Maldives is a Muslim nation and it is fiercely conservative. Local women cover their head fully. Alcohol, pork and pornography are prohibited in Maldives, well in Male at least. Resort Islands get away with almost anything. Be aware though that all the bags are scanned upon the arrival, so trade carefully while embarking on your Maldives holiday.
Male- The capital
Male is the entry point to any resort island. You may end up spending a night in Male depending upon the distance to your resort. In that case, get to a vantage point and enjoy the panorama of this tiny island. It was fascinating to discover that the airport landing strip is located on a separate island than the main city.
Walking around the lanes of Male reveals the abject poverty in sharp contrast to the luxury lifestyle promoted by the world class resorts. The fishing port is an interesting place to visit where you can spot local fishermen at work on colorful dinghies. The fish market is another place of interest to witness daily fish auction every morning, except on Friday.
Holiday on Maldives Resort Islands
While you have to watch how you dress and behave in Male, the atolls allow you to let yourself loose! The action is on resort islands where everything works. The high end resort entice their elegant clientele with everything money can buy! I was provided with a bottle of bubbly every day, I got drunk in the first two hours of my arrival!
Resorts in Maldives start getting pricey as the year progresses, December being the most expensive. Most of the rich and famous of the world book their holidays in fancy seven star resorts, making it a center of red carpet gala around the festive time. In fact some of the resorts do not even take bookings even if you prove to be wealthy enough to book an entire resort, unless you are some kind of a celebrity!
Most of the resort islands are accessible by speed boats and seaplanes, depending on the distance from Male. Ferries generally cater to the locals visiting inhabited islands. The tourists are not allowed to venture to inhabited islands without special permits. This along with expensive accommodation has kept the backpacking beach lover away from this tropical paradise.
The highlight of Maldives Holiday is getting to your resort by seaplane. The charters are expensive but the bird’s eye view of atolls from high up in the air is breathtaking. The blue lagoon islands appear like diskets scattered all over the ocean floor. The corals reflecting unbelievable shades of blue will leave lasting impressions! It is also fun to watch the pilot navigating the air taxi in his formal uniform, which is a white shirt tucked inside green shorts complete with green flip flops!
Money surely can buy solitude here in Maldives. There are resorts who guarantee total relaxation after you check-in. Some retreats make you sign a memorandum of understanding when they take away your cell phones, tablets and laptops. They want to ensure that you are totally cut off from the reality and worries. Getting away from the daily drama is certain to bring temporary peace of mind.
Water villas are the most exotic accommodation options in many of the resorts. The idyllic villas floating over the water is as close as it could get to the paradise. While it all sounds very luxurious and exclusive, it could get really noisy in water villa on a stormy night. Most of the island repeaters opt for a beach villa with a private beach instead of a water villa. After the initial euphoria, it would make sense to get good night rest after all the money you have spent.
The resort islands in Maldives regale to the niche clientele. There are resort islands which cater to specific desires of German, Italian or Russian tourists. A bit of a due diligence will help you avoid getting stuck in the wrong company. Every tourist comes with a certain agenda, be it total relaxation or sunbathing or soul searching. I had a bunch of Russian models as guests in our resort and the only thing they did was to carry out bikini photo shoots against pretty backdrops around the island. Not bad of course!
Things to do during Maldives Holidays
Diving and Snorkeling are the most popular activities besides soaking up the sun on the resort islands. The coral reefs around the islands are home to the best the underwater world can offer. The crystal clear water in lagoons allows to spot the finest marine life even without dipping your head in water. The warm waters are a welcoming change for scuba divers who don’t have to put on a wet suit to go deep underwater. The El Nino effect though has left its ugly marks on the gorgeous marine life in Maldives. In last twenty years two third of the reefs around Maldivian island have undergone coral bleaching.
If you are a golf addict, do not fret. There are resort islands with floating nine hole golf course. You tee off on one island (Sandbar) and head to the other for the next strike. Of course you will have an absolute luxury of hitting the ball in the water, there will be helpers at hand to fetch your balls.
Many couples would desire to get married in such a picture perfect location. Well Maldives is a Muslim nation and no external religious ceremony can be carried out besides a Muslim nikah. So most of the romantics end up exchanging vows on the islands. Of course resorts are well equipped to provide a decorated buggy and recreate the magic to ensure your desires are fulfilled.
The resorts organize dolphin rides where Maldivians folk singers beat drums to lure these sweet creatures to the surface. Free flowing champagne and caviar on the deck add unique charm to the truly mesmerizing experience during the Maldives Holiday.
Fun Facts about Maldives
The high end resorts maintain the scenic beauty of the shoreline. They go all out to retain the pristine aesthetics of the beaches. Locals are hired to remove weeds from the water on daily basis before the morning activities start. The sand trawlers churn the sand to make sure the water levels stay the same avoiding any unpleasant experience for the guest. Sometime you will feel everything is just too perfect!
There are all kinds of resort islands in Maldives, some children friendly and some are not. The resort are stringent about the rules about the children. So check the details before booking your Maldives Holiday.
Though Maldives follows MVT ( Maldives time) that is GMT+5 hours, many resorts closer to India may follow IST or the time zone they fancy to lure a certain kind of tourists. It gets quite confusing when the sunset appears to be earlier or later than the usual time in the tropics. Of course the resorts do announce these details at the beginning of your Maldives Holiday, it will still leave you wondering.
Maldives is the lowest country in the world with an average elevation of 1.5 meters above sea level. During tsunami in December 2004, after the earthquake in the Indian Ocean, two third of capital Male as well as around 56 islands of Maldives were submerged. Many islands suffered extensive damage and almost 20 resorts shut down permanently due to devastation.
The global warming has been having disastrous effects on the islands of Maldives. With the rising sea levels it is believed that by the year 2100 most of the 200 inhabited islands of Maldives will be inundated with water. The Maldivian government has started buying new land in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia, where the Maldivians will be forced to move in case the environmental damage continues at the current rate.
Maldives is a poor nation. Tourism consists of more than 20% of GDP and 90% of tax revenues come from tourism related taxes. Besides tourism, fishing and exporting seafood(mainly Tuna) and seashells are the alternative sources of revenue.
Best time to visit Maldives
While there is sunshine throughout the year, being close to the equator Maldives has a tropical climate. it is quite warm during most of the months with average temperature looming at 30 degrees. The tropical monsoon lashes out heavy rainfall for almost 3 months from June to August. The best time take Maldives Holiday is from September to April.
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