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experience

Maldives

The Maldives is a picture-perfect, untouched island paradise that consists of 26 atolls and more than 1 000 coral islands – a bit like a tropical string of pearls scattered across the Indian Ocean. This South Asian nation is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, pristine white-sand beaches, and vibrant coral reefs and offers travellers an idyllic escape in a dreamlike setting for a truly unforgettable vacation.

From its gateway, Malé, travellers have the choice of over 130 individual island options for their holiday. Each resort is nestled in its own private island, each a unique gem offering high quality, unique holiday experiences – from luxurious resorts, overwater bungalows, spectacular cuisine and a myriad of water-based activities. Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts can explore the kaleidoscopic underwater world, teeming with diverse marine life, including colourful coral formations and exotic fish species. The Maldives is a top destination for honeymooners, providing an intimate and romantic backdrop for couples to create lasting memories.

Beyond its aquatic allure, the Maldives boasts a rich cultural heritage, with strong influences from South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Visitors can experience the local culture by exploring traditional Maldivian villages, savouring delectable cuisine, and engaging in cultural events and festivals.

With its year-round tropical climate, the Maldives is a sun-soaked paradise offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Whether you seek a tranquil beach retreat, a romantic getaway, or thrilling water sports, the Maldives promises an enchanting experience that lingers in the hearts of every traveller.

Time zone: UTC + 5

Currency: The Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) is the local currency. Most resorts will accept US Dollars and credit card payments. You can also change money at resorts and use ATMs at banks in Malé and many larger islands.

Language: The local language is Dhivehi, but most Maldivians speak English.

Transportation: Once you arrive at Velana International Airport (MLE) on the island of Hulhule’, you will generally be met and escorted by a representative from the island where you are staying. To reach your island, you will either take a ferry, a seaplane, a speedboat or a combination of these to reach your final destination. This transport is usually included in the cost of your hotel package.

Cuisine: The cuisine relies heavily on local available ingredients, which means seafood, coconut, and starches feature prominently in many dishes. Resorts usually include meals in their holiday packages.

Safety: Take basic precautions like locking your doors and windows, keeping your valuables safe, and being aware of your surroundings.

Tipping: It is customary to tip in the Maldives, including all-inclusive resorts. A 10% tip is acceptable for appreciation of good service.

Social: The Maldives is a conservative Muslim nation. Should you wish to visit a mosque, respect their tradition and dress appropriately. Be respectful by lowering your voice and not walking in front of those who are praying.

What to See
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The Maldives is one of the most popular destinations for snorkelling and diving. Some dive sites in Maldives are Fish Head, HP Reef, Banana Reef and Maanta Point.

You can snorkel pretty much anywhere, as the visibility is fantastic and the water temperature averages between 20 – 30 degrees Celsius all year. Beautiful coral plates, striped snappers, bannerfish, manta rays, dolphins, reef sharks, hawksbill turtles and napoleons.

If you are a shark enthusiast, whale sharks can be spotted all year round, and the best spot for this is the South Ari Atoll Marine Protected Area.

One of the Maldives’ most spectacular sights is the bioluminescent phenomenon known as the Sea of Stars at Vadhoo Island. Here the island water glows a brilliant blue under the moonlight. This is thanks to the various phytoplankton that can be found in the sea that glow under the cover of the night. The best time to see the Sea of Stars at Vadhoo Island is June and October.

What to Taste & Smell
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Maldivian cuisine is a delightful fusion of South Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. Meals waft by with the heady scent of cumin, coriander, and cardamom, creating a sensory tapestry that mirrors the cultural tapestry of the islands.

Tuck into the rich, coconut-infused sauces that envelop freshly caught fish or succulent chicken cooking in a dance of spices and complement the flavours with freshly baked flatbread to round off the symphony of flavours.

The islands have a strong tradition of incorporating tropical fruits into their cuisine. Fresh papaya, banana, mango, and pineapple are commonly consumed, either as standalone snacks or as accompaniments to various dishes – each bite a celebration of the islands’ natural abundance.

All resorts include meals in their packages and also offer international cuisine options.

What to Hear
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In the Maldives, the symphony of sounds lulls you into the enchanting ways of this tropical paradise. Whether you are relaxing on the deck of an overwater bungalow or strolling on the beach, the ocean’s gentle lapping is ever-present. The rustling palm leaves create a subtle swishing sound, while the chips of tropical birds add a musical note to the melody.

As you wander through the traditional villages, you will be greeted by the chatter of locals engaged in daily activities and, as the day turns to night, the squabbling of local fruit bats add their voices to the song of the Maldives, inviting you to join the island’s call.

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