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Away from the five-star hotels and beyond luxury hideaways, Tom Chesshyre travels to see the real, unexplored Maldives, skirting around the archipelago’s periphery, staying at simple guesthouses, and using cargo ships and ferries. He discovers that beyond the glossy brochures lies an almost undiscovered country that is brimming with life, yet also a paradise teetering on the brink of trouble.

In the Maldives outsiders used to be banned from islands not officially endorsed as tourist resorts, but now a thousand sandy shores can be visited in this remote nation deep in the Indian Ocean the flattest on Earth.
This is island-hopping for the twenty-first century, sailing around 600 miles of the most beautiful islands and atolls on Earth, often to communities that have not seen an outsider for decades, …and gatecrashing the odd posh hotel.


In Gatecrashing Paradise Tom sets out to explore the other Maldives, not the one where all the tourists go. Until quite recently tourists were very restricted when it came to Maldives travel. That's changed and as a result small guest houses and hotels have sprung up and you can make your way like Tom around the island by local ferry services and domestic flights. You don't need an economics degree to know most of the money from the five star resorts would have gone straight back to their overseas owners. Tom [travels] all around the scattered atolls of the low lying nation where he encounters climate change concerns (nothing is naturally much more than two or three metres above sea level), worker exploitation, tsunami fears and some decidedly murky politics, often as opaque as the lagoon waters are transparent.
Tony Wheeler, founder of Lonely Planet
Tom Chesshyre bravely and entertainingly exposes the dimensions of the Maldives that the tourist board is strangely shy of illuminating.
Simon Calder
I loved Gatecrashing Paradise. It should be mandatory reading for all visitors.
Francisca Kellett, Travel editor at Tatler
Revealing aspects of a surprising little tropical nation wholly unknown to holidaymakers, Gatecrashing Paradise compares honorably with Arthur Grimble's A Pattern of Islands.
Alexander Frater, author of Chasing the Monsoon
Chesshyre is an affable and enthusiastic traveller, and his sojourn in the Maldives covers interesting ground in a country full of contrasts.
Times Literary Supplement
Gatecrashing Paradise is an entertaining travelogue that visits the corners most tourists never see.
Marie Claire
'Away from the sumptuous water villas of the Maldives, trouble is brewing in this renowned 'honeymoon heaven'. This is the story of a nation you won't read in your glossy weekend supplement.
The Journalist, the magazine of the National Union of Journalists
Gatecrashing Paradise clearly depicts a guesthouse scene largely undiscovered, which offers the chance to experience the warm communities and rich culture of island life.
Minivan News: Independent News for the Maldives
I loved it. Tom Chesshyre discovers that beyond the glossy brochures lies an almost undiscovered country that is brimming with life, yet also a paradise teetering on the brink of trouble.
Mrs. O Around the World