The inhabited islands of the Maldives “are finally open to independent travellers,” according to the 2012 edition of the Lonely Planet, published this month.
“What’s more, these incredible islands are finally open to independent travellers, meaning you no longer have to stay in resorts and be kept separate from the local population, something that kept backpackers away for decades. Intrepid individuals can now choose their own itineraries and travel from island to island, living among the devout but extremely friendly local population,” reads the independent travel section on the Maldives entry.
“With a national ferry network in place and a growing number of privately run guesthouses on inhabited islands, the Maldives and its people are now more accessible than ever.”
Prior to the controversial transfer of presidential power on February 7, the formerly ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) pursued a policy of introducing mid-market tourism with guest houses in inhabited islands.
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(Read an edited extract from Lonely Planet Maldives [8th Edition] by Tom Masters, Lonely Planet 2012 here.)