As you look out of the window, the scene takes your breath away and you can’t wait to land on this wonderland. Nestled in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is an archipelago of 1190 coral islands, most of them uninhabited.
As you disembark at Mal’e International Airport which sits on its own island, you would wonder why you hadn’t come here before. Secluded islands, calm seas, wonderful sunny climate, sparkling white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and some of the best underwater dive sites in the world are just what Maldives provides for a romantic holiday with your partner or some quality time with your family.
The airport is just a 10 minute boat ride from the capital, Mal’e which again is an isolated island. Cars, bikes and bicycles are the best ways to travel inland but if you wish to travel to other islands and resorts, then boats provide transportation. Sea Planes and Helicopters are used to take you to the furthest reach of atolls.
Upon arrival, you will be given a 30 day visa permit. For immigration clearance, you need to have booked accommodation in advance. If not, a tourism counter at the airport helps you in selecting your choice of resort or hotel to stay in.
A few things you need to know about this country before visiting it, include the fact that its population is largely Muslim. Decent clothing is recommended in inhabited areas, any kind of alcoholic drinks, drugs and weapons are strictly prohibited though you can declare alcohol at the immigration. Export of marine articles like coral and shells are also prohibited.
Don’t let the breeze fool you as it tends to get very hot and sultry here. Bring along lots of sunscreens, sun hats and sunglasses. Wear light clothing and drink lots of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated.
Places to Visit Mainland:-
If you feel like wandering around the capital, there are quite a number of interesting sites to visit. The Mohammed Thakurufaanu Tomb was built in memory of Sultan Ghaazee Mohamed Thakurufaanu who liberated Maldives from the Portuguese. Visit the National Museum, a part of the Sultan’s Palace or catch the action at one of the busiest areas in Maldives, the local fish market, which is a popular tourist attraction.
The republic visage of Maldives is reflected in the Jumhoorie Maidan which is a common point of social gathering for locals and tourists alike. The Esjehi art gallery is located in the Sultan Park and is a historical structure.
And while you are at it, do visit the Grand Friday Mosque, which happens to be the largest mosque in Maldives as well as Hukuru Miskiiy which is the oldest mosque.
Sea Side Attractions:-
Enough of sightseeing on land? Then it’s time to head out to the sea. You need to see for yourself to believe the spectacular sights of the underwater world. A paradise for divers, Maldives has added a lot to its list of underwater attractions to keep you spell bound.
Descend almost 100 feet below the ocean’s surface in the largest ever German Whale Submarine and take in the sight of colorful corals and the underwater life. A sight that is now yours to experience along with scuba divers, this air conditioned sub gives you a feeling of swimming with the fish.
Surfing is fast becoming a passion in Maldives and the O’Neil Deep Blue Contest has further helped in establishing Maldives as a surfer’s destination. The best resorts for surfing are those that are situated on the north eastern end.
Scuba diving is also famous and there are many scuba diving schools in and around the resorts to provide you with ample training and certificates. You can opt for open water dives, rescue dives, night dives and even underwater photography.
If you want to stay near the shore, then catch some action at the shallow reefs. Snorkeling equipments are available at all resorts and you can also go on excursions along the protective reef. The beauty of it is that in some areas, you can just walk over to the reef and watch tropical fishes move in and out of the colorful corals.
Jump on a boat to enjoy a lazy “night” of fishing. Maldives gets its own share of whales and dolphin visits every year and you can go on whale and dolphin spotting excursions.
So visit this tropical paradise and enjoy living life to the fullest – underwater