The Abandoned Resort of the Maldives

Martin Blampied
Jun 7, 2016 · 4 min read

The Maldives. The place conjures images of white sand, crystal clear waters and luxury resorts. The first resort opened in 1972 and since then tourism has flourished with now more than 105 foreign backed resort islands ranging in price from $50 to $30,000 per night.

These 105 islands together with another 95 local and fishing islands make up the 200 inhabited islands of the Maldives - still dwarfed by the 1,800 uninhabited islands.

One island has a unique history, once a resort throughout the 80’s and 90’s, now being reclaimed by nature; the island of Villingillivaru (Villivaru).

18 miles south of Male International Airport, originally the sister resort of Biyaadhoo, Villivaru can now only be accessed by private boat. Once owned by the Indian travel company Taj Group and more recently the Sri Lankan Sunland Group it has lay abandoned for several years.

To some, who spent honeymoons, significant birthdays and first holidays there in the 80’s and 90’s memories of the island are bittersweet, as its decline shrouded in corruption, multimillion dollar deals and mismanagement means the are unable to return.

But for me the island was like a tropical Angkor Wat, stimulating the imagination and reminding me of Alan Weisman’s book; The World Without Us.

Photos from April 2016

Ferry Jetty

Access to the island by private boat revealed the original ferry jetty.

The original ferry jetty towards the island.
The original ferry jetty looking out.

Beach Bungalow

The first building we found was a beach side family bungalow covered in graffiti.

Beachside family bungalow
Inside the bungalow

Anything left behind with value had since been looted, leaving only broken electronics, old furniture and plastic bottles.


As the Maldives is a muslim country most all islands will have a mosque. Construction was underway on Villivaru before its abandonment, as a part of the construction left behind was an incomplete mosque.

Main Complex

The 2-storey main complex would have housed a restaurant and lobby. Structurally it was still sturdy.

Main complex ground floor
Broken door and fusebox inside main complex on the ground floor.
2nd floor seating area inside main complex
New construction was underway before the island was abandoned.

Signs of life

While we saw no one, there were signs of people squatting on the island.

Plastic washed up onto the shore without anyone to clean up.


The amount of plastic both left behind and washed up on the the beach was jaw dropping.

In order to get the picture perfect pristine beaches the Maldives is best know for, resort employees will constantly be cleaning the beaches. Left alone coconut shells, driftwood and a lot of plastic will washed onto the shore.

Martin Blampied

Written by

Amateur Blogger. Tech enthusiast. Traveler. Investor.

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