Island hopping in Maldives

first_imgIsland hopping in MaldivesRelish a slow-paced, culturally-rich and non-extravagant holidayadvertisement Next india today digital New DelhiMarch 24, 2019UPDATED: March 24, 2019 04:29 IST Maafushi is located 45 minutes away from the airport and is a popular tourist destination.HIGHLIGHTSStay on the local islands is cheaper than the resorts but moving around in private boats is expensiveNo alcohol is served or sold on local islands. Only the resort islands cater to it if you needSome of the local islands do not have bikini beaches and the public beaches require females to be dressed up modestly even while swimmingLet me begin with a confession, until I travelled to Maldives, I always had my doubts about its picture-perfect and fantastical stock images but after having experienced it myself, I can pour out my heart. Maldives is incredibly idyllic, charming, enchanting and full of prepossessing sights. For the first time when I saw the blue-green lagoons interspersed with tiny islands, miles of turquoise waters and those daintily-kept islands, my heart leaped with joy and eye dropped a tear.The prowess of Maldives’ natural beauty, crystalclear water and local island hideaways is such that you can’t be without falling in love with it for several reasons. Maldives (the island nation) is made up of approximately 1,200 coral islands which are grouped into 26 coral atolls. Geographically, it is quite spread out and a few are isolated too, but as of now we only know of its 200 inhabited and approximately 90 resorts islands. In my stay of 10 days, I explored five local islands, one resort island, the capital Male and artificial island, Hulhumale (closest to the airport).Contrary to what social media and resort islands have made us all believe that Maldives is mostly about stilted luxurious huts beetling over the water, I would suggest to go for a slow-paced, culture-rich and nonextravagant side on the local islands. These raw and rugged islands are definitely the best kept secrets of Maldives. Here is a glimpse of my offbeat trail.MAAFUSHILocated 45 minutes away from the Airport, this one on the South Male Atoll welcomed me with cheerful vibes and plenty of like-minded tourists. Slithering white and golden sand, swaying palm trees and limitless turquoise waters made for its beautiful coastline. The vibrant shops provided for wholesome watersports activities. They provided for all- jet-skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, sailing, knee boarding, banana boat, canoeing and more.advertisementThe island has a bikini beach, water sport beach and a coral beach too. The Maafushi School had walls painted with caricatures advocating Islamic principles. A local told me that it was called Maafushi because – “maa means big” and “fushi stands for island”. This budget island had everything for a lovely picnic day.GULHIJust 21 kilometres from Male, it is one of the smallest islands that I have seen. I finished a quick round in 15 minutes but one could spend the whole day here without getting bored. The shimmering white-sand bikini beach at Gulhi is a gem. Gulhi also houses the oldest dock yard in Maldives. You will be surprised to find a football field surrounded by palm trees and a telecom tower in the background.Gulhi is among the few islands which allowed bed and breakfast culture in the early 80’s. Another interesting feature of the island is that it is full of swings. Get photographed on the “I love Gulhi” swing on the sea-green waters.HIMMAFUSHII was in love with the idea of island hopping. Just 17 kilometers from the capital Male, I pitched in to see this one on Kaafu Atoll for I heard that this local fishing-island truly captures the charms of Maldives and has great surf spots. This too is gifted with its lovely sand beach and gorgeous blue waters. The island also has a fish processing company and a boat building workshop. The island visit to Himmafushi can be clubbed with dolphin watching, snorkeling, sand bank visit and scuba diving.VILLINGILIVillingili is a well-kept but not so popular gem on North Male atoll. Despite the fact that it is just eight minutes away from the capital Male, not many tourists know about it or bother to visit it. I just found one foreigner on the public ferry boat along with the locals. The one-way ticket price was 3.25 MVR. This is the cheapest ride that I did in Maldives.Villingili is definitely one of the greenest islands that I had a chance to visit in Maldives. The island can easily be circumnavigated in 30 minutes but I strolled around for more than an hour. During my walk I noticed that this was very different from its other neighbour islands and had its own cultural identity. Some guest houses happily arrange snorkeling, fishing and local activities for the visitors.THULUSDHOOAs the capital of Kaafu Atoll, Thulusdhoo is popular for its turquoise lagoons and fantastic surf breaks like “Cokes” and “Chickens”. If you thought diving was only meant for the experienced, Thulusdhoo’s shallow lagoons and channels make it really easy for the first time divers. I felt one day was not enough to check out the Coke plant (the only one in Maldives) or go for island hopping at the Chickens Island, the private sand bank island and then the pretty guesthouse island, Dhiffushi.advertisementMALE AND HULHUMALEThe capital, Male is densely populated. It is so unlike the other islands and has constant action around.Visit the Tsunami monument, the artificial Rasfannu beach, National Museum, prominent city Mosques, Presidential jetty and the popular fish market of the city.Hulhumale is very interesting island because it is claimed to be man-made but it’s doesn’t look like one. It is being developed as a youth city, is well-planned and is coming up as a modern young brother of Male. Here, you will see the local ladies taking a dip wearing colourful dresses teamed with hijab (head scarf) or chadors (traditional cloak).Also Read | Woman gets swept away by massive wave while posing for a picture in Indonesia. Also Watch | Do you know about the Sentinelese Hostile tribe that killed an American citizen?Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byManisha Pandey Tags :Follow MaldivesFollow TravelFollow Foreign tripFollow Natural beautylast_img