Must See

Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (Baa) Atoll

Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (Baa) is one of the few places where traditional arts and crafts are still practised in the Maldives, and is home to five resorts.

Malé

Although most visitors just pass through the Maldives' capital - it's the island on which the airport is located - on the way to their resort island, it also has some interesting character of its own. Good-quality local handicrafts are sold in its shops, while it is also has some bustling fish and vegetable markets for those wanting to sample local fare.

The National Museum in Sultan's Park houses some impressive artefacts, including Sultanese thrones and palanquins. Male also has more than 20 mosques, the most beautiful is the 17th-century golden-domed Hukuru, or Friday Mosque.

Beach Life

The country's abundance of tropical, palm tree-lined islands have made it one of the most desired-after destinations in the world and for many it symbolises the very image of island paradise. Soft white beaches, tall coconut trees, warm turquoise waters and uninhabited 'Robinson Crusoe' beaches are the picture-postcard appeal.

Diving

Diving and snorkelling is one of the biggest draws of the islands, with vast numbers of tropical fish swimming about the reefs. But that's just the start of it - turtles, napoleon wrasse, mantas and morays, whale sharks, nurse sharks, hammerheads and rays. All of the resorts have professional, fully-equipped dive schools offering a range of courses, and many will also offer reef sightseeing trips on glass-bottomed boats.

Some of the best dive sites include:

  • Banana Reef, where strong currents make for an exceptionally abundant marine life, with reef sharks, bannerfish and oriental sweetlips
  • Bandos, with its excellent diving school and its aptly-named Shark Point attraction
  • Embudu Village, which has a house reef as well as two wrecks, caves and drop offs
  • Felidhu (Vaavu) Atoll has some of the best diving in the entire archipelago
  • Guraidhoo Corner, powerful currents mean that this is one for experienced divers, who will be rewarded with large fish, including eagle rays, grey reef sharks, sailfish and large snappers
  • Kanifinolhu, which boasts some of the best inside reefs in the country
  • Kuda Rah Thila, good for less experienced divers
  • Kurumba, where colourful fish in the lagoon eat out of your hand
  • Maldives Victory Wreck (which sank in 1981), lying on the western side of Hulule island (because of strong currents, this dive is for experienced divers only)
  • Mushimasmingili Thila (Shark Thila), located in the northern section of the Ari Atoll, and renowned for its abundance in fish (notably grey reef shark), giant snappers and tropical reef fish
  • North Baros, which has one side full of corals and a nearby shallow beach
  • Vaadhu, a diving paradise; and immediately south of the Malé Atoll Atoll

Visitors should bear in mind that the Maldives have a strict marine and reef conservation policy and there are severe penalties imposed for anyone disrespecting the environment.

Fishing

The Maldives have some of the world's best fishing grounds, and many resorts offer fishing trips on modern speedboats equipped for big game fishing. Trips often end with a barbecue at the resort with the day's catch being cooked and eaten. As a conservation measure, sport fishing is confined to the tag and release method.

The hunting of large fish such as the whale shark is strictly prohibited, as is the fishing of berried and small lobster, turtle, giant clam, Napoleon wrasse, conch and black coral.