Photographer's Note

Guraidhoo, Kaafu Atoll, Maldives, June 29, 2018

I've always seen The Maldives as one of those countries that most likely doesn't have much authenticity left. Like one big beach resort where most locals speak English and try to lure you into buying overpriced stuff.

I stayed in the Maldives for four days. First a few hours in the bustling city life of Malé, then two days at Maafushi Island and two days at Guraidhoo.

Maafushi turned out to be, obviously, very much in contrast to the city of Malé. The local ferry to the capital runs once daily (07:00, with a return at 15:30 or so), except Friday. The locals were very friendly. However, I quickly felt it wasn't quite my kind of island. The national prison covers the whole southern half of the island. The northern end was quite pleasant, but souvenir shops, hotels and surfing tour agencies made me feel like this was more of a tourist island. I had a great time playing football with the local kids though. After two days I found out there was also a nearly affordable guest house on the nearby island of Guraidhoo. And I would have just enough time to spend two days there.

I had met some other tourists who said they didn't like Guraidhoo. That Maafushi was much better. So it's a matter of personal taste. But I found Guraidhoo to be much, much better. The beaches were nicer, the island was cleaner, the locals were more laid-back, it's smaller, it simply felt much more local. If you ever visit the Maldives the "normal" way, not through the resorts, Guraidhoo is highly recommended.

This picture shows one of the many colourful facades of Guraidhoo. A little bit surprised also to see that this is the very first TE photo from this island (and the first Maldives photo in 4 years that doesn't include the ocean).

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Additional Photos by Fredrik Henriksen (Bergenphotos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 271 W: 53 N: 654] (3326)
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