Best of the Maldives: Largest Arbor – Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani - bat arbor

Holy Foliage Batman!

A number of resorts create arbors for a sheltered tunnel of greenery (or sometimes flower) to promenade through. At 200 metres, Soneva Jani’s is twice as long as Reethi Faru’s which was the longest we’ve seen to date. But Soneva Jani’s offers not just a flora display, but a popular fauna perch as well for the flying foxes. The fruit bats at one of Lori’s favourite Maldives creatures and she loves watching them fly past of crawl along the tree branches. Unfortunately, most of the food they are foraging for are high up so you can’t get to see their cute little faces that easily. At Soneva Jani, the extended arbor provides the same appealing canopy for these critters so they can be seen closely scampering along it. And when they want to fly away, they just fly through tunnel just past you. It’s like giant bat cave of greenery.

Best of the Maldives: Ornate Eagle Ray – OZEN Maadhoo


  

The best of the “Best of the Maldives” posts are about discoveries that a rare, exciting and “wow”. And you don’t come any more so than the Ornate Eagle Ray we watched swimming in the water villa lagoon of OZEN Maadhoo. It was a fitting crescendo to a superb 2022 Tour. As Lori went out to the deck of our water villa she spotted this fellow cruising by. She grabbed her phone and followed him to the end of the jetty until she could get a good angle to shoot this footage. This was the first time we had ever seen this spectacularly mottled ray in over two decades of snorkeling, diving and jetty strolling in the Maldives. The Maadhoo Dive Manager Udo Goergen said in his many years there, he had only seen them a few times.

  

Best of the Maldives: 2 Channel Reef – OBLU Helengeli

OBLU Helengeli - 2 channels

I’ve already elaborated on the benefits of a channel house reef with its flow from the open ocean to the inner atoll often providing a highway for big creatures. OBLU by Atmosphere (Helengeli) features TWO channel house reefs as its extended shapes extends from the atoll edge into the inside. It’s rare find due to plateaus taking reefs far from island and making them less accessible.

Best of the Maldives: Baked Alaska – Fihalhohi

Baked Alaska is quite simply my favourite dessert. It sits in the pantheon of luxurious sweets. Despite its ice cream so suited for the hot climate and being one of the titans of luxurious sweets, I was surprised to not come across it in the Maldives before. And yet, the humble, value-priced Fihalhohi was the resort to feature it in my visits. I did do a bit of due diligence research and a Google search found a TripAdvisor review in 2017 reporting baked Alaska at Halaveli (it wasn’t there when we visited in 2013) as well as a picture of one at Outrigger Konotta in 2019.

Best of the Maldives: Heritage Curation – Cora Cora

Cora Cora - curation

  • “A Thousand Years of Receive Visitors – To Change and Be Changed: Maldivian history is defined by travel and transformation. The archipelago’s location has historically made it an easy discover for settlers from the subcontinent. Their arrival throughout the millennia alongside the bloom of trade across the Indian Ocean, resulted in interactions responsible for embedding the objects her in The Dutch Onion – and producing today’s diverse Maldivian communities.”

I already written the about museum on Maamagili, but the work continues under the new management of Cora Cora. The extensive collection of heritage is not just a showpiece assembling a few artifacts for the cultural curiosity of the guests, but instead an ongoing research, excavation, restoration project that continues to literally unearth treasures from the Maldives’ distant past.

The work is conducted at their Collection Centre where they continue to examine and catalogue pieces found on the island. During my visit, experts in ancient Chinese porcelain visiting to the resort with the primary objective of examining the trove of artifacts. The resort is still moving an ancient mosque uncovered during construction and is reconstructing it. In fact, a entirely new bathing tank found and excavated when the Cora Cora property was developed.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on some of the intriguing details of this archaeological work.

Cora Cora - musuem