Located just off the coasts of Sri Lanka and India, the Maldives is becoming the place to be for anyone looking to get away and recharge their batteries. Between shimmering turquoise blue waters and an almost always tropical climate, it’s not difficult to see why.
With over 1192 different coral islands to explore, rich marine life and some of the world’s most beautiful resorts, it attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s honestly no surprise given that there are a lot of fun things to do in the Maldives.
We’re creating this guide in light of the fact that no one comes to the Maldives to spend only 5 days, but that with so much to see and do, you might want to find out for yourself. Or for the more relaxation orientated, take a day or two to just enjoy the scenery.
Either way, 5 days are more than enough to make some unforgettable experiences. And with this guide it guaranteed.
To help you maximize on your journey to paradise, keep reading!
What to Bring for Your Visit to the Maldives
With a year-round tropical climate (to give you an idea, September is the Maldives coldest month at 28 °C), you may think packing for the Maldives is as simple as a swimming costume and some sunglasses. Well, not really. Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you save both time and money and here they are!
- Reliable Swimming Costumes: Given that the islands are, well, islands, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water. And if you spend your time worrying about slips, tears or not having enough, you may not enjoy the beauty around you as much as you should!
- Strong Sunscreen: Because the equator runs through the Maldives, you’ll need to bring some pretty potent sunscreen, especially if you burn easily. Limping around while your skin blisters isn’t exactly the ideal way to spend a week in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. SPF 30 is generally recommended.
- Modest Clothing: It’s worth remembering that the Maldives is a Muslim country. As such, unless you’re on a resort island, you will have to cover up. This is especially the case if you’re planning on visiting the mainland, spending time with the locals or visiting some of the incredible mosques the island hosts.
- Knowledge of what the Seaplane weight allowance is: It might sound really obvious but before you go on your South East Asian getaway, it’s worth noting what weight you can bring when using seaplanes. Many seaplanes on the island have limits around 25kgs or lower and charge for excess. If you’re not careful, this could end up taking your carefree holiday and turning it into a replacement car installment.
- An Underwater Camera: The Maldives is a series of islands. A lot of islands. With a huge variety of marine life and some of the clearest water and stunning coral reefs in the world, you’ll definitely regret not being able to take photos anywhere and everywhere.
Maldives Things to Do and See
If you’re wondering what to do in the Maldives, the more difficult question is what not to do! Given that it’s a tiny island nation comprised of well, tiny islands, you may think enjoying the Maldives is as simple as waking up and going for a swim.
Unfortunately, it’s not so simple – especially if you want to get the most out of your stay.
For those looking for structured plans, the island offers a variety of island hopping tours. From our side, we’ve opted to leave your accommodation to you. With nearly 1200 island’s you could easily miss out on some of the true gems of the stunning island of a thousand islands!
Maldives Attractions And Activities: Day 1 – In the Water
Choosing where to start and which is the best island to base your stay on can be a daunting task. Some of the top islands include Vaadhoo, Karumba, Mirihi and of course, Male. Wherever you wind up staying, island hopping and exploring should be at the top of your to-do list.
Once you’ve decided – take a dip in those infamous turquoise blue waters. If you’ve got access to the internet, then you’ve probably seen those Maldives pictures of the lucky few who get to spend time in paradise. Well, now it’s your turn! Unpack, settle in jump into those picturesque waters or take a stroll around your new home.
The island is well known for its vast marine life so taking a snorkel wouldn’t be out of the question. Most resorts offer regular trips further out for those who do want to see what they can spot and some even do cruises for those wanting to explore without leaving the comfort of their yacht or cruise vessel.
Day 1 is more about settling in and enjoying the fact that you’re in one of the worlds most stunning places and maybe even sitting back, sipping a cocktail or two and watching the sparkling water and its dreamlike islands.
Maldives Attractions And Activities: Day 2 – Meet the Locals
This is probably the most important day for anyone looking to experience Male from a cultural perspective. Or even for those just looking for a less…touristy, point of view. The day begins with a morning trip to the Male Fish Market which is said to be the soul of Male. Just west of Republic Square, this center becomes a buzzing hive of activity during the early hours of the dawn and at around midday.
Watching the fishermen and their catches of tuna is an incredibly popular attraction and is a good way to see the way the locals live. Afterward, find one of any number of places where you can eat some freshly caught fish! The Evening Cafe is a great place to go for a more authentic,local and cost effective vibe. For those with some extra cash, The Sea House near the water’s edge offers a slightly higher class of dining as well as a stunning view.
Many of the locals are also big fans of football, volleyball, and basketball so if you really want to get to interact with the locals, you may want to bring your A-game and seeing how your skills compare.
Maldives Attractions And Activities: Day 3 – On the Water
With its climate, a variety of islands and multiple resorts, the Maldives is one of the best places to learn to surf. If you’re of the learning variety try out the qualified surf instructors at Kandooma Resort or Cokes Surf Camp. Kandooma is home to a softer, more beginner-friendly reef and sand bottom and is also close to the shoreline. For the more advanced, most of the regions are all good in their own way with the North/South Male being popular year-round.
Once you’ve finished your session if you happen to be near the North Atolls, head over to Karumba Kandu Bar on Vihamanaafushi, North Male Atoll. This stunning bar is open until 1 am, 7 days a week is a watering hole of note! The open-aired deck suspended above the ocean with beautiful night fixtures is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before!
Maldives Attractions And Activities: Day 4 – Culture and People
Today is your day to explore the “real“ Maldives. The fishing and tourism industry forms a large part of the economic hub of the island. Most locals you’ll meet will be involved in one or the other. As an interesting result, in recent years another developing industry has taken root. Locals offering their homes as guest houses.
For anyone looking to get away from the glitz and glam of the resorts, booking a night in a guest house may be one of the best ways to see how it feels to be a local. The Maldivians are incredibly hospitable and so you experiencing Male like this may be the way to go to get the most intimate and heartwarming aspects of your trip.
Since we’re spending the day with the locals, get ready to set about exploring the rest of the Maldivian capital. As we’ve said before, the Maldives is a majority Muslim country. As such they are home to two notable and visually stunning mosques.
Malé Hukuru Miskiy also known as the Old Friday Mosque is one of the oldest and most decorated and intricate mosques in the islands. It is built from coral boulders among the islands and has been added to a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
The other mosque worth visiting is the Grand Friday Mosque. It is the biggest in the Maldives and is capped by a golden dome which juts out against the skyline of Male. Opened in 1984 it is built from white marble stunningly unadorned.
Both are places you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re interested in exploring the ”real” Maldives
Maldives Attractions And Activities: Day 5 – Underwater
After you’ve had breakfast, head over to Huvafen Fushi, a luxury resort on one of the Maldives many islands. It offers a variety of restaurants, and activities ranging from dolphin-watching to island-hopping, sunset fishing or even driving underwater!
For our money keeping it simple and signing up for a diving expedition would be the way to go. The resort has a fully-equipped PADI dive centre at your convenience. Spend the day getting up close and personal with the vast array of marine life from moray eels, lionfish and hammerhead sharks to name a few!
Huvafen Fushi is also home to the world’s first underwater spa.
So, to end off the night after a long day of diving, give it a try and enjoy a massage at Per Aquum Huvafen Fushi. Whether or not you grab a bite at one of the many underwater restaurants as well, the massage is one of the best parts of this trip. As you relax, enjoy staring out into the endlessly pale blue ocean. As the tension drains from your no doubt weary muscles, you can admire the flourishing marine life that inhabits the area that surrounds you. A once in a lifetime experience few could even imagine.
Leaving the Maldives
The last part is what proves to be almost impossible. Leaving the Maldives is probably the worst part of the adventure and yet even doing that, you’ll almost be taunted by the sparkling seas as they pass beneath you.
The last thing you want to leave the Maldives with is regret. From this guide, you’ll leave having seen the best of what the Maldives has to offer and leave you craving more. Crystal clear water, massages, cocktails, surfing, snorkeling and meeting people from thousands of miles away – what more could you ask for?
You’ll probably even see some dolphins as some of the islands claim an 85% success rate at seeing the majestic animals. One thing’s for sure, of all the things you’ve done in the Maldives, there’ll always be more to see and do and more reasons to keep visiting!