Why you need to experience the star-studded Maldives this year
A holiday that takes your breath away is something that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Nestled in the middle of the Indian Ocean, with the nearest mainland 600 miles away, the Maldives is possibly the closest experience to heaven on earth.
To get an insider’s guide to the 1200 islands that make up the Maldives, we asked Paul Hopkinson, the holiday expert at Travelbag, to highlight the things to look out for on a visit to one of the most beautiful corners of the globe.
A different holiday experience
Lazying around the white sands and shady spots of these islands, you notice something – there are no hawkers selling sunglasses, no purveyors of t shirts, nobody selling friendship bands hanging from a rectangle of plyboard. In fact, there is no industry whatsoever on the island, other than those employed to look after guests and visitors. You lie on the beach completely undisturbed, bar the odd enquiry about a drinks top up, a treatment or a bite to eat.
Every corner is made for the traveller. Hammocks, beach beds, handily placed bars, food that seems to come out of nowhere, boats that whip you away to the next island so stylishly, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were starring in your own film. The tranquility and magic of the Maldives is like being on your own private island.
Despite the geographical solitude of the islands, the service experienced in the hotels, resorts and restaurants is some of the highest in the world. Tourists have only been visiting the Maldives for forty years, but in that time, the islanders have built up a tight infrastructure which allows a seamless experience for all travellers. The boats, bar staff, chamber maids, activity instructors and everyone else who work hard to give you a true Maldives experience are so friendly, professional and indispensable.
Its isolation does not affect the quality of food on the islands, and some of best meals have been enjoyed here. Cheeses from France, South African wines, Chocolate made in the foothills of the Andes, and the freshest seafood, fruit and vegetables are all available to feast on at any point in the day.
Year round sunshine
The Maldives is placed to experience fine weather year round. Expect temperatures from 25c to 30c – punctuated only with a small monsoon season in November. The best times to visit are just after the new year – January, February and March. However later months see little change – just slight changes in the still sunshine enjoyed earlier on in the year.
The islands have a whole host of trips and activities if you feel inclined. One of our favourites is the gourmet dining experience on the uninhabited island of Lonubo – where only one couple is allowed to visit at a time. You can even enjoy a night alone on the island where you sleep in a beach villa under the stars. The next morning, breakfast is delivered to your room and you can spend the next few hours snorkelling.
Diving around the islands is extraordinary, as the coral reefs are some of the best in the world. The water is so clear, that on a good day visibility exceeds 50m. Scuba diving courses are available, and a trip underwater allows you to see the vivid colours of empress angel fish, butterfly fish and harlequin filefish – as well as turtles and manta rays.
All these are carefully looked after by organisations on the islands. Conservation is massive in the Maldives – and a lot of work is done to protect these precious creatures in their habitat and keep the islands as close to paradise in the future as they are right now.