Best of the Maldives: Maldives Discovery Centre – SAii Lagoon / Hard Rock / The Crossroads

Hard Rock - Crossroads Maldives discovery center 1

If you want an overview of the Maldives destination with more an experience than a guide book, then Hard Rock and SAii Lagoon (actually sited at The Crossroads):

  • “The Maldives have long been the crossroads of the world, where cultures meet, and where explorers, traders and pioneers from a myriad of different cultures have weighed anchor and helped to define the extraordinary culture and heritage of the islands. This unique attraction space, covering 500 square metres, uses stunning designs and interactive displays to explore the Maldives rich history, marine biodiversity and how local arts and crafts have shaped the islands’ unique cultural identity. This unforgettable educational experience works closely with the local community to promote their way of life and showcase the handicrafts of this remarkable island nation.”

The exhibit is a proper professional museum with slick presentation and exhibits of everything above and below the water. We received a tour of this interactive and artistic gallery by its manager Iyran. It is so packed with educational displays that even local Maldivian school children visit it.

The Crossroad - Maldives Discovery Centre

Best of the Maldives Online: Dhivehi Lessons – Maldives Secrets

  

If you do find yourself staying for an extended period or are just looking for some other project to embrace in the final months of lockdown, then why not learn the local language of the Maldives, Dhivehi? I reached out to the stars of this fun and helpful vlog, Kate and Hambe, who gave Maldives Complete an exclusive interview about their project:

  • What prompted you to make the Dhivehi lesson video?I personally couldn’t find a strong source for learning Dhivehi online, so I thought, why not create online lessons with both a fluent Dhivehi speaker and non-Dhivehi speaker? I thought this would ease the learning and through bite-sized and theme-focused lessons that are around 5 minutes each, we hope to provide a quick and fun learning experience!
  • What’s your favourite Dhivehi word or phrase? – I like the phrase “iru ossey manzaru varah reethi” which means “the sunset is very beautiful”.
  • Can Kate read Dhivehi too? – I am learning how to read, it takes more time and practice. We would potentially start writing lessons in the future too.
  • Are there any special sounds in the Dhivehi language (that might be a bit unfamiliar to a new speaker)?Not that I can think of. Most of the syllables / vowels are the same sound and it is quite a basic language with little complications.
  • What do you do for your day jobs?Hambe and Kate are both working as freelancers, in the aim of putting aside enough time for Maldives Secrets to truly blossom as tourism starts to pick up in the Maldives over the next few months. Hambe is a musician and Kate works in Marketing and by being based in Hulhumale, they have the flexibility of being able to travel easily to all islands in the Maldives.
  • What are your top 3 tips for choosing a guesthouse? / What is your top tip for choosing a guesthouse?The Island: When choosing a guesthouse, it’s important to understand the island you’ll be staying on. With thousands of islands in the Maldives, it may seem challenging to pick the right one… but trust me, there is definitely a local island that will suit your needs. Head to Dhigurah for the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with whale sharks, or explore the lush agricultural farms of Thoddhoo… Or go to the eco-friendly paradise of Hanimadhoo in the very north of The Maldives and do yoga every morning on the beach. These experiences are tailored to the island you’ll be staying on… so pick wisely!
  • How well do people who run guesthouses speak English? Usually very well, Maldivians in general tend to have a good level of English as it is a requirement to learn it at school.
  • What are the most useful phrases when staying at a guesthouse or visiting a local island?
    • What type of food would you like?: Koaccheh kaan beynumi?
    • I want to try Maldivian food: Aharen kaan beynumi dhivehi keun
    • No spice: Miroos naala
    • A little spice: Kuda kuda koh kulhikoh
    • A lot of spice: Varah kulhikoh
    • Can we have the bill?: Bill genes dheebah?
    • Where are the toilets?: Koba fahana?
    • Food is great: Varah meeru
    • I need some water: Aharen fen fodheh beynun
    • Thank you for the service: Varah bodah shukuriyyaa
    • Thank you!: Shukuriyyaa!
    • You’re welcome!: Marhaabaa!

   

Best of the Maldives: COVID Quarantine Contingency – Olhuveli/Iru Veli

Sun Soyam - quarantine proection

While yesterday’s long awaiting press conference by the British government on the COVID lockdown roadmap didn’t provide a clear reassurance that foreign travel will resume in May, the overall gist was extremely positive. The Prime Minister said he remained “hopeful” about sticking to the roadmap, but also admonished everyone to not “underestimate the challenges”. A further update is expected next week and much speculation exists around a return to the “traffic light” system of different protocols for different countries. Fortunately, the Maldives is one of the destinations that meet the criteria for the “green” travel corridor with its high penetration of vaccination and low/declining incidence of COVID.

If you want to play it extra safe for fear of the rules changing mid-holiday or some other eventuality hitting which might frustrate your timely return, then Sun Siyam has introduced a quarantine guarantee at its Olhuveli and Iru Veli resorts. Maldives Insider resports:

  • Sun Siyam Resorts, the luxury Maldivian hotel and resort brand, has introduced a first-of-its-kind offer at two of its resorts: free quarantine for Indians staying at Sun Siyam Olhuveli and Sun Siyam Iru Veli. The offer, available for stays in March and April, will enable Indian travellers to visit the two resorts without having to worry about extra costs involved in mandatory quarantine if they test positive for Covid-19. Most airlines and destinations require a negative PCR test result, so tourists have to undergo testing before their departure from the Maldives. If they test positive, they have to quarantine for 14 days. In cases where guests test positive for Covid-19 during their stay at Sun Siyam Olhuveli or Sun Siyam Iru Veli, they don’t have to worry about paying for their quarantine; the resort will cover accommodation and other necessary expenses for the entire duration of government-mandated quarantine.”

   

Best of the Maldives: CIP Arrival – Nautilus

Nautilus - CIP arrival

The Nautilus is the only resort to offer all guests a “CIP” (Commercially Important Person) arrival provide welcoming right at their parked private chartered jet or international commercial flight at Male airport. These guests also get to relax in the VIP lounge while immigration and baggage are organised avoiding the queues at the immigration hall.

Best of the Maldives: Snorkel Weddings – Oprefooshi

snorkel weddings

Maldives resort Oprefooshi has combined the top two reasons to visit this bucket list destination – honeymoons and snorkeling – into a single, once-in-a-lifetime experience: Snorkel Wedding.

Couples are provided with a Snorkel-Guide/Wedding-Officiant. Unlike underwater weddings (which have been conducted at various resort), snorkeling allows the bride and groom to share their vows by actually speaking to each other (while treading water). Why have a seaside wedding when you could be *in* the sea?? And you don’t require special training and certification to opt for this nautical nuptials (in fact, if you are a weak swimmer, the property has a special wedding dress with buoyancy aids sewn into the garment (which also add a special buxom look for your wedding photos).

We can fully appreciate the romance of the house reef venue as Lori and I celebrated our anniversary snorkeling (see photo below).

romantic snorkeling