But Maldives truly offers scores of once in a lifetime experiences to enthrall any bucket-list traveler — be they adventurer, foodie, nature lover, culture vulture, the list goes on. Here, our eight favorite reasons why you should drop everything and head to Maldives right freakin’ now.
#1: World Class Diving with Rays, Sharks, Sea Turtles + More
If you’re at all familiar with Maldives (read: you’ve ever heard of it before), you’ve no doubt heard it mentioned in the same breath as the phrase, “I can’t wait to dive there someday!” Scuba-lovers reel at the opportunity to get below the surface here as it’s routinely ranked among the likes of Belize, the Caymans, Australia, and others as simply the best diving in the world. One could spend hundreds of lifetimes here and barely scratch the surface of all that the nation’s atolls have to offer of the underwater world.
#2: Get a Massage by the Ocean
Few things make the ladies swoon like a real, professional massage. The only thing better: a professional oceanside couples massage. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a number of stunning destinations, but few compare to the sheer beauty and relaxation of Maldives. A massage here, while listening to the soft breaking of the Indian Ocean waves and spying on tropical fish swimming just beyond the glass floor below the massage table … it does wonders for the mind and soul.
#3: Sleep Under the Stars Amid Near-Zero Light Pollution
The world is shrinking. Or, more accurately, mankind is simply occupying more of it. Consequently, it’s a lot more difficult to see the night sky as out ancestors did – with zero light pollution. But some of the world’s more remote destinations still offer stargazers and nature lovers that luxury. As a tiny island nation a long, long way from the nearest land mass, Maldives is one of the world’s last holdouts for over-population.
Translation: the star-gazing here is simply jaw-dropping. Find a place to camp or sleep under the stars in an overwater bungalow and catch a glimpse of the night sky that few folks will ever witness.
#4: Enjoy Dinner on Your Own Private Island
Maldives is nothing but islands – a lot of islands. But many of them are rife with hotels, their staff, and [gulp] other tourists. Check out an exclusive offer to dine on your own private island for the evening – seriously just you and your significant other (or just you if you’re weird like that).
#5: Taste Wine and Chocolate in an Underground Cave
Few things are better than wine. Except wine with cheese AND chocolate. The wine cave at Gili Lankanfushi offers all of this in a unique, subterranean setting unlike almost any other on earth. Guests are invited to splurge on bespoke wine+cheese and wine+chocolate pairings featuring varieties of all three from around the world. Oh and that giant and totally awesome driftwood centerpiece? It’s a remnant of the 2004 tsunami that washed ashore several years ago.
#6: Explore the Ocean in the World’s Largest Touring Submarine
If diving isn’t entirely your thing and you’d rather get “unda da sea” via slightly safer and more traditional means, a private submarine tour is for you. Seabone Holidays offers rides in their purpose-built submarine capable of carrying 50 passengers to a depth of 150 meters. It’s also the world’s largest deep diving submarine used for underwater tours, where guests can view thousands of local marine life species, including lionfish, anemone fish, parrotfish, sea turtles, rays, eels, whale sharks, reef sharks, and many more.(Tip: skip the water bottle as there’s, not surprisingly, no bathroom on board!)
#7: Relax in Your Own Private Overwater “Bungalow” (Compound)
Spending the night in an overwater bungalow is one of the great “bucket list” checkboxes for most travelers. Staying in an overwater compound takes that to a whole new level. The Private Reserve at Gili Lankanfushi is, by their own account, the largest overwater “bungalow” (they use that term loosely) in the world. The sprawling unit features two master suites, 360-degree views of the Indian Ocean, private spa facility with sauna and steam room, a waterslide into a natural coral pool, 24-hour onsite butler and housekeeping services, and so on … all spread out over more than 14,000 square feet of living space. Oh, and it’s only accessible by your own private boat. Granted, at nearly $15,000 (USD) nightly, it’s typically reserved for heads-of-state, oil tycoons, and sultans. But, hey, you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play, right? Right. (Tip: book early as it’s reserved months in advance)
#8: Search for Spinner Dolphins
Spinner dolphins can be found in off-shore tropical waters around the world. But few places we’ve visited offer near-guaranteed access to these beautiful, awe-inspiring creatures than Maldives. Catch a sunset cruise from almost anywhere in Maldives to snap a glimpse, and obviously don’t forget the camera. The photo opps (picture: crisp dolphin silhouettes against a backdrop of the brilliant, crystal clear sunset over the Indian Ocean) are out of this world!
The Bottom Line
For true, barefoot luxury I can safely say that nowhere I’ve ever visited touches the beauty, excitement, natural wonder, adventure opportunities (I could go on ”¦) of Maldives.
Maldives is replete with once-in-a-lifetime experiences to check off any bold (and well-heeled) traveler’s bucket list. Having visited Gili Lankanfushi earlier this year, we’re thrilled to say that you can do almost all of them (including the above eight) there.
Sure, it’s pricey, but if money is no object or you’re looking for that vacation-to-end-all-other-vacations trip, it’s nigh impossible to beat. Check out their offers page for the latest specials and travel discounts.