Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives launches a range of new tours for couples and families to enjoy around Addu Atoll. Each trip is designed to excite every interest, from historical and farming excursions to cycling tours and nature walks. All tours are led by resort guides to ensure that guests gain an insight into local life by those who know it best. The cultural tours available at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives demonstrate that the Maldives, renowned for its beaches and natural beauty, also has a rich and fascinating heritage. To book a trip or to obtain further information, please telephone (960) 689 7888 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
US$50++ per person – duration 2 hours 30 minutes
The island of Gan was once cryptically referred to as “Port T,” a strategic British naval base during the second world war. After the war, control of the island was handed to the Royal Air Force, until the British left Addu in 1976. The Historical Tour is an afternoon ramble among the remnants of the British occupation of Addu.
Guests begin the tour on Villingili itself, where various structures – including the remains of a bunker and a large baking oven – can be seen. This is followed by a trip to Gan via speedboat, where the guide shows guests the converted buildings that were once the home of men stationed at RAF Gan. Highlights include the Astra Cinema, which served as a movie house and a band venue; the Blue Lagoon transit lounge; the Dhoogas officers’ accommodation; and the MCU Wharf, the docking point for visiting warships during the days of the naval base. The tour finishes at the British Memorial site, which features Royal Navy cannons and commemorates those who served at the far-flung outpost.
Go one step further:
The British Loyalty was a cargo boat scuttled off the island of Maradhoo in 1946, following its earlier torpedoing by a German U-boat. Certified scuba divers can dive to the shipwreck.
Meedhoo Farms Tour
US$60++ per person – duration: three hours
The farmers of Meedhoo Island have historically relied on agriculture as their main source of livelihood, as the island is blessed with large undeveloped regions. The relatively recent development of tourism in Addu Atoll has presented the farmers with a new and attractive market for their traditional produce. The guided tour of Meedhoo local farms offers guests the opportunity to see first-hand the source of the locally grown produce used in the restaurants at Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives.
After a 15-minute speedboat ride to Meedhoo, guests can observe how, over the years, the farmers have developed their skills and knowledge by introducing hydroponic and “Autopot” greenhouse systems. Participants are then treated to a local Maldivian home tea featuring local “short eats” of farm fruit and fresh fruit juice. Since the opening of the resort, the management of Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives has supported and assisted the farmers to establish a co-operative society, which has enabled the farmers to better market and co-ordinate their production. Part of the tour fee goes directly to the co-operative to benefit the local farmers.
Go one step further:
Guests are able to expand on their local farm experience by indulging in a Chef’s Garden Dinner on Villingili as part of the resort’s Dine-by-Design offer. Fruit and vegetables served during the dinner are grown on Villingili using the same methods perfected by the farmers of Meedhoo. Amid the wafting aromas of lemon grass, sweet basil and mint in the Chef’s Garden, this dining choice is a great way for guests to sample local produce in luxurious surroundings. Using only a selection of hand-picked vegetables and the fresh catch of the day, guests can dine on a sumptuous four-course menu specially prepared by the resort’s executive chef, Brian Porteus.
Addu City Tour by Bicycle
US$40++ per person – duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Addu City Tour by Car
US$50++ per person – duration: 2 hour 30 minutes
Unlike other resorts in the Maldives, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives is close to a thriving Maldivian community on the surrounding atoll. Linked by a series of bridges, guests can cycle to each of the islands to visit the local villages with the assistance of one of the resort’s local guides. Being part of the community themselves, the guides are able to offer guests a truly local perspective of daily life in the Maldives, as well as an insight into how it has changed over the years.
Guests depart Villingili by speedboat to the islands of Feydhoo and Maradhoo, home to many Adduans, and connected by the causeway that runs northwards from Gan. The guide will direct guests to community monuments, including mosques, schools, the local island offices and the tuna landing site at Maradhoo harbour. Along the way, guests will have the opportunity to see traditional coral stone houses and buy fresh fruit and juices at the local roadside stalls, before finishing the tour by crossing the causeway to Gan Island, where there is a chance to explore the local area on foot before catching the speedboat back to Villingili.
Villingili Nature Walk
Complimentary activity – duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
The natural, dense vegetation surrounding Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives sets it apart from many other resorts in the Maldives. The island has 12 hectares of lush foliage, towering banyan trees, 17,000 coconut trees, 45 species of plants, 3 natural lagoons and nature trails for guests to explore.
Resident naturalist Peter Watt Pringle from the resort’s Eco Centre takes guests on a guided walk around the central part of Villingili Island to learn about the natural wonders of the area. During this tour, guests can marvel at the majestic banyan tree, the strange fruit of the lantern tree, and the spooky legend of the towering grand devil’s claws. Peter explains the evolution of the flora and fauna as well as how the locals use it today. Guests are also encouraged to spot the island’s other residents, including the oriental garden lizard, land crabs, the white tern and the true ruler of Villingili’s airspace – the giant Indian flying fox.
Go one step further:
Guests can expand their Villingili natural experience by joining the presentations on the natural world held at the Eco Centre. On selected days, the centre offers talks on coral reef ecosystems, turtles, and how animals produce and use their own electricity and light.