Given its distance from home, there’s a lot that Filipinos don’t know about Maldives aside from it being a luxury getaway destination. There is so much to know about this Islamic island nation but what the country is best known for comes down to two things: snorkeling and the vibrant local cuisine.
It may take days, even weeks, to explore all that Maldives has to offer. To give you a taste of this island paradise, we’ve planned a day trip that shows you the best of Maldives in under 24 hours!
Morning: Walking Tour and Food Shopping
In Maldives, it’s all too easy to be lulled by the cooling ocean winds, and vacationers can be forgiven for starting their day a little later.
9 or 10 in the morning is an ideal hour to venture out and shop for ingredients for a delicious lunch at Male’s many local markets. Maldives is a cluster of 1,190 small islands in the Indian Ocean, so it’s no surprise that some of the best seafood can be bought here: marlin, swordfish, sailfish, and yellowfin tuna. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see local fishermen unloading the latest catch off their iconic fishing boats, or dhonis.
Local markets are also a good place to nibble on local dishes and fruits that may not be offered in high-end restaurants or resorts. (Mas Huna with chapati bread, anyone?)
This is best done with the know-how of a local guide, so ask around for a reputable agency or book a walking tour online before your trip to Maldives!
Noon: Lunch with the Locals
There’s a difference between Maldivian cuisine as served at a resort and that eaten by locals on a daily basis. Luckily, there are available tours that allow travelers to prepare and enjoy authentic cuisine together with a local family.
Maldivian dishes like garudhiya (tuna fish soup) or kulhi boakibaa (spicy fish cake) are light but spicy, and made from readily available base ingredients like fresh fish, coconut, vegetables and rice. Of course, home-cooked meals are made all the more unique by family recipes or special blends of local seasoning.
This is one of the best ways to truly experience Maldives because it offers firsthand experience of both local cuisine and Muslim culture. For Pinoys who live in a largely Catholic country, it’s a chance to experience a lifestyle that is completely different from our own.
The ocean breezes of Maldives may offset its tropical climate but the heat can still beat down especially during summer afternoons.
A dip in the ocean is one of the best ways to cool down. Many of the best dive sites now have resorts built around or near them, such as the Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon, which draws tourists with what many consider the finest house reef in the country, complete with a small shipwreck.
However, there is no shortage of available dive sites or snorkeling tours, even for vacationers not staying at resorts. Nearly every island in Maldives has its own dive center and “house reef”, and there are specific atolls (groups of islands) you can visit by seaplane or speedboat that boast unique marine life or larger coral formations.
For instance, the South Ari Atoll has a year-round population of whale sharks, the Rhasdoo Atoll is a good place to spot Hammerhead sharks, and the Athuraga reef is a popular spot for viewing manta rays.
Want to win an all-expense paid trip to Maldives, complete with two full-day tour packages?
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