Things to Do in the Maldives
Maldives is an Islamic state and their government requires all citizens to be Muslims. It is written in their constitution that in order to be citizen, one must convert to Islam. But non-Muslim travelers are very much welcome to explore this ultra-small country. In fact, it is the 8th smallest country in the whole world. So, you ask – what is worth seeing in Maldives? Well, to answer your query, here is a complete Maldives travel guide for the beach lover like you.
One of the things to do in Maldives is to visit Theemuge. The landmark, Theemuge in Maldives, is not similar to the term House of Theemuge. Theemuge as a landmark or tourist attraction refers to the previous presidential palace of the country. It was used as the president’s “home” until 2008 when the elected president felt that it was too highly to stay there.
The House of Theemuge refers to a dynasty back in the 12th century and it is in no way connected with the tourist attraction called Theemuge.
14. Sultan Park
The 16th century Sultan Park is an important and historic place in Maldives. It is what remains of the Sultanate era and at this time; the Maldives government has exhausted all efforts to maintain this scenic attraction. Most tour packages include the Sultan Park in their itinerary and travelers are brought to the ruins of the Royal Palace and the Old National Museum. It is the only well-maintained flora and fauna section in the country which locals and tourists love to spend time in.
13. Utheemu Ganduvaru
Utheemu Ganduvaru is the residence of Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu back in the 16th century. Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu is a national hero and leader of Maldives until his death in 1585. He relentlessly fought Portuguese invaders who wanted to capture the country. If you want to see 16th century homes in Maldives – how the “elite” people back then lived like – just go to Utheemu Ganduvaru. This is where the Sultan was born and raised by his parents.
12. Medhu Ziyaaraiy
Being the person who introduced Islam to the people of Maldives and helped them convert back to the belief, Abdul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary was “immortalized” by his Islam brothers through the Medhu Ziyaaraiy Mausoleum. A story about Abdul Barakat Yoosuf Al Barbary back in the 12th century was a bit folklore-like but it was passed on from one generation to the next. Adbul recited the Qur’an to ward off an evil sea monster from killing a virgin girl in Maldives. Because of this, the King reverted back to Islam and compelled everyone in the country to do the same. One of the things to do in Maldives is to visit this place.
11. Mulee-aage Palace
The Mulee-aage Palace is the official home of the President of Maldives since 2009. It was built in the early 20th century (1914) and was completed after five years. President Mohamed Nasheed found it fitting to live there because the Theemuge was too highly for him. It is located in Male and to be honest, it is a very modest place for a President of a country to be living in. It just shows that President Nasheed and the president after him are grounded people who are in a true sense, a public servant.
10. Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
One of the famous attractions in Maldives is the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. It is literally underwater and you can see a family of stingrays swimming above you. The experience of travelers going here is unique and the word coming out of their mouths is – AMAZING.
The word Ithaa means Mother of Pearl and the restaurant is 16 feet below sea level. Only 14 guests can occupy the restaurant at one time and if you are in your honeymoon, this is the best place to go and eat sumptuous meals.
9. Kuruhinna Tharaagandu
Kuruhinna Tharaagandu is an archaeological site which was discovered in 1996 at Kaashidhoo in Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. It was the location of a Buddhist temple back in the 7th century before Islam was spread in the country. The whole edifice was made in coral stone and sixty four structures were excavated in two years. Soon after exposure, the coral stones started to erode and wither. Since 2008, the site has received preservation efforts from the US under the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation group.
Hithadhoo is the second biggest island in Maldives with 11,129 residents according to a 2014 census. The place is famous for its beaches and many tourists stay here for a night or two. One of the things to do in Maldives is to explore Hithadhoo on foot since it’s not too big. The whole island is only 6 kilometers long. The island is filled with wetlands and it is filled with green shrubs and Palm trees. The Equatorial Convention Centre is situated there.
The most ancient place in Maldives and the most populated at that is the Meedhoo. It is also called the Midu and is located at the Addu Atoll Island. In Sanskrit language, Meedhoo means Big Island and it is believed that people have started living there since 1000 BC. The whole area is 2.3 kilometers long and 1.6 kilometers wide. Not many people live here as there are only 2,806 residents as of the 2013 census. Still, visitors from other countries pass by Meedhoo just to experience the place.
6. Hanifaru Bay
There are no people living near the Hanifaru Bay but it is a tourist spot in Maldives because of its rich waters. Vacationers go there to swim and dive along with manta rays and get this, there are whale sharks too! Of course you can’t observe these sharks in close proximity but you can see them from above. If you are planning to visit Hanifaru Bay to see these lovely sea creatures, the best time to go there is between the months of May to November since manta rays fill up the bay during that period.
Villingili is a resort located in Seenu Atoll. Actually, it is the one and only resort in the area which was built by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts. This project was through the efforts of President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as he made a deal with the company to create a posh beach resort. It was partly subsidized by the government.
Today, there are 132 villas in the area and one of the things to do in Maldives is to go there and relax, basically. It has a golf course (the only golf course in the whole country) and also nearby is Mount Villingili, the only summit in the country.
4. Hulhule Island
All foreigners are to pass by Hulhulé Island in Maldives because the international airport is located there. Some stay here for the duration of their vacation and check in at the Hulhule Island Hotel. It’s not really a resort hotel and is more like a backpackers lodge but it is the only hotel in the island so it will have to do. Other vacationers do some island hopping so as to see the other islands in the country starting with Hulhule. Good thing the beach there is heavenly and most of the time, peaceful.
3. National Museum of Maldives
Prime Minister Mohamed Amin Didi inaugurated the sole national museum in the country back in 1952. It was opened on Maldives National Day which was in the 11th of November.
The main purpose of the Prime Minister back then as to why he initiated the museum is for preservation of history and teaching the Maldives people of what the country is and how they came about all those centuries ago. They have relics from the Buddhist and pre-Islamic era up to the recent times. The building is located at Sultan Park, another one of Maldives tourist attractions.
2. Coral Stone Mosques of Maldives
The Coral Stone Mosques of Maldives is part of UNESCO’s tentative list which was submitted by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. It is a compilation of mosques in Maldives – the Ihavandhoo, Meedhoo, the Male, the Fenfushi, the Male Eid, and Isdhoo Old Mosques. The first four mosques mentioned are all Friday mosques. These mosques were submitted to UNESCO for review because of its historical significance and sea-culture architectural design. One of the things to do in Maldives is to visit these 12th century structures. It will be worth your time.
The most visited place in Maldives is Hulhumale. It’s not a natural island. Hulhumale is an artificial one and it was created to extend the land area of the country. Most of the country’s resident live here and that’s about 30,000 people. It has an area of 2 square kilometers with various building developments. It has the Mosque of Hulhumale which can accommodate 1,500 worshippers. The area is filled with housing units and construction is ongoing to this day.