Missed our Maldives event? Don’t worry. Catch up now on the full recording and see the answers to your questions…
On the week that a second UK lockdown was announced, the virtual Maldives event really lifted our spirits, transporting us to the clear waters, pristine sands and incredible culture of these islands.
We enjoyed four inspirational videos which showed us the marine life, amazing accommodation, vibrant culture and mouth-watering food of the Maldives. We listened to some brilliant presentations by our Maldives experts and all of our burning questions about visiting the islands were answered.
If you were not able to join us on the night, then don’t worry! You can catch up on all the best bits from the evening right here.
What would you recommend for solo travellers in the Maldives?
There are resorts more popular with solo travellers where you will find a sociable group of like-minded travellers, such as Biyadhoo and Diamonds Thudufushi both popular with solo travellers and divers. Biyadhoo and Reethi Faru are a couple of examples offering reduced room rates for solo travellers too. In general I would suggest avoiding peak season dates and school holidays to benefit from some great prices and offers.
There are a number of activities that solo travellers can enjoy in the Maldives. For instance, there are various water sports you can partake in including paddle-boarding, jet-skiing and surfing. Those looking for a spiritual adventure can find plenty of wellness and relaxation activities. There are spas catering to a diverse range of preferences. For the gastronomers, different cuisines are available throughout the country. The simple things like reading a book by the beach, swimming with manta rays and whale sharks, watching the sunset and yoga during sunrise are also things that we would recommend for solo travellers.
Where are the best places to go diving and snorkelling?
The Maldives is outstanding for diving and snorkelling whichever resort you choose. Many resorts have PADI endorsed dive centres who will advise and guide you to the best dive sites in the area. For snorkelling, there are also many resorts with great house reefs enabling you to snorkel straight from the beach/jetty. Just a few examples are Kandolhu, Diamonds Athuruga, Maafushivaru, Milaidhoo Island and Biyadhoo.
Some other diving and snorkelling hotspots are:
South Ari Atoll is one of the best places for spotting whale sharks. The sightings are excellent all year round, with a peak time from August to November. Manta rays can also be found during the northeast monsoon from around October to May.
Dhigurah in South Ari Atoll is one of the best places where you can enjoy a snorkelling or diving trip with whale sharks.The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, a research-based conservation charity dedicated to studying whale sharks and fostering community-focused conservation initiatives, is also based here.
Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is a feeding hotspot for manta rays. The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is between June and early October. Scuba diving is no longer permitted here but you can always go swimming or snorkelling amidst these gentle giants and get up close and personal with whale sharks.
Addu Atoll is an exceptional scuba diving spot where you can spot almost everything from manta rays to eagle rays to turtles and more.
In North Male’ Atoll, Meeru Island Resort & Spa’s Turtle Reef, is one of the best locations to spot turtles.
Can you travel independently to the Maldives? Is it easy to book hotels and get around independently?
Yes, you can travel to Maldives independently. It is easy to book hotels and get around independently. You can check the tentative list of tourist establishments open on the Ministry of Tourism website.
When is the best time to go to see whale sharks?
The sightings are excellent all year round but during the summer months is the best time, with a peak time from August to November.
What is the weather like at the end of September?
Like anywhere the weather patterns are never guaranteed, and I would recommend the Maldives as a year-round destination. Traditionally November to April is the ‘dry’ season but having travelled in September, temperatures are warm day and night with some humidity. Even during the monsoon season in the Maldives weather is generally warm with some showers.
How has coral bleaching affected the reefs in the Maldives, particularly for shallow areas where snorkelers would go?
With rising sea temperatures, Maldives’ coral reefs increasingly show signs of bleaching resulting in the reduction of fish stocks and has vastly impacted the colourful nature of our marine life. We do have many beautiful snorkelling areas in Maldives but if we do not try to actively work together to reduce the effects of climate change, we worry that it will have more severe consequences in the future. However, snorkelers still enjoy to the fullest as there are still many areas left to explore and we also have many coral planting programs in several resorts to help preserve the environment. In a report carried out by the Marine Research Center in 2016, it stated that despite the high impact of coral bleaching, a number of sites were reported to have been defined as “hope spots” which warrant further attention and care through follow ups and protection.
Which island is best to go to which might have other activities for those that don't like diving?
I would suggest one of the larger resorts with more facilities and activities going on. Reethi Faru has a wealth of water sport activities including canoes, windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite surfing, jetskis, waterskiing, seabobs and more. On land there is a gym and racket sports complex, and a beautiful spa. The resorts also offers an impressive marine conservation programme including coral restoration and regeneration, manta and turtle ID programmes.
Kuramathi Resorts in the Ari Atoll is one of the larger resorts with a host of activities including numerous water sports, snorkelling, tennis, spa, yoga, an eco-centre plus a range of day trips for fishing and local island visits. If health and wellbeing is your priority, Kagi Maldives is focused on all aspects of health and nutrition.
All the islands and resorts come with a variety of activities excluding watersports or diving. Local guesthouse islands offer a number of experiences such a taste of the local food, mingling with the locals, island-hopping, fishing, excursions and many others. There are islands famous for its cultural heritage such as Utheemu which hosts the Utheemu Ganduvaru. Biosphere reserves are also in Baa Atoll, Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah.
What are the opportunities to meet the local people and see the local culture?
There are day visits to local islands where you can meet the local people and see life away from the resorts. The city of Male is also a very different experience as it is busy and built up. Here you can visit the local fish market, coffee shops and restaurants where the locals go.
Guesthouse islands are the most ideal islands to go to if you would like to meet the local people and experience our culture. We can assure you that every island will be glad to host you and give you a warm welcome. The locals are generous enough to invite you over for meal times and let you participate in enjoyable activities with them.
Is it possible to sleep under the stars in the Maldives as a one-night experience?
Yes, of course. Sleeping in a bubble-tent can be arranged in Finolhu or Amilla Fushi which feels a bit like camping under the stars. And you can also visit a sandbank and have your own private getaway, sleeping on a blanket or tent under the stars.
During the event, we got a virtual taste of the food of the Maldives. Now, you can get a real taste of the Maldives by having a go at cooking this traditional recipe for yourself...
1 cup smoked tuna or canned tuna chunks (diced or sliced)
1 cup coconut – grated
1 scotch bonnet (githeyo mirus) – finely chopped
½ cup onion – finely sliced
½ cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
1: Squash the onions, and scotch bonnet with the lemon juice and salt.
2: Add the tuna and mix well.
3: Mix in the coconut.
4: Serve with roshi or farata
As always, the chat box was alive with thoughts and comments from the audience, so we thought we would share some of your comments here...
Thank you so much, a lovely way to spend an evening. Look forward to booking our holiday soon!
Thank you so much. Great speakers and very inspiring.
Thanks to all the speakers, a very informative evening.
Thank you, can’t wait to go soon!
Thanks so much for the informative event. Really thought Maldives was a diving place. So nice to hear it is snorkel friendly!
Thank you, it was great and especially informative for a single traveller.
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!