Top 5 Things to do in the Maldives

Top 5 Things to do in the Maldives

Of course it’s great to visit the Maldives to lie around doing absolutely nothing for a week, but what about the people who actually want to get out and do something?

Being an island nation, you’re never too far from water. The Maldives is home to some of the best reefs in the world, and also offers plenty of other interesting water-based activities.

Here were our top 5 favorite activities to do in the Maldives:

1. Go on safari

Maldives - Nov 2013

Whether it’s a diving safari or a snorkel safari is completely up to you– but just go on one. We chose to do a snorkel safari since due to unexpected health issues, I had to cut any diving out of our trip, but snorkeling was still really great.

We were taken out by boat, where we jumped off and landed in an amazing reef. We then snorkeled along with our marine biologist guide for about 45 minutes, who would stop to point out and talk about all the cool things we saw. Besides seeing lots of colorful fish and coral, these are also the best opportunities to see manta rays, eagle rays, sharks, turtles and dolphin.

2. Take a sunset cruise

Maldives - Nov 2013

Even though it was raining on and off during our trip, each night we were still presented with a beautiful sunset. While they’re great to watch sitting on the beach, be sure to try a different perspective like on a boat.

Many resorts offer sunset cruises, which will take you out into the middle of nowhere to enjoy unspoiled views of the sun setting over the ocean. An added bonus? Most cruises also give you complimentary champagne to sip on as the sun sets and there is a high chance you’ll see some dolphins along the way. Romantic? You better believe it!

3. Get a relaxing over water massage

Maldives - Nov 2013

I’d take a relaxing massage any day. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite activities to try in every country I visit. I’ve had a lot of great massages abroad, I did travel in Thailand after all, but having a massage in an over water pavilion takes the cake.

We actually had two massage while we were there. Our first one was inside the spa in a normal massage room, which was good… but our second one in the over-water pavilion? Lying in an open air hut, watching the crystal-clear, blue water, while listening to the waves crash against the shore only added to an already relaxing experience. Forget listening to fake ocean sounds on a CD– this doesn’t even compare.

4. Sail to a local island

Maldives - Nov 2013

The capital Male’ is the most populous city in the Maldives; however, the majority of the overall population lives in smaller islands. Although I do realize this sort of thing won’t interest everyone, but visiting a local island was an interesting and eye-opening experience.

During our stay we were able to visit the island of Rasdhoo. This island is the capital of the Alif Alif Atoll, with a population around 1,000 people– with almost half of that being children under the age of 16. The island was only 500 meters long, and could be walked in about 7 minutes. The buildings, the streets, everything was very basic. Walking around we saw that dirt floors were the norm, and that fresh water storage and garbage disposal were major issues. The garbage had a horrible smell and piled up on parts of the beach, waiting for that night’s burning.

The main stream of income for these people is fishing. And as we were waiting on the pier for our boat to take us back to the resort, all the locals waited with us, except they were waiting for the local fishermen to return with what would probably be their dinner for that night.

5. Play with phytoplankton

Maldives - Nov 2013

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen those ridiculously awesome photos of bioluminesce phytoplankton from Vaadhoo, if not go and check it out now. Although the Maldives isn’t the only place where this natural phenomenon occurs, it does occur here closer to shore more frequently.

We saw glowing phytoplankton every night of our stay, but let me tell you it’s one of the hardest things to photograph since you’re in the pitch black. We spent a long time playing with it, running up and down the shore trying to ignite a reaction. While we never had quite the concentration of blue like in those photos, we would get overly excited each time a wave brought in more specs of shimmering blue.

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Which activity would YOU want to try?

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tours and excursions from Kuramathi and Kurumba. As always, all opinions are my own.

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50 Comments

  1. June 9, 2015 / 10:37 am

    The phytoplankton looks amazing, would love to see it in person. I’d also love the sunset cruise and water massage!

    • Beth Williams
      June 10, 2015 / 9:17 am

      All of it! I loved so much about the Maldives. It was truly paradise :)

  2. miriam
    March 16, 2015 / 3:55 pm

    What great activities! I’ve heard about the Maldives being a great vacation spot. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:08 am

      A great vacation spot is an understatement ;)

  3. March 16, 2015 / 12:23 am

    Well, I should be so lucky to go on such a trip, but cruising – nope not me! Wouldn’t catch me on any boat. Nope… sorry, but Loving your pics. I guess the movie Titanic had a pretty big impact on me.

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:09 am

      There’s no need to do any cruising in the Maldives! Simply lie on the beach and enjoy ;)

  4. March 15, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    OMG I have heard of the place – me and my boyfriend dream to go to the place – too wonderful!

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:09 am

      I hope you get to visit one day!

  5. March 15, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    All these things look amazing! This would be such a fantastic vacation.

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:10 am

      It was! The vacation of a lifetime :)

  6. March 15, 2015 / 11:18 am

    Wow, I feel like going to Maldives! Massage on the water sounds too good.. what a beautiful place. Ocean is so calming and I totally need this.

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:10 am

      It was heavenly!

  7. Joe James
    March 14, 2015 / 2:31 pm

    Your pictures remind me of how badly I need a warm vacation. Some of the places you posted, I have never been but would love to visit. Great shots!

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:11 am

      The Maldives is one you’ll need to visit for sure!

  8. michele d
    March 14, 2015 / 7:32 am

    A Sunset Cruise with my hunny sounds so romantic right now. I would love to do that one day. Your pictures are beautiful! Wish, I was there.

    • Beth Williams
      April 3, 2015 / 10:11 am

      Thanks Michele! It was SO romantic :)

  9. March 13, 2015 / 11:56 pm

    This all sound like amazing things to do to relax. I love traveling to warm places like this!

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:07 am

      Warm places are always calling my name ;)

  10. March 13, 2015 / 9:17 pm

    Wow what a beautiful place, I’ll put it on my travel list this year.

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:07 am

      You should! It’s stunning.

  11. Bonnie @ wemake7
    March 13, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    This is by far my favorite post you have shared so far! I would love to do all of those things. Would love the safari and phytoplankton the best. =)

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:09 am

      The phytoplankton is such a cool experience!

  12. March 13, 2015 / 6:20 pm

    I’ve never heard of Maldives before, but it looks like a fantastic place to visit! Definitely adding it to my bucket list!

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:09 am

      Glad to introduce you to this fabulous country. It is truly paradise!

  13. Jeremy the five dollar funnel guy
    March 13, 2015 / 5:03 pm

    Fantastic ideas! It would be so nice to explore all of these activities over the course of a holiday in Maldives :)

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:11 am

      For sure! There are so many great things to do there.

  14. March 13, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    The massage sounds heavenly! Though really, I’d be happy to try it all!

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:11 am

      The massage WAS heavenly!

  15. March 13, 2015 / 10:48 am

    The sunset cruise would be amazing…just something about the beautiful colours in the sky, the wine or champagne, the calming water..that is so romantic!

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:13 am

      Everything about it was romantic! ;)

  16. CourtneyLynne
    March 13, 2015 / 10:01 am

    Ok Maldives is one of my dream destinations!!! We wanted to go for our honeymoon but it just didn’t work out with the time
    Of year etc….. One day I will go!!!

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:14 am

      Aww, so sad to hear it didn’t work out! I really hope you get to go and have a second honeymoon there ;)

  17. March 13, 2015 / 9:37 am

    You had me at “over water massage.” What?? Sign me up! I mean, the cruise and sailing and safari sound wonderful, but over the water massage? Now, that’s the thing that dreams are made of… Looking up trips ASAP ;)

    • Beth Williams
      April 8, 2015 / 4:15 am

      Yeah, the massage really sealed the deal for us! It was heavenly!!

  18. Warner Fields
    June 30, 2014 / 2:48 pm

    A good guide to the best hotels out there in the Maldives. A property worth mentioning is Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives. Anyone wanting to head over here will not be disappointed. Certified as a Green Globe Resort, the premises is home to an underwater restaurant, numerous beach sports and others as well.

    • Beth Williams
      July 13, 2014 / 1:56 am

      Anantara Kihavah is another resort we’d really like to visit someday. Maybe next time :)

  19. February 4, 2014 / 8:36 pm

    The last tip about phytoplankton is really funny, but interesting indeed…
    The Maldives definitely are a great honeymoon destination!

  20. December 26, 2013 / 7:42 pm

    The activity I missed out on was phytoplankton spotting!! Is this only on certain islands or was I just not being observant when I stayed at Kurumba??! I LOVED snorkelling here – the waters are so beautifully clear! Do you have any tips for taking good underwater photos? I manafed to get a few as you can see below but with a lot of fish, the colours didn’t really come out!

    http://whywasteannualleave.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/232/

    • Beth Williams
      December 27, 2013 / 2:26 pm

      We were under the impression it was more prevalent in certain locations, but we ended up seeing it on both at Kuramathi and at Kurumba every night of our stay. The photo is actually from Kurumba!

      As for underwater photography, I just use a cheap underwater point and shoot. I wish I had proper underwater housing for my DSLR, but for the few times a year I’d use it, the price hasn’t seemed worth it. I think what was most important thing was having a good editing program. My photos looked very blue but even running them through an auto tone corrector in Photoshop helped to bring out the right colors immensely!

      • December 27, 2013 / 10:16 pm

        Oh no!! Can’t believe I missed the phytoplankton! Guess that’s a nice excuse to go back then ;-) thanks for the photography tips – I really didn’t want to spend lots on something I won’t use that often either so will try out your tips instead!

        • Beth Williams
          January 3, 2014 / 11:49 am

          Glad to give you an excuse to go back! We’ve been trying to think of one ourselves ;)

  21. December 24, 2013 / 3:00 am

    For all those folks who wants to really enjoy the Maldives, read this blog. There’s a lot more to Maldives that what’s often advertised and we’re here to prove it.
    http://goo.gl/jYdiob

    • Beth Williams
      December 27, 2013 / 2:12 pm

      You have some good recommendations on your blog! I really wish we could have immersed ourselves in the culture more, but with only 5 days it was a bit difficult.

  22. December 21, 2013 / 9:52 am

    Sign me up for all of them!! If I had to pick just one, definitely the glowing phytoplankton as I like doing more unusual things :)

    • Beth Williams
      December 27, 2013 / 1:47 pm

      The glowing phytoplankton was one of the highlights of our trip for sure! And it was something we didn’t expect to experience at all!

  23. December 17, 2013 / 10:51 pm

    All five of these things seem like they would be a lot of fun.I definitely would want to check out some glowing phytoplankton – nature is SO cool! And wow the water is so crystal clear so awesome for snorkeling.

  24. December 17, 2013 / 8:46 pm

    Hi Beth, thanks for sharing. Never been to Maldives but your post makes me crave for a trip:)

    Simon Lee

  25. December 17, 2013 / 5:41 pm

    Your Maldives post are making re-think my no-beach vacations. It sounds awesome…to read a few good books and just relax. Plus your photos are stunning.

  26. December 17, 2013 / 3:36 pm

    Sunset cruise sounds like a very romantic thing to do there and this glass of champagne makes me wanna go there for my honeymoon!