The Maldives is an incredibly wonderful place to holiday. The pristine beaches here are beyond your imagination. Located in the Indian Ocean, this divine country has umpteen attractions for every type of traveller. The twenty-six ring-shaped atolls here have an alluring beauty that fascinates everyone coming here.
Get ready to be dazzled by the spellbinding places of interest mentioned below:-
1. Banana Reef
Shaped like a banana, this is the most popular diving site in the North Male Atoll. It has a pinnacle and some dramatic caves and overhangs. Also called 'Gaathugiri', the reef is home to inordinately beautiful fishes and marine life. The rich coral here attracts a wide variety of colourful and lovely fishes- delightful to behold as you swim in the deep waters. And do not be taken aback to see large schools of bannerfish- sometimes as many as a whopping thousand! Other species to spot are the black snapper fish, sharks, barracudas, giant squirrelfish, oriental sweetlips, soldierfish and grubfish. The diving conditions at Banana Reef are probably the best in the Maldives.
Location- This beautiful reef is located to the north of Male Atoll inside Kuda Kalhi.
Cost- Diving in the Banana Reef starts at the rate of MVR 1,030 whereas liveaboards here cost approximately MVR 21,635.
Best time to visit- The best months are from December to May, however the best diving opportunities are from late May to July.
The most densely populated capital of the Maldives, this small island city is a must on your itinerary for the Maldives. Male is surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and has pretty colourful buildings stocked together. You can easily stroll around the place since it spreads over an area of six-kilometre square. Here, you will get the chance to have a close look at the lifestyle of the Maldivians on their own turf. The local bazaars brim with charm and life, whereas the golden dome Friday Mosque is a popular attraction. An overnight stay in Male is a thing to be remembered for your entire life.
Location- The city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Malé Atoll (Kaafu Atoll).
Cost- Boat transfers and seaplanes from the Male's airport cost anywhere from MVR 2600 to MVR 4600. Putting up at the hotels here costs around MVR 1200 to MVR 4400.
Best time to visit- The best time to hit the island is between November and April. The peak season falls between December and March.
3. HP Reef
Hailed as the soft coral capital of the world, the HP Reef is surely a diver's paradise. The bands of prismatic hues of soft corals have earned it the name of 'Rainbow Reef?. Known as 'Girifushi Thila' in the local language, the reef is home to a brilliant variety of small reef fish and large pelagic species such as grey reef sharks, eagle rays, tunas and barracudas. HP Reef is a Protected Marine Area in the Maldives and provides for excellent snorkelling experience due to its exciting crevices, caves and overhangs. However, you need to be an experienced diver to swim here due to the strong currents.
Location- This amazing reef is located in North Male Atoll.
Cost- The cost to dive here at this reef is approximately MVR 925.
Best time to visit- December to April is a good time to visit the HP Reef.
This man-made beach is a gem of Male. The beauty here is no less when compared to any other natural beaches in the Maldives. You can relax at this beach, engage in some fun-packed beach games or take a swim in its cool, azure blue waters. Also, be a part of the dazzling music concerts and carnivals that are hosted here on a regular basis. Carved out from the land retrieved from the sea, the place is always teeming with people who want to spend some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can even taste the local savouries at the street stalls. Artificial Beach is a must when you are in Male.
Location- The Artificial Beach is located in Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male.
Cost- Entry in this beach is free of cost. All you need is some money to spare if you want to have some street food here.
Best time to visit- The beach can be visited all the year-round, however the best time to hit it is during the mornings and the afternoons.
5. Whale Submarine
This is not exactly a particular stop but can be rightly described as an amazing underwater excursion. This is a one of a kind experience where you will have the golden opportunity to unravel the unique beauty of Maldives. The submarine inside is air-conditioned with perfectly balanced atmospheric pressure to ensure you breathe normal air. As the giant submarine dives deeper into the ocean, you will be greeted by multi-hued corals at its first stop (depth of 25 metres). You can also spot the magnificently blue or yellow striped Snappers, common lionfish, yellow boxfish and turtles here. Further, the submarine is parked next to a coral garden at a depth of 40 metres which is its ultimate stop. You can sight the Whitetip Sharks and Napoleons here.
Location- The Whale Submarine is located in Shabnam Magu, Male.
Cost- The cost is around MVR 1,155 per ride per person (about USD 75). The payment is accepted only in cash and that too in USD.
Best Time to Visit- The submarine operates on all days except Mondays and Fridays. The excursions are at 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:00 PM. The tour is about two and a half hours long.
6. Bikini BeachThe pristine, powdered white sands at this beach will make you fall in love with the Maldives. The turquoise, inviting waters are soothing to the eyes and offer an unusual relaxation. The beach is encircled with a tall wooden fence- you can easily swim here in a bikini. The beach is not really long, it just stretches for 50 metres. You can take an amble along the beach with your loved one or simply sunbathe in the Maldivian sun. Flanked by tall green palm trees, the beach's spectacular beauty is almost indescribable. This is definitely your paradise in the Maldives.
Location- This picturesque beach is located in the southern part of Maafushi Island.
Cost- The sunbeds are here for MVR 155, whereas getting to the island costs around MVR 30 via a ferry and MVR 3000 via a speedboat.
Best time to visit- Early September is probably the best time to visit- this is the off season in Maldives and you can have the entire beach to yourself. Late April is also a good time.
7. Bandaara Kilhi Lake
This is a hidden gem of the Maldives, secluded from the entire country. It is one of the two freshwater lakes in Fuvahmulah, an island atoll in the Maldives. You will be enthralled by the splendid beauty of this lake- which is also a rich depository of many minerals. The lake binds together the natives of Fuvahmulah, each one having his or her sweet memories attached to this picturesque lake. The locals no longer swim here, there is an observation deck from where you enjoy its halcyon beauty. It has been declared as a protected area by the government. The lake is surrounded by thick vegetations of mainly ferns, Screwpine, tropical almond, cheese fruit, Banana trees, coconut palms and taro fields plus mango trees.
Location- This incredible lake is situated in Malegan in Fuvahmulah.
Cost- Entry to this lake is free of cost. All you need is time to witness its breathtaking sights.
Best time to visit- Early mornings are the best time to visit when the sunlight pierces through the dense foliage.
8. Hulhumale BeachAnother beautiful place to behold in the Maldives is the Hulhumale beach. Be prepared to be welcomed by a large stretch of white sands and turquoise waters. The beach is protected by a reef approximately 100 meters out. The water is shallow here making it for a perfect beach swim. You can go snorkelling here and swim past baby sharks, turtles, rays and many types of reef fish. Or you can indulge in some exciting water sports such as parasailing and kitesurfing. A major plus point is that the beach faces east, making it a fantastic sunrise point. You can also have breakfast at the stalls set up by the various guesthouses along the beach.
Location- This prepossessing beach is located on Beach Road in Hulhumale.
Cost- If you land at the international airport in Male, you can get to Hulhumale by either a local bus or a taxi. The bus charges around MVR 20 whereas the taxi charges MVR 15 for a one way trip. Expect to pay around MVR 40 from the ferry terminal to the beach. Also, do not forget to have your money changed at the airport since you can pay only in local currency.
Best time to visit- Between November and April is the best time to visit this beach when the skies are clear blue and the season is dry.
9. Manta Point
Do you want to have a never-to-forget kind of snorkeling experience? Well, in case you do, the Manta Point is a must. What a feeling to stay still in the waters only to closely observe the innocent and huge Manta Rays! Stay very calm and still as these beautiful creatures approach you and the first feeling which you will have is completely inexplicable. Never before would you have felt the spectacular gift of mother nature so closely and minutely. Also known as Emas Thila, it is about one kilometre long and a gathering point for the mantas. Apart from manta rays you can also sight schools of masked bannerfish, squirrelfish, spangled emperor fish and also napoleons and sharks.
Location- Manta Point is just off of Baros island and an hour's sail away from Male.
Cost- The rental gear may cost up to MVR 1540 per person here.
Best time to visit- From May till November is the best time to spot these creatures since the months witness an increase in the concentration of plankton.
10. Tsunami Monument
This steel monument is a stark reminder of the nature's ultimate power on human life and the widespread decimation caused by the natural disasters. The memorial is dedicated to all those victims who lost their lives in the Asian Tsunami. The 20 steel balls around this steel structure represent the twenty atolls of the country. The nearby region has a park and the evenings here are splendid, brimming with joy and life. This beautiful building is a must when you are in Male- you can contemplate at nature's unpredictability while enjoying the breathless sunsets here.
Location- The Tsunami Monument is situated in Thin Ruh Park, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Malé.
Cost- Entry here is free of cost.
Timings- This grand monument is open on all days of the week 24×7.
11. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
This beautiful restaurant sits five metres below the surface and offers a unique dining experience. It is the world's first all-glass undersea restaurant and even earned the title of 'the world's most beautiful restaurant' by the New York Daily News in 2014. What a lovely and unforgettable experience to taste the delectable dishes in a restaurant which has panoramic 180-degree views of the rich marine life! And do not forget to click some really cool pictures before you begin eating- you definitely would want to show this magical place to your friends and family. What you take from here is a feeling etched on to your memory forever. This is a must on your bucket list- for how often do you get the unique chance to dine with sharks and fishes!
Location- This incredible restaurant is situated in Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in Alif Dhaal Atoll.
Cost- The dinner here is for MVR 6160, food here can be a bit expensive but is definitely worth every penny that you shell out.
Timings- The restaurant is open on all.days from 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM and from 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM.
12. Male Hukuru Miskiiy
This beautiful mosque features in UNESCO World Heritage Cultural List. Built in 1658 by Ibrahim Iskandar I, this architectural wonder is constructed using coral boulders of the genus Porites. It is commonly known as the Old Friday Mosque and is believed to have been built over an ancient temple. There is a blue and white round minaret adjacent to the mosque- resembling a wedding cake. You will be enthralled by the stunning intricate carvings with Quranic inscriptions on the walls and ceilings. This is a marvel of the Maldivian architecture and must not be missed. Dress appropriately here- wear full sleeves and dress covering your legs.
Location- This mosque is situated in Reethigas Hingun in Male.
Cost- Entry into this holy mosque is free of cost. Non-Muslims wishing to see inside are supposed to get permission from an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
Timings- The mosque is open from 9:30 AM to 11:15 PM (before mid prayer) or from 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM.
13. Vaadhoo Island Beach
Have you heard of bioluminescent beaches? Come to the Vaadhoo Island Beach to stargaze at the lovely beaches at night time. The phytoplanktons bathe the ocean and it seems that the entire beach awakens to a new life. The sparkling neon blue waters make for an amazing picture. This wonder of nature is a once in a lifetime experience- the shimmery sheet of water is definitely a sight to behold. These phytoplanktons glow when they are hit by external forces- oxygen, wave of air or even your hands. Since it is a biological reaction, you can get lucky. This beach is a perfect romantic getaway and a family vacationing spot.
Location- Vaadhoo Island is a 15-minute speedboat ride away from the main international airport of Malé.The Maldives has umpteen places to witness spectacular scenery. The island country has been generously blessed by nature- the stunning beaches feature in the world's best beaches. A visit to each of these above places is a must-must.
Cost- Entry here is free of cost. The speedboat ride is approximately MVR 200 plus.
Best time to visit- December to July are the best months to visit this island.