By Leigh Khoo
There usually comes a point in a traveller’s first visit to the Maldives when the world stands still, even if just for a second, just so the reality of paradise on earth can sink in. For my husband, it hit him when he stepped out of the airport and saw the unbelievably clear blue of the jetty waters. For me, it was the moment I looked down at the Maldives from our seaplane and saw a postcard-perfect picture of reefs and islands dotting a vast, turquoise sea. Words failed me. All I could find in my toolbox of languages was – “wow”.
This is the Maldives lucky travellers have written home about for years, waxing lyrical about its blessed bounty of sun-kissed beaches and postcard-perfect panoramas. On top of that, the Maldives is also known for its privacy – think deserted lagoons, miles of sand with no one else for company, and shady, secluded corners ideal both for a private picnic or quiet contemplation. We found all of that – and more – at Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili, a teardrop-shaped island in the largely undiscovered Raa Atoll that was once the playground of ancient kings.
Taking a leaf from its locale’s royal past, Loama Resort is designed to impress. All accommodations feature uniquely Maldivian touches like coconut thatch roofs and coral wall facades, along with modern creature comforts like steady Wi-Fi and rain showers. Stepping out onto the deck in our over-water villa – we had a bird’s eye view of the clear shallows of the Indian Ocean at our doorstep. It meant that we could literally roll out of bed and into our swimmers, and step right into the sea. Tiny colourful fishes thrive in the shallows but come high tide, we could easily snorkel out to the nearby reefs, where more abundant marine life resides.
On land, the pristine beaches surrounding the resort meant only one thing for yogis like me – play time! For three blissful days, the beach was my yoga mat and the powder soft sand provided all the cushioning and encouragement I needed to try (and fall out of) funkier asanas. And when I lay down in savasana, the rhythmic lapping of waves against the shore was the only background music I needed to lull me into stillness (and abit of a nap!). For the morning I craved a more structured practice, I booked a sunrise session with the resort’s resident yoga teacher at the spa pavilion. Surrounded by the ocean with nothing but the waves and breeze for company, my practice took on a deeper quality of calm, and sun salutations are that much more meaningful when I could actually see the yellow yolk of the sun steadily rising above the horizon. After the session, we hung around the pavilion to watch manta rays and baby sharks swim gracefully beneath us.
Beyond asana, however, yoga is also about connecting to one another, and to the community. As someone who values personal interactions, the cultural highlight of my trip was visiting a neighbouring local island Maakurathu, where I got great insight as to how local Maldivians went about their day-to-day life. Houses were painted in bright, cheery hues, the locals were friendly and quick to smile, and there was a chilled out vibe in the air. Thanks to excellent relationships between the resort guides and the islanders, we were invited into homes to watch coconut thatching, to drink tea and munch on snacks, and even to visit a newborn child. Beyond the stunning beauty of the atoll, in my opinion, this trusting relationship with the locals and the ability to share it with guests is what sets Loama Resort a rank above even the most luxurious properties in the Maldives.
Destination Pick: Loama Maldives
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