With the advent of the guesthouse industry in the Maldives, the country has opened its arms to the traveler with budget concerns in a way that has never been possible before. No longer is the Maldives available only to those with deep pockets; backpackers and similar travelers can now experience the beauty of the Maldives in every way that the rich and famous have been doing for years! If you’re having trouble choosing the perfect tropical island to spend your holidays on, let us help you by narrowing down the best prospects. Here is our top picks for the must-visit guesthouse destinations in the Maldives.
To most locals, the island is famous as the “island of watermelons”. This is no surprise as a large percentage of the beautiful island of Thoddoo is composed of farms used to cultivate the fruit throughout the year. However, the farms on the island are a secondary attraction to the tourists flocking in droves to enjoy the private beach area regarded by many as among the most beautiful beaches in the country. The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling/swimming and there are plenty of dive sites within quick reach via speedboat.
Thinadhoo in Vaavu atoll is a beautiful island surrounded by sandy beaches and a lush housereef. Referred to as “Mas Thinadhoo” (Fish Thinadhoo) in ancient times due to the fantastic amount of marine life that call the island’s lagoon home, Thinadhoo is now a favorite spot for recreational fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The island is rich in history and folklore but guests will find the typically beautiful beaches and sea to be the main attraction. The island offers a wide range of luxury accommodation, including five-star quality facilities at an affordable price.
Known as the “Fishing Capital” of the Maldives, the island is popular for those looking to spend their holidays on fishing excursions out in the open sea. So expect to find several guesthouses that cater specifically to this group of tourists. However, the island also offers the usual water sports and other excursions you’d expect from a Maldivian island. Professional divers will also find a lot to like about this island as there are several fully equipped dive centers located in Keyodhoo.
Located in Alif Alif Atoll close to the most northern boundary, Ukulhas is an oval-shaped island famed for its cleanliness and well-maintained waste management system. The island was awarded the ‘Green Leaf Award’ in the year 2014 for providing outstanding services to protect and preserve the environment and has been recognized as an environmental role-model island in Maldives. Luckily for guests visiting the island, the residents have extended their outstanding attention to detail and hospitality to their guesthouses as well, gaining admiration and envy in equal measure from other guesthouse islands.
Located in Baa atoll, a protected biosphere reserve, Maalhos has a population of just around 600. The island is most notable for the rich cultural and traditional activities still practiced in the island. Maalhos is popular even among locals as a must-visit island during holidays as a lot of cultural events are organized by the residents every year. As the island has wholeheartedly embraced guesthouse tourism, tourists from all the world can now enjoy the rich culture and traditional activities on display in the island at a level never before accessible to foreigners.
Dhiffushi, located in Kaafu Atoll (North Male’ Atoll), is surrounded by a turquoise lagoon, and pristine white sandy beaches; a typical postcard tropical island. As if that wasn’t attractive enough, the island is also close to several beautiful sandbanks and uninhabited islands, making it the perfect destination to enjoy every kind of activity and excursion available in the Maldives. But hold on, there’s more. Dhiffushi is about 20-minutes away from one of the most popular surfbreaks in the country: Cokes!
Gan is the longest island of the Maldives located in the laamu atoll. The fourislands Gan, Maandhoo, Kadhdhoo and Fonadhoo where it is linked with causeways stretches up to about 18 kilometers in length making up the longest lengthen of dry land in the Maldives.
Fuvahmulah is one island, one atoll. The ‘Zero Degree Island’ Fuvahmulah is famous for awesome beaches, remarkably the glittering sandy beach Thoond. The two fresh mineral water lakes, green fields, lush tropical flora, a fringing house reef with abundance of fishes, underwater caves and a long submerged reef with most amazing underwater flora and fauna are only a few of the unique characters of Fuvahmulah. Surfing is among the upcoming popular sports of the island. Fuvahmulah is also famous for great food which includes international, Maldivian and Fuvahmulak local cuisines and healthy drinks.
The birthplace of the guesthouse industry in the Maldives, Kaafu Atoll Maafushi is about 45 minutes away from Male’ via speedboat and now boasts over a dozen beautiful guesthouses and offers guests an assortment of activities and facilities that would rival any Maldivian resort. A nice, secluded beach area is available for guests and there’s no shortage of water sports activities.
Situated in the breathtakingly beautiful Baa Atoll, Dharavandhoo is right next to the globally renowned Hanifaru Bay. The atoll has been declared a protected biosphere reserve due to the high level of biodiversity found in the waters in the area and Hanifaru Bay is world-famous among divers for the mantas and whale shark that gather in vast numbers to feed in the plankton-rich waters.
Located in Alif Alif Atoll, Rasdhoo is the capital island of the administrative division and has many guesthouses with varying degrees of comfort and amenities available. The island is very popular with divers due to its close proximity to several famous dive sites. Honeymooners and couples will also love the picnic island and sandbank excursions.
Located just 20 minutes away from Male’, the Capital City of Maldives, Hulhumale’ is a reclaimed island established to meet the existing and future housing, industrial and commercial development demands of the Male’ region. The island has many top quality guesthouses, restaurants and even dive centers equipped with everything a diver would need.
Famous as a surfing destination due to the world-famous Cokes surfbreak located nearby, Thulusdhoo is about twenty minutes away from Male’ via speedboat. Most of the guesthouses in the island cater to surfers who only require basic facilities and do not demand a lot of superior amenities that the higher-end guesthouses offer, but more and more guesthouses designed to attract a wider variety of travelers are opening up in the island.
Feridhoo is one of the inhabited islands of Ari Atoll and it is located on its eastern fringe. In centuries past, two male African slaves who had been bought by the kings on their Hajj trips to Mecca were formally released from slavery in order to gain merit in the afterlife and were settled in this island. One of them was called Sangoru who introduced traditional African music & dance. Now there are many families on Feridhoo who can trace their descendency to those two african ancestors.
Himandhoo is a beautiful island with white sandy beaches and lush greens depicting the traditional island life. The Island is located in the midst of the Indian Ocean in between the North and South Ari atoll. Surrounding the island is a stunning house reef allowing spectacular snorkeling where you can see a vast variety of colorful fish and corals. Deeper into the waters you can find a wide range of dive sites, including some of the most famous sites in Maldives, where it’s normal to see manta rays, turtles, sharks and much more.
Bodufolhudhoo is located in the midst of Alifu Alifu atoll, within a close proximity to famous dive sites. Bodufolhudhoo is the first island in Maldives to ban single use plastic bags with a community leading by example to save the delicate environment of Maldives
CHINA’S stock markets may have crashed dramatically twice in the first week of 2016 and its economy showing continued signs of weakness, but Chinese nationals are proving to be a resilient lot when it comes to travel consumption.
Wang Suqi, president of Total Travel International Travel Service in Beijing, said that the weakened Chinese yuan was hardly an issue.
Although most have not yet seen worrisome dips in demand and forward bookings, trade players have observed changes in the way Europeans are booking their trips and choosing travel products.
European travellers, once loved by suppliers for their tendency to book months in advance, are increasingly confirming their trips much later in hopes of scoring attractive last-minute discounts.
New Maldives Marina to Service 300 Yachts Reports Asia Pacific Superyachts Maldives
Maldives…January 23, 2016—Recent developments from the Maldives of the new Hulhumalé Yacht Marina has been reported by the director of Asia Pacific Superyachts Maldives, Mohamed Hameed. The agency works closely with arriving superyachts and is closely monitoring progress of the new Maldives marina.
NEW DELHI: After updates on temperature and monsoon, India has now started giving El Nino warning to South Asian countries.
Information on El Nino is being updated by the India Meteorological Department for all South Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The service is also extended to Myanmar.
Jumhooree Party Leader Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa Company has won back all five properties seized by the government during a political crisis triggered by the JP’s split from the ruling coalition.
A civil court ruling last week that found the government’s seizure of Thaa Atoll Elaa illegal is the latest in favour of Villa in the dispute over the resort properties.
The tourism ministry had terminated the lease agreement of two lagoons and three islands leased to Villa and subsidiary companies for tourism when the JP formed an alliance with the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party in February last year and launched an anti-government campaign.
The tourism ministry slapped a fine of US$90.4million, claiming the amount was owed as unpaid rents and fines for the properties.
In May, the central bank froze the bank accounts of Gasim’s Villa Shipping and Trading and subsidiary companies over the fine. The bank accounts were only released after the JP backed the government in several crucial votes in parliament and agreed upon a two-year payment plan.
The civil court ruled last week that the tourism ministry’s notice for the termination of the 50-year lease agreement for the island of Elaa was void.
The termination notice was in breach of the terms of an “amended and restated lease agreement” signed in December 2013, the court said.
In December, the civil court ruled that the tourism ministry’s cancellation of the leases for Kaafu Vaavedhdhi and Bolidhuffaru lagoons was invalid and in breach of the terms of the lease agreements.
In late August, the court had also ruled in favour of Villa over the cancellation of the lease for Gaaf Dhaal Gazeera, ordering the tourism ministry to comply with the lease agreement.
The Villa Group in June last year had won a stay order on the seizure of the fifth property, Raa Atoll Maanehfushi.
It is not clear if Villa Group is required to pay the fine as Villa officials and the tourism ministry were not responding to calls at the time of going to press.
The rulings in Villa’s favour comes after courts repeatedly rejected requests for stay orders on all five properties.
Gasim returned to the Maldives in early July after spending nearly three months overseas, during which he announced his retirement from politics once his term as MP for Maamigili ends in 2019.
He had also backed a constitutional amendment that disqualifies from contesting in the 2018 presidential election.
Several opposition politicians, including former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim and former President Mohamed Nasheed, were arrested and sentenced to jail shortly after the formation of the JP-MDP alliance, triggering a prolonged political crisis.
Adhaalath Party President Sheikh Imran Abdulla was charged with terrorism along with two JP leaders and accused of inciting violence at a mass rally on May 1.
The JP leaders, Ameen Ibrahim and Sobah Rasheed, subsequently fled the country and are living in self-imposed exile in the UK.
Gasim meanwhile declared his support for President Abdulla Yameen in the wake of the September 28 blast on the president’s speedboat, which the government says was caused by a bomb. Yameen escaped unhurt, but First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim was hospitalised for spine injuries.
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, several of his associates and three soldiers are in custody on suspicion of plotting the alleged assassination attempt.
Following the tax authority’s notice for US$90 million in late February, the Villa Group had maintained that it does not owe any unpaid taxes or fines. The company previously said that the claim cost it a US$80 million loan and brought it to the brink of bankruptcy.
In May, Villa advised some 4,500 employees “who find it hard to work with us to rebuild the company again” to resign and promised to pay outstanding salaries at a later date.
Villa Hotels operate four luxury resorts in the Maldives. The parent company, Villa Group, operates businesses in shipping, import and export, retail, tourism, fishing, media, communications, transport and education.
In August, local media reported that Gasim was planning to sell the Royal Island Resort for more than US$100 million.
“I will sell what I have to sell to pay debts and give what I owe,” the business tycoon told The Maldives Independent at the time.
It is no secret that hotel rooms may not be as clean as they are portrayed to be. Instead, many hotel rooms – even the highest priced – may be crawling with germs and bacteria. What makes this idea more ominous is thatunlike bedbugs, these threats may be all around our hotel rooms without our immediate knowledge.
Regardless of the threats that lurk in hotel rooms, there are ways travelers can protect themselves while staying in a hotel.
With a little planning, travelers can reduce their risk of getting sick while on the road from the unclean surfaces that await in every hotel room. Here are three hotel surfaces travelers may want to think twice about before touching.
Hotel room glassware: avoid at all costs
A staple of many hotel rooms, glassware can often be found in either the bathroom of a hotel room, or somewhere nearby.
Moreover, the paper cover atop of the glass may lull travelers into a sense of security, believing the glasses may have been cleaned prior to their arrival.
However, that may not necessarily be the case for every hotel. One hotel maid told The Huffington Post that while glassware is switched out with every check-out, the glassware is run through an industrial dishwasher that may not always get the job done. Other hotel maids admitted to not changing the glassware every time they cleaned a room, or merely running it under water and replacing them for the next guest.
Regardless of what actually happens to glassware prior to your arrival, many savvy travelers make a point to avoid using them entirely.
If you must use a glass to make a toast or otherwise enjoy a beverage, try requesting a fresh one from the kitchen, or supply your own.
Hotel remote controls: not the cleanest surface
It may come as no surprise that a hotel remote control may not be the cleanest surface available in any given hotel room.
Think about all the times we come in contact with our remote controls at home on a daily basis – then multiply that by the average number of guests staying in a hotel room during any given year.
Fears of picking up germs from hotel remote controls are not necessarily unfounded. According to hotel review website Oyster, some hotel remote controls have tested positive for a plethora of bacteria and germs, including (but not limited to) E.coli and staph.
When it comes to hotel remote controls, there is no such thing as taking too many precautions. Many savvy travelers will pack an extra snack bag just for their remote controls, providing a protective barrier between the bare hand and the remote control. When they leave, the clear bag gets thrown away, never to be thought of again. Travelers can also protect themselves by arming themselves with hand sanitizer, and using it often during their stay.
Hotel bedding may not be as nice as you remember
For many travelers, a made and welcome bed is the ultimate sign of comfort after a long day over land or in the air. However, what looks comforting on the outside may not necessarily be as welcoming to the weary traveler. A well-made bed can hide many secrets, from bedbugs to unclean pillows and other unwanted surprises.
While many hotels mandate that soiled linens are to be changed daily, certain hotels do not extend the same policy to comforters, pillows, or other items. In her interview with The Huffington Post, the anonymous hotel maid claimed that some budget hotels did not change pillows between check-outs.
Those travelers who are concerned about the conditions of their hotel room have every reason to express their concern to the management. Travelers always have the option of requesting new materials to be delivered to their room, including pillows and other items. Furthermore, concerns about the bedding quality should be expressed to hotel management immediately.If complaints are not adequately addressed, travelers can always escalate their complaint to a local authority.
While a hotel room can be a safe space during travel, it can also be a hotbed for germs and bacteria. By knowing which surfaces to avoid, travelers can reduce their risk to a minimum, resulting in a safer stay while away from home.
Registrations are currently open for the Maldives to participate in China’s annual South Asia Expo and Trade Fair next year, announced economic minister Mohamed Saeed late Monday.
Speaking at the ceremony held to award prizes to participants with special needs at the national handicraft exhibition Expo Maldives 2015 at Dharubaaruge convention centre, the minister stated that the Maldives’ participation in the South Asia Expo last year had received much acclaim, highlighting that the items submitted by the island nation had been completely sold out within three days.
The government is planning to relocate the ancient Kalhuvakaru mosque in Malé to a heritage island to be developed on the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.
The relocation work is to be jointly undertaken by the department of heritage, the housing ministry, the Islamic ministry, the military, and the Housing Development Corporation, a government-owned company tasked with developing Hulhumalé as an urban centre.