A thatched ocean cottage resting on stilts above a lagoon of such crystalline, turquoise water it takes your breath away when you see it from your pillow in the morning . . . Days spent lazing on palm-backed beaches of fine, sugar-white sand, with nothing more to think about than what to have for lunch, or whether to spend the afternoon dhoni cruising, snorkelling off the reef or enjoying a massage in the spa.
If this sounds like your idea of a perfect holiday, then the Maldives are for you. The formula couldn’t be simpler. This is life stripped back to basics: no distractions, no culture shock to contend with or shopping to quicken the pulse. Just sublime sea water, pristine sand, blissfully blue skies, gently swaying palm trees and coral reefs filled with kaleidoscopic fish – quite literally on your doorstep.
When faced in the 1970s with the quandary of how best to exploit their one and only natural resource – pristine coral atolls – the government of the Maldives chose high-end exclusivity as a strategy. Guests would be whisked directly to luxury resorts, sited on their own individual island at a respectful distance from the largely Muslim local population.
The philosophy has evolved somewhat in recent decades. Independent travel is now permitted. And ‘low-impact’ and ‘environmentally sustainable’ have become the watchwords –hardly a surprise given the threat posed by rising sea levels.
TransIndus holidays in the Maldives feature the pick of the archipelago’s island hideaways. Each has its own unique location and style, whether classic-five star sparkle or under-stated eco-lodge chic.
Area: 298 sq. km
Time: GMT + 5hrs
When to go
The climate of the Maldives is tropical – hot and humid. The islands get rain from July to August due to the southwest monsoon. December to April is a good time to visit as this period has comparatively less rainfall. The time between May and November has cloudy skies, high humidity and more chances of rainfall.
The international airport is on a separate island within the Malé atoll. Some of the best options are on Sri Lankan Airlines (from Heathrow), Emirates (via Dubai) and Qatar airways (via Doha). Flights are also available from Colombo (Sri Lanka), Bangalore and Trivandrum (both in India).
Transfers to and from the airport and between islands is by seaplanes, helicopters or local boats (dhoni).