THE MALDIVES

Life truely stripped down to the very fundamentals

> 1,5 months of island hopping in the Maldives

People before us knew that the Maldives offer a paradigm of paradise. For instance, Thor Heyerdahl once wrote: “Each little island was a separate gem set in a ring of golden beach sand and with another wider ring of glass-green water outside where the coral reef approached the surface, rising like a giant mushroom from the bottomless blue”.

Island enthusiasts such as ourselves will simply need to travel here a few times during their lifetime. The Maldives is the "original atolls" on Earth. What do we mean by that? Well, without becoming too nerdy, the word comes from the local 'atholhu' in the islander's Dhivehi language, meaning fragmented islets of coral. And that is precisely what the Maldives is: fragmented islands of coral that have accreted around the peaks of ancient, long-departed volcanoes that are now submerged in the vast Indian Ocean, now draped as twenty atolls and thousands of tiny islands across the Equator like a necklace of exotic diamonds.

To us, many island nations – e.g. Seychelles, Mauritius, French Polynesia, Fiji, and others – has the right ingredients for an escape, which is all about rest and relaxation: Pristine tropical islands with swaying palm trees, pure white sand beaches, and brilliant turquoise lagoons. However, we think that the physical beauty of the Maldives is perhaps unmatched in the world. Here, life is stripped down to simplicity and to the fundamentals: Bright blue skies, all-year sunshine and fantastic diving and snorkeling in lagoons with the temperature of bath water.

Most people tend to go here for one or two weeks for a "one in a lifetime-experience". We keep coming back and each time, we learned that it is best to know what one want from the islands, and then do a bit of homework, check out websites and see through relevant reviews until a few islands remains on the list. So-far we have visited in 45 days more than 15 islands in five different atolls, incl. North Male Atoll, Rasdhoo Atoll, Ari Atoll, Faafu Atoll and South Male Atoll. Our next trips to the Maldives will focus on the far-away atolls at the poles of the archipelago.

Like islands off the Indian mainland? Check our other island hopping adventures close to India, incl. the Lakshadweep IslandsSri Lanka, and the Andaman Islands.

For other Indian Ocean island pearls, we can recommend Mauritius, La Reunion, the Seychelles, and Rodrigues island.  

 

Selected pics:

Location of the Maldives
Location of the Maldives

A geological eccentricity nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are a series of ancient coral reefs that grew up around the sides of towering prehistoric volcanoes. These immense structures have long since sunk into the ocean, leaving behind coral atolls of incredible natural beauty.

Our 45-day trip around 5 atolls
Our 45-day trip around 5 atolls
Maldives air arrival
Maldives air arrival

View to South Male Atoll

The Grand Friday mosque
The Grand Friday mosque

Many places in the Maldives seek to reinforce the country’s Islanmic status. Perhaps most importantly with the Grand Friday mosque in Malé, whose golden dome lights up the skyline.

Malé fish market
Malé fish market

Malé is - despite its rumour - very charming capital with access to several fish and vegetable markets where we could mingle with the locals.

Malé fish market
Malé fish market

Big tunas for sale

Hulhulmale fish market
Hulhulmale fish market
Malé morning break
Malé morning break

Local fisher having an early morning break at the Malé fish market, North Malé Atoll

View to Mále from airport at dusk
View to Mále from airport at dusk

From the airport boats frequenty leave for nearby islands and nearby atolls. Speedboat (expensive) or dhoni (cheap)

Girl at Hulhulmale beach
Girl at Hulhulmale beach
Hulhulmale Island
Hulhulmale Island

Artificial island next to Malé

Hulhulmale island market
Hulhulmale island market
Sand bank near Diguvaru Island
Sand bank near Diguvaru Island

On a sailing trip in the Fafuu Atoll

Boat boy of Guraidhoo Island
Boat boy of Guraidhoo Island

Yet another island: Guraidhoo Island, South Malé Atoll.

Arrival by Maldivian air taxi
Arrival by Maldivian air taxi

The Maldives is a unique place whichever way you look at it. From the air it is magical, breathtakingly beautiful and almost surreal. An air trip is ofte mandatory to reach places outside the central attols and Malé.

Stuck in paradise
Stuck in paradise

The resort on Filitheyo Island – and pretty much all other resorts – is something of a cocoon. Critics may say that a stay here is too perfect, too boring. What should one do in an area of 1x1 km? But that is why we and most people come! To recharge and forget about daily urgencies.

Beach on Filitheyo Island
Beach on Filitheyo Island

Nilandhoo AtollI

Barefoot luxury in Nilandhoo AtollI
Barefoot luxury in Nilandhoo AtollI

What about going barefoot for the entire holiday? Wooden walkways through the public area is the only change from the sandy floors and trails that crisscross the interior. The interior is splendid: few resorts beat this one for impressive strands of mature coconut palms, indigenous vegetation and the chance to walk through, and not just around, the island.

Park ranger in Filithey Island
Park ranger in Filithey Island
Beach on Filitheyo Island
Beach on Filitheyo Island

The beach is broad down the side with the large lagoon and narrower on the other side where the reef is close to shore.

In front of our bungalow
In front of our bungalow

There has been very little intervention on the beach or in the lagoon, so nothing spoils the view or the walk down either side of Filitheyo island.

Over-the-water bungalow view
Over-the-water bungalow view

Yes! The water really is this blue.

Lagoon view over the house reef
Lagoon view over the house reef

The marine life is abundant; manta rays, eagle rays, barracudas, napoleon wrasse, white-tip sharks and grey reef sharks.

Dolphins in Fafuu Atoll
Dolphins in Fafuu Atoll
Nilandoo Atoll calm water
Nilandoo Atoll calm water

Arrival in Fieeali Island, Nilandoo Atoll.

House built from Coral
House built from Coral

Fieeali Island, Nilandhoo Atol

Local Dhivehi island girl
Local Dhivehi island girl

Fieeali Island, Nilandhoo Atoll.

Postcard beach
Postcard beach

Filiheyo Island, Nilandhoo Atoll

Purple dusk
Purple dusk

Visitors amass to take pictures during the last rays of the day.

New adventure: Rashoo Atoll
New adventure: Rashoo Atoll