Maldives - 2018
On my way to India I was lucky enough to stop in the Maldives and spent 2 days there. It was incredibly beautiful. Nothing but white sand beaches and some of the clearest blue water I've seen. The Maldives are a small island nation just south of India with over 1,000 islands, of which 200 are inhabited. It's the lowest sea level country in the world (only about 4 feet) and is directly impacted/threatened by rising sea levels from global warming. If you're traveling to the Maldives, you have 2 options: stay on a resort island or a local island. I opted for the local island because I prefer to experience the local culture. But if you prefer luxury and have unlimited resources a resort island may be for you. Most of the resort islands are high end and closer to $1000 a night. As opposed to the local island hotel that I stayed at (which was still really nice) for $140.
The Maldives are a Muslim nation, so it's very conservative. You'll notice that there's a "No Bikini" picture in the mix because bikinis aren't allowed on public beaches. But there are bikini beaches available for tourists who visit the island and locals don't go there. Out of respect for their culture it's really important to adhere to this. It's great though because it makes the bikini beaches very private. Here are a few pictures from walking around Dhangethi.
The local island I stayed on was called Dhangethi and is in the South Ari Atoll. The area most known for the high concentration of whale sharks and other marine life, which is why I went there. Whale sharks are gentle giants and only feed on krill and I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to swim with one. Definitely one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
All the streets are sand so there's no need for shoes. Other than going to/from the airport, I didn't wear a single pair of shoes, not even sandals the whole time I was there and it was glorious!