The Maldives will take your breath away! The gently swaying palm trees, the talcum white sand beaches and an emerald sea on which the sunlight dances -- all have quite a mesmerising effect on the eye of the beholder. As the aircraft eases down at Maldives capital Male, the view is picture postcard perfect. As much as the aircraft’s small window permits, the warm tropical paradise is alluring. No wonder, the excitement among the passengers, particularly the honeymooners, is palpable.
The sea colour is striking. Closer to the island is a distinct green of light jade, which turns a deep blue a bit further away. The Maldives has some 1,200 islands, separated into a series of coral atolls. The country lies just north of the Equator in the Indian Ocean. For Indians, it is one of those countries where visa is granted on arrival. So, you just need to carry your passport and catch a flight.
It has a tropical climate where the year is separated into two main seasons by the monsoons -- hottest in April and coolest in December. The best time to visit is between December and April when the weather is sunny, with clear skies, low humidity and excellent water clarity. A number of gorgeous private island resorts, including two stunning properties run by Club Med, dot this archipelago of the Maldives.
As one disembarks at Male airport, the sea is right there. One needs to take a boat to travel to one of the resorts. The fresh, bracing air and the fine water spray as the catamaran cuts through the sea at high speeds, making a superb beginning to the holiday.
Holidaying in the Maldives is an enchanting experience, exotic in all its aspects. With abundant sea life, natural beauty, pleasant temperatures and sandy beaches, it is renowned as a tropical paradise. The memorable add-ons include swimming, fishing, water-skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kite boarding and windsurfing.
Snorkelling is an experience in itself with the clear sea offering a high visibility. Take a boat ride to one of the spots, wear your flippers and gear and jump into the inviting sea. A look down is like being in a giant aquarium, with multi-coloured fish gliding through the water.
Passing through a school of fish is an exhilarating experience. One feels like staying on and on in the water, but for the gentle prodding from the diving experts who accompany the group. The corals here are straight out of science books. All shapes, sizes and colours of these fragile marine invertebrates can be spotted on the sea bed, with the sun rays illuminating them.
If you are adventurous, parasailing is another option. A high-speed boat will pull a bright coloured parachute on which you are strapped and you just go up and up with the wind. In no time, you are looking at a wide expanse. To call the view stunning would be an understatement. You get to see the distant horizon, where the sea merges into infinity. The water villas, with plenty of oomph factor, look like small huts. The beautiful resorts seem to be from la la land.
There are hosts of other options -- laze around on a sun bed, gaze at the sea, soak in the bright sunshine and take long walks on the beaches to feel the white sand that just cascades through the toes, taking away all your worries.
What to carry?
The Maldives is characteristically warm and sunny. It’s best to pack light, airy cottons or linens in sober bright colours. Sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) is a must and so are swimming trunks, thanks to serene, inviting beaches and pools. Slippers or loafers and a hat or scarf should complete the summery ensemble.
A number of Indians are visiting the Maldives as it is just about two hours of flight time away from Bengaluru. Just pack your bags and head to this nation of islands. It will leave you refreshed, and rejuvenated -- to the promised “sunny side of life”.