Art can be anything that inspires the senses. We are most familiar with visual art, but gastronomic delights can be truly artistic in the depiction of creative flavours. One medium of art we are especially familiar with is “sound art”. Not music, but actually composing artistic creations out of sounds that may or may not have any music or rhythm whatsoever. Our son, Chase (himself a veteran of a dozen visits to the Maldives with our family) is a sound artist. He recently released a work “Four Points” based on recordings around the UK shoreline. Our playlists are filled with his pieces and others he has recommended.
Most people will have enjoyed sound art in a spa where ambient pieces are often featured to paint a soothing acoustic environment. A common theme in such pieces is the sound of water. Be it gently curling seaside lapping the shore or a trickling brook or even a rainfall, something about flowing water is viscerally calming. Some resorts feature ambient recordings on their in-room sound systems. But JA Manafaru produces a live performance soundscape in their beach suites with a waterfall situated right behind the bed.
The feature reminded me of our recent stay at Shangri-La Villingili. On the second day we had quite an extensive rain shower for a few hours. But, Lori and I just flung open the French doors to the room and took a dreamy nap lying in bed with the sound of warm rain falling a few feet from us.
I will be travelling to the Maldives in December/January and am still confused about some things. I understand that in some places women are not allowed to wear bikini and need to wear a specific clothing. I would like to go to beaches where I can wear a bikini. I have interests in diving (although I have never done it before), snorkeling and am confused whether I should go to South or North Male Atoll. What are the diferences between them? Also, I am going on a budget and alone, where is the best island to stay? I know there are a lot of beautiful places, but which one is prettiest and more “tourist-like”? I would be very appreciated if you could help me.
Julia – Let me see if I can help…
“some places women are not allowed to wear bikini and need to wear a specific clothing” – There are two types of islands (a) inhabited islands, and (b) resort islands. Most visitors to the Maldives go to resort islands; however, in recent years a number guest houses have been opened on inhabited islands. Being a Muslim countries, local custom and regulation does prohibit alcohol and prok products and put restrictions on attire (eg. no bikinis) on the inhabited islands. Some inihabited islands do have ways around these restrictions like beaches segregated for foreigners to wer bikinis and boats moored offshore to serve alcohol to foreigners. Resorts islands are 100% occupied by the resort and as such they have a number of dispensations on these restrictions. On resort islands, bikinis are freely worn and alcohol is served.
“diving (although I have never done it before), snorkeling and am confused whether I should go to South or North Male Atoll. What are the differences between them?” – With regards to diving and snorkeling, there is very little difference between the North and South Male atolls. What makes more of a difference is the snorkeling on the house reef of the particular island you choose. Those vary considerably from island to island. But even if the resort’s house reef is less good, they always have boat excursions to nearby excellent reefs you can snorkel at. The diving is mostly the same across each island as the resort’s dive centre all take dive boats to the same best dive spots in the area.
I am going on a budget and alone, where is the best island to stay? – One of my favourite resorts for single travellers is Club Med Kani – http://blog.maldivescomplete.com/2016/08/01/best-of-the-maldives-singles-club-med-kani/. It has some attractively priced budget rooms as well.
“a lot of beautiful places, but which one is prettiest and more “tourist-like”?” – Not exactly sure what “tourist-like” is, but really all of the Maldives is gorgeous. And beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Some people love the big light blue lagoons. Some people love tiny droplet sized islands. Some islands have more cultivated greenery and flowers. Other resorts have a more natural look and vibe. Some islands are closer to others while some are more isolated.
I hope this helps.