Maldives

The Maldives is an amazing archipelago that attracts tourists with its paradisiacal scenery, colourful sandy beaches and always warm sea. Despite the small size of the islands, everyone can find a corner to their liking. The people here are very open, friendly and independent, and they will be happy to introduce you to their homeland. Welcome to the Maldives and you can’t wait.

Maldives on a map

Maldives on a map

Geographical location of the country

The Maldives is an island nation in the central Indian Ocean, south of the Indian subcontinent. The archipelago consists of more than 1,000 islands surrounded by coral reefs.

Geographically, the Maldives belongs to Asia. The islands extend in a meridional direction from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere. The equator line divides the archipelago into two roughly equal parts. However, the capital is located in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Maldives’ closest neighbours are India and Sri Lanka. The other island states in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius and Seychelles, are also not too far away.

Safety for tourists

The Maldives is considered one of the safest countries for tourists. There is virtually no crime here, although there have been military coups in the past.

But people are not a danger to tourists. Much more danger prepares the climate and fauna of the islands.

First of all, it is a bright sun and a huge amount of ultraviolet light. For unprotected skin, it is a great danger of burns and sunstroke.

The underwater world of the archipelago is very beautiful, but sometimes deadly. There are poisonous sea anemones, sea urchins, fish and predatory sharks. Divers are always warned of the danger of getting cut on sharp coral edges and the strong undercurrents. Some coral may also contain poison.

On land, the most common hazard is falling coconuts. There are no poisonous snakes or insects.

Holidays

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The Maldivians are a merry and carefree people who love and know how to celebrate well. The country’s national holidays are divided into religious and secular.

Religious festivals include the Islamic New Year, Eid-ul-Fitr, the Prophet’s birthday and many others.

Secular holidays include: New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Republic Day, Victory Day and a number of others.

Both secular and religious holidays are widely celebrated, with mass festivities, festivals and drumming.

The professional holiday celebrated by many Maldivians, Fisherman’s Day, is no less widely celebrated. It is accompanied by fairs and performances of folk ensembles.

In November, there is the World Food Day food festival. Farmers from all over the islands come together to share their experiences and show off their achievements.

What activities are there to enjoy in the Maldives

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Due to its size and geographical location, the Maldives provides only certain types of activities for tourists.

  1. Beach holidays. The beaches are the pride and the symbol of the archipelago. They are distinguished by their soft white sand, coconut palms, and very warm sea. It is an ideal place for relaxation and meditation. Many beaches offer catamaran and water ski rental.
  2. Snorkelling. Snorkelling along the beach is one of the most accessible tourist activities in the Maldives. Even close to shore, you can feast your eyes on the wonders of the underwater world and its bright inhabitants.
  3. Diving. Diving into the abyss with scuba diving is also a big adventure. The atolls are surrounded by a 700-kilometre reef, which holds many surprises and beauties.
  4. Surfing. Despite the protection of the corals, the Maldives has plenty of areas where the swell is good enough for surfing. During the summer, the trade winds bring a decent wave and there are surfing competitions.
  5. Fishing. The Maldives is considered a fisherman’s paradise. Here you can spin-fish from the reef or rent a yacht and go on a boat trip. The best fishing is during the winter months.
  6. Submarine diving. Another popular attraction for tourists. You will be offered a ride in a submarine with a transparent bottom and observe the marine animals.
  7. An atoll cruise. Tour companies will offer you a couple of options for this type of cruise, from a one-day cruise where you can visit several neighbouring islands by boat, to a two-day cruise calling on all the major atolls.
  8. Parasailing. A parachute flight attached to a boat. This entertainment operates on many beaches and hotels.
  9. Underwater restaurant. Some hotels offer lunch at the bottom of the ocean. The dining room is located at a depth of several metres and surrounded by panoramic glasses. While eating, you can observe marine life.
  10. Cruise to a desert island. A popular excursion for romantics and lovers. You will be taken to an uninhabited island, where you will spend your time in a romantic atmosphere and can even spend the night away from civilization.

What’s important to know about the Maldives

If you are planning to visit the Maldives, here are some of the most important things to know:

Language

The official national language on the islands is Maldivian or Dhivehi. It is a language of the Indo-Aryan group that evolved into an independent language some 1500 years ago.

Dhivehi is spoken almost exclusively by Maldivians, as well as a small number (15 thousand) residing in India. The total number of native speakers of this language is 400 thousand people.

A peculiarity of the writing of this language is that it is read from right to left.

Population

At present, the archipelago has just over 400 thousand inhabitants, and a large part of the islands remain uninhabited.

The overwhelming majority of the population is made up of descendants of people from India and other South Asian and Middle Eastern countries. There are small diasporas of Indians, Pakistanis, Arabs and Sinhalese. Approximately 60 thousand people are foreigners, permanently residing on the atolls.

For more interesting facts about the Maldivians, their personality and local colour, see this article.

Currency

The official currency of the country is the rufia, which itself consists of 100 GEL. Coins ranging from 1 GEL to 50 GEL and banknotes ranging from 5 Rufiah to 1,000 Rufiah are in circulation.

Dollars and Euros are also circulating freely in the country. There is no need to exchange them in order to buy or pay for something.

Religion

The State religion of the Maldives is Sunni Islam. It is prohibited to promote any religion other than Islam. However, hatred and intolerance towards other religions is prohibited.

Climate

The republic has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity and temperatures. The year on the islands is divided into two seasons – a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to December.

During winter, the north-eastern monsoon dominates, carrying cooler, drier air from the mainland. During the summer, the south-western monsoon brings heavy rainfall, strong winds and storms.

The average temperature, however, remains fairly constant throughout the year, varying between +27 and +29 degrees Celsius.

Seawater temperature

The average seawater temperature in the Indian Ocean near the islands of the archipelago is +28 degrees, which is almost equal to the air temperature. Due to its location near the equator, there is little difference between winter and summer temperatures.

  • Water temperature in winter, December to January: +27 degrees Celsius.
  • Water temperature in spring, March to May: +28 to +29 degrees.
  • Water temperature in summer, June to July: +27 to +28 degrees Celsius.
  • Water temperature in autumn, September-November: +27 to +28 degrees Celsius.

Natural disasters

The Maldives islands are prone to natural disasters due to the archipelago’s oceanic location. These include storms, hurricanes, cyclones that periodically hit the atolls.

Due to the fact that all islands of the archipelago are hardly visible above water, even small storms can pose serious danger to them. Fortunately, all the atolls are well protected by coral reefs. Nevertheless, flooding is not uncommon, flooding the islands and croplands, which do exist.

The Maldives is seismically stable, so no earthquakes or volcanic eruptions occur. However, the impact of major disasters elsewhere in the Indian Ocean can reach the paradise archipelago. Such a thing happened in 2004 when the tsunami from the Sumatra earthquake struck the Maldives, damaging hotels and killing around 80 people. But even this fact can be interpreted as a symbol of the islands’ safety, as the neighbouring countries were hit much harder by that tsunami.

Forest fires or dust storms do not occur here.

Read about the most devastating disasters in Maldivian history in this article.

Political structure

The Maldives is a presidential republic. The President is the head of the Executive and heads the Cabinet. The legislative authority is vested in the parliament, the Majlis, which consists of 50 members of parliament.

Administratively, the Maldives is divided into 20 island groups and one capital district.

Major cities and resorts

Male is the capital of the archipelago and its most populous city. It has a population of 130,000 and covers an area of 6.8 square kilometres. The city spreads out on one large atoll, a second smaller atoll, and another island created artificially. The Sultan Park, several beautiful mosques and museums draw many tourists.

Maafushi is a local island 30 km from the capital. It was one of the first to develop tourism infrastructure. Known for its beaches, small size and friendly atmosphere. In summer, the monsoon brings great waves and surfers come to the island.

Vaavu is a paradise for lovers of fishing, seclusion and unspoilt nature. The beaches are lovely and frequented by diving enthusiasts.

Kuredu is another great place for diving and snorkelling. The island is famous for its spit of sand, along which holidaymakers love to walk and take great pictures.

Raa Atoll – is located in the north of the republic. It is famous not only for its beautiful beaches, but also for a rather high level of comfort. Here there are luxurious hotels and spa centres.

Symbols of the Maldives

In the minds of millions of tourists, the Maldives are first and foremost an island paradise with beautiful beaches and coral reefs. However, the Maldives has its own national symbols, which locals love to introduce to tourists.

The pink rose, a beautiful and delicate flower that locals love to decorate their homes and clothes.

Coconut – the only plant that originally grew on the atolls, not introduced. It is a favourite dessert in all varieties.

The white-breasted lily or water wolf is a water bird often found on the islands.

Yellowfin tuna is a favourite commercial fish of the Maldivians.

Dhivehi libaas is a traditional women’s clothing.

How to get to the Maldives

Almost the only airport through which tourists can arrive in the Maldives is the Ibrahim Nasser International Airport near Male. Most tourists use this air gateway.

There are two other international airports in the atolls, but their capacity is much less than that of the capital. More than 2 million tourists visit the country every year through Male airport.

Cruise ships connect the Maldives with many of its neighbours: Mauritius, Seychelles, India, UAE and others. But this is a very different kind of holiday, not involving a long stay in any country.

How much money to bring

The cost of a tour to the Maldives can vary significantly, depending on the prestige of the island and the hotel. So, the cheapest tour for 7 days for two will cost $ 2200-2500. And the price of the most expensive tour at the same time will be 20-30 thousand dollars. Although, this is not the limit.

In the country itself, tourists are expected to pay the following costs:

  • Food: 300–400 dollars for two people a week.
  • Entertainment, excursions: from 50 to 250 dollars per person.
  • Souvenirs: from 10 to 100 dollars.
  • Transportation: you can easily get around any island of the archipelago on foot.

Thus, given the reserve amount for contingencies, holiday in the Maldives for two will cost from 500 to 1000 thousand dollars for 7 days. And of course, the maximum amount of the holiday can be much higher.

Please

If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words about what you liked most about the country, what moments stay in your mind forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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