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Sightseeing in Maldives

In a bid to protect the local culture as far as possible the government has separated tourist activity from daily life in the Maldives to a large extent. So any ideas you may have of really exploring the country are sadly out. However, most visitors understand and appreciate this as being the only sustainable way of managing tourism with maintaining a fragile ecosystem and keeping a cultural identity intact.

Male

The capital city of Male is a fairly bustling place. There are new buildings coming up everywhere and construction activity keeps the city abuzz. It still manages to retain a small-town charm; with its neat streets and quaint marts, pretty in parts and people everywhere. Most travelers hop into Male only to hop out. It’s the only international airport so it is unavoidable. Take advantage of the compulsory stopover to get all your paperwork in order, to stroll at the markets and get your fix of local culture.

Attractions include the National Museum , the towering Islamic Center and Grand Friday Mosque . There are numerous small mosques like the Hukuru Miski scattered across the island: small coral buildings roofed with iron.

The Hukuru Miski is the oldest mosque in Male, and the most ornamental. A 13th century panel tells the story of the conversion to Islam in delicately carved stone.

Shop at the Singapore Bazaar. It has assorted stalls and stores selling local handicraft and pretty trinkets, hosting local men as they relax over tea. Male is a cheap place to stay in and food is fairly inexpensive too. There’s entertainment by way of the cinema which screens song-and-dance Bombay fare, and fists-and-fury Hollywood hits. Teahouses and some restaurants remain open late into the night.

Addu atoll: Seenu

The atoll, for a long time, was a base for British military operations. The locals picked up English, the ‘western’ ways and are now a formidable battalion in the travel scene! Causeways connect the more important islands and make Addu the easiest to get around and therefore the best for a taste of local culture. The island of Gan has a resort that runs out of an old military base.

Resorts

Golden sun on shimmering aqua, palm-fringed white, blue curacao and a dash of gin, oysters and moist toast-this, here, is sonata for the senses. Resorts vary from the lavishly luxurious to the basic. The accommodation is almost always whitewashed neat independent cottages, the food almost always sumptuous, the nights full of wining-dining-music and the days full of surf and scuba! There are more than 70 resorts in the Maldives. Most islands are exclusively with one resort but some aren’t. All islands have arrangements for snorkeling, diving and other sports. Some resorts have a discos and bars. Very rarely does it get better than this!


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