Natural sunken garden, the Maldives is a collection of atolls tossed on the Indian Ocean that comprise its tens of hundreds of coral islands. Home to a unique and extremely delicate ecosystem, at the Maldives either you are under the water drinking in its spectacular marine life or on the surface dipping your toes on its powdery white sands and taking in a tropical breeze. The Maldives’ palm-fringed beaches, the rustic resorts are known to be the byword for luxury and crystalline waters make it the stuff picture-postcards are made of. With no dense tropical jungles or volcanic cliffs like a Seychelles, Hawaii, Bora Bora or Fiji, the Maldives is flatter with the highest point not shooting any more than five feet above the sea level. The world here centers around the atolls within which thousand-odd islands have come up with their share of sandbars, lagoons and reefs that are home to some exotic reef fish and coral gardens.

The Maldives’ remarkable beaches
The scenery the Maldives affords is unparalleled and the time spent on its sunny beaches will prove to be an experience of a lifetime. Home to some of the world’s pristine beaches surrounding it's over a 1000 islands, there is a rhythmic consistency in their silvery, powdery sands complementing the azure blue waters which glimmer when the sun comes overhead. An island popular with backpackers is Maafushi, not far away from its capital Male. Though severely affected by the Tsunami of 2004, Maafushi continues to be one of the Maldives’ few inhabited islands, also home to the Maafushi prison. There are several white-washed hotels and resorts, coffee shops and wine bars, piers extending into the sea with the typical blue and yellow-dyed fishing boats punctuating its shores. Great to pull up a rustic table and chairs, bring out the wine glasses and drink in a majestic sunset. Yacht and speedboat rides are quite common in this part of the island nation. The whiff of the salty sea breeze, the endless supply of succulent deep-sea delights, sunrise walks and a refreshing dip in the translucent waters only to spot schools of tropical fish swim past you will be the highlight of your Maldives trip.

Another island a quick speedboat ride away from the capital is Hulhumale, a tourist destination with its share of scenic beaches, sprawling neighbourhood and quaint mosques with glass domes. Dine at one of its seaside eateries and treat your palate to grilled barracudas and spiced tuna curry with some steamed rice.

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