“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.
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
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.”
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.
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).
Happy International Mermaid Day. From the destination where all the international mermaids migrate to. If you want to join the school of mermaids, then Pullman Maamuta is offering a mermaid school:
“You can live your fantasea of becoming a mermaid too! At Pullman Maldives we like to think outside the box and create unique experiences, that’s why our super talented Diving Center team has created this exclusive opportunity to learn how to become a mermaid while you’re on vacation with us.”
No contracts with sea witches are required either.
The dhoni is one of the iconic images of this iconic destination. In particular, its scimitar-like flared bow sprit give it a tell-tale aesthetic signature which lends itself to all sorts of artistic application. The latest example I have found is Rahaa’s Dhirun Bar. I especially appreciate the rooftop deck which simulates the flat-top perch on covered dhonis that we enjoy sunbathing on with an extra bit of perspective across the blue tapestry of the Laccadive vistas. I also appreciate when resorts put a bit of extra care into designing their bar areas since chilling with a tropical cocktail is such an essential and memorable part of any Maldives stay (and as such, I have added a “Bar” tag).
The Maldives’ shallow atolls might make for spectacular lagoons and particularly accessible snorkelling, but they were nightmarish obstacle courses for the seafaring trading ships of plying the East-West trade centuries ago. While the wooden vessels have long since rotted away, more modern ones have hit these lurking reefs plenty of times in recent years. In fact, enough to fill a book, “Shipwrecks of the Maldives” by Peter Collings. Not only is it full of dozens of wrecks that I wasn’t aware of (despite having nearly 2000 site in the Dive Site database), but most of them are meticulously researched about their history and background.
I was fortunate to catch up with author Peter Collings who provided a bit more background on his work for Maldives Complete:
What got you into wreck diving? – During the early expeditions in southern Egypt (1995), I brought together divers from all agencies-with a common goal to explore new locations looking for shipwrecks and unearthing their stories. Endorsed by the Red Sea Association, it soon became an international club which included divers from all walks of life with very useful skill sets, and non divers within the archival services of the world. It became the leading body of wreck research, and still is, in Egypt. To date the team have located, identified and surveyed 34 of the wrecks dived in Egyptian waters.
When did you first visit the Maldives? – 1995.
How long did the book take to write? – Three weeks.
Are there any aspects of wrecks in the Maldives that are a bit different to wrecks in other parts of the world? – Most wrecks there are deliberately sunk for tourists.
After 20+ years of travelling to the Maldives, I’m regularly surprised to find somewhat simple things that I’ve never seen before. The latest was our transfer to SAii Lagoon and Hard Rock on a catamaran speed boat. On one hand, cats are much more stable than mono-hulls, so you would think that they would be a prominent choice to provide the smoothest final leg to your Male atoll resort. But, they are more expensive so I can understand resorts choosing the lower cost vessel. One of their biggest advantages is capacity and for smaller resorts, you often don’t get more than a few folks transferring per arrival so that space is probably not worth it. But SAii Lagoon and Hard Rock (plus day visitors at The Crossroads) is a bigger complex so they can justify the expense carrying the larger boatloads.