If you prefer relaxing on top of a palm tree – rather than under it or *on* it – then Dusit Thani’s treetop Devarana Spa is perched just right for you…
“The spa encompasses six deluxe treatment pods which sit elevated amongst the island’s palm trees and for those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground; the spa has also developed two stunning ground level treatment rooms. Manicure and pedicure-dedicated area, private outdoor pool, steam and sauna are exclusively available for spa guests.”
Eight treatment rooms are found in the 6 treetop pods nettled atop of the tropical lushness. All treatments guaranteed to leave to feeling floating on air.
World Wish Day today. Wishes are a great practice of positive thinking. They can be personal (eg. birthday wishes blowing out a candle), or interpersonal (best wishes on a special day). Our wedding featured a Buddhist wish tree where guests wrote their wishes to the new couple on silk ribbons and tied the to the tree. According to tradition, the wind would then blow the wishes into the air so they might come true (my Mom wrote “one boy and one girl” which we got so maybe there is something to this ritual).
One of my favourite books growing up was John Ciardi’s “The Wish-Tree”. It recounts the story of a boy who wishes desperately for a puppy the eve of his birthday and then goes on to experience a surreal dream (I guess all dreams are ‘surreal’) that reveals insights into the responsibilities of such dreams.
If you would like to visit a real, live wish-tree, then put Nika resort on your bucket list who have their own wish-tree story to share with guests…
- “In the past, this wonderful place [Nika] was inhabited by magical creatures who were very intelligent: fairies and elves of the sea. It was told that they had colorful wings like fish fins and that they could light up in the darkness. This big tree, just in front of you, was their home. Its name is Nika. Nika creatures had a special power: they were able to speak with fishes, plants and even with stars…but, in addition to this special power, they had also another gift: they could listen. They listened carefully to the wishes and dreams of human beings. If humans desired goodness, beauty and altruism, their dreams could come true. But only positive thoughts could be realized by Nika creatures. Recently, someone has seen these special creatures flying near Nika tree…Thanks to the fact that everyone takes care of this special island, Nika fairies and elves now are back! They came back to realize the wishes of all the people who are here to enjoy this magical and sacred place.”
May all your wishes come true (especially if the involve visiting the Maldives).
The first day of spring today as we passed the Vernal Equinox. A natural cause for celebration (especially up north) as the days now get longer than the nights. This celestial event is celebrated in a number of ways from throwing coloured powder (for the Hindu Festival of Holi) to balancing an egg (ancient Chinese belief says that you can stand an egg on its end on the first day of spring since due to the sun’s equidistant position between the poles of the earth at the time of the equinox, gravitational forces are balanced out).
But spring is especially a time of sprouting and rebirth. The baby lambs have started emerging on the farms in our area. The Mirror describes, “Spring equinox is symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and growth, and in ancient Italy, it was traditional for women to plant seeds in the gardens of Adonis on this day. The custom persists in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains – lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers – in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the flowers are placed on graves on Good Friday, symbolising the triumph of life over death.”
A number of resorts have offered tree planting on their property, but a few have stopped (running out of space) and others don’t support plaques. I appreciate that such commemoratives need to be done with taste and aesthetic sensitivity, but I do love the notion of being able to leave a positive part of yourself after your departure. Giving a people commemorative opportunities builds the sense of connection to this paradise and a reinforces an enduring empathy and support for its environmental challenges.
Sun Siyam Irufushi does support tree planting accompanied by simple wooden plaques noting the special occasion of the visit (cost is $300).
May your spring blossom with the vibrant colour of the Maldives wherever you are.
QI Question of the Day: “In what type of landscape is the Huraa Marine Protected Area found?”
A: The ocean?
QI: <BUZZ> No, the Huraa MPA is a mangrove swamp found o the Huraa island in the North Male atoll.
Think all “Marine Protected Areas” (MPAs) are under water?
Well, one of the MPAs are actually only semi-aquatic. The “Huraa” MPA is actually a mangrove island…
“Huraa Mangrove Nature Reserve (HMNR) has been designated a Protected Area, in recognition of the fact that it is an important natural mangrove habitat which contains species of particular conservation significance to the Maldives and the rest of the world. A human community also live on Huraa Island who is itself affected by the existence of the Nature Reserve, and whose day-to-day life and activities in turn impact on the mangrove ecosystem.”
Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is its namesake neighbour and plays an active role in supporting is preservation.
Arbor days vary around the world (even with States in the USA), but today is the most prevalent one. Maldives doesn’t have an official tree planting day, but more and more resorts are focused on the environment and engaging in a breadth of flora cultivation.
While most visitors look outward from the beaches at the legendary sea of the Maldives, the interiors of these tropical paradises have their own rich landscape. So much so, that today (on the occasion of Arbor Day), I have added the “tree” tag to the Maldives Complete blog.
One of the signature features as prevalent on the islands as branch coral is on the reefs are the multi-pod Banyan Trees. Their meandering style of growth produces a maze of smaller trunks comprising these curious tangles of growth. Allegedly, the oldest of these ancient landmarks is the Main Road tree on Kuramathi…
“Located at the Main Road, this historical landmark is an estimated 300 years old and is a gigantic plant towering 30 metres high. One could wander through the sawdust trail at the entrance and be amazed by the maze of thick wooden barks of this ancient tree, enshrouded in rich greenery. The tree is a nesting place for herons, fruit bats and other animals and is a sight not to be missed. This tree at Kuramathi can be considered as one of the oldest banyan trees found in the Maldives.”
This weekend was a chance to catch up on some updates to the website including the addition of new property, White Shell Beach Inn Maafushi. I came upon it after finding this great picture of a “climbing tree” that has gone completely horizontal creating its own unique arch canopy.
White Sheel Beach Inn is really classified as a guest house and I have made a concerted decisions not to focus on guest houses. I have never stayed in one and so I’m don’t feel qualified to comment on what makes for a good experience, what sort of things should people be looking for, etc. As it happens, it is located on Maafushi island which has more guest houses than any other Maldives islands (a distinction in itself).
There is a big call for budget options especially close to Male (for limited duration trips and to avoid high transfer costs). White Shell Beach Inn has a good website and quite a good property so I decided to add it to the database as a further step to even more completeness.
Banyan Trees are one of the enchanting tropical natives of the Maldives. Every resort has a monstrosity of a towering ancient specimen that they are proud to show off. Nika’s own Banyan highlight is more of a Banyan copse. Four Banyan giants that have intertwined to become one. The resort celebrates the space with a mystical yoga area set up directly under their canopy. But perhaps most distinctive is the resort name itself, “Nika”, which is the Maldivian word for “Banyan Tree”.
For a more natural hang-out over water, take stroll down “Climbing Tree Alley” at Vilamendhoo. The nearly horizontal palm trees are nearly as iconic a shot of paradise as the sunsets and the turquoise lagoons. The palms start to grow this way by the water’s edge when erosion undermines the stability of their root system and on the water’s side and the start to gently tilt and eventually grow in that direction. You will find such orthogonal specimens across the Maldives, but Vilamendhoo has a particularly extended stretch of them along the northeast side which they have named after many people’s favourite activity on these arboreal jungle gyms.
If you don’t have a tree guide book to hand but still want to know the identity and stories behind some of the striking landscape on the island, then you will appreciate Kuredu.
We often describe the Maldives as a plot of sand and a few trees. Everyone loves the sand bit, but the trees often go unmentioned and unappreciated. The palm trees are certainly a prevalent fixture, but the islands also have an arboretum of tropical curiosities like the Banyan, and (one of our favourites) the Walking Pine.
“Hernandia Nyphaeifolia – English Name: Lantern Tree…Grows up to 20 meters high and found in coasts of East Africa, Asia, and Polynesia including South Pacific. The seeds of this tree are spread by bats, the leaves, fruits, seeds and bark of the tree is said to have medicinal values. Tahitians polish the seed and make necklaces.”
Kuredu has posted a series of handsome and informative signs at prime examples of arboreal distinction across the resort which adds a bit of natural interest and insight during your strolls.