On September 17, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:Holidaymakers don’t go to the Maldives for shopping, but there are a handful of places to buy souvenirs. Your best bet is to head to Singapore Bazaar, in the Chandani Magu commercial district, where boutiques sell local handicrafts, shark teeth, jewelry and clothing. You’ll see plenty of batik goods; just note that they’re from Indonesia and Sri Lanka, not the Maldives. Divers and surfers who want to stock up on equipment and accessories can do so at Water World and Dive Shop, which are right next to each other in Male.
On September 17, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:The best thing to bring home from the Maldives is either a food item or some type of clothing or accessory. For snacks, head to the Male fish market, where you’ll find pickles, nuts, spices, jam and dried fish. In commercial district Chandani Magu, you’ll find Singapore Bazaar, full of boutiques selling local handicrafts like woven mats, embroidered pieces and lacquered boxes and vases. They also hawk shark teeth, jewelry and clothing. The batik goods are from Indonesia and Sri Lanka, not the Maldives, but you’ll find a nice selection of the dyed cloths.
On September 17, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:Anything you forget to pack from home can be purchased in the Maldives, either at independent shops in Male or at your resort’s gift store, albeit at a significant markup. When you’re packing for a trip to the Maldives, the first thing in your suitcase should be a bathing suit, followed by sunblock, goggles, a hat (the sun is very strong) and a few beach reads. If you burn easily — and even those who don’t in the U.S. may do so in the Maldives — pack aloe and some long-sleeved shirts and trousers to be worn when walking around. Your resort will have plenty of umbrellas to offer you shade.
On September 17, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:The best nightlife in the Maldives can be found within the big resorts. The Maldives is a Muslim country and locals are not allowed to consume alcohol. You won’t find any bars serving liquor within the capital city of Male. Keep in mind, too, that restaurants also don’t service any booze unless they are in a hotel. That said, restaurants do stay open late, so you can spend the day sightseeing and still grab dinner. Back at your resort, you can enjoy an alfresco drink, inky skies and warm ocean breezes.
On September 17, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Resort food in the Maldives is delicious, and outside of Male, that’s really all you’ll find. For those in Male, here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best places to eat and drink in the Maldives:
1. Sala Thai Restaurant. This is inside the six-room boutique hotel of the same name. Enjoy superb, spicy dishes, including tom yum and a variety of curries.
2. Seagull Café. Sit on the second floor deck, order some seafood and sip an avocado juice. The selection of ice creams here will leave your kids grinning.
3. Aioli. The food here is Euro-Indo-Asian. There’s fish and chips, curries and excellent steaks. As with many places in the Maldives, fresh juices and smoothies are terrific.
4. Shell Beans. This cute, cozy little coffee shop is right on the water and particularly popular with expats. It serves mostly Western dishes, including sandwiches with French fries, pizza and salads — two with chicken and one with tuna. The short kids’ section offers picky palates chicken nuggets and fries, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti Bolognese.
5. Symphony. This local spot has been open since the early ’90s and its consistently packed tables are a testament to how good it is. The cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Indian and Western, so you’ll find cuttlefish, spaghetti and meatballs and steak. Kids are warmly welcomed here.
On September 17, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:The Maldives is the place to splurge on that luxurious resort. The islands are full of them, each its own self-contained paradise. There are so many incredible resorts on these cluster of islands that it’s tough to pick the best, but here’s what our Forbes Travel Guide editors had to say on where to stay:
1. One&Only Reethi Rah. One hint as to the luxury you can expect at this One&Only property: Check in is done aboard the resort’s private yacht on the way over from Male. Relax in a hammock over the pool or swim some laps in the infinity-edge pool that lies like an airstrip over the ocean. The family-friendly resort also includes a kids’ pool, dive center and spa by ESPA. Villa hosts take care of all your needs and the food (the resort has its own organic garden and flies in fresh sushi from Japan and beef from Australia) is outstanding.
2. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives. Located just south of the equator, you have to take a 70-minute flight from Male and then hop on a boat for about 10 minutes to reach this little slice of paradise. The resort’s 132 villas are surrounded by dense vegetation and decorated with Middle Eastern and Indian accents.
3. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Located in the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve of the Baa Atoll, this one of two Four Seasons properties in the Maldives has it all: sunset cruises aboard the resort’s private yacht, a marine biology program for the kids, a dive center, night snorkeling, ayuverdic spa and pharmacy and much more.
4. Jumeirah Dhevanafushi. The Ocean Pearls villas are completely detached from the main island so you are literally right on the water (you get back and forth via speedboat or just stay at your own pool, restaurant and spa). The resort boasts extra-large beds, Hermès bath products and outdoor round marble baths.
5. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa. A quick trip on a speedboat from Male will get you to one of the Maldives’ most family-friendly hotels. This Four Seasons has a kids’ club, in-house babysitting and plenty of amenities for junior guests. Check the kids in and then head to the large infinity-edge saltwater pool where attendants ply you with treats all day, including wedges of fresh coconut.
On September 17, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:The Maldives is a wonderful family vacation destination, as many resorts offer plenty of things to do with kids and the waters are clear and warm. Below are Forbes Travel Guide’s suggestions for the best things to do with kids in the Maldives:
1. Ride the Whale Submarine. Despite the name, this is not a vessel for whale-watching but rather a large submarine that gives you a close-up look at coral reef life. It’s a fun activity for both kids and adults. (Note that children under three are not allowed.)
2. Try out some water sports. While your kids may be too young to go parasailing, you can enjoy kayaking, kite surfing and jet skiing in the warm, clear ocean.
3. Splash around. Kids will happily spend all their time swimming and splashing around at your resort’s pool and beach. It’s all about surf and sand in the Maldives, so prepare to enjoy idyllic days building sandcastles. Be sure to choose a resort that features a kids’ pool.
4. Try the kids’ club. Plenty of the resorts offer kids’ clubs, and they comes in handy when you’re traveling as a family. Some offer snorkeling activities and even dive programs. You’ll also find nightly entertainment and fun games like crab races.
5. Join a cycling tour. This one’s best for older kids, as toddler seats may not be available. Cycling is a great way to take a break from the beach and explore the wildlife surrounding your hotel.
On July 15, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:The Maldives is generally a safe place to travel to, especially as most visitors spend their time at large, secure resorts. Even in the capital city of Male, violent crime is almost nonexistent. That said, as with anywhere, watch out for pickpockets. And though it sounds laughable, don’t stand under a coconut tree during a storm or you’ll suffer a head injury; all resorts trim their coconut trees to avoid this problem. The Maldives is a Muslim country and so consumption of alcohol is only allowed in hotels and resorts. Be respectful of local customs and dress code.
On July 15, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:If you only have one day in the Maldives, it’s likely you’re doing a stopover in Male. The best way to see the Maldives in one day is to wander around Male, which is compact and easy to navigate. Start off with breakfast at cozy coffee shop Shell Beans before hitting the tourist circuit—the Old Friday Mosque, which dates back to 1656, the National Museum and the National Art Gallery. For lunch, try the seafood at Symphony, a local restaurant that’s been open since the early 90s and is enormously popular. After lunch, find yourself a beach spot and take a dip in the Maldives’ clear, warm waters. You’ll certainly be able to while away several hours on the white sand beaches. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, Sala Thai Restaurant will reward you with authentic spicy Thai dishes like tom yum (spicy soup).
On July 15, 2012Sophie Friedman answered the question:No matter where you’re staying in the Maldives, you’ll enjoy the same spectacular beaches. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best things to see and do in the Maldives:
1. Go diving. With its crystal clear water, diving is enormously popular in the Maldives. Most resorts have diving facilities and can help you organize a diving tour. You’ll see all kinds of fish among the excellent coral reefs, and even manta and eagle rays or a variety of sharks a bit further out. If diving is not your thing, you can still take advantage of the beautiful blue waters, which are warm year round for snorkeling or swimming.
2. Visit the National Art Gallery. The National Gallery is small but hosts rotating exhibitions from painters. There’s also a Maldives Biennial, where you can see photography, painting and mixed media works from artists across the country.
3. See the National Museum. This interesting museum is housed in the Sultan’s Park and is the only remaining part of the original palace; after the Maldives became independent in 1965, everything else was demolished.
4. Go to the Old Friday Mosque. Hukuru Miskiiy, as its known among locals, is the country’s oldest mosque, dating back to 1656. Above the mosque stands a blue and white minaret from 1675.
5. Engage in watersports. Back at the beach, your resort will be able to help you arrange parasailing kayaking, surfing, waterskiing, jet skiing, kite surfing and more.