The Maldives - "No News No Shoes"
Following the horrendous events on Boxing Day 2005 The Maldives has refused to let the vast power of the Tsunami beat it and has returned to its former glory. Despite 99% of the Maldives being covered by water and the islands themselves a mere 6 feet above sea level the Maldives remains a stunning destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
The Maldives has been one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Indian Ocean for many years and understandably so. The introduction of cheap flights from a variety of UK airports and the abundance of good quality and affordable accommodation has opened up this collection of some 1000 coral islands to those of us that want to see the world. Many of these islands are accessible from Male by speed boat, as familiar in the Maldives as cars are in the western world. Journeys can vary from 20 minutes to 2 hours although for the longer duration's and those of us who don't possess sea legs it’s just as easy to take a sea plane to our chosen island. The draw of relaxing on beautiful safe beaches under year round warm sunshine and wading out in crystal clear blue sea to view shells of tropical fish has proved too much for many of us to resist.
Around 100 of these coral islands are for visitors with usually just one hotel on each island. Some have become quite sophisticated with mod cons such as air conditioning, swimming pools and luxury spa's, a choice of restaurants and entertainment where as others have retained the typical "no news no shoes" flavour of the Maldives with thatched roofs, open air bathrooms, unheated water and few facilities. The ingenious introduction of building small bungalows on stilts out in the sea an yet attached by decking to the mainland has proved to be a winner and a far cry from my suburban home, stepping on to the sundeck of our private bungalow down 5 or 6 wooden steps into waist high warm water was something to behold.
Surrounded by crystal clear water it's not surprising that these idyllic coral islands rank amongst the best diving destinations in the world. This is a destination to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and partake in some of the numerous activities at your leisure.
The rare beauty of the magnificent underwater world has made these islands one of the most enchanting diving destinations in the world. There are many dive sites catering for all levels of diver providing the opportunity to explore nature beneath the sea and if diving's not for you there is some superb reef's idea for snorkelling where visibility sometimes exceeds 50 meters. Swimming and snorkelling are at their best when the water is at its calmest usually in December through to April when the rainfall is at it lowest. The rainfall is at its highest during the south-west monsoon, normally May through to November. The temperature though remains around 30 degrees centigrade all year round.
Having just returned from a relaxing week lying in the sun and mixing with my fellow holiday maker I was staggered to realise just how many people thought they'd just go for a walk around the local town or would eat in a variety of local restaurants. This just isn't that type of place, to enjoy this unspoilt natural environment as it is means there is no nipping off to the local off licence for a bottle of rum or saving your pennies and going to a local café for lunch. Due to necessity almost everything has to be imported to these tiny islands and many extras can be expensive but it’s possible to pre pay for most things in the UK and I assure you, a small price to pay to swim in the warm blue waters amongst tropical fish and to experience the unspoilt beauty that makes the Maldives a destination that everyone should visit.