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Maldives beach holidays, ringed by coral and blue lagoons
I know I have uttered the word ‘paradise’ in some of my recent beach blogs, but there is no denying that the Maldives is at the top of my list when it comes to the ultimate in beach holiday paradise! The best way to see the Maldives in all its glory is from the air. Flying into Malé airport you get your first incredible glimpse of the beauty that’s in store. Atolls and islands dotted in the shimmering warm waters of the Indian Ocean as far as the eye can see. This is an unforgettable view, unlike any other. The Maldives can be found 250 miles south west of India and are a chain of islands divided into the North and South Atoll. Atolls are ring shaped coral reefs, which enclose a lagoon. The 26 Atolls of the Maldives have 1190 islands around them. Travelling in the Maldives is either by boat, seaplane or barefoot on the sand, all three are a great novelty. Welcome to paradise!
If you are looking for the ultimate Maldivian escape then Conrad Rangali Island will fulfil all your needs. The resort is out of this world and only accessible via a 30-minute seaplane flight. Spread over two islands, accommodation includes a range of water villas set on stilts. The Sunset Water Villas feature glass floors in the living room and a rotating bed so you can view the sun as it sets. These villas take the saying ‘a room with a view’ to a whole new level. A sundeck with a Jacuzzi, private infinity pool and butler service complete this luxurious dwelling. The King Water Villa has a private plunge pool and have steps straight into the lagoon, this is what dreams are made of.
The award-winning spa includes couples treatment rooms, with private steam rooms and saunas and is described as a ‘resort within a resort’. It has its own restaurant and 21 water villas.
Rangali’s two islands have 11 restaurants and bars, one being the incredible Ithaa undersea restaurant. This all glass restaurant is set five metres under the water. Have a cocktail or indulge in the four-course lunch menu while you watch the marine life swim by, an unforgettable dining experience.
It is not just the beautiful views from the air that will take your breath away, go snorkelling or diving to experience the beauty of the underwater world. Explore the coral reefs and watch the vibrantly coloured fish swim by. The island has two resident manta ray that live in the lagoon, so look out for them too. Manta Point, a reef, which is a 10 minute boat ride from the resort, is inhabited by rays and can be explored on dive and snorkel trips. The watersports centre has a variety of equipment including sailing boats, wakeboards, and canoes. The dive centre hosts daily dive trips and has certified instructors. Day trips including dolphin, whale, and shark spotting can be enjoyed from here and you can also visit the fishing village of Mandhoo.
For something a little different head to Malé, the capital city of the Maldives. It is a Muslim state so it is advisable to cover up when you visit the city. For ladies this means wearing tops with sleeves and trousers or garments that come to your knees or below. Its an interesting island to explore and is completely different to any expectations you may have of the Maldives. Covered in high-rise buildings and more mopeds than you could ever imagine, it is a great place to people watch. There are some good restaurants such as Aioli and The Sea House. The Friday Mosque, and local markets are worth a visit; there is a local fish market too.
If you want to visit a tiny uninhabited island I recommend Kuda Bandos, being so small you can walk around it in about ten minutes. Look out for dolphins on the 30-minute boat ride over from Malé. Snorkelling here is fabulous, follow the reef out and you will come to a magnificent drop off into the deep blue beyond. Explore the colourful coral reefs full of beautiful fish. If you are lucky you will get to see turtles, reef sharks and manta ray. With all this on offer you might never want to go home!
Tropical Sky client Kimberly Murray says: “It is necessary to take a seaplane transfer to many resorts in the Maldives and the bonus is that there is actually no better way to see the archipelago. I boarded my 45 minute flight from Male, just outside the International Airport and was a little surprised that the luggage was simply passed into the back of the very small plane and the door just pulled shut. Taking off and landing was far smoother than I thought it would be, with the water providing a somewhat solid surface for the water-skiers below. Flying over the Maldives gives you an amazing view point, with amazing turquoise seas and virgin islands dotted around. So when travelling to the Maldives, I would consider choosing a resort you will need to reach by seaplane.”