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Maldives




MaldivesMaldives, 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.


Fact File
Official name : The Maldives Republic
Government : Republic
Nationality : Maldivian
Ethnic groups : South Indians, Sinhalese, Arab South Indians, Arabs.
Location : 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.
Geography : 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.
Continent : Asia
Currency : Mal. Ruffian or Maldives Rufiyaa (MVR) = 3.3984 Indian Rupee(INR) = 0.07813 US Dollar($) = 0.06441 Euro (subject to change).
MaldivesCapital city : Male
Population : 350,000
Languages : Dhivehi and English.
Religion : Sunni Muslim
Area : 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
Clothing : 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.
Cuisine : 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

Visa Permit
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.

Culture
MaldivesThe 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 Continent’s 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 season.
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.

Climate
MaldivesThe 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.

Getting there
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.

Getting around
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.
Local transport:
--Dhoni, a traditional all-purpose vessel now usually powered by a diesel engine.
--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.

Major attractions
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.
Maldives Resorts
The Grand Friday Mosque : Masjid-al-Sultan Mohammed 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 invaluable.

Resorts : 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 considerably.
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 activities.
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.





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