With 1200 islands and 26 atolls, Maldives indeed holds a great attraction for tourists. However, it’s not only about exotic islands, magnificent blue seas, shiny-sandy beaches, and reefs; just look a little closer and you’ll discover a lot more. This is a place where you can spend time with locals while travelling, seek out the islands’ history, and eat the authentic Maldivian cuisine.
Here is a list of things you should do to know about the genuine culture of little slice of paradise.
Take Public Ferry
Avoid seaplane transfers while heading to resort from the airport. If you travel by ferry, you get enough chance to engage with local people, as well as the chance to witness the beauty of the islands closely. It’s a real adventure, also allows you to spot some beautiful dolphins.
Enjoy Afternoon Tea
Get into any near-by coffee shop or cafe between 3 and 5 pm and you’ll find a feast of bite-sized savoury and sweet delights known as hedika. These savouries are filled with vegetables, egg, tune and chilli, while the sweet treats include French toast, pancakes and sponge cake. Pair them up with a mug of black tea – in a true Maldivian style.
Explore Islands’ History
There are more than 1200 islands and each of them has it’s own history. Though humanly visiting all the islands in a few days is not possible, knowing the history of some of them might increase your knowledge about the place.
Visit ancient mosques, Buddhist stupas, and shrines to know about the island. Also, visit these attractions with a local and hear the story of how the Maldives converted from Buddhism to Islam. At the northern atolls, there is Utheemu, home of the revered national hero Sultan Mohamed Thakurufaanu, which is a must-visit.
Dance To Boduberu
Boduberu or big drum is performed by a group of people, which includes three drummers and a lead singer. They are accompanied by a small bell, a set of drums also known as a bodu beru, and an onugandu – a small piece of bamboo with horizontal grooves.
Shake a leg on the tunes, but remember once you start dancing, you can only stop when it’s over. The songs tell stories of heroism, romance or satire.
Eat Like Local
Maldivians are known for their friendliness and hospitality. Make some effort to interact with them, and they might invite you for a dinner. Or visit a restaurant where they serve authentic Maldivian cuisine. They eat with their fingers and once you learn the art, it will definitely work as a great ice breaker!