Maldives Photos

a seaplane in Male, Maldives Islands

For most travelers Male’s seaplane port is where the Maldives tourism begins, unless. . .

Why  holiday in the Maldives?

You don’t have to like water to enjoy a Maldives holiday but it certainly helps since about 99% of the country is the Indian Ocean.
Spread over an area around 820 km (509 miles) from north to south and 130 km (80 miles) from west to east, the Maldive island chain numbers about 1, 190 bleached isles (actually vast mountain tops) grouped into 26 atolls strewn like a string of pearls in the sea south of India and west of Sri Lanka.

the Muliaage presidential residence in Male, Maldives Islands

. . . you’re stuck in Malé, Malidives’ capital city, for a few hours, where there are a few sights, such as the Muliaage presidential residence, but. . . Photo by A Robustus

The Maldives are totally safe

There are no hawkers, pickpockets or demanding guides, no agriculture, no industry and the turquoise lagoons are crystal clear.
The Maldives embraces 1, 200 islands in a chain of 26 coral atolls reaching across the equator, with 200 islands inhabited and 100 islands shaped into sophisticated resorts with standards of service, quality of rooms, cuisine and facilities to match anything in the world. In fact the world’s first underwater restaurant, under-water nightclub and underwater spa are all to be found here.

a tourist island from the air, Maldives Islands

. . . nothing really to keep you in Male, so it’s on to the island action, via a seaplane if it’s far. . .

a dhoni boat, Maldives Islands

. . . or a dhoni if you’re one of the very few budget travellers. . . Photo by N. Dilmen

Filitheyo resort beach and bar, Maldives Islands

. . . while your haven of bleached beach tranquility awaits you. . . Photo by N. Dilmen

Only 200 of the islands are inhabited by Maldivians, whilst another 87 have been developed exclusively as tourist resorts. About 600, 000 tourists visit the islands every year.

Choice of a resort should be driven by the holiday you desire

Honeymoon, family, diving, or by language, since individual resorts tend to focus on one language (English people, for example, may not enjoy being surrounded by Germans or their entertainment systems) and by budget rather than by location, since fantastic beaches, calm, reef-protected turquoise water and fine weather (in season) are ever-present.

a large beach and tables, Maldives Islands

. . . choose your spot, grab a cold beer and watch. . .

Resorts come in three main styles

• Family-oriented holiday resorts with facilities for kid entertainment and care, multiple restaurant choice and marginally less sophistication than the next level up. The Kaafu region, conveniently close to Malé, is home to several places in this genre. An economy bonus in Kaafu is access can be via a one hour speedboat ride from Male rather than a pricey seaplane.

Some of the best low cost kid-friendly Maldive hotels in 2012 were: Bandos, Filitheyo (photo), Club Faru (Fihalhohi), Kurumba, Meeru, Vilu Reef.

• Luxury resorts for honeymoon couples and the mega-wealthy with over-the-top indulgences and high style. These are widely scattered but voted the best Luxury Resort recently was Cocoa Island Resort, followed by Baros Maldives.
• Dive resorts are frequently distant from Malé and facilities will be simpler though naturally enough the ‘house reef‘ should be excellent for diving or snorkelling.

For the independent traveller things are somewhat more challenging as the tourism industry revolves around tour operators, and the working assumption for Maldives resorts is that two people will share a room.

wicked crab Maldives Islands

. . . the wildlife watching you. . .

Wildlife

Very little, little as far as land creatures are concerned since everything bigger than an ant was eaten long ago. Fishies? Well, whale sharks are top of the big list of sea life, though manta rays offer big-time thrills.

sting ray in shallow water Maldives Islands

. . . waiting for you to relax and drop your guard. . . photo by N. Dilmen

fruit bat, Maldives Islands

. . . during the night of the full moon.

Maldives Weather

The islands have a hot, humid tropical climate with stable temperatures year round, ranging from average lows of 24C (75F) to highs of 31C (88F), though temperatures in April and May can rise to 37C (99F).

However, the very best seasonin the Maldives is January to April when rainfall and humidity are both at their lowest; since December precipitation is acceptable and a naturally busy time due to Christmas holidays December-April becomes the country’s high price, high season.

Budget holiday seekers should consider the months starting with April when trade slacks off and rain appears on the horizon.

May to October is the wet season, with the wettest months of June-July getting 220-300mm (9-12 inches), but when rain falls it generally comes down heavily for a short time so anytime is acceptable for a Maldives vacation, especially since prices fall along with precipitation, though some cloud cover, wind, rough murkier seas and seaweed-garlanded beaches also come with the lower cost season, making both beach lazing and scuba diving a little less comfortable.

Other Pictures © Isa Botto and licensors

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