There are two things you should remember when going to the Maldives: one, you are going to the most beautiful luxury beaches and dive sites in the world; and two, the names of places are difficult to read. Say Thinadhoo, for example. This place is the capital city of Gaafu Dhaahi Atoll and the proposed capital of Mathi-Dhekunu Province. Can you say that last sentence without reading several times first? Probably not, if you’re not South Asian.
The Maldivian people or Devehis are closely related to the North Indians. The Devehis speak the Divehi language, which is similar to Sinhala and a bit Tamil. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is to the southwest of India and Sri Lanka. It is an archipelago that is made up of over a thousand islands that form 27 atolls. According to the Webster-Merriam online dictionary, the word “atoll”, which means “a coral island consisting of a reef surrounding a lagoon”, is originally a Divehi word, “atolu”. This word must have really come from the Maldives since this country has the most number of atolls in the world, and they are all beautiful.
There are a few atolls that are not easily accessible by visitors, and one of them is Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll where Thinadhoo is located. Originally, Gaafu Dhaalu was just a portion of a larger atoll called Huvadhu Atoll. On February 8, 1962, the Maldivian Government divided Huvadhu, a natural atoll, into two sections, and the southwestern section became Gaafu Dhaalu, which is an administrative district. Therefore, Gaafu Dhaalu is also referred to as Southern Huvadhu Atoll.
The Southern Huvadhu Atoll has 153 islands, ten of which are inhabited by the local people. This is why tourists cannot just come here as they please. The government strategy is to discourage foreigners from visiting inhabited islands and at the same time prohibit locals from visiting tourist islands. However, since the capital of Southern Huvadhu Atoll has been receiving much tourism attention, foreigners are allowed to visit here after securing a special permit from the government to leave the tourist islands and visit an inhabited island.
Thinadhoo is fast becoming a popular tourist destination for its picturesque landscape, lush greenery, not many people, zero pollution, and cool weather, thanks to the many trees around. And of course the most important spot is the beach. The place is simply perfect for swimming and snorkeling. It has all that makes a dream beach: white fine sands, clear blue water, cool breeze, and colorful shallow reefs.
Besides Thinadhoo in Southern Huvadhu Atoll, the other equally popular tourist spots (with equally difficult names to say) are Kudahuvadhoo Island in Dhaalu Atoll, Fahigiri Reef in Lhaviyani Atoll, and Veligandu Kandu in North Ari Atoll, just to name a few. These tongue-twisting names may be difficult to say but the actual places are just simply so spectacular you would forget how to say your own name.
Meanwhile, back in Thinadhoo, this developing city has a domestic airport on a nearby island, the Kaadedhoo Domestic Airport, which makes Thinadhoo a perfect vacation destination. The Maldives has more water than land and so it is very important that a resort is accessible either by air or by sea or both.