Twenty-six atolls or ring-shaped islands sprawled across the glimmering and crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean – Maldives is a paradise above the sea for many tourists around the globe. Surrounded by the sea and beautiful shores, it is one of the top destinations for swimming and diving visited by nature-loving travelers. This humble yet majestic nation boasts nothing but the magnificence of all of its natural resources.
The climate in Maldives is dictated by its geography. Since it is surrounded by a large body of water, Maldives is humid, sunny and very tropical – suited for a perfect summer vacation.
Malé – City of Lovely Contrasts
Malé is the capital of Maldives and serves as the hub for commerce and trading with the other neighboring nations. It is densely populated yet remains notable mainly for the ambience of a laid-back island life. Despite the developments happening here and there, one can see that Malé has preserved its culture and religion evident in its colorful and historic mosques placed side-by-side with other infrastructures.
- Old Friday Mosque
Going around the city isn’t a boring thing in Malé. There are a lot of places to visit. And one of which is the oldest mosque in the country – the Old Friday Mosque.
Dated way back 1656, this beautiful structure made from coral stones is the best gift given to the Islamic faithfuls of the country. Its walls are intricately decorated by Quranic scriptures chiseled artistically in every square inch. Even though its roofing and other walls are now covered by metal panels, the interior of the mosque remained true to the beginnings of Islam in Maldives in the 13th century.
- National Art Gallery
The city tour wouldn’t be complete without knowing this nation’s culture and art. The best gateway to know Maldivian art and culture is by visiting the National Art Gallery Museum in Malé.
One corner of the Sultan Park houses the Museum Building, which holds the National Library and various cultural centers. Located also in the area is an exhibition space which regularly displays Maldivian art. You can see different art produced in the country from traditional visual painting to conceptual works and photography.
- Produce Market
To complete your Maldivian experience, you need to go to Malé’s produce market and try their locally grown crops that are exclusively used for Maldivian dishes.
The Maldivian palate is comprised of two flavors – Southeast Asian and Indian. Their authentic cuisine uses coconut and curry spices which are both Southeast Asian and Indian influences. Since Maldives is a nation in the midst of the sea, one of their staple items in the table is seafood.
Roshi is a Maldivian flat bread similar with the pita bread, but is very close in semblance to chapatti and roti bread of India. It uses plain flour instead of Atta, although it can be made with any type of flour you prefer. Roshi is usually paired with a parfait-like tuna mixture called Mashuni prepared with coconut milk. You also shouldn’t miss one of their best dishes called Maldivian tuna curry which is perfect with steamed rice.
Maldives Dhoni Cruise
Nothing beats the aquamarine and turquoise hues of the crystal waters of Maldives. The water is enchanting and calm that getting lost in its beauty just by looking at it is inevitable. Now let us put the white sands and the blue sky in the equation to make a perfect getaway.
By going on a cruise with the traditional Dhoni, you’ll get to visit five other atolls as you circle back to Malé. You can experience the biodiversity of every atoll as you dive with the other tourists. You can also see the beauty of the sea down below.
After diving, you can walk along the beach as you feel the relaxing breeze of the Indian Ocean. And who will forget the picturesque sceneries that are Instagram-able and blog-worthy?