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Overview

The Maldives

The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. The capital, Malé, has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on the main road, Majeedhee Magu, and 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (also known as Friday Mosque) made of carved white coral. The islands are popular for snorkeling and diving due to the warm water, high visibility and diverse marine life, including manta rays and spotted whale sharks, which can grow to 12m long. Other popular water activities include swimming, surfing, sea kayaking and jet-skiing. Travel by boat or seaplane is common on inter-island trips from Malé to uninhabited islands or small fishing villages, many of which offer guesthouses or homestays. The most typical travel accommodations are luxury spa resorts and overwater bungalows on wooden stilts.

Food Must Try

Saagu bondibai (sago pudding)

When was the last time you had sago? The 1940s? Same here. But in the Maldives, these little starchy spheres are a major component of people’s diets, derived as they are from the spongy cores of tropical palm stems. As soon as you try saagu bondibai, you’ll see why sago is still so popular in Maldivian households. Warmed with coconut milk, cardamom and rose, and laced with creamy condensed milk, it’s the kind of dessert you could drink by the bucket-load if only that wasn’t a hideous thing to do (we won’t tell anyone if you won’t). Try it for yourself with this recipe here, and you’ll see what we mean.

Bis keemiya (samosa)

Imagine a curry puff had a ménage a trois with a samosa and a spring roll, and you’re halfway to what a bis keemiya is. Stuffed with gently sautéed, shredded cabbage, hardboiled eggs and spiced onions, the pastry is light and flaky, and delightfully chewy. They’re also way too easy to make for something this tasty. New party snack anyone? Try this recipe and you’ll see why they’re an impressive and easy treat

Boshi mashuni (banana flower salad)

Somewhere between a salad and a salsa, boshi mashuni is a blend of shredded, blanched (but still crunchy) banana flowers, fresh coconut and spices. It’s zingy with lime, hot with onion and Maldivian chilli (you can of course use regular chillies, just make sure they’re hot ones like bird’s eyes), with a savoury background thanks to curry leaves, turmeric and cumin. Find the recipe here and be blown away by the fact that it’s also pretty much a health food, which frankly feels irrelevant with something this gorgeous to eat.

Excursions

National Museum

With the purpose of preserving history and instilling patriotism among the people of the Maldives,[citation needed] the museum has a large collection of historical artifacts, ranging from stone objects to fragments of royal antiquities from the Buddhist era to the rule of Islamic monarchs. The museum was previously administered by the Maldivian Centre for Linguistic and Historical Research. However, on 28 April 2010, this institution was abolished by President Mohamed Nasheed and its charge of the Museum’s responsibilities given to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture while the linguistic and historical research responsibilities were handed over to the Maldives College of Higher Education.

Maafushi Island

Maafushi is one of the inhabited islands of Kaafu Atoll and the proposed capital for the Medhu Uthuru Province of the Maldives. It is noted for the Maafushi Prison. It was heavily damaged in the 2004 tsunami which impacted on over 100,000 of the Maldives 300,000 population. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, supported by the Irish and American Red Cross Societies, began work on a mains sewage system on August 10, 2006. The International Federation has also funded the building of homes for those who lost theirs during the tsunami. Both schemes are carried out in partnership with commercial contractors and with the support and involvement of the local community.

Male Friday Mosque

The Malé Friday Mosque or the Malé Hukuru Miskiy also known as the Old Friday Mosque is one of the oldest and most ornate mosques in the city of Malé, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives. Coral boulders of the genus Porites, found throughout the archipelago, are the basic materials used for construction of this and other mosques in the country because of its suitability. Although the coral is soft and easily cut to size when wet, it makes sturdy building blocks when dry. The mosque was added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage cultural list in 2008 as unique examples of sea-culture architecture.

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Food Must Try

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Excursions

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