Best of the Maldives: Sandbank Retreat – Alila Kothaifaru

Alila Kothaifaru - sandbank retreat

We’ve had a number of excursions to sandbanks, and as exotic and romantic as they are – plots of sand in the middle of the ocean – the lack of any infrastructure is a bit of a detraction. Sun shelter, toilet facilities, comfortable seating are just some of the things missing which can detract from an extended stay.

Alila Kothaifaru’s sand bank escape comes with its very own escape room – “The Shack”. Not one that you have to solve puzzles to get out of, but one you can enjoy creature comforts. They even have power generated from their roof solar panels.

  • “A true island escape experience, The Shack is our own private sand cay (giri). Two distinct trips to The Shack are available daily – a 4-hour day trip including a picnic-style lunch, and a 4-hour evening trip with a private chef to cook up a sunset BBQ.”

Best of the Maldives: Sand Bank Breakfast – Sun Siyam Iru Veli

World Food Day today. And the best place in in the world to eat any food was an experience we finally enjoyed at Sun Siyam Iru Veli this summer. We’ve fantasized about dining on a plot of sand ever since we first started visiting the Maldives two and a half decades ago. It epitomised the “plot of sand with a palm tree” isolation caricature. We’ve seen many of (exorbitant) dinners and even lunches such remote venues, but never a breakfast.

A breakfast is actually a great way to enjoy this sandbank location. Unlike a dinner which tends to have courses, the breakfast is more casual with more finger food (eg. pastries, fruit, pots of yogurt) that you can take in hand for a stroll around or wade into the sea to enjoy the sea-life nearby or the dappled azure vista beyond. And the morning has a particularly peaceful vibe to it which suits this indolent sliver of interruption to the gently surrounding waters.

Best of the Maldives: Ratios – Cocoa Island

Cocoa Island - sand spit

It’s all about proportions. Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio are just two examples of proportions that drive our aesthetic appreciation. I’ve included ratios in the Maldives Complete database from the outset: Rooms-per-Hectare of island size, and Cost-per-Meter for room types. Visiting Cocoa Island this summer, two of the most striking features to it were about its proportions…

  • Sandbar-to-island ratio – It’s distinctive sand spit is not only one of the Maldives resorts’ longest at 1km (at ebb low tide), but with the only 350 metre island it makes it the highest ratio of sand spit to island quite easily.
  • Guests to Resident Staff ratio – Cocoa Island is one of the most tranquil resorts we have ever visited. It’s not just that you don’t see many guests…it’s that you don’t see many staff. Or much resort infrastructure. It really is like a deserted island. They have a miniscule 150 staff (plenty to keep the place running smoothly and all your needs catered to), but less than 60 live on the island itself. Most live on local island 5 mins away. As a result, the island doesn’t have that buzz of activity with big staff quarters compound in the center of the island.

Best of the Maldives: Sand Bars – Constance Moofushi

Constance Moofushi - sand bar

The classic allure of the Maldives is the minimalist iconic image of a plot of sand with a solitary palm tree. And sometimes, even the palm tree is missing. Then, you are left with one of the Maldives famous sand banks. A smudge of white coral sand peeking out of the sea. If the resort gives you that feeling of remoteness sitting on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean at the resort, then an excursion to one of these postage stamp parcels amps the sensation even more.

Many resorts have a sand bank nearby. Some even have a couple. But Constance Moofushi is the first resort I have come across with 3 or more in its immediate vicinity. When we swung by there during our tour, we spotted three different ones scattered around the resort.

The resort reports:

“The sand banks around Moofushi depend a little on the tides, if its high tide to low tide. Hence they will disappear or appear according to the tides which change on a daily basis, we do have strip 3 times a week to a Sand bank, which is categorised as an easy snorkel trip and where effectively the guest many snorkel over the white sand in very clear waters, fish are abundant. “

Moofushi offers a variety of sand bank experiences with which to enjoy their sand bank variety…

  • Sandbank breakfast – $209 per couple
  • ·Sandbank BBQ lunch – $409 per couple.
  • Sandbank dinner – $570 per couple.
  • Sandbank day trip – $1200 per couple (umbrella, table, chairs and sun beds, refreshments, a BBQ lunch with champagne, private snorkelling guide. This trip would leave around 9.30 am and return at approximately 3.30 pm)

Best of the Maldives: Accessible Sand Bank – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu sandbank

When I need to describe the Maldives to people unfamiliar with them, I say “You know those pictures of a deserted tropical island of a plot of sand in the ocean with a palm tree in the middle?…that’s the Maldives.” But, the even more secluded, minimalist isolation comes from such plots…sans palm trees. The sandbanks.

The ultimate on open space bounty comes courtesy of Francisco Negrin, one of most helpful correspondents, who recently returned from Six Senses Laamu

“A real, and beautiful sand bank with maafushivaru type sand as per your description and a stunning reef around it. And you can swim or kayak to it from the main island in just a few minutes. No need of a boat , no sea planes landing next to it etc etc.. And you can book it to have it to yourself too.”

Discovery of a treasured isle…in Laamu’s aquatic backyard.


Best of the Maldives: No Shoes Commute – LUX* Maldives

LUX Maldives sandbank

At LUX* Maldives, the streets are paved with silky sand. Not just the pathways, but the major intra-island thoroughfares…across the ocean.

During low tide, one of the longest sandbanks in the Maldives connects LUX* to the neighbouring local island of Dhigurah (the sandbank is in the middle of the bottom of the picture above and Dhigurah would be further down below the edge of the picture). Guests actually need to avoid temptation of crossing it (there is a sign asking guest not to pass) because the local island is Muslim and things like women in bikinis are preferred kept in the resorts. Also, if guest loses track of the tide, then they can be stranded. But, a number of workers are from the island and walk across the isthmus land bridge to work at times.

Best commuter line ever.