By: Staff Writer, 23 Sep, 2018
Arching coconut trees, clean white sands, and multicoloured marine life are par for the course on a holiday in the Maldives. But instead of sticking to the well-trodden parts, go further.
Rasdhoo, the main island of the Alif Alif atoll, is about an hour out of Malé by speed boat, the capital of the Maldives. Rasdhoo is small and just opening up to tourism, which means you’re likely to have it all to yourself. Surrounded by the glimmering turquoise waters of the Lacadive Sea, these areas are made for diving and snorkelling – but the island life doesn’t end there. Karan Mehta, co-founder of Simply Breathe – the folks leading a trip to the Maldives this October and November (more on that here) shares his tips on how to make the most of your time on the little island.
The ocean is vast. Enjoy it!
The good part about the island life is that you don’t have to be in the water to enjoy it. A short walk to the beach will get you feeling like a nomad on the edge of the world. It’s white sands all around, the kind Maldives is known for. Soak in the sound of the ocean as the waves gently lap at your feet. This is a calm and stillness that’s better experienced than explained – find a spot on the sand, breathe in deeply, and just be.
Sway along to some folk music
The Maldives has its own music and dance traditions – you’ll get to experience it on Rasdhoo. Look out for local boduberu bands. Thumping drums are the focus of this music, often accompanied by song and dance performances. Travellers are often invited to be part of these sessions, and it’s a fun way to meet warm, friendly locals.
Find solace on a sandbank
An uninhabited patch of land in the middle of ocean, the sandbank is a great getaway for some piece and quiet (in case you didn’t find enough of it on the serene island). Walk along the strip, with waves crashing on both sides of you. Walk a bit more and you’ll feel you are walking on water – a perfect Instagram moment, too! When you go, take your swimmers along – the lagoon near the sandbank is lovely, and you may even spot friendly fish. Further out, you’ll find the house reef, home to many colourful creatures and other marine life.
Pro tip: The sandbank is also an ideal picnic spot to spend a lazy day. Kick back with a book while looking out over the ocean, or watch the sun set into the water in the evening.
Make friends with the locals
The locals on Rasdhoo Island are warm and friendly, and always helpful. Traditionally a fishing village, it has been slowly opening up to tourism – which means interactions with the locals are unique and unlike those you’d have in other parts of the Maldives. The local language is Dhivehi and will sound familiar, like a cocktail of Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Malyalam and other South Asian languages.
Eat like the islanders
Like the language, the local cuisine will seem familiar too. Traditional meals are rice-based, accompanied by salads, curries and, of course, seafood. Try mas huni, a traditional breakfast preparation made out of tuna, onion, coconut and chilli, that’s eaten with a local flatbread called roshi. Cut-up roshi finds its way into another favourite, kothu roshi, a stir-fry of the flatbread and tuna along with other veggies and spices. Seafood lovers will also want to have the local fish curry and rice, with a side of fried or grilled fish. Rasdhoo has a few coffee shops and restaurants which showcase some local dishes.
Karan, Michelle and Bhushan of Simply Breathe are leading two Diving, Mindfulness and Conservation trips to the Maldives soon! Find out more here