Maldive IslandsAuthor: Kim S
Date of Trip: October 2002
The Maldive Islands are a group of over 1000 coral atoll islands located 300 miles off the southwest coast of India. The islands are small and usually house only one resort per island. We spent a week at Club Med's Kani Village on the island of Kanifinolhu.
The islands have wonderful white powdery sand beaches and the water is a beautiful tourquoise blue. The main emphasis is water sports. Scuba diving is amazing. The definite highlight of our trip was seeing a school of manta rays with wingspans exceeding 8-10 feet. There is also an amazing variety of tropical fish and soft corals in every color of the rainbow.
There are resorts in every budget range. Most include at least 2 meals/day in the cost of accommodations. Food quality can vary because of scarcity of ingredients. Most food is imported from the Middle East. Be sure to check into the resort thoroughly as many cater to a specific nationality such as German or Italian. Although the majority of the Club Med guests are French or Japanese, there were guests from all over the world and the staff is fluent in many languages. The activities at the resort were also conducted in several languages, including English.
The Maldives are a Muslim nation and alcohol is strictly prohibited outside of the resorts and cannot be brought into the country at all. Aircraft are not even allowed to serve alcohol on board until they off the ground and out of Maldivian air space. All luggage is x-rayed on entry into the Maldives and alcohol is confiscated and returned to you on departure. We met a French couple who had 2 bottles of champagne they had brought for the anniversary confiscated when they arrived. Because of the scarcity of alcohol, it is very expensive at the resorts.
Best Way to Get Around:
All transportation in the Maldives is via dhoni (local boats which may be motor boats or sail boats) or via seaplane. The Maldivian government has tried to protect the traditional way of life led by most Maldivians and as a result has discouraged interaction between tourists and the local population. Visitors are free to visit Male, the capital city and to take excursions from their resort to specific islands that cater to tourism. Visitors who want to visit islands not offered as excursions by their resort must have written government permission.
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