The Faafu Atoll, also known as North Nilandhe Atoll or Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi, is located south-west of Malé. The dry season runs from December to March (north-east monsoon), and the wetter weather arrives in May and lasts until November (south-west monsoon). Manta sightings are common during the months of December to May. Water temperatures are 24° C (75° F) and above all year.
There are Hindi and Buddhist archaeological sites on the atoll. The Maldives’ second oldest mosque can also be found on the island of Nilandhoo. Aasaari Miskiiy was built during the 12th century and carved woodwork can be found on the inside. It’s a great way to appreciate how religion spread across the archipelago.
There is only one high-end resort on the atoll, and good discounts can be found during the low season. A private island (Rania Experience), complete with private speed cruiser and PADI instructor, caters to people who don’t need to negotiate discounts. Faafu Atoll is visited by liveaboards, but it’s not as popular as other atolls; the diving will feel more secluded and unspoiled.
You can learn how to sail a catamaran. Then head to an uninhabited island and pretend you’re having your own Rania Experience.
You can explore the atoll's historical ruins, or sail on a traditional dhoni to an inhabited island and experience traditional Maldivian life.
If you prefer to be in the water, then you can windsurf, sail or paddle a canoe around the lagoon.
Or you can relax on the beach, snorkel, write your dive log and try big game fishing. Just hope that the grouper you catch wasn't the one you said 'hello' to during a dive.
Male Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – it may require a lay-over in the Middle East first.
If you’re staying on the atoll, then you will transfer by seaplane (45 minutes) upon arrival in Male.