One of the worlds most lusted-after beach destinations, a Maldives holiday package is a dream come true for many travellers. Its appeal lies in its up-market private island resorts, where secluded beaches lapped by warm turquoise waters invite visitors to find their own personal bliss.
An island nation in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is composed of a chain of 26 atolls, reached by speedboat or seaplane from the capital of Malé. With almost 1200 islands in total, the Maldives exudes indulgence and luxury. Who can resist the chance to stay in an overwater villa or to explore the underwater world of the warm Indian Ocean waters, bursting with schools of tropical fish, sea turtles and even whale sharks?
A Maldives honeymoon package is a must-do for newlyweds who enjoy the finer things in life, although budget travellers shouldn’t rule out the archipelago. Numerous guesthouses on the larger islands cater for more modest budgets. The explorer Marco Polo once described the Maldives as the ‘Pearls of the Indian Ocean’, however not all of the nations islands were created equal. Most of the all-inclusive resorts and hotels in the Maldives are concentrated in Malé, in the south, whilst in the Ari Atoll, to the west, there are communities of local fishermen and the occasional Buddhist ruins, abandoned for centuries. Baa Atoll, in the north, is the origin of much of the Maldives quality arts and crafts.
History of the Maldives
The Maldives is known for its rich Islamic heritage, which can be traced back to the 12th-century when contact with Arab merchants and travellers paved the way for the adoption of Islam as the national religion, officially replacing Buddhism in 1153 and transforming the archipelago into a unified Sultanate. A short-lived Portuguese occupation in the 16th-century is the only time the country has lost its independence although it voluntarily became a British Protectorate in 1887.
Due to the strong unity of the archipelago under the Sultanate, the Maldives was able to defend its independence throughout the centuries. The Sultanate dynasties were followed by an elective Sultanate in 1932 and the archipelago gained complete independence from the British in 1965, becoming a republic shortly thereafter. The Maldives remained a member of the Commonwealth up until 2016. More recent history has been focused on the challenges the islands face in terms of climate change and rising sea levels, and the country is determined to become carbon neutral, so a trip to the Maldives is a great choice for eco-travellers.
Nature in the Maldives
Geographically one of the worlds most dispersed countries, the Maldives is an island paradise with an atoll or tiny islet to suit all tastes. Famed for its powder-soft white sand and glistening turquoise waters, a Maldives tour package is the perfect antidote to our busy modern lives, giving visitors the chance to unwind in beautiful, untouched natural surroundings. A tropical climate ensures year-round warm weather, so an escape to these paradise shores is perfect at any time.
The best-loved part of Maldives is its amazing marine ecosystem. Coral reefs support an amazing array of sea life and the shallow waters make spotting the varied species delightfully easy. You can even watch the rainbow-coloured schools of fish from the comfort of your beach lounger, although for larger species, such as whale sharks and manta rays, grab a snorkel or, better yet, some scuba diving and snorkeling equipment. The part of the Indian Ocean surrounding the Maldives is home to more than 1000 fish species, 5 sea turtle species and an amazing 21 different species of dolphins and whales. Don’t pass up the chance to explore the Baa Atoll during a tour of the Maldives as this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to one of the richest coral reef systems in the world.
Culture in the Maldives
Influenced by the cultures of the different people that have settled on the islands over the centuries, the unique culture of the Maldives is strongly linked to the national religion of Islam and shaped by the realities of island life. On a trip to the Maldives, you’re sure to notice the beautiful Islamic architecture in this muslim country, especially on the more densely inhabited islands. The official language is Dhivehi, closely related to the language of Sri Lanka, although English is widely spoken and understood. Traditional music and dances from across the Indian Subcontinent such as the North Indian Kathak dance and Indian music are popular with locals across the archipelago. Folk tales passed down through the generations are another important part of Maldivan identity and the Maldives is famed for its intricate woodcarving crafts and coconut-wood boats, known as dhonis.
Plunge into turquoise waters, alive with tropical sealife and lounge on beaches so perfect that the only thing to disrupt your bliss might be the sound of a falling coconut. This is what Maldives all inclusive holidays promises and undoubtedly delivers. From tiny atolls and resorts islands to the fascinating cityscape of Malé, the Maldives is a bucket-list destination everyone should experience once in their life.