Not too long ago I published some of my top tips regarding traveling to the Maldives – and one of them was to do something special every day. There is so much to do in the Maldives, and all of it is fun, wonderful and magical. Perhaps you’re currently preparing a trip to the Maldives; but if not, these incredible experiences will almost certainly fire up your wanderlust.
During my recent stay at the One&Only Reethi Rah, easily one of the Maldives’ most luxurious hotels, I was able to engage in a host of activities and felt inclined to write them all down for you. So here we go – my top 15 favorite things to do in the Maldives…
There are only a handful of places in the world that can rival the amazing underwater world on offer in the Maldives, with the Indian Ocean dishing up a host of beautiful coral formations and plenty of colorful fish swimming right around them. Most resorts will rent out snorkeling gear free of charge for the duration of your stay so don’t worry about bringing your own mask and fins.
Those of you with a PADI are in luck, because you are in for a real treat diving in the Maldives. You may well encounter whale sharks and manta rays; even dolphins are not a rarity. If you’re keen to get your open water license, almost every resort features a dive center where you can sign up for the 4-day course to become a certified diver.
No matter how many times I join a cruise to spot dolphins it just never gets old to see these incredible animals out in the ocean. The odds of spotting the dolphins are usually 9 in 1o, and when they’re around they like to swim around the boat – with the odd dolphin jumping for that amazing souvenir photo you’ve always hoped to one day get.
4 Visit a local Island
The Maldives are an archipelago of almost 1200 islands with 220 local and 87 resort islands. Back in 2009, for the first time in Maldivian history, the local islands were allowed to open up to tourism – and now visitors from around the world have the option of spending a day, a week or more in a hotel or guest house on a local island. But even those who chose to stay in a resort should not forgo the opportunity to visit a local island as this offers a unique insight into the traditional Maldivian lifestyle and culture that not many visitors to the country ever see. I have found to be Maldivians extremely accommodating, curious and friendly towards visitors, especially to the kids!
5 See a Boduberu Dance
My first visit to a Maldivian local island (other than the capital Malé) was linked with the Boduberu festival, a traditional Maldivian Dance where a group of about 20 men sing a song while 3 of them play a drum. In the beginning of each song the focus is on somewhat slower drumming and dancing while at the end performers dance faster and wilder, typically with a crowd of onlookers cheering them on. It’s a lot of fun to watch or even take part in, if you have the chance. Some resorts invite Boduberu dancers on special occasions or you can inquire if a performance is happening on a nearby local island during your stay.
6 A romantic dinner on the beach / a sandbank / an amazing restaurant
The One&Only Reethi Rah is the Master when it comes to outlandishly good dining experiences and will gladly accommodate your every wish. Dinner for 2 on a sandbank in the Indian Ocean? No Problem. A private chef for a romantic dinner table on your own stretch of beach with only a few palm trees swaying over you? Coming right up. Possibly my favorite option here was dining at Tapasake, a Japanese restaurant where a chef will cater to only you throughout your dinner experience and provide you with the finest teppanyaki experience your senses have ever come across.
There is no sunset quite like a Maldivian sunset so grab your drink, sit back and enjoy the show. Do so from the porch of your water villa, your private beach stretch or a bar – it’s all stunning. Oh, and don’t forget to take a picture to make your friends at home jealous!
8 Riding a sea plane
As your plane lands at Male Airport you’ll already have seen some of it – the incredible beauty of the Maldivian atolls and the wealth of islands. A sea plane ride typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes and if weather conditions permit, you likely won’t stop taking photos throughout the flight. It’s not a cheap experience to fly on these planes so inquire beforehand about the cost involved.
9 Getting pampered at the Spa
If you’ll go for that spa treatment you might as well go to one of the best spas in the world, because according to the world spa awards the One&Only provides just that. Get that pedicure with a sea view and a massage experience you will never forget.
10 Taking a cooking class
Not all resorts offer this, but many do, especially if you enquire about the possibility. Chefs in the Maldives are often highly trained, come from all corners of the world and can almost certainly teach you a thing or two about fine dining. Learn to make a Maldivian fish stew or another dish of your choosing and apply your new skills when you host your next dinner party upon returning home.
11 Watching a movie on the beach
Such a simple thing and yet so memorable. I know, because I still hold fond memories of the first movie I watched on a beach in the Maldives, just after sunset. With the impossibly comfortable bean bags and some fresh popcorn the One&Only once again adds the icing on the cake for this wonderful experience.
12 Jet skiing
There are a million types of water sports you can do in the Maldives, but riding a jet ski is definitely among those truly unforgettable ones. It is fun, exhilarating and definitely not just something for the boys. Go get yours!
13 Sea kayaking
I promise this one will be my last recommendation for water sports to try out, although there are many more and all of them are super fun. Ask your resort if they have a transparent-bottomed kayak – because what you’ll see kayaking over the reef is full of magic and wonder.
14 Get the tan of a lifetime
You didn’t think I would leave out the beauty of downtime in the sun, did you? To be perfectly honest with you, I often get so caught up with doing wonderful things in the Maldives, that I forget to just take an afternoon off and do nothing but take dips in the ocean or pool, letting the sun do its magic to make my skin glow.
15 Create your own souvenir
The One&Only has its own pottery studio which caused me some major excitement. Trying to make pottery has long been on my wish list, and what better place than a dream holiday to finally throw my first pot? Could there be a better souvenir than a self-made cup out of which you can enjoy your morning coffee? I think not.
Did I forget an experience you love? Which one makes your heart beat faster?