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Maldives

The Maldives is made up of 1,192 islands formed into 20 natural atolls which spread over 800 km from north to south and straddling the equator. Most of the atolls are idyllic, sun-drenched, palm-fringed Gilligan’s Island style set ups. These tiny coral islands house colorful reefs which inhabit mesmerizing marine life. Coupled with the rays of the sparkling sun, Maldives is known as the “Sunny side of life”.

Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area; it is the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest high point in the world, at 2.3 metres. 

Tourism is the top contributor to the GDP of Maldives accounting for around 25% of the GDP and more than one third of government revenue is generated from this sector. 

History

For the majority of its history, the Maldives has been an independent state, despite being ruled by outside forces.

In the mid-15th century, for fifteen years, the Maldives was dominated by the Portuguese Empire.

In the mid-17th century, the Dutch Empire ruled Maldives for four months.

Finally, in the late 19th century, on the brink of war, the Maldives became a British protectorate from 1887 until 1965.

The Dutch referred to the islands as the “Maldivische Eilanden”, while the British anglicised the local name for the islands first to the “Maldive Islands” and later to the “Maldives”.

The islands gained independence from the British in 1965 and became a republic in 1968 ruled by a president and an authoritarian government.

Getting There

Air

Maldives is well connected through Valena International Airport to various parts of world and you can easily get direct or connecting flight. From Airport you can take either sea plane or speedboat to reach to your resort.

Sea Route

Many of the people travel via sea route on cruise to reach to maldives. From nearest country like Sri lanka , India to Farthest like Russia, Japan there are many cruise operating throughout the year.

For travelling from Male Airport or from one resort to another, you can take local boats, or Dhoni, as it is called by locals. If you are a budget traveler, and like to experience public transport then you can opt for public ferry that connects the inhabited islands. You need to confirm timing once you reach Male.

Travel Information

  • Time Zone: UTC+5:00
  • Currency: USD
  • Visa: 30 day visitor’s visa on arrival
  • Calling code: +960
  • Electric: 230 V
  • Travel & Transfer: Speedboat and Sea plane
  • Weather: Hot tropical climate. Temperature rarely falls below 25°C (77°F).
  • Alcohol: Available in resorts but import prohibited

Accommodation

Tourists travelling to the Maldives could stay in one of the four types of accommodation, Resorts, Hotels, Guesthouses and Safari vessels.

When tourism started in the Maldives in 1972, there were only two resorts with a total bed capacity of 280. Over the years, the resort sector has expanded at an average annual average rate of 14 percent.

Only about 200 of these islands are inhabited and half are the resorts, on which one company has exclusive right of use of the land. Each resort is a separate island providing lodging and amenities, which operate under the unique concept of “one island one resort”.

Tourism was restricted to these private resorts under the previous President, which made holidays here exclusive and pricey. In 2008, President Mohammed Nasheed through his liberal policies allowed the locals to operate guesthouses and hotels. This boosted budget travellers and in turn contributed positively in Maldivian tourism sector.

Hotels provide lodging and accommodation facilities but are located in inhabited islands or airport islands.

Guesthouses run small scale operations, where amenities vary among guesthouses, but generally guesthouses have few beds and mostly provide bed and breakfast only.

Safari Vessels are live-aboard floating beds cruising around Maldives topping over at different dive locations and uninhabited islands. These are are opted mostly by divers and surfers. Safari Vessels provide accommodation facilities on board with amenities.

Staying with local hosts in a guesthouse or ordinary house introduces you to a quieter side to life, with home-cooked meals or cheap street food to spice up the experience. The resorts, on the other hand, offers pleasures of bars, skimpy sunbathing, familiar music, organized free activities and nobody frowning if you pitch up to supper in a sundress. Resorts are best if you are looking for private moments.

Maldives – Specialty

Maldives is unique in many sense. If you are first time visitor, you would be charmed when you walk out of airport to be met by a fleet of boats rather than a fleet of taxis. you will perhaps meet smallest airport among all your previous destination, though modernization work is going on.

The Maldives’ biggest attractions are water sports and marine life, with the amazingly clear Indian Ocean perfect for diving among tuna, butterfly-fish, wahoo, and giant Napoleon wrasse, as well as turtles, 37 species of sharks, rays and mantas.

Maldives operates world’s largest fleet of sea plane. Travelling in a seaplane is an experience in itself. This powered fixed wing aircraft do landing and taking-off from the sea. The large windows of the aircraft allow tremendous opportunities for photography while on board.

Most common words or phrases used by international visitors to describe the Maldives were words related to beauty, such as beautiful, amazing, perfect and dream like. Visitors also used ‘relax’ ‘paradise’ ‘underwater’ to describe the Maldives.

Maldives Culture and People

Maldives being a 100% Muslim country, Islamic customs are practiced throughout the community. Though a vast majority of the country is fluent in English, Dhivehi Language, a native language unique only to the country with various dialects, is the mother tongue of the Maldivians.

Due to its geographical location,  Maldives was an essential port of call for travelers and traders from all over the globe. Much of the cuisine of the Maldives offer a familiarity with many of the dishes from countries in East Asia and East Africa and Arabia. Many of the dishes offer a feel of the rich spicy tastes of India and Sri Lanka.

Capital: Male

Male in maldives

Malé is capital of Maldives and one third of the country’s population of 500,000 resides in the capital city, Male’. It’s worth a day trip to see museums and mosques and the Singapore Bazaar where traditional handicrafts are sold, or to board a submarine for a trip down to the reefs.

Unlike other capitals Malé isn’t riddled with bars and clubs, so if you’re looking for a party, then you’d better head back to your international resort.

The bustling Local Market and Fish Market captures a hectic trade atmosphere. Converse with locals over colourful produce and get to know the fishermen eager to sell their catch, ranging from reef fish to deep sea yellow fin tuna.

While in Male city you can catch the mesmerizing sunrise in the aptly named Artificial Beach where the residents seek much needed open space in this lively city.

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