Maldives is an archipelago of around 1,190 islands and only 200 of those are inhabited. The major revenue generating industries in Maldives are the tourism industry and the fishing industry.
Maldives’ capital, Male, is one of the smallest capitals in the world! Hence, this one-square mile capital gives you enough scope to enjoy the street food and the local markets on foot. Its currency is the Rufiyaa. The city bustles with activity from the fishing docks at one end to the National Museum at the other. The beaches offer a new and rejuvenating experience, with the soft sand fading into turquoise coloured reefs beneath the blue waters. A perfect depiction of how nature and colours blend together!
There are a lot of places to explore in Maldives, but mentioned below are a few must visit places that you cannot afford to skip.
Ithaa-Dining with the marine life
The Ithaa, is the world’s first underwater restaurant in the Hilton Maldives resort and spa. Very few restaurants can give you the dining experience that the Ithaa underwater restaurant gives. This all glass marine restaurant was designed in New Zealand and constructed in Singapore. The building materials were imported from the United States. After the construction, it was shipped to Maldives where it was lowered into the sea near the Rangali islands to establish the world’s first underwater restaurant. It is quite an engineering marvel!
True to the meaning of its name, (‘Ithaa’ means ‘pearl’ in the local language of Maldives, Dhivehi), the restaurant gives a 180-degree panoramic view of the rich marine habitat through its glass walls. Ithaa has also started to offer a one-night stay for visitors, giving them an out-of-the-world experience. The food served at this place doesn’t disappoint you either. They have the finest fish dishes of the region.
The glowing beaches of Maldives
As the moon appears in the night sky, certain beaches around the world have a unique way of reciprocating to that gesture. They glow with an eerie blue light that gives the feel that stars have descended upon the earth, washing up on the shore.
There is a natural phenomenon responsible which is a chemical reaction, called bioluminescence. It occurs, when some certain bacteria in sea water is disturbed by oxygen.The phenomenon’s effects vary depending upon the time of the year and the weather. It is more commonly seen when ships approach. Stirring up the oxygen in the sea, causes the bioluminescent bacteria to glow.
The divine glow from the stars illuminating the dark sky and the blue aura spread all around by the glowing beach makes for quite a mesmerizing scene worth visiting Maldives for.
National museum-The nation’s pride
National museum is one of the main tourist destinations of the country. Located in the Sultan Park on the west side of Male, the museum houses valuable collection of objects of the past that are a testimony to the country’s rich culture and history. Moreover, the purpose of setting it up was to preserve their history and unite the people with patriotic feelings towards their homeland. It was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister, Ameer Mohamed Amin Didi.
The museum has preserved valuable relics since 1952. This includes ornaments and costumes worn by various kings and queens, stone items of the Maldives’ pre-Islamic period, paper and cloth manuscripts, coins, palanquins, thrones, arms and armour, photographs of important personalities, anthropological objects, etc.
Now, a public park, it was part of the Sultan’s palace, built in the 16th century in the national capital, Male. The Royal Palace was razed, sparing one, three-storied wing. Now, only the massive iron gate at the entrance, opposite to the Islamic Centre on Medhuziyaaraiy Magu, remains intact, speaking of its past glory.
The Sultan’s Park makes for a beautiful green patch in the now bustling capital, with ponds covered with water lilies scattered around.