Culture Rich Kaafu: Highlights from the Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023 Sideline Program

The Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023, which took place on the 30th of May, can be described as nothing short of a resounding success. With over 70 participants in attendance, the conference provided a platform for sharing stories and experiences, fostering connections, and immersing oneself in the breathtaking beauty of the Maldives. 
After an inspiring day at Visit Maldives Storytellers’ Conference 2023 at Crossroads, the #VMSTC2023 team Kaafu were whisked away to experience the surrounding islands of Kaafu atoll, the pulsating centre of the Maldivian isles. Excitement, luxury, and a deep immersion into the local culture awaited these storytellers. 
The first step of the journey was K. Huraa. Wish Hotel Huraa Guesthouse, with the help from The K. Huraa council provided a grand Maldivian welcome to the storytellers with their unwavering support, . The mesmerising beats of the boduberu and traditional dances infused the atmosphere with a sense of joviality and excitement. We could not have asked for a better welcome ceremony. The council also provided the storytellers with a police escort and shared captivating stories about the island’s rich heritage and historical significance. Wish Hotel Huraa Guesthouse hosted the storytellers during their stay at Huraa. 
Whether one stays at a guesthouse or a resort, the level of hospitality in The Maldives is unparalleled and Wish Hotel Huraa’s service was no exception. While The Maldives is iconic for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, the team at K. Huraa explored an often overlooked side of the Maldivian isles, the lush mangrove forests and private sandbanks. 
Exploring the enchanting mangrove forests in K. Huraa awakened their senses to the delicate balance of nature. Surrounded by lush greenery, they marveled at the intricate ecosystems and the mesmerizing beauty they held. It was deeply illuminating for the storytellers to witness The Maldives beyond sun, sand, and sea. Their adventure at K. Huraa wrapped up with a delectable beach dinner with a traditional boduberu performance. 
Team Kaafu kicks off their second day  in the enchanting depths of the Maldives at Only BLU, the largest underwater restaurant in the region, located at Oblu Select Lobigili. Immersed in a world of mesmerizing blue hues and surrounded by a vibrant tapestry of marine life, they embark on a dining experience that goes beyond the ordinary. This extraordinary setting provides them with a unique opportunity to connect with nature in a unique way. 
Afterwards, Team Kaafu arrived at the luxurious Taj Exotica Resort, they were immediately captivated by its serene beauty. However, what awaited them was an experience that would leave an indelible mark on their memories. With hearts racing, they ventured into the azure waters to swim alongside gentle nurse sharks, an awe-inspiring encounter that brought them face-to-face with the majestic wonders of the marine world. The sheer exhilaration of sharing the waters with these graceful creatures made the experience truly special, evoking a profound appreciation for the incredible diversity of life beneath the surface. 
After such an exhilarating adventure, they retreated to the blissful sanctuary of Jiva Spa, where expert therapists provided them with a rejuvenating and soul-soothing experience. The combination of the invigorating swim with nurse sharks and the indulgent spa session offered a perfect balance, allowing them to unwind, relax, and restore their energies after a busy and thrilling time in the Maldives. The day concluded with a traditional boduberu dinner. 
Afterwards, Team Kaafu embarked on an extraordinary journey to explore the vibrant Greater Male’ Area, the bustling capital hub of the Maldives. They were hosted by the prestigious Maagiri Hotel, which provided them with comfort and luxury throughout their stay. Energized and excited, they kicked off their exploration with a delightful lunch at Citron, savoring the flavors of Maldivian cuisine amidst a stylish and inviting atmosphere.
Tour guides association took the storytellers to explore a plethora of historical sights, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the majestic Friday Mosque. Immerse in the rich heritage of the Maldives, they also visited the museum, where they learned about the fascinating history and cultural significance of the nation. A visit to the president's palace provided a glimpse into the traditional architecture of this captivating island nation 
To enhance their city tour experience, they were treated to a comprehensive bus tour of Male' City and Hulhumale' courtesy of MTCC and Urbanco. The bus ride allowed them to appreciate the city's unique architecture, bustling streets, and the fusion of traditional and modern influences.
As the evening approached, Team Kaafu indulged in a delightful tea experience at The Chef Mode Badhige. The restaurant's main mission was to preserve the classic tastes and traditional cuisine that are often overlooked in the modern era. Its theme beautifully showcased the early ages of cooking in the country. They savored local dishes that showcased the authentic flavors and culinary heritage of the Maldives. The day concluded with a splendid dinner at Solite Restaurant, where they were treated to a gastronomic feast that delighted their taste buds. The restaurant's ambiance and delectable menu offerings made for a memorable dining experience, creating the perfect ending to their day of exploration in the captivating city of Male'.
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