TAKE A WALK ON THE LOCAL SIDE
Go island hopping through the local atolls, home only to Maldivian peopleSee native fisherman and smoked-grass weavers as you experience the local way of lifeAround 10 percent of Maldivian islands are inhabited by resorts; the others are either uninhabited or known as “local islands,” meaning they are home to Maldivian people. Only within the last few years has the government eased restrictions on foreigners visiting some of these islands, which include three that are easily accessible on short boat jaunts from the Conrad. If you go decide to visit Dhigurah, Dhangethi, and Mahibadhoo, pack your bug repellent and something to cover your shoulders and knees (remember that the Maldives is a traditional Muslim society). On each of these strips of coral sand, you’ll notice the roads are unpaved, and there are few if any cars or cafés. You may see fishermen wading offshore, smoked-grass weavers, and people of all ages reclining in a joli, or rope swing. One way to engage with locals (only a few of whom speak English) is to ease yourself into a joli that will have you sitting directly alongside locals. If school is in session, listen for the singsong tones of children calling out in Dhivehi, which encompasses linguistic elements of Arabic, Sinhalese, Hindi, and Indian regional dialects. Ask your guide to let you taste bondi, a sweet made with coconut and sugar or jaggery then wrapped in a dry banana leaf. Back on the speedboat, it’s time for a gourmet picnic lunch and some snorkeling to cap off the day.