arrive daily from major hubs around the world into Mahe International Airport in the capital city.  This small but busy airport has been specifically designed with the tourist in mind. You’ll find it very efficient at processing visitors. When you leave the airport, depending on your chosen resort or hotel, you will either board a Seaplane or a speedboat to transfer. The process is very seamless and easy. At the resorts you will need little more than your own two feet to walk around the entire property!

The Maldivian resorts are world-renown for luxury, comfort and style. The large luxury brands are all represented but they can be pricey. There are fabulous smaller boutique resort properties that leave more of the revenues and profits in the local community. Three that I like include the JA Manafaru, the Mirihi Island Resort and the Coco Bodu Hithi. There are many options, however, and it pays to shop around for a good deal.

Likely where you’ll find me during the afternoon!

Here’s another pro-tip: Most resorts are designed to keep you on-property for the duration of your stay.  If you want to see more of the local community, try staying in the smaller and more intimate Guesthouses. They offer two and three star accommodations in a friendly, clean and relaxed atmosphere.

Seafood flavours are incredibly abundant in the Maldives. Selecting from a pescatarian menu also supports the local economy. The Maldives has top chefs that can style simple ingredients from the area into scrumptious dishes that will delight any appetite!

If you are looking for the perfect souvenirs to enjoy after your relaxing trip to the Maldives, I recommend that you buy Thunda Kunaa, the locally made intricate Maldivian mats, Lacquer work, coral jewellery, and locally made cosmetics developed from the bounty of the sea.

Here’s a final pro-tip: There is a dress code in the Maldives when you are not at a resort. Please consult with the property where you stay and they will advise you how to meet the local customs.

Whenever you feel the stresses of life invading your psyche, why not escape to the Maldives where you can relax and breathe?!

 

Love,

 

Isabella

 

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Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: pristine beaches, gorgeous sunsets, magical coral reefs and the relaxed expression of your travel companions (https://visitmaldives.com/en)

Where to stay: The Mirihi Island Resort, Coco Bodu Hithi (http://www.mirihi.com/en/, https://cococollection.com/en/bodu_hithi)

Where to party: In the warm and relaxing confines of your resort or relaxing with friends in warm sunshine comfort

Where to eat: Mostly on-resort. Try the local seafood specialties!

What to buy: Thundu Kunaa mats and locally made cosmetics (http://www.nhc.gov.mv/products.html,  https://www.caretobeauty.com/mv/)

The Maldives will relieve all of your stress!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: pristine beaches, gorgeous sunsets, magical coral reefs and the relaxed expression of your travel companions (https://visitmaldives.com/en)

Where to stay: The Mirihi Island Resort, Coco Bodu Hithi (http://www.mirihi.com/en/, https://cococollection.com/en/bodu_hithi)

Where to party: In the warm and relaxing confines of your resort or relaxing with friends in warm sunshine comfort

Where to eat: Mostly on-resort. Try the local seafood specialties!

What to buy: Thundu Kunaa mats and locally made cosmetics (http://www.nhc.gov.mv/products.html,  https://www.caretobeauty.com/mv/)

The Maldives will relieve all of your stress!

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