Image credit: CC BY-ND 2.0 (Mac Qin, 2014)

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, southwest to Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a natural necklace of over 1,000 islands scattered in 26 atolls of coral reefs and sandbars. Its legendary beauty has been lauded worldwide — and with good reason too. Just picturing its myriad stretches of untouched white, sandy beaches and sapphire waters, travellers feel compelled to pack their bags and make their acquaintance with them.

And while it’s only fair to say that this oasis is on the bucket list of beach lovers above all, its sybaritic charm, pristine landscapes and array of opportunities have the power to grip even skeptics with wanderlust and turn them — or you — into an unabashed ambassador of its multifaceted merits.

For the uninitiated, here’s how the Maldives is unlike any other beach holiday.

Manta ray in Maldives

The Maldives is home to some of the most spectacular species, including whale sharks, leopard sharks, manta rays, moray eels, sea turtles and an impressive variety of fish. Image credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 (Tchami, 2013)

1. Stunning encounters with  marine life
When it comes to marine life, this paradisiacal nation is, perhaps, the safest bet for any naturalist. Not only is it home to some of the most spectacular species, including whale sharks, leopard sharks, manta rays, moray eels, sea turtles and an impressive variety of fish, but it is also one of the few places in the world where you are able to get up close to see these unique creatures without the need for snorkelling or diving gear.

While Maldives conjures up images of manta rays performing whirling ballet moves in the ocean among impressive schools of fish, you will also be surprised to be greeted by these inquisitive creatures near your resort, where they might pop by for feeding daily. It is surely a surreal experience to see manta rays and a plethora of other marine beings swimming so close to you!

Diving in the Maldives

A diving trip will allow you to see abundant coral and colourful fish as well as spectacular reefs. Image caption: CC BY-ND 2.0 (Malcolm Browne, 2011)

2. World-class diving in intricate ecosystems
You may be tempted to spend your trip luxuriating on a palm-fringed beach gazing into the crystal-clear water, but to make the best of your escapade, the depth of the Indian Ocean is where all the action happens. With an eternal summer, the Maldives pledges year-round temperate climate and warm waters, which lure you to be active and literally discover the ocean’s secrets.

Furthermore, each resort generally offers diving excursions for both avid divers and first-timers, allowing you to see abundant coral and colourful fish as well as spectacular reefs. Besides seeing the marine creatures, you might even get the chance to explore real shipwrecks depending on the location of your resort.

Maldives thatched villas

These tropical thatched villas offer beguiling views over the azure ocean. Image credit: CC BY-ND 2.0 (Mac Qin, 2014)

3. Luxury accommodation that lure you to stay in all day
It is true that luxury, gorgeous scenery and great interactive water activities are ubiquitous in Maldives but what makes the archipelago stand out from other tropical beach destinations is the ocean thatched villa over-the-water concept. Built on stilts over the azure ocean, these charming villas boast lavish Maldivian or contemporary interiors complemented by stunning vistas of the infinite ocean and cerulean skies.

If you get the urge to swim in the ocean, well, it is literally located in your backyard. All you have to do is descend a few steps from your room and take a leisurely dip. If you don’t wish to venture into the ocean, you can also decide to swim in your resort’s private swimming pool, taking in the grand vista of the ocean; with a little optical illusion it could seem as if you are swimming in the ocean itself!

Sunset in the Maldives

Travellers will be treated with fiery sunsets, which add to the overall romantic ambience of the islands. Image credit: CC BY-ND 2.0 (Arjun Shekar, 2013)

4. Dramatic, soul-stirring sunsets that are impossible to get a bad view of
If you were to capture a 360-degree panoramic vista of the scenery, you would be immediately mesmerised by a palette of colours from ivory-white beaches to cobalt clear skies to aquamarine waters sparkling in the sun. But the islands are also famous for sunshine particularly the pre-dusk burst of light, where the hues change dramatically from buttery tones to fiery red shades, luring travellers to gaze into the horizon and savour the languor and beauty of that imaginary line where ocean meets sky.

Beach in the Maldives

Beach lovers will be treated to utmost privacy and seclusion while enjoying topnotch service.

5. Ultimate seclusion for that castaway feeling
A lush world apart from anything else, the Maldives pledge the ultimate tranquil and secluded escapade. As it is blessed with 26 remote atolls — each owned by a resort — you will be far from the maddening crowd and greeted by an intimate group of staff and guests, who are pursuing their own joyful peace. Also, the more luxurious the resort, the higher the emphasis on privacy will be. Need further assurance of discretion? Bear in mind it’s simply not possible to hop from atoll to atoll without travelling back to the Maldives’ main port!