With a population of barely more than 300,000 and 1, 192 islands, Maldives is an enigma for the tourist. Despite its stunning number of islands and vast popularity for its natural beauty, the archipelago nation is the smallest and least populated country in Asia. And of almost 1,200 islands, barely one-tenth are inhabited – leaving so much scale for exploring and travel to the adventurer outside of Male, its capital.
Spread over 26 coral reef atolls, Maldives’ diverse floats on a fertile underwater mountain range in the Indian Ocean, and it has many protected areas to keep it as environmental-friendly as possible. Thus, its stunning reefs, breath-taking coastlines and pristine beaches unsurprisingly draw water sports enthusiasts, sun-worshippers and honeymooning celebrities all year round. With hundreds of islands and thousands of resorts dotted throughout the country, enjoying Maldives’ beaches can be an overwhelming affair.
Straddling two private islands for some quiet calm, the sea breeze and morning surf greats you at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Miles and miles of natural white sand stretch across both islands, where visitors stroll serenely about barefoot on the fine sand and beach villas are mere steps away from the shore. The view from the water villas, which overlook an unspoilt reef and lagoon teaming with sea life such as whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, and turtles, further emphasise the calm that present when one comes face-to-face with such natural beauty. For a closer and easier look at the inhabitants of Rangali’s lagoon, the Conrad is also home to the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant.
On the Kuredu Island in the Lhaviyani Atoll, the acclaimed Kanuhura beach provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of life, and is often used by discerning visitors who value their privacy by the seashore. It takes quiet and tranquillity to a whole new villa, as you can step out of the thatched villas right into Kanuhura’s turquoise lagoon, where rays and turtles play. Lounge under parasols by the bay as you dig in into the pearly-white fine sand dunes. The sea air spills into rooms as the open layout means you fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of waves lapping just a few feet from your bed. The luxury island’s tranquillity is only slightly disturbed time to time as a sea plane drops off new visitors, waiting to be enthralled by the large expanse of stunning beaches and lush tropical forests.
The only island in the unspoilt Faafu Atoll, Filitheyo’s beach and lagoon remain untouched by man-made structures, and visitors often enjoy long walks down both sides of the island on talcum powder soft sand, under the lull and shade of the palms.The sandy paths wind their ways into the island, shaded by tropical vegetation and perfect for discreteness.
With breath taking views of channels on both sides of the triangular island, Filitheyo also houses an amazing variety of beautiful coral and abundant fish life. Whale sharks and mantas have even been spotted.
Set in the South Ari Atoll where sharks cruise its south western waters from May to September, Lily Beach is a renowned romantic getaway, where couple watch the sun set on the Indian Ocean straight from private decks, and walk hand-in-hand along the immaculately kept sandy shoreline. Its exotic in-house reef is just a few metres away from the resort and exclusive dive sites add to the great worldwide reputation Lily has of being one of the best beaches in the Maldivian archipelago.