The Maldives: which island should you choose?

Asoka Elon

It’s no wonder that the Maldives often overwhelm would-be visitors. Its 1,192 coral islands, set within 26 atolls, spread across 35,000 square miles of Indian Ocean, are enough to send most people into a pre-hols spin.

At the first glance of a silky brochure, Maldivian islands appear to be just carbon copies of each other; comprised of soft sand beaches, teeming house reefs and lofty coconut palms. But when you look a little closer, and search for detail beneath the gloss, you’ll realise that this island nation is more varied, complex and vibrant than first impressions often suggest.

Why the Maldives?

At no sandy point across its more than 1,000 islands does the lowest country in the world rise (naturally) above six feet. Up against its Indian Ocean neighbours – Seychelles and Mauritius – the Maldives resembles a pancake next to a pair of Victoria sponges. You don’t go here to ponder (or hike over) topographical texture, but to gawp at ocean-filled horizons where sandbars emerge and submerge at the whim of the warm currents.

Maldivian islands are, compared to most of the Caribbean, for example – tiny. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a stretch of beach to run along for more than a few hundred feet, however an abundance of them results in privacy and isolation seldom achieved elsewhere on the planet. It’s no wonder that the Maldives have become so popular with honeymooners desperate for seclusion – this is a mostly fly and flop, as opposed to hike and bike, destination.

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