Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 6, 2006
Dive into paradise
A collection of 1,192 coral islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are an aquamarine paradise justifiably popular with honeymooners. After all, who wouldn’t want to escape to an idyllic paradise retreat after all that wedding preparation?
With traffic‐free resorts and buildings that are no taller than the vegetation, couples can get back to nature in an Adam ‘n’ Eve kind of way. Not that this Garden of Eden is short on luxury either: every possible modern gadget is discreetly at one’s fingertips, just to make heaven on earth that little bit more heavenly still. The biggest decision you’ll have to make all day is when to slip off the icing sugar sand into the crystal clear sea, or whether to eat lobster or prawn for lunch.
Local fish features naturally on all the resort menus. Almost all other food is imported and the resorts tend to serve an international buffet. For good Maldivian food, go to one of the traditional teahouses in the capital Male, many of which open for breakfast and close at midnight.
Each of the coral‐and‐wood bungalows at the Nika Hotel on the Ari Atoll has its own private stretch of beach. Roll on those From Here to Eternity scenes…
Get hold of a copy of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe or Lucy Irvine’s Castaway to put yourself in a desert island frame of mind, or rent a DVD of The Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields. Jonathan Raban’s collection of autobiography and travel pieces, For Love and Money, includes a section on his trip to the Maldives.
Maruhabaa = Congratulations!
Aharen kaley dheke loabivey = I love you
Mashaa innan ker dhaanetha? = Will you marry me?
Brilliant sunshine, perfect water temperature and excellent visibility make the Maldives ideal for windsurfing, water‐skiing, catamaran sailing, fishing and snorkelling. Or hire a yacht‐dhoni for 10‐14 people and cruise around the islands.