The best destinations to combine with the Maldives
In a world high on energy, but short on time, trip-combining has become the intelligent way to travel. The Maldives works perfectly with another destination tagged on to it – not least because of its far-flung location and (while glorious) one-note mentality. Besides, all great travel is about contrast: relaxation blended with exhilaration. So why not pair a holiday to the Maldives with one of the following extraordinary destinations?
1. THE MALDIVES AND SRI LANKA
Due to its relative proximity to the scattering of islands, Sri Lanka is an obvious choice for pairing with the Maldives. After a night or two in the capital Colombo, zip up to the lush Cultural Triangle to explore the ancient ruins of the lakeside city Pollonaruwa and to climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya, with its astonishing panoramic views. Undeniably, the south-west coast of the island has some great beaches and a welcome hippy feel, but, with your next stop being an archipelago that boasts the best beaches in the world, it’s better to spend your time discovering the myriad of other things Sri Lanka has to offer, from the rolling tea plantations of the Kotmale Valley, to the pretty peaceful town of Kandy and the fantastic shopping in Galle. Yes, you’ll be ready to flop by the time you reach your island resort, but then that’s the idea, isn’t it?
2. THE MALDIVES AND RAJASTHAN
The Maldives and Rajasthan are realms apart in almost every measure, which make the two combined a thrilling experience. Organised expertly, a trip to the majestic Rajasthan is the quintessential Indian experience, with its kaleidoscope of colours, swirling crowds, tempting street food and exhilarating sights. The danger can be racing from city to city to see the main tourist attractions, without getting a real sense of the place, a particular risk when you’re on a timer until your flight to the Maldives leaves (via Bangalore). We say, don’t cast your net too wide and cover less, but more inspiring, ground. With the help of expert private guides, explore the rural gems of the region and leave with your mind ever so slightly altered.
3. THE MALDIVES AND DUBAI
First things first: an extended stopover in Dubai can ease the pain of being stuck in a hurtling tin can for the best part of a day. And a couple of nights in the supersonic city not only breaks up your journey but gives you the chance to enjoy some gold-dipped glitz before the barefoot luxury of the Maldives. Stay up in the Burj Al Arab, which is the last word in decadent hotels, boasting seven stars. However, a trip to Dubai doesn’t have to be all air-conditioned shopping malls and man-made beaches. For those after a more cultural experience trips further into the country to mud-house villages reveal a world set apart from those soaring buildings.