Northern Atolls
Best months:
March to October

Northern Atolls

LAST UPDATED 27/01/2009
Bookmark and Share


Mohonu: Geographic Atolls of the Maldives; 2 April 2007

The North Male Atoll is the main centre of tourism and has the largest number of resorts. With a coastline is 644km, there is an incredible amount of potential within these waters. This is one area where a boat trip is definetly the best way to travel. With a boat you are able to cover far more ground, investigate many more reef passes etc. Make sure you are on good terms with your fellow crew members though as it can be a long week at sea otherwise.


NASA: The Maldives; 2005

Virtually all of the named and well known spots in the Maldives are close to the resorts in the southern atolls. There are a wealth of un named option awaiting the explorer to the north of the islands. The west coast is not as well known for its surfing due to the monsoonal pattern of wind and swell not being conducive to good long period swell and superior surface conditions, the main season for surf on the east coast is generally considered to be April to June which falls within the changeover from the north eats to the south west monsoons, hence you maximise the chance for good long period north easterly swell with offshore south westerly winds – offering superior surfing conditions.

You will need a boat, end of story, travel can be difficult relying on local transport and shuttles. If you have the time and the resources you are going to discover something very special.


Doni aux Maldives cropped (from

Boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car and they are very popular among the locals. The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands in the North and South Male atolls.

Sea planes (air taxis) and private yachts are arranged by resorts and mainly reserved for tourists. Two main air taxi operators are Trans Maldivian Airways and Maldivian Air Taxi.
Bare in mind that they don’t operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark you won’t be able to get to the distant resort.

If you want to travel independently to inhabited islands other than Male, you will need an Inter Atoll Travel Permit from the Ministry of Atolls (requires Rf.10, a copy of your passport and an invitation from a resident of the island you wish to visit).
Maldives are relatively small – no point is more than 45 minutes away by plane from Male.

where to stay

Jpatokal: Water bungalows at Thulhagiri Resort, Kaafu Atoll, 5 September 2007

Transport to the resorts in the Male’ Atoll are by ‘dhoni’, motorised local vessels or by speedboat.

Resorts take up most of the island, meaning that the beach is so big, it is hard to imagine struggling to a find a private and comfortable spot to relax on. Many have a "no shoes" policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.

The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:

Dive resorts - Geared for people who want to spend most of their time underwater (eg. divers). Although facilities on land are limited, the house reef is excellent.
Holiday resorts - These are large resorts designed especially for family needs - ie. multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc. but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy. Most of these are located on Kaafu, with easy access from the Male Atoll.
Luxury resorts - designed especially for honeymoons. This is the resort you would want to get if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa. The only way to get there is by a rowboat and is definitely the most expensive resort of the three.

The overwater bungalows are a Maldivian classic. It is built on stilts directly above a lagoon and look very romantic, however the lapping of waves can be romantic on a calm day but disastrous on a stormy one.

Many resorts cater to a single nationality, such as "Italian" resorts, "Dutch" resorts, "German" resorts, etc.While almost all welcome any nationality and have some English-speaking staff on hand, you may be cut off from any evening entertainment and have problems due to communication barriers.


what to pack

Xavigivax: Beach towel; 13 November 2007

Trainers, loose clothing - everything for the hot weather. Cotton is the best.

Definitely take along some bug repellent spray, good sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses! Better take your medicines with you (esp. anti histamine tablets), as the brands can be unfamiliar and cost more.

A small backpack makes a good carryon bag and will be useful in daily life. Women: remember to take a good flat pair of shoes.... And for everybody: pair of comfortable walking shoes will be great for walking.

All the gear if you plan to camp: a good waterproof sleeping bag and tent; special gas container u can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack. Invest in a portable water filter or at least take some puri-tabs or boil the water.

You must be a registered user to comment. Click here to register.