No bucket list is complete without a visit to the Maldives on it. It is one of the world's most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian countries by both land area and population, with less than 500,000 inhabitants.
The country is made up of 26 Atolls which are made up of around 1,190 coral islands, with less than 200 of them inhabited and around 110 of them resorts. The Maldives are best known for powder white sand beaches, striking blue lagoons and extensive coral reefs, containing a diverse range of marine life. Most resorts are exclusive Islands, with only a few sharing an Island and many have their own shallow, coral reef surrounded lagoons.
The Addu Atoll, the only one which is situated below the equator, in the southern hemisphere, is where you will find the 5* Shangri-La’s Villingili Island Resort and Spa.
Villingili, the southernmost coral Island in the Maldives, is a 5 minute speedboat ride from Gan International airport (built by the British as an air base/staging post over 60 years ago but handed back to Maldivan Government in 1976)
You can fly to Gan direct from Sri Lanka (a very recent addition, making it a great twin centre trip with Sri Lanka), or take a domestic flight from Male, which takes around 100 minutes, sometimes with a stop off at another Atoll en-route to drop off and pick up passengers.
Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa overview
Surrounded by a striking coral reef, this boutique-style all-villa resort is home to more than 17,000 coconut trees, over six kilometres of picturesque coastline and 2 kilometres of white sandy beaches. The resort comprises 132 tranquil villas in 9 styles from private water villas and tropical tree houses to pool villas and beachside residences.
For the ultimate experience, the Resort features two Presidential Villas. The over water Villa Muthee and the land-based Villa Laalu. All villas are extremely spacious and feature luxurious amenities, with spacious sundecks, patios, daybeds and lounge areas. Villa Muthee even has its own private Spa, where you can enjoy a range of in villa treatments.
There are 3 different areas of over-water villas on the Island, Whispering Palms, at the north-east, where you will also find access to the house reef for an amazing snorkelling experience, and 2 separate area’s in serenity bay, the furthest ones also being near the entrance to the golf course. All are similar in style and are very well furnished with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, and steps straight down into the sparkling lagoon.