The clear blue waters of the ocean surrounding the Maldives are its major
Apart from working on your tan and sipping sunset cocktails, set aside time on your island holiday for some of these iconic Maldivian experiences.
1. Stargazing at Soneva Fushi
Maldives’ remote location makes it one of the best places to enjoy the night sky, but to really up your stargazing game, plan your stay at Soneva Fushi to enjoy their astronomical observatory. Peer through the lenses of their state-of-the-art telescope and feast your eyes on awe-inspiring observations of the night sky. Expect to see razor-sharp images ranging from the Plough of Saturn to the craters on the moon, along with celestial bodies that are usually invisible from the rest of the world.
2. Swim with manta rays and whale sharks
Every year between June to October, larger numbers of manta rays are drawn to the higher levels of plankton in Maldivian waters. A few resorts like Komandoo Maldives Island Resort and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru offer guests the unique opportunity to not only spot but also snorkel with these majestic creatures. Locating them may get tricky, but you will be guided by experienced crews who know the waters and the creatures’ patterns extremely well. It most certainly will be a swim to remember!
Bioluminescent phytoplankton make up a sea of stars
3. Visit the sea of stars
Make a trip to Vaadhoo Island in Raa Atoll to watch the sea come alive at night. The island is known for its natural phenomena of bioluminescent phytoplankton, which emit a soft blue glow. The result is a sight to behold when night falls — a glow in the dark beach, with these magical organisms twinkling like stars in the shallow waters that lap the shore.
4. Stay with the locals
Not until a few years ago, a trip to the Maldives meant spending thousands of dollars staying in one of its high-end resorts. However, Maldivians have recently taken to opening guesthouses (usually advertised on Airbnb) on local islands to offer travellers a budget-friendly as well as more authentic experience. You’re likely to meet and eat with your host’s family, and one of them will also usually double up as your guide. This means you’ll get to explore all the area has to offer AND also immerse yourself in local island life. It’s worlds apart from resort living, but for the culture vulture, this is no doubt the best way to enjoy the Maldives.
Get up close with manta rays between June to October each year
5. Jump from bed into the ocean
An oldie but a goodie, nothing quite captures the liberating exhilaration of being in the Maldives than jumping straight into the ocean from the deck of your water villa! Most Maldivian resorts offer water villa options, which is worth the splurge if you’re in the Maldives for a once in a lifetime holiday. The fishes around your villa waters are usually friendly, and you are likely to be able to swim out towards shallow reefs to observe more colourful marine life.