The wife and I are considering a two week trip to the Maldives. We will spend one week on a liveaboard, scuba diving all around the atolls. My question is what to do with the second week while we are there?
Now we aren't exactly the resort type, so sitting on a beach for 5-7 days doesn't resonate well with us. So we are looking for something a bit different. We would consider ourselves more of the adventurous type and so would be more inclined to anything active, cultural, food-oriented, or wildlife-oriented. That's our our strike zone.
If there aren't any good things to do, we might consider spending the extra week in a neighboring country like Sri Lanka, something that would be relatively easy to get to or on the path to the Maldives.
Have you thought about spending the week on a local island such as Maradhoo in the Addu Atoll? Might be interesting. You can rent a guesthouse (for example the Beluga Guesthouse http://www.regal-diving.co.uk/maradhoo-island-guesthouses), go diving for Mantas and talk to locals.
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Well apart from liveaboard and resorts there isn't much you can do... Although all the resorts do offer a range of activities such as sunset cruises, snorkeling and diving trips, several water sports, a tennis court, a trip to a neighboring island, etc. But yes, the resorts are meant to relax and not to do too much.
The alternative to staying in a resort is staying in a guesthouse on a local island but most islands have very few inhabitants and therefore there won't be much to do there either and keep in mind that it's a strict Muslim country meaning that on all local islands alcohol is illegal as is wearing a bikini.
You could book a hotel in capital city Malé but, having lived there for almost a year, I wouldn't recommend that. It's an ugly, busy city with nothing special to offer food or entertainment wise and again with all the strict Islamic rules. If you want to say you have been to the real Maldives though, then stay in Male for just 1 or 2 nights and see how life is completely different for Maldivians than it is for tourists. Book a stay in Traders Hotel if you want the most comfortable option in Male.
After that I would definitely recommend going to Sri Lanka! It's a short and relatively cheap flight from the Maldives and Sri Lanka does offer all the things you were looking for ('active, cultural, food-oriented, or wildlife-oriented'). Don't stay in Colombo too long because that's just a crowded Asian city. Rather go to Galle, Kandy, Sigiriya or Ella.
Anyway, that's to give you an idea. If you have any specific questions feel free to send me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh and diving in the Maldives is amazing by the way so I am sure you will enjoy your liveaboard!
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As someone who couldn't sit still on a beach for long, I had an incredible week doing just that in the Maldives! I also second guessed myself when we booked the trip, but let me give you the same advice that was given to me: just book the nicest place you can afford and let go. Best advice I ever took and it's made me a much more grateful traveler ever since.
The Maldives are all about relaxation and luxury, so the resorts are designed to keep you entertained...private pools, outdoor showers, rose petals in oversized bathtubs, world-class spas, snorkeling, tennis, great bars, amazing food (The area is known for having the best food on the planet, as it's all shipped in to order...don't ask about the carbon footprint though). You can also do night-fishing/scuba excursions (though you may be over that) and when all else fails you have the most gorgeous sunrises, bright blue shallow lagoons, sunsets and star-filled skies at your disposal...sound boring? No way. The best part is that you're landlocked, so you can bin the guilty conscience and welcome the serenity!
Having said that, look for a resort that is slightly larger or attached to sister resorts that you can walk or ferry over to (Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, Maldives is a good example). This will give you a larger choice of restaurants/bars/facilities. Also, it's worth choosing a resort that has a good reef close by so that you can snorkel in between Kindle chapters and pina coladas.
Sri Lanka is a 1.5 hour flight and a beautiful country, albeit an entirely different experience.
I would have had a very different answer for you before I actually went, but today, my take is that if you are lucky enough to get to the Maldives in your lifetime, sit back and appreciate it's beauty to the fullest while you're there.
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After reading through your question and understanding that you'll are more a outdoors, culture and adventure seeking couple.
My honest advise would be head down to my lil Island! Sri Lanka the Island of Mystery & Magic.
This is how Marco Polo defines Sri Lanka:
“The finest Island of it’s size, and this is the Island to visit in a Lifetime” - Marco Polo
Now that you've got this close and you have a week more, I'd suggest you come over. I would be more than willing to help you around. I am a very active member in the couchsurfing community, check out my profile https://www.couchsurfing.org/profile.html?id=5GVBLEQMA
You could also reach me through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/arqam18
It would be my pleasure to serve you'll in Sri Lanka.
I do not have insight on Maldives, but if you are looking for Remarkable Paradise with Diversity, Golden Beaches, Rising Waves, Misty Mountains, mighty elephants with stealthy leopards in wild life, giant whales, a majestic heritage beyond 125,000 years and a unique culture, lovely tea and warm smiles could sum up a country that would be Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination for the visitors who seek for Remarkable Holiday or a remarkable traveling experience and I highly recommend it.
Sri Lanka’s documented history dates back over 2,500 years to 543 BC when King Vijaya became Sri Lanka’s first monarch. The pre-history of Sri Lanka goes back 125,000 years and possibly even as far back as 500,000 years. Remains of architectural wonders from ancient Sinhalese kingdoms are still present today. Most notable are those of the 5th century rock fortress “Sigiriya Rock Fortress” built in the shape of a lion.
Golden Sands and Sunny Beaches
As an island nation, Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Oceana with Remarkable Beaches around the country south to west to north to east. Sri Lanka is becoming a major spot for watching Whales and Dolphins and considered to be the best in the world.
Explore Nature and Wildlife
Sri Lanka’s 22 national parks, including 2 marine, are home to several indigenous species of flora and fauna and as a country with high rate of endemism it has many faunal groups including birds , mammals, reptiles and amphibians which you cannot find anywhere in the world.
The locals pride themselves on their Sri Lankan hospitality. This is not just something you taste in the spicy curry dishes, but also in the beaming smiles. During your visit, you should take a little time to meet some of the people you pass by.
Hope above details clear for you. If you decide to visit Sri Lanka, do not do not hesitate to contact me for more recommendations.