Jet-setters typically hop on a speedboat or yacht to explore the tranquil tropical islands here, but more-adventurous types think there’s something special about effortlessly gliding through the sea aboard a traditional dhoni. These watercraft have been used by fishermen for centuries, and most resorts can arrange dhoni outings for guests who want to enjoy a sunset sail or a dolphin-watching excursion—or who want to be dropped off on a private sandbar for the day with nothing more than swimsuits and a picnic basket. You don’t have to get out on the water for a glimpse of the dhoni’s curved features: Numerous resorts in the Maldives are designed around the boats, which have served as the inspiration for entrance lobbies and even overwater suites.

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