Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, just a stones throw away from Sri Lanka – the Maldives is one of the most naturally incredible places on Earth.
A haven for honeymooners, beach bums, surfies, underwater explorers and anyone who has spent too much time watching National Geographic documentaries, the Maldives really does have something for everyone.
So what are the experiences you simply cannot miss when exploring this tiny country made up of close to 2000 islands?
1. CATCH A SEAPLANE
Flying over the picturesque atolls and island chains is an experience that no trip to the Maldives is complete without. The best way to do this? Seaplanes!
Not just incredible for the sights they provide, taking off from and landing in the middle of the ocean is pretty amazing. It isn’t every day you can be inside a plane plunging towards the sea and not feel dread!
Click here to read more about seaplane logistics and planning a trip to the Maldives.
2. SLEEP OVER THE OCEAN
Spending the night surrounded by picture perfect water is one of the most amazing accommodation experiences one can have in the Maldives.
There is nothing quite like falling asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping around underneath you to assist with getting a good nights sleep. Not only that, most of these villas have direct access to the ocean below, so you will never have to go too long without having an amazing swim.
3. KAYAK AROUND THE ATOLLS
Jumping in a kayak is one of the best ways to explore the Maldives. It is easy to kayak around entire islands in the relatively calm ocean waters thanks to the protection of the atolls, and it is a top notch way to go wildlife spotting. You may even get lucky enough to spot a dolphin or two!
This is also one of the most budget friendly experiences you can have on a resort island – with kayaks often free to use or available for a very small fee.
Click here to read more about sunrise kayaking in the Maldives.
4. GET UNDERWATER
Visiting the Maldives and not going snorkelling would honestly be such a waste of a trip! With perpetually warm waters, calm oceans and more marine life than you can poke a stick at, why on earth would you not want to dive headfirst into the water and explore as much as humanly possible?
With snorkel gear I rented for $12.99 USD a day I was able to go on heaps of self guided snorkel trips and in the process, I swum alongside sea turtles, stingrays, moray eels, sea snakes, lobsters, bioluminescent plankton and more fish than I knew existed.
Grab those flippers, pull on a mask and don your snorkel – you are gonna want to see what is waiting for you!
5. GET UNDERWATER… BUT DO IT AT NIGHT
As much as I adored all the times I snorkelled in the Maldives, night snorkelling was a special experience, one like no other. All you need is a waterproof torch and a little bravery to do a Maldivian night snorkel and it really is worth the effort.
Reef sharks and stingrays come out to play, lobsters wave hello and wildlife that had been shy during the daylight hours waste no time in coming out to say hello.
It may seem scary but it really isn’t. Get out there and do it!
Click here to read more about night snorkelling in the Maldives.
6. SEARCH FOR WHALE SHARKS
This is one experience that unfortunately eluded me during my travels in the Maldives. The whale sharks just weren’t in the mood to come out and play. Despite this, I hung onto the above phone for the entire time just in case the call came through to alert me to their presence.
So why include something in this list I have not personally experienced and therefore cannot attest to?
Well, of the many folks I met in the Maldives, every single person who had been lucky enough to get up close and personal with the gentle giants of the sea could not stop raving about how incredible it was.
It is super high on my bucket list, and not being able to cross it off on this Maldives trip just means that I will have to return to the Maldives again one day!
7. CATCH A SUNRISE AND A FEW SUNSETS
Dusk and dawn are arguably the most beautiful times of day anywhere in the world. Such a sentiment rings especially true in the Maldives.
Every day is different, the skies sometimes a spate of burnt orange, sometimes a canary yellow and other times, a swirl of pinks and purples so calming and dazzling all at once.
Sunsets are easy to catch, but sunrise chasing requires early rises and pulling yourself from slumber and from bed much earlier than anyone would like; but if you can bring yourself to start the day a few hours earlier than normal, the Maldivian skies will certainly reward you for your efforts.
8. EXPERIENCE A STORM
Most of the time, the Maldives fits a pretty standard expectation of paradise. Blue skies, clear water, warm weather – on paper this is the stock standard for a beach heaven.
However, every now and then, the Maldivian weather gods decided to shake things up and throw a big storm or monsoon into the mix. Now this may sound like a disaster, but after experiencing one myself, I can honestly say that such an occurrence is nothing short of glorious.
A monsoonal storm brings in warm rains, stunning cloud formations and somehow makes the water appear brighter than ever. Such a storm is a sight to behold and truly magical to witness.
One can never really predict the weather and thus planning to experience one of these weather events would prove impossible, but if you are lucky enough to time your visit with one, please embrace this break from the typical ‘paradise mould’ and soak up every second.
Click here to read more about experiencing a monsoon in the Maldives.