The sea of stars Maldives is a very rare and beautiful natural phenomenon that should be seen when you visit Maldives.
It is something magic that will take your breath away, equally spectacular and miraculous as the northern lights dancing on the arctic sky.
The sea of the stars Maldives is also visible during the day, but the real show starts when night comes.
Millions of organisms in light on the white sandy beaches glow uniquely and fascinatingly.
Until we visited Maldives, we did not know that this phenomenon existed.
One night, we dressed nicely to go to the resort’s restaurant for dinner. We generally made this walk along the beach.
When we got to the beach, the ocean and part of the beach were glowing. We did not know what it was, so we rushed to the resort’s reception to find out more.
They told us a lot of interesting things about this phenomenon.
We were fascinated so we got back to the beach.
I felt like walking in a dream, with the sand beneath my feet lighting up with every step.
We were almost one hour late for dinner, but to be honest, food was our last concert on that night.
The sea of stars in the Maldives
This is a chemical reaction produced by the bioluminescent phytoplankton that is most spectacular at night.
The Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean are one of the best places on Earth to witness this fabulous natural phenomenon.
For the full guide about the bioluminescent and the chemical reaction and where to go to see it, continue riding this article.
What is the Maldives sea of stars
This natural phenomenon generally appears during late summer in the Maldives’ reef and is caused by bioluminescent plankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum.
The sea plankton, called phytoplankton, consists of billions of live micro-organisms in the oceans and represents the main food source for many marine creatures, including whales.
What makes this plankton special is that it can generate light when the wave movement stresses the organisms.
Believe it or not, this is the micro-organisms’ way of defending themselves against potential predators by looking like fireflies.
The color of the bioluminescent is a neon blue light, one that radiates each time the waves hit the organisms.
The soft glow of the bioluminescent phytoplankton, contrasting with the dark night, is a sight to behold.
The gentle lapping of the waves seemed to ignite sparks, creating a dance of lights on the shore.
It is a unique phenomenon that is quite hard to see, so consider yourself lucky if you can see the sea of stars in the Maldives on your next trip.
For those of you who don’t have the opportunity to spot this beautiful show, we recommend watching the movie Life of Pi from 2012, as there are some wonderful scenes with it.
What causes the incredible sea of the stars Maldives?
The organisms that inlight the beach once in a while are the Lingulodium polyedrum, as these are the only ones that can generate light.
The light is generated by a chemical reaction that takes place when the waves hit the plankton.
Here is how things happen: the microorganisms glow after they come into contact with the oxygen introduced into the water by the current movement.
The oxygen reaches these organisms, they charge with electrical impulses and produce light.
It is a defense mechanism used by microorganisms to protect themselves against predators.
I remember asking a guy from the reception about this magical display, and he explained how the tiny organisms, when stressed by the wave movement, emit this beautiful light.
It’s nature’s own fireworks display.
The uniqueness and the beauty of this phenomenon makes me compare it with the northern lights seen in Iceland a few years ago.
When does the sea of stars Maldives occur?
We are talking about a natural phenomenon, so it is extremely hard to name an exact day of the week when you can see the sea of stars.
What I can tell you for sure is that the occurrence of the lights is as hard to see as the Northern lights, or even harder.
The appearance of the organisms is influenced by several factors, out of which the most important are:
- The year climate, especially for late summer
- The growth of phytoplankton which can indirectly affect the weather
- The water temperature
- The water PH
The end of summer is the best period to see this natural show and Vaadhoo Island from the Raa Atoll is the most popular place.
You have higher chances to spot these lights from June to October, but it is a matter of luck, and you will need more time to guarantee that you will be witness to this event.
I was not expecting to see the sea of lights when visiting Maldives, because I did not know about it.
But after accidentally seeing this natural show, I was fascinated, and each night I went to the beach hoping to see it again.
Unfortunately, I was not that lucky and I saw it just one night.
These are the new essentials you have to pack for your trip
10. First aid kit
Can visitors swim in the sea of stars in Maldives?
The answer is “yes, they can” as the micro-organisms are not dangerous for the human body.
Taking a dip in the sea of stars is surreal. As I swam, every movement created ripples of light, making me feel like I was swimming among the stars.
If you choose to swim in the ocean during the night, the motion created by you within the water amplifies the blue glow and pulse so that you will have a spectacular show of lights around you.
The water movement stresses the micro-organisms, which leads to more intense light and an interesting spectacle.
The movement of the water generates electrical impulses around a proton-filled compartment of the plankton that cause the PH to change.
The PH in contact with water created a chemical reaction, making these organisms glow in a neon blue light.
You should consider snorkeling in the Sea of stars Maldives to see the lights from underneath the water’s surface.
These micro-organisms are eaten by larger animals, so you have really high chance of spotting glowing fish swimming around.
These creatures, normally not glowing, become glowing once they consume a large number of microorganisms.
Safety tips to know about the sea of stars
There is nothing to worry about when spotting the bioluminescence in the waters around the Maldivian islands.
So, after coming back from dinner I checked with the reception guy if it is safe or not to swim in the ocean.
He assured me it was safe and the tiny creatures are not dangerous for my body.
Still, remember that you are in the ocean, so pay respect to nature and its wonders.
This bioluminescence is completely harmless for beaches, marine creatures, and humans.
The light produced by the phytoplankton is purely natural, and the show can likely be seen between June and October.
The best place from the Maldives to spot this phenomenon is Vaadhoo Island, a remote island resort reachable by speedboat around 15 minutes from Male International Airport.
Sea of stars Vaadhoo island Maldives
The best spot to see this spectacular glowing show is Vaadhoo island Maldives, a small and remote island with only 500 inhabitants.
I was staying on a small atoll near Vaadhoo Island and I was lucky enough to catch this fabulous spectacle.
The entire shoreline seemed to be alight, and the reflection of the stars above only added to the magic.
The ocean glows in the dark as the sky glow on a clear night of summer.
This tropical island has something unique that attracts the phytoplankton known as glowing dinoflagellates in the waters around it.
Nothing is more romantic than walking on the glowing beach or swimming in the glowing waters of the Indian Ocean.
For the full list of the most interesting things you can do when in Maldives check our article “10 fantastic things to do in Maldives“.
Vaadhu Island Sea of Stars resort
Adaaran Prestige Vadoo is one of the best resorts where you can stay if you want to spot the sea of stars.
The resort is a paradise on Earth that offers a wide range of water activities, top-notch services, and amazing ocean views from every island corner.
The dine al fresco option is something you should not miss, especially in a night when the bioluminescence is visible.
The Maldivians and the sea of star phenomenon
The Maldivians call this phenomenon “Redhan lun” and there are plenty of stories and folktales related to this event.
In the past, the Maldivians respected and most believe that even feared of this phenomenon.
They believe that the powerful forces of nature through the ocean give signs of warning.
Amina, a native of the Maldives, grew up listening to her grandmother’s tales about the “Sea of Stars.”
As a child, she would sit by the ocean, eyes wide with wonder, as her grandmother narrated stories of ancient sailors guided by the glowing waters, of lovers who professed their eternal love under the shimmering waves, and of brave warriors who believed the glowing sea was a blessing from the gods.
One particular story that always captivated Amina was about a young woman named Laila.
Laila was said to have been separated from her lover, Sameer, due to a fierce storm at sea.
Every night, Laila would walk the shores, praying for Sameer’s safe return.
One fateful night, as Laila sang their love song, the sea began to glow, illuminating her path.
The radiant waters led her to a shipwreck where she found an injured Sameer.
The “Sea of Stars” had reunited the lovers, and from that day on, the locals believed that the glowing sea had the power to heal and reunite lost souls.
As Amina grew older, she realized that these tales were not just stories but a testament to the magic and mystery of the Maldives.
Every time she witnessed the “Sea of Stars,” she felt a deep connection to her ancestors and the legends of her homeland.
Tips for Photographing the Sea of Stars
For the best pictures, you have to set your camera to a slow shutter speed.
This is what I did and I managed to capture the glowing effect of the bioluminescence.
For the best quality, use a tripod to ensure steady shots.
Unfortunately I did not have one so I had to stand still, with my camera in my hands.
And there is one more thing to do, switch your camera to manual focus and adjust it to infinity to get sharp images of the sparkling sea.
Other places to see sea of stars in the world
Maldives is the best place on Earth to spot the Sea of stars, but there are others.
Other three best places to go if you want to witness this stunning phenomenon are:
- The Lakshadweep Island in India
- The beach at Leucadia, California
- Puerto Rico’s Mosquito Bay
Interesting facts about Sea of Stars, Maldives
Please don’t do like me and go to the Maldives without knowing anything about the sea of stars.
I regret that I did not know more about it and to go there prepared to catch this unique phenomenon.
I drop below a list with the most interesting facts about Sea of Stars, Maldives and why you should go there prepared to see this rare but stunning phenomenon.
- the sea of stars phenomenon is caused by biolumniscent phytoplankton called dinoflagellates. This small creatures release light when they are disturbed by movement or waves
- it is completely safe to touch and swim in the water
- the colour of the plankton’s light can vary from green to blue ( what I have seen was blue)
- this small creatures are essential for the marine ecosystem as they feed a variety of marine organisms and support the maintenance of the underwater environment’s ecological balance.
Why does the beach in Maldives glow?
As the glowing phenomenon is known, Sea of the stars is a beautiful and natural thing that does not harm people and other marine creatures.
The sand and the water line glow because the plankton emits the so-called bioluminescent effect.
Can I swim on the glowing beach?
Yes, you can swim, dive, snorkel and do any other water activity in the glowing waters of the Indian Ocean.
The bioluminescent is not harmful to people, the only thing is that there might be more predators around attracted by the phytoplankton.
When can you see bioluminescence in Maldives?
The best time to spot bioluminescence in the Maldives is during the summer months, from June to October.
Is the bioluminescent beach safe?
Yes, it is completely safe! These microorganisms don’t cause any harm to humans and marine creatures.
They attract more predators, but most of them are not dangerous to people.
The “Sea of Stars” in the Maldives is not just a natural wonder; it’s a tapestry of stories, emotions, and cultural heritage.
Whether you’re a traveler seeking nature’s marvels, a lover chasing romantic moments, or a dreamer hunting for magic, the glowing waters promise an experience that transcends the ordinary.
As you plan your journey to this paradise, remember that every ripple in the glowing waters carries with it a tale, a memory, and a dream.
So, when you stand by the shores of the “Sea of Stars,” what story will you weave?
Share your dreams, experiences, and aspirations with us, and let’s celebrate the magic that binds us all to the wonders of our world.
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.