There are stunning beaches the world over but then there is the Maldives. Vast stretches of pristine white sand seem to go on forever, merging with the stupendous turquoise gleam of the Indian Ocean that is stopped only by the horizon far, far away. Allow yourself to be sun-kissed while the waves gently lap at your feet as you stroll in a warm sea breeze. Surely this is where dreams are made and undoubtedly come true!
Swim with the sharks
Be brave! Whale sharks are the gentle giants of the ocean. These enormous, docile creatures pose no threat to humankind and are a must-see during your trip of a lifetime. Smaller sized reef sharks are also found gently swimming in and out of the coral atolls; you’ll even find some lurking in the lagoons so often found in the resorts. Find out when feeding time is at some of the resorts and witness a sight that is yours to keep for forever.
Dive into the deep
Pack your waterproof camera, for you will need it to take snapshots of the colourful tropical fish that dart between the coral reef at a rate of a blink-of-an-eye. Go to even deeper depths in a professional diving session where manta rays, turtles and barracuda are bound to catch your eye in the deep, cool waters of the majestic Indian ocean.
Terrific water sports
With so much ocean at your disposal, you will want to get out there and make the water your pleasure dome. Topping your list first, though, should be the dolphin and turtle safari boats for wildlife encounters. And then there is kayaking, canoeing, sea bobbing, jet-skiing, snorkelling – hire an instructor, which you will find at many of the resorts. And for surfers, nothing beats riding on the crest of a wave while the sun’s golden rays beat down on you.
Acquaint yourself with culture
Explore nature by all means but also immerse yourself in local culture. Head to the beach as the stars light up a velveteen sky and catch a charming Maldivian folk dance or Bodu Beru. Perhaps you will take part, getting close to the people, hearing their stories of yore or sail on a Dhoni fishing boat to hear tales of the ocean – the choice is yours.
Taste of the Maldives
Vaycays are a time of discovery and food is key to that journey. Being an archipelagic state surrounded by the Indian ocean, you just know that fish is going to be a Maldivian staple. Seek out the national dish, Gulha, a deep-fried pastry ball filled with smoked fish such as Maldive fish or tuna, along with desiccated coconut and onions. Sit by the calm waters of a lagoon and tuck into Maldivian curry with tuna or devour the day’s catch such as Garudhiya, a fish soup accompanied by lime, chili, rice, curry leaves, onions and a coconut. Street food always surrenders the best surprises in local dishes, such as Mas Kashi dried fish with mango and coconut.
Just being in the Maldives will inject in you a new burst of energy. Find deeper levels of relaxation at underwater Huvafen Fushi, where your eyes will be transfixed to the panoramic view of the marine life in the house reef of the resort as you are pampered beyond belief. Likewise, the panels of the treatment rooms floors of Kuda Huraa are transparent floor and will being massaged you will have full view of the marine life below.
Sea of Stars
For the ultimate memory, head to Vaadhoo Island in Raa Atoll where you will witness the playful Sea of Stars of the Indian Ocean! The dinoflagellates – as they are called – emit luminescent toxins with the movement of the waves to create a sight to behold that will last a lifetime.
If you have completed two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination two weeks prior to travel, and your vaccine is recognised by the World Health Organisation, you will not need to quarantine on arrival to the Maldives. etihad.com
* Correct at the time of going to press. It is your responsibility to check with your airline before travelling.