Alex and I had been traveling around Maldives for 4 weeks, from north to south, east to west and from local island to private island. We gathered an enormous of wonderful experiences and here I’d love to share our best Maldives experiences which made us have fallen in love with the Maldives big time.
1) Hulhumale, the artificial island
Beautiful long white sandy beach with turquoise water. Nice enough to stopping by, just 10-minute shuttle bus ride from the airport; in case of when you forget to request the free pick up service form the hotel which normally every hotel in Hulhumale provides this service. The city is pretty developed and not over crowded.
But first thing first before jump right in: The Maldives is a 100% Muslim country and bikini is not allowed in LOCAL beach. So what to wear? From what I’ve seen, short and t-shirt are ok on the beach but using long pants in the city would be more appropriately.
2) Male, the capital city of Maldives
Male is pretty densely populated and really different from any other islands in Maldives. Small roads with colorful buildings, well knows for mosques and fish market. Anyone coming to just escape all the hastening then it’s ok to skip this place, but in case of interested to learn and know more about the country so give it a chance for at least 1 day.
3) Maafushi, the most tourist friendly island in Maldives
Maafushi is a local island in Maldives nearby Male, just 30-minute speedboat ride from Male, and has been developing to support the Maldives tourism since the government regulation allowing opening of Guest Houses in local islands in 2010.
You will find almost everything tourist entertains here; water sports and activities, snorkeling and diving tours. Etc. There is beautiful white sandy beach which preparing for tourist called Bikini Beach on the front side of island, which means, bikini is allowed on this beach, enjoy your sunshine!
On the back side is peacefully local beach, not as beautiful as Bikini Beach, but it’s nice to have a morning sunrise walk. We saw a baby sting ray and baby reef shark first time there.
4) Morning fishing, it’s awesome
We went for a morning fishing in an Indian Ocean nearby Maafushi, and as we don’t into it that much just wished to try a different thing. But then it turned out, we had had a great time swaying in the ocean with the rod. Big thanks to James from Reel Line Maafushi, our funny and awesome fishing guide.
5) Enjoying the Sand Bank, Maldives’s dreamy scenes
We went to small Sand Bank near Maafushi and another in Raspdhoo.
Small Sand Bank near Maafushi was really nice and beautiful.
The one nearby Raspdhoo was gorgeous and amazing, not only beautiful white sandy beach with crystal water but also many fishes around and we could swim there all day. So in love with the lovely fishes!
6) Observing island life in Dharavandhoo
Dharavandhoo is situated in Baa Atoll. About 120 km from Male up to the north. 15-minute flight or 2-hour speed boat ride form Male. Sounds pretty much developed with an airport service but it wasn’t that so commercial feeling to be around. The island was impressed by it’s beauty and local life. There isn’t anything water sport around, only going for a diving or snorkeling. There are many guest houses with a few resorts; The guest houses are blended with local houses and the resort side is pretty isolate and gorgeously peaceful. Local were friendly and treating us like friends. Walking around the island and you will find that people here smiling a lot.
7) Swimming with over a hundred of Manta Rays at Hanifaru Bay
Traveling around the Maldives was incredible since we didn’t have strictly plan. So when we luckily heard that we can swim with over a hundreds of Manta Rays and might be able to see whale shark feeding together at Hanifaru Bay nearby Dharavandhoo Island in Baa Atoll. Then new direction was easily set by our hearts. We took a speed boat from Male to Dharavandhoo, and we took Dharavandhoo as a base to go to Hanifaru Bay.
Best time to see those lovely underwater creatures is considered between May and November each year but local says that around June to October is better. But wait, that doesn’t mean you will see them everyday. We weren’t that so lucky and had been waiting for almost 1 week until it’s time, but trust me, it’s all worth it. So when is the time? When time and tide align, rich plankton in the bay, then those graceful creatures will come for a long feed. Enjoy the show!
Thanks to Hibaru fishing lodge and big thanks to Adil, who had been being our incredible guide and friend for a week, taking care of us and made sure that we had an incredible experience during our time there. He’s done a great job.
8) Swimming with turtle and shark, they are everywhere
Unfortunately, we saw just one turtle (How can it be??) but heard that people see them here and there many times we were traveling in Maldives. It’s so cute, right?
Baby black tips reef sharks are also super cute!! Really! We saw one in Maafushi for the first time and then more than thirty of them everyday in Raspdhoo. Our heart was melted. We like them so much.
9) Snorkeling in Rasdhoo, meet the super cute underwater creatures
Rasdhoo is situated in Ari Atoll and well known for Hammer shark diving. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do scuba diving, so do what we can do, we went to snorkel around Rasdhoo and it was marvelous one.
3-point snorkeling plus one more at the Sand Bank feeding point. The fishes were big and fat than anywhere else I’ve ever seen. The coral reef was luxuriant; it wasn’t colorful but grand. I felt like everything was magnifying there! Also snorkeling at the Bikini Beach was brilliant; we saw many lovely fishes and 2 of about up to 1.5 meters long black tips reef sharks there.
10) Watching the stars
As it’s all about islands so it’s easy to see a million stars shining every night in the Maldives, including beautiful milky way. Please don’t miss it!
11) Experiencing Blue Tears – glow in the dark beach
We experienced Blue tears in the late September at Fihalhohi Island Resort in South Male Atoll. Also heard that people in Ari Atoll and Baa Atoll were seeing it as well. So I believe it’s everywhere when the right time comes. When is the right time? Blue Tears is glowing plankton and they are usually appearing starting from mid-autumn to early winter (July to November). But that doesn’t mean it’s really predictable, we were traveling around Maldives for almost 4 weeks and didn’t see them in any other island before (Confession: we were too lazy to get out at night, was it wrong to love sleeping so much??). Only heard that people had seen it here and there until we really saw it in South Male Atoll by ourselves. It wasn’t so shining but running and jumping around with those glowing light on the beach in the dark was really amazingly exited.
12) Enjoying the private island resort, (almost) all in one
Beautiful over water bungalow, white sandy beach, turquoise crystal clear water, beautiful coral reefs and fishes, baby sharks feeding in front of our door, the dolphins swimming and dancing so close to the beach, the great blue heron birds flying and walking around, million stars at night and blue tears on the beach. That’s all we found at Fihalhohi Island Resort in South Male Atoll (in September). Couldn’t ask for more!
Enjoy your life and traveling on <3
Maldives in 360 Degree Video