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Beyond the overwater bungalow: There’s more to the Maldives than meets the eye

November 22, 2019 Resort News No Comments Email Email

There’s no doubting the breathtaking beauty of the magical Maldives with its turquoise waters, pristine beaches and iconic over-water bungalows, but for those with an appetite for discovery, there’s plenty more to experience amidst the atolls. From experiencing the local cuisine at the fresh produce markets and going night fishing on a traditional Maldivian boat, to enjoying a floating spa or finding the perfect surf break – the Maldives has something for everyone.

Island-hopping – why enjoy one island when you can explore more

Most people head to one stunning Maldives resort and stay there. While the one-resort per island stays are spectacular, it’s easy to island hop or combine a resort stay with a stint on the man-made island of Hulhumale to discover everything the Maldives has to offer. The best way to do this is by boat. For an exclusive experience, Yacht Maldives provides private charters that can take you to all the islands, diving spots and surf breaks you want to explore. There are also public ferry routes available in the Maldives to help get you from one island to another for a very low cost.

Spoil yourself on Scubaspa

It’s easily as indulgent as staying in an over-water bungalow, but as a floating luxury resort, Scubaspa lets you experience island-hopping of an entirely different kind. The unique concept provides exceptional spa experiences with unforgettable scuba diving. Designed for divers who travel with non-diving partners and guests with a keen interest in spas, Scubaspa’s purpose-built yachts explore the picture-perfect islands and reefs in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

Experience life like a local – head to a residential island

Go beyond the ‘resort bubble’ on a daytrip to a neighbouring residential island to gain an insight into authentic Maldivian life; or arrange to spend a few days at a local guest house – an authentic and affordable way to see a different side of the Maldives. Many local islands such as Thulhaadhoo and Dhigurah have lively markets, handicrafts to purchase – often made from coral – and friendly locals who love to chat or play a game of volleyball. Remember the Maldives is a Muslim country, so dress conservatively in public areas and take cash if you want to buy local arts, crafts and cuisine.

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Ride the waves – land & sea

In contrast to its tranquil lagoons, the Maldives is also home to several serious surf breaks, with a number of resorts offering dedicated surf holiday packages, whether you’re staying within paddling distance of the waves, or taking a traditional dhoni to the best breaks. LUX* North Malé Atoll has its very own surf break – The LUX* Break – ideal for beginners looking to ride the rolling waves a mere five-minute jet ski ride away from the resort. For those wanting to hit the pavement, Hulhumale is home to the Maldives’ biggest skatepark. Donated to the islands by Red Bull and a group of international volunteers, the skatepark is seen as a positive outlet for the youth of the Maldives, providing the space to accommodate passionate young people and the growing local demand for skateboarding.

Take a walking tour of Male

The bustling capital of Male has a rich, diverse culture and offers plenty to explore on foot. From the local fish markets and the National Art Gallery in leafy Sultan Park, to the nation’s largest modern mosque, Grand Friday Mosque and the Old Friday Mosque – built in 1656 from local coral stone. Local tour group provider, Secret Maldives provides unique day trips around Male and other residentials islands that fully immerse their clients into the Maldivian way of life in the most ethical, environmentally friendly and sustainable ways.

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Try the local dance

Most inhabited local islands, as well as several resorts, including Gili Lankanfushi, The Emerald Maldives Resort and Spa and Six Senses Laamu, host traditional Maldivian performances, or Boduberu, which combine drumming, singing and dancing. Rather than simply filming the action, why not join in? But don’t be fooled by the slow start, the moves speed up – fast.

Sample local cuisine

If you ask a local what Maldivian cuisine is like, they will answer with the following three words: tuna, coconut and chilli. Traditional Maldivian cuisine a wonderful variety of tastes and flavours, ranging from crunchy snacks and street foods combined with wood-fired chapati bread, to complex and deliciously spicy curries. Be sure to sample dishes such as the breakfast favourite Mas Huni, made from chopped tuna, onion, chilli and coconut served with baked rosti bread – you’ll never want cereal again!

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Meet the marine life – close-up

From marvelling at the marine life without getting wet from a semi-submarine at Jumeirah Vittaveli to dining in an incredible underwater restaurant or hitting the dancefloor at a nightclub under the sea, there are so many unique ways to see the Maldives’ marine life. Try Ithaa Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island or 5.8 – the world’s largest all-glass underwater restaurant at Hurawalhi Maldives. You can even receive a relaxing massage underwater at the upscale Huvafen Spa.

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