While away the day in Vilingili
If Malé's crowded streets leave you searching for relaxation and the quieter side of the Maldives, make the short ferry journey to the tranquil neighbouring island of Vilingili. Join locals at the beach, watch cricket matches in the park, and picnic under the multitude of gently-waving palm trees.
Stepping off the ferry on Villingili island at the end of my working day, feels like stepping into a postcard of what the congested Maldivian capital of Male’ once was. Villingili island, or Vilimale’ as it is officially known, is the 5th administrative ward of Male’. And it’s everything Male’ is not.For a start, on Villingili the streets belong to pedestrians. That’s right, on Villingili island cars and motorised scooters are banned. There are just a couple of licensed taxis and utility vehicles and electronic buggies that come in handy when shlepping your lugguage or groceries to and from the ferry. Coming from Male where pedestrians don’t stand a chance, that’s pure luxury. There is remnant jungle here, large shade trees and coconut groves where local youth kick a ball in the afternoons when the sun looses its intensity.It only takes 10 minutes to get to this satellite suburb of the capital on the slow wooden ferry, but it feels a world away from the concrete jungle of Male’.Villingili island is also the only place in the capital where you will find natural beaches, complete with a house reef teaming with colourful fish. It’s the best spot in Male’ for snorkeling and training for your PADI certificate.And what bliss to step into the turquoise waters at the end of the day and look across to the skyline of Male’.“Nobody wants to live in Male’,” says a woman standing next to me in the water, fully clothed, flip flops, dress, buruqua and all, as is the tradition here.
SWIMMING AND OTHER WATER ACTIVITIES
The natural swimming beach right next to the fishing port is popular on weekends with water sport enthusiasts. There are jetskies, Stand up Paddle Boards, water skis and dive training courses in the shallow lagoon and along the house reef.
There are two dive centres on Villingili and they are very popular with locals and foreigners. You can do your PADI course here or join them on an open water dive. They also take snorkelers along for day trips.
I am doing my PADI course right now with Divers Lodge Maldives and I am loving it!
PLEASE BE AWARE: This is an inhabited island and the beaches are very busy with locals. The mosque is only meters from the beach and local custom of covering yourself when swimming must be observed.
My solution to this is to wear a loose rashie, also known as rash vest, essentially a t-shirt for swimming, and board shorts to the knee. It may not be the most flattering swimmwear, but it keeps everybody happy.
Maldives SPEND THE DAY AT VILLINGLI
Lat: 0.757341325 - Lng: 73.434226990