The Maldivian way of hosting tourists is to create self-contained resorts– each with their own facilities such as tennis courts, health spas, swimming pools, poolside bars, fitness centers, gift shops and even their own cabarets for the limited night life.
The resorts also offer a boat to take those who wish to visit one of the uninhabited islands to enjoy the remote, virginal beaches for a few hours of private pleasures. The boats will also carry you to any one of the nearby inhabited islands reserved for local populations where you can learn some of the old time skills such as making mats and flower pots or cooking the Maldivian way.
Individual resorts offer a wide range of vacation options from isolated to sprawling luxury, from budget stays with local families to pampered luxury for the elite. In addition, there are Live Aboard Diving experiences where the option to stay on a diving boat has been made available.
About 60 km south of Male`, only two of Felidhu Atolls are developed, both of which are noted for their exclusive resorts. A dive training instructor is on premises for any who wish to learn the sport and a guide is available for those who want to enjoy the spectacular colors within the sea.
Ari is divided into two regions: Northern Ari Atoll and Southern Ari Atoll. With more than 105 islands collected in this atoll, only about 20 actually possess resorts. Besides snorkeling and scuba diving, fishing trips, windsurfing and sailing are available as a pause to underwater activities.
Raa has the one and only island resorts in this atoll on Meedhupparu island where it occupies a space in the inner lagoon sheltered by lush tropical forests. This is popular with British, Italian and U.S. tourists and sports a whopping 200 sea side bungalows and water villas grouped around the edge of the island, looking like water lilies blossoming on aqua ponds.
Male` is both an atoll of its own as well as the capital city and the most developed and cosmopolitan of the islands towns. The capital city offers the most expansive shopping areas, parks, plazas and all the infrastructure typical of modern life. The National Museum is located in the former Sultan’s Palace – now called Sultan’s Park – and has many Maldivian historical items on display– including a Royal Palanquin, the Royal robes and uniforms of the former Royal guards.
Generally, each resort in the atolls have some type of shopping area where you can purchase souvenirs, gifts and basic needs for your stay. The largest shopping area is in Male` around the district known as Chaadhanee Magu. If shopping is one of your enjoyments when on vacation, you’ll be disappointed in the Maldives since it’s really not about shopping or, for that matter, partying. That said, you can score some of the more exotic spices near the fish market in Male`.
More than One Trip
Looking at a map of the Maldives, you can’t help but be astonished by the immenseness of the country, spread out in polka dot fashion across the Indian Ocean appearing as a symbolic pointer toward the lands of Indonesia. There is never enough time to enjoy all that the Maldives offers.