The Maldives

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Dive into paradise

In a nutshell…

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.

Magnetic attractions

  • Diving The Maldives offer excellent diving on the coral reef for beginners and experienced divers alike, and all the resorts operate diving schools. There are manta rays and whale sharks, but don’t worry: both are plankton eaters.
  • Helicopter excursions To get the perfect aerial view of the blue rings of the atolls, take a short 15‐minute helicopter ‘flip’ and get a real sense of your isolation in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
  • Four Seasons Kuda Huraa This glamorous resort boasts 34 water villas on stilts in the sea that are always a huge hit with honeymooners ‐‐ many of whom never even make it on to land! There’s also a spa, and opportunities for parasailing, waterskiing and big game fishing too.

Romantic rendezvous

  • Night diving If you and your partner are experienced divers what could be more romantic than a night dive as the sun goes down? There is a good chance you’ll see flashlight fish, hopefully in a luminescent shoal.
  • Island hopping by dhoni Sail‐dhonis are small traditional wooden boats with triangular sails. How about a trip to some uninhabited islands for a secluded picnic and swim?

Love bites and love potions

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.

Propose here

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…

To get you in the mood

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.

Language of love

Maruhabaa = Congratulations!

Aharen kaley dheke loabivey = I love you

Mashaa innan ker dhaanetha? = Will you marry me?

Stags and hens

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.

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