The Maldives is well-known as one of the best beach escapes on the planet. But twinning this tropical paradise with a few nights among the souks and spices of the Middle East, a vibrant city break in Asia or the teardrop isle of Sri Lanka adds a magic ingredient: contrast. Here are some of our favourite places to combine with the Maldives.
Sri Lanka & the Maldives
This is hands down our most popular destination duo. What’s not to love about exploring UNESCO wonders, wildlife-rich parks and spectacular scenery before relaxing on a secluded island? If you only have a few nights to spare, make a beeline to the Cultural Triangle or combine a short safari in Yala National Park with stepping back in time in the historic city of Galle. The best way to get around Sri Lanka is by travelling in a private car with your own driver/guide, who’ll show you the highlights and hidden local gems. Our 7-night Cultural Triangle and the Hill Country independent tour is an excellent introduction to Sri Lanka’s culture and landscapes, and we can tailor it to you by adding extra nights or stops just as you like.
Although Sri Lanka has its fair share of beautiful beaches, nothing trumps the white sand isles of the Maldives, just a 1–2-hour flight away. The headline act of a Maldives holiday is snorkelling among the marine life of the Indian Ocean and many resorts have spectacular house reefs just steps from their shores. You’ll find one of the best at Sandies Bathala, a great-value hideaway exclusive to Kuoni in the UK. You’ll likely encounter turtles, mantas and reef sharks in the colourful reefs surrounding the island or venture out to the best dive sites in the Ari Atoll with the pro dive crew.
Expert tip: Enhance your Sri Lanka adventure with our recommended experiences, such as mastering the art of Sri Lankan cooking or drifting over ancient ruins in a hot air balloon.
Singapore & The Maldives
Singapore is a dynamic city-state with Michelin-starred food, futuristic architecture and iconic landmarks. From the bustling streets of Chinatown and Little India to the upscale districts of Orchard Road and Marina Bay, there is much to see and do on an action-packed city break. Start your high-octane holiday at Oasia Downtown Singapore, a funky hotel nestled among the skyscrapers of the Business District. Fuel up with a filling breakfast in Marmalade Pantry, then hit the town. After a busy day sightseeing, freshen up in the rooftop pool before relaxing with a gin cocktail in the stylish CIN CIN bar.
The fun doesn’t stop once you hit the Maldives; there’s a stand-out resort with a more upbeat approach to paradise. The Standard, Huruvalhi Island, has bags of personality – think rainbow-coloured villas, extraordinary dining and a glass-floored nightclub where you can dance between the Maldives’ largest disco ball and the deep blue sea.
Expert tip: Raise the bar on the fun factor and switch your Singapore stay to The Outpost Hotel Sentosa on Sentosa, an island labelled as ‘Asia’s Favourite Playground’. Delight in the thrills and spills of Resorts World® (Singapore’s own Universal Studios), cool off in one of the waterparks or take in the skyline views on a cable car ride.
Ajman & The Maldives
The Middle East and the Maldives work marvellously together, as several airlines offer smooth connections to Malé via Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Doha. Not only is a stopover a great way to break up the journey, but it gives you a chance to enjoy a taste of Arabian glamour en route to our favourite far-flung islands. More authentic than the buzzing hub of Dubai, little Ajman packs a punch with old-world charm, luxury hotels and some of the best beaches in the UAE. At Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah, it’s all about the zen vibes. Start your day with sunrise yoga on the pavilion, retreat to the Oberoi spa for a soothing treatment or soak up the sounds of nature on a flamingo-spotting tour through the mangroves.
Continuing with the rejuvenating theme, move on to the Maldives for a stay at the archipelago’s first wellness island resort, Kagi Maldives Spa Island. This boutique all-pool-villa haven has healthy menus and a cutting-edge spa, but the good-for-you aspect isn’t the only reason to come here. The all-inclusive package is up there with the best, including Champagne on arrival, dine-around options, and complimentary yoga sessions.
Expert tip: The Maldivian waters are home to playful pods of spinner dolphins, and the best way to see them in all their glory is on a sunset cruise, included in Kagi’s premium all-inclusive package.
Maldives island hopping
Each island in the Maldives has a unique character. There are tiny, Robinson-Crusoe-style gems where it's all about simple living, seafood and snorkelling through to wildly luxurious resorts with underwater restaurants and villas straight from a Vogue photoshoot.
If you'd like to experience more than one style of castaway life, we recommend pairing up Kuramathi Maldives and Kandolhu Maldives. Kuramathi is one of our largest islands with extensive facilities and nine à la carte eateries, serving everything from Thai to Tandoori cuisine. A quick speedboat ride away is pint-sized Kandolhu, where you can round off your Maldives escape in style. You’ll be treated to top-notch service, exquisite villas (complete with a wine chiller stocked with 30 bottles of handpicked wine) and gourmet dining. Don't miss a night of teppanyaki show cooking in Banzai, an intimate Japanese restaurant with just six seats.
For an extra special way to discover the Maldives, swap an island sanctuary with a stay on a luxury safari yacht: The Floating Resort by Scuba Spa. You’ll sail between gorgeous locations as you revel in spa treatments, world-class diving, and exclusive experiences like a visit to an uninhabited island and a barbecue on a star-lit sandbank.
Expert tip: If you can’t decide between a beach or water villa, have both. Many islands allow you to split your stay in different rooms, so you can switch up your experience without moving between resorts.
Dubai & The Maldives
Dubai is one of the world's most glamorous destinations – a metropolis of glittering skyscrapers and palatial hotels. It's a city of extremes; there aren't many places where you can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon, combine shopping with shark-spotting or take in breathtaking views from the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Gaze at top-to-bottom views of this space-age masterpiece from a Luxury Burj View Room at one of our favourite hotels, Taj Dubai, located just 5 minutes from downtown Dubai.
Moving on to the Maldives, Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa is the perfect modern match to your city stay – it just opened last year. This beautiful island is already getting top marks on TripAdvisor; guests are raving about the deluxe all-inclusive offerings, sleek villas and the above-and-beyond service.
Expert tip: Channel your inner Lawrence of Arabia and head out on an exhilarating half-day desert safari. Aside from the adrenaline rush of tearing up the dunes, this is a culturally enriching experience complete with belly dancing and a delicious barbecue dinner under the stars.
These are just a few multi-centre ideas to inspire you. We can suggest even more amazing destinations to combine with the Maldives, such as touring India’s Golden Triangle or temple-hopping in Bangkok. If you’re ready to start planning, call us or visit your local Kuoni store to chat with one of our travel experts.
This feature was updated on 12th July 2023. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of print. Feature by Heather Flanagan.