the last paradise on earth, is a virgin tropical island with
white sands, blue skies, lovely palm trees, clear waters and brilliant
turquoise lagoons. This is a tiny nation in the middle of the Indian ocean
to the South west of India consisting of 1200 tiny coral islands. The
country is mostly visited for adventurous sports like Scuba diving,
Windsurfing; the fabulous Coral Reefs and the wealth of Marine Life.
Tourism is the lifeline of the country and the island resorts
caters to every type of traveller from backpackers to the rich and famous.
The Government being aware of the dainty kind of the surroundings they are
exposed to, it closely regulates the impact of tourists on both the local
environment and population. The unspoiled beauty and serenity you will
discover in Maldives is well worth the cost.
As a tourist one is free to move around on the resort islands and the
capital city, Male, but entry to local villages and towns is strictly
through guided tours. Other forms of travel within the country must be
undertaken only if permitted by the government.
Official name :
The Maldives Republic
Maldivian Ethnic groups :
South Indians, Sinhalese, Arab South Indians, Arabs.
Southwest of Sri Lanka, on the equator and 500km (300
miles) southwest of the southern tip of India and consists of about 1190
low-lying coral islands, of which only 200 are inhabited.
1,190 coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major
atolls. Stretches 820 kilometres north to south and 120 kilometres east to
west. 202 are inhabited, 87 are exclusive resort islands.
Mal. Ruffian or Maldives Rufiyaa (MVR) = 3.3984 Indian
Rupee(INR) = 0.07813 US Dollar($) = 0.06441 Euro (subject to change).
Dhivehi and English.
298 sq km (115 sq miles).
Famous for :
Beaches, top dive locations in the world where
professional dive training is given to the beginners, beautiful reefs.
Major cities :
Kulhudhuffushi, Malé, Naifaru, Thinadhoo
Dress is generally casual. T-shirts and cotton clothing
are most suitable. In addition swimming gear and a light pullover. Sun
glasses and a wide brimmed beach hat as well as enough sun cream with a high
protection factor should not be included
Major events :
Most holidays are based on the Islamic lunar calendar
and the dates vary from year to year. Ramadan (known locally as rorda mas)
the Islamic month of fasting. Kuda Id the Prophet's Birthday.
Fixed holiday dates include :
National Day, the first day of the
third month of the lunar calendar); Victory Day( 3 November) and Republic
Day (which commemorates the current republic, founded on 11 November 1968).
Things to Buy :
Stamps, colorful island fabrics, local crafts made
using lacquerwork and weaving. The woven mats known as kuna, with elegant
geometric designs, black-coral jewelry, items made from turtle shell.
Things to do :
Scuba diving, Diving, Snorkeling and Windsurfing.
Fish, garudhya (tuna soup), spicy curry and rice are the
stable food of most of the population. Other dishes : pasta normally
modified with a flavour of tuna, other meats and chicken
As a rule visitors to the Maldives do not need an entry visa for a stay of
up to four weeks, however the passport has to be valid for at least six
months exceeding the date of leaving the Maldives.
A vaccination certificate is only required for visitors arriving from
cholera, yellow fever or malaria infested countries.
Maldivian culture is rich with flavors from most of the seafarers who landed
on it. Traditional dances and music may not be an everyday event but there
are occasions where traditional music and dances are performed. Though
traditional dresses are not used by present day generation there are many
types of traditional dresses made for both men and women.
With a renowned history that evolved from the early settlers who were from
various parts of the world travelling the seas in olden times, Maldives has
been a meeting point of different cultures. For example some of the local
music and dance has African influences, with handbeating of drums and songs
in a language that is not known to any but certainly represents that of East
African countries. Besides this, there is a great South Asian influence in
some of the music and dancing and especially in the traditional food of the
Maldivians. However, many of the South Asian customs especially with regard
to women - for instance the Sub Continents tradition of secluding
women from public view - are not tenets of life here. In fact women play a
major role in society - not surprising considering the fact men spend the
whole day out at sea fishing. Many of the traditions are strongly related to
the sea and the fact that life is dependent on the seas around.
When to go
One must visit the beautiful island nation between December and April,
which is the dry season. This is the high season, however, and resorts can
be fully booked and prices are higher than the rest of the year. The
Christmas-New Year period is the busiest and most expensive part of the high
Between May and November it's still warm, but the skies can be cloudy,
humidity is higher and rain is more likely. This is the low season, and
there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. The transition months of
November and April are said to be associated with increased water clarity
and better visibility for divers.
Maldives have a tropical climate with warm temperatures year round and a
great deal of sunshine. The hottest month on average is April, with a
maximum monthly mean temperature of 31.5°C and a minimum of 26.5°C.
The coolest month is December, with a maximum monthly mean temperature of
29.8°C and a minimum of 25.3°C.
There is a considerable variation of climate between Northern and Southern
atolls in the Maldives. In the south the rainfall is greater but so are the
number of rain days. Showers are not as heavy as in the North. There are
extremes of temperatures in the North also, as the seasons are more evident
further away from the Equator.
By Air :
Malé International Airport is the international
airport of the country. There are regular flights to Colombo (Sri Lanka),
Thrivandrum (southwest India), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), and Kuala
Lumpur (Malaysia), as well as many charter flights from European centres.
There are regular cargo ships, but they don't usually take passengers. The
Maldives is not popular with private yachts because the reefs are dangerous
and cruising permits are restrictive and expensive.
An Inter Atoll Travel Permit is required to visit islands outside the
tourist zone, and the Ministry of Atolls Administration will only issue them
to those whose visit is sponsored by a resident of the island concerned.
By Air :
Air Maldives, the small national airline, has regular
flights to the four air strips in the outer atolls. Helicopters and
seaplanes are used to transfer guests to some of the remoter resorts.
--Dhoni, a traditional all-purpose vessel now usually powered by a diesel
--Vedis, larger boats, used for longer trips to outer atolls.
--Safari cruises in modified, live-aboard dhonis are increasingly popular,
especially with dive groups who want to reach more remote sites
--Taxis, motorcycles and bicycles are available in the capital.
Malé (The Capital City) :
Male', the capital of the Maldives,
is a small, picturesque, and heavily populated city which is about 2km
(1.2mi) long and 1km (0.62mi) wide. It is the commercial center, seat of
government and the seat of many important historical and religious
landmarks. It has been known as the Sultan's Island in the past.
Male, known as the Sultan's Island in the past, has no
beaches and instead the seawalls surround it on all the sides. However, a
newly landscaped artificial beach area and adjoining breakwater stretching
all the way round to the harbour in the southwest of the island provide a
pleasant jogging route.
The Grand Friday Mosque :
Thakurufaanu-al-A "z" zam is the biggest mosque in the Maldives.
It also includes the Islamic Center. This Grand Mosque with its dominant
golden dome ornates the city.
The Old Friday Mosque :
with its unique minaret and the tombs of
national heroes and members of royalty presents the visitor a glimpse of the
past. The art in the mosque and royal burial grounds are unique and
The tourists to the fantastic country of Maldives stay at
either of the 70-plus resort islands. Most resorts are situated in the three
atolls closest to the capital - North Malé Atoll, South Malé
Atoll and Ari Atoll. Despite their apparent similarity, however, they differ
All the resorts are beautiful and are blessed with white sand, blue sea and
swaying palm trees, and they all promise great diving. Though similar in
many respects these resorts are unique in terms of their comfort, cuisine,
clientele, character and their suitability for various excursions and
Various resorts in the country are Angsana Resort & Spa maldives Ihuru,
Four Seasons Resorts at Kuda Huroa, Global Spa resort and Global Day Spa.
Seenu (Addu Atoll) :
This is the 'second city' of the Maldives, and
the resort here is the best base from one can visit the traditional
Maldivian island communities. The Addu people are fiercely independent,
speak differently from folk in the capital and at one time even tried to
secede from the republic.
Tourist development in Addu has been slow to start, but a resort has been
established in the old RAF buildings on Gan. Gan is linked by causeways to
the adjacent islands, and it's easy to get around them by bicycle, giving
unmatched opportunities to visit the local villages and see village life.