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The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is a small island nation in South Asia, located in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 1,000 kilometres from the Asian continent.

Red thumbtack in a map, pushpin pointing at Maldives island

Snorkeling and diving

Spot the usual suspects — schools of colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, tortoises, the odd ray if you’re lucky — or take a deep diving expedition to dive with whales and hammerhead sharks. “Hanifaru bay is the largest ‘feeding station’ in the world and is Unesco protected,” Lechner says. “The area is abundant in marine life due to large amounts of plankton that washes in which attracts the big draw cards, such as beloved Manta Rays.”

Underwater spa date

Enjoy “hot rocks, cold ice, couture facials, Champagne and truffles for the skin” at another world-first – an underwater spa experience at Huvafen Fushi.

“It’s the ultimate relaxation experience, receiving a treatment surrounded by glass walls that are staring out into the beautiful turquoise ocean while its marine life dance around you,” Lechner says.

Traditional dhoni sunset cruise

Perfect for a family-packed holiday, is a sunset cruise on a traditional Maldivian boat, where adults can enjoy the view while the children keep a look out for the next school of dolphins.

Experience the local culture

The sand, sea and high-end luxury offered at most resorts in the Maldives may be more than enough for some but others might like to tap into the rich culture and heritage on, what locals refer to as, a “home” island. “It’s a good way to draw children away from the spoils of luxury,” Lechner says. Collectors will also appreciate Thulaadhoo for the arts and crafts.

Nosh on Mas Huni

While on a local island, Lechner recommends sampling a plate of Mas Huni – a traditional Maldivian breakfast dish. Comprised of finely chopped tuna, onion, coconut and chilli, the dish is usually served with freshly-baked rosti and can be a treat for the “continental breakfast” weary traveller. “It’s tangy and fresh with a little kick of heat on the tongue,” Lechner says.

Network in tropical surrounds

For those who find it hard to switch off, the Maldives have several locations for the business-minded to network and forge relationships, surrounded by turquoise blue. “They conduct several events – from complete island buy outs for corporate events and incentive programs, afternoon sunset drinks, to cheese and wine tastings — that are catered specifically to give the business world a chance to thicken their contact list,” Lechner says.

Party it up

Finolhu in Baa Atoll has a real beach vibe that attracts internationally-acclaimed DJs and even hosts three-day party events throughout the year on its one kilometre sandbank and pool areas. “Situated there is also the Fish and Crab Shack that serves soft shell crab tacos, and keeps the champagne and crisp rosés a-flowing,” Lechner says.

Dance along to the Boduberu

The Boduberu is a traditional Maldivian performance, consisting of rhythmic drumming, singing and dancing.

“The music can be heard from far and wide and the atmosphere is really exhilarating during a performance,” she says. For those who don’t have the chance to take a trip to the inhabited islands, several resorts — such as Gili Lankanfushi or Six Senses Laamu— are often host to such performances.

The Piano Deck at Baros

The piano deck, a stilted platform in the heart of the Indian Ocean, is the ideal spot to enjoy a decadent breakfast, sunset cocktails, or even book in a spa treatment. The quaint little deck can be hired for a few hours, entirely secluded from resort guests and staff. “The white canopy flaps away in the breeze and there’s nothing but you and the ocean,” Lechner says. “It’s ridiculously romantic and definitely one for the bucket list.”

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