Normally on a holiday, it is more about what you want to see, more so than where you want to stay, but on a holiday here in the Maldives, where you stay will be really make a difference between a sensational holiday and just a good one.
If you are here to go diving – then it will be all about the dive sites and what you see. The Maldives is a good place for both experienced divers and also learners too, and you can more than likely be able to complete a Padi course while you are here too.
Honeymooners also love coming to the Maldives, and there are lots of the Resort Islands for newly-weds to enjoy. The same applies to Families and people who just want to enjoy being on a tropical island, or are looking for total luxury in a beautiful location.
All of this makes it important to really look into the different accommodation Resort options, and it is also worth checking to see where and what your room looks like, how far it is from the Reception and other facilities. It can be quite hot, given you are almost on the Equator, and there is a wet and dry season too, so a long walk from your Villa to have dinner or go to the beach or pool may not be what you want.
Most resorts will have their own snorkels, goggles, fins/flippers, wet suit boots (for walking on sharp corals or rocks) available, but you may also want to bring your own, and also hat, a book/your ebooks and suntan lotion too. If you are near a Dive or sports shop near your home, check out what is available to buy before heading to the Maldives. There is a big difference between having good googles and fins/flippers that fit and are comfortable to wear, than just taking 'pot luck' hoping there are some that will work for you at the resort.
Many resorts also have bars near the beach, sundeck lounges to sit at, excursions from the resort and other water sports available and fishing or diving trips too – and again it is worth finding all this out before you book, including to see if Wi-Fi is available and at what cost.
You will also see Water Villas that are built out over the water in a number of the resorts, and again it is worth checking to see where and what your accommodation is before you book your stay. Many multi-millionaires and movie stars come to the Maldives, but equally budget travellers do too and the accommodation options reflect this in their pricing. There are well over 100 resorts where you could stay.
Some people love to just sit on the beach, others want to dive, snorkel, have a massage, drink, meet people or discover new things. The main attraction of the Maldives is the clarity of the water and seeing the hundreds of fish varieties and other marine life under the water. Definitely you should try snorkelling and ideally diving too, which will take you to greater depths, most likely off the outer reefs from the island or Atoll where you are staying. The dive depth limit by law in the Maldives is 30 metres, and by diving you will possibly see reef sharks up close, turtles, bigger fish and different varieties of fish to those in the shallow waters where you may have been snorkelling. Being here in the Maldives gives you the opportunity to experience diving, so why not do it.
There is no such place as a bad island here in the Maldives – All of the islands from the north to the south are beautiful, and you will find lots of alternatives from hiring your own private island to golf resorts, even restaurants where you can sit and have dinner in a glass enclosure surrounded by fish. You are literally spoiled for choice as to where to stay, and in my view, it is often the people you meet on your holiday that make a big difference to the experience. Some people really want to get away from other people, while others are looking for company, and in the Maldives you could experience both types of holiday. Sometimes the more exclusive the resort, the less number of people, and the choice is yours.
Male – this is the Capital of the Maldives and does not have the feel of a Resort. It is the political and commercial centre of the country.
Here you will find busy streets with buses, motor bikes, and high rise apartments and commercial buildings that cover pretty much all of the island. There is a Marina and Ferry boats at the wharf to take passengers to different islands, airport and also dhonis mooring here too. There are also some beaches in Male too.
You will find the Male Mosque that dates back to 1656 and the Grand Friday Mosque built in 1984. If you want to see inside the mosques, you need to be dressed well to show respect and also ask permission.
There is also the National Museum with artefacts and historic documents and an Art Gallery, but most likely you will end up just seeing inside some of the shops along Majeedee Magu and Chandhandee Magu Streets, buying some fruit to eat, souvenirs like lacquerware, jewellery and just getting a bit of a feel for this city. There are also some dive shops here too and supermarkets, restaurants and places to stay in the City too.
One of the things you might consider doing here in Male, it just catching a Ferry or dhoni to different islands and coming back to Male. Just being on the boat and seeing the traffic on the water and stopping at some of the islands nearest to Male can be just as much fun and maybe more fun than walking the streets of Male itself.
A personal Story -
When I was in the Maldives, my partner and I spent a week on an island (Paradise Island) one of the islands (Lankanfinolhu) on a north Male Atoll See www.paradise-island.com.mv This was a great island to stay at and snorkel, eat and meet people, taking a couple of excursions to Male and also to an island where Maldivian crafts were being sold and dhonis being built. It wasn't far from the airport either, so a 15 to 20 minute boat trip to get there.
The second week we boarded the 'Atoll Explorer', a dive boat to head down through the southern islands in the Maldives. This absolutely made the trip to the Maldives extra special. There was great company on board, a mix of people from the UK and Europe, both young and old, and the service from the crew and captain was first class. Some people dived, some didn't, but during the days we spent time on deserted islands, snorkelling, did night fishing from the dhoni that was with the main dive boat. Great cabins, food, company, cocktails, diving – what could be better? Just one of the many highlights was having a dinner on a beach under the stars, where the crew had set up white tables and chairs, with immaculate white linen tablecloths for dinner. I have never enjoyed a dinner more than this! The Milky Way stars above added its own magic too, and here right in the middle of the Indian Ocean under the stars, a world away from the cities and current affair news of the world. What could be better?
There are a number of cruise boats and also diving and boats catering to surfers too in the Maldives, so if you do get a chance to go to the Maldives, I hope you have just as much fun as we did in travelling there. It is a great place for a holiday.