Visit Maldives

The Maldives is a nation of islands in the Indian Ocean, that spans across the equator. The country is comprised of 1192 islands that stretch along a length of 871 kilometers. While the country covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of that is dry land. The islands are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls.
The country’s unique geography mesmerizes the visitor. Reefs that offer bands of color, tiny jewel-like islands rimmed with the whitest of soft sand surrounded by the clearest shallow waters that one can imagine. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited, and a select few on each of the atolls are resorts and some of the islands are used for industry and agriculture.

The beauty of the Maldives is not only above the water. The Maldives is home to about five percent of the planet’s reefs that comes with an explosion of color contributed by soft and hard corals that form them. The reefs are home to a thousand species of fish. Lured by the rich nutrients that flow in with the currents, large pelagic fishes such as manta rays and whale sharks also make the Maldives their home.

Official Name

Republic of Maldives

Area

298 sq km or 115 sq miles (of which less than 10% is only land)

Weather

23°C to 31°C

The climate is tropical. The air temperature averages 30 degrees Celsius and the water temperature 28 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius (83 degrees to 86 degrees Fahrenheit).

Local Time

+ 5 hrs GMT

Best Time to Visit

December to April

CULTURE

Although home to just over half a million people the Maldives has its own unique culture and traditions. While heavily influenced by various cultures around the rim of the Indian Ocean, the Maldivian culture, craft and traditions have been shaped by the island environment and the seas that surround us.

Bodu Beru

A form of folk music with rooting from East Africa. An ensemble consisting of 15 -20 people perform Bodu beru which includes 3 – 4 drummers and a lead singer. Some members also play a bell and an “onugandu” ( a small piece of bamboo with small grooves which produces sharp soun). This is the most popular form of traditional Maldivian music with recent annual national competitors also being held in the month of Ramazan. Many resorts have weekly “Bodu Beru” nights so that visitors can also take a part of it.

Langiri

Langiri is a modification of Thaara by the youth who lived in the era of the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin III ( Early 20th Century). This dance is normally performed by 14 people seated in two rows of six people with a lead singer sitting in front of each row. Each dancer has two 60cm long sticks called “Langiri Dhandi” which has colorful traditional flowers embedded at the end. A langiri show usually consists of seven or six songs.

Dhandijehun

Dhandijehun is another form of entertainment, which is popular throughout the country. This is mostly performed to celebrate festive events such as Eid and other national occasions.

Thaara

Thaara also holds a special place in local entertainment. Two lines of men attired in white sit on the ground and sing beating hand drums while others dance between them. Thaara is believed to have been introduced from the Middle East in the seventeenth century. Today Thaara is only played at national events.

Bandiyaa Jehun

Bandiyaa Jehun is a more popular form of dance performed by young women. The women carrying metal water pots stand in two lines facing each. They sing and dance to melodious tunes while taping the rhythm on the pots with rings worn on the fingers.

Maafathi Neshun

Gaa Odi Lava

Bolimaafathi Neshun

Religion

Islam

Language

Dhivehi

Electricity

240 Volts

TYPE G

Currency

MVR

The local currency is the Rufiyaa (MVR). Hotel and pension services are usually paid in foreign currencies. The US dollar is the dominant currency. Other hard currencies such as euros are also accepted. The major credit cards accepted by the hotels are AMEX, VISA, MASTER, DINERS and JBC.

Personal Medical Requirements

If you have a permanent disability or chronic illness, it is advisable to inform your resort prior to your arrival and see if they can cater to your specific needs. Most resorts accommodate dietary needs at no additional charge. If you are dependent on medication, please bring sufficient supplies and a valid prescription with you in case you need to show it to customs.

Health Facilities

All resorts have first aid facilities and some have resident doctor services and facilities for minor treatments. Some have clinics with separate observation rooms and small pharmacies. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and the ADK Hospital are the two major hospitals in Male. In addition, there are a number of smaller clinics where you can see a doctor. In both the IGMH and the ADK, doctors are on duty 24 hours a day. Both perform operations and offer a range of specialized services. The country is free from malaria, yellow fever or any other disease. A vaccination certificate is only required when entering from endemic areas of the world.

Scuba Diving

Every resort in the Maldives caters to divers and diving schools are well equipped. For those learning to scuba dive, all resorts run open water and advanced courses such as night diving, rescue diving, and underwater photography. Courses such as Naturalists and Shark Specialists have proven to be the most popular due to the growing interest in the marine environment. The resorts dive daily all year round and it is rare for dives to have to be canceled. Most resorts would have access to a sheltered reef on the leeward side of the island that would allow them to dive even in rough seas and strong winds.
Snorkeling

Snorkeling over the islands’ shallow reefs is an ideal way to explore the marine life. Most of the islands’ house reefs are only a few strokes from the beach. Even if the reef is quite shallow and you can just walk up to the reef to enjoy its beauty. Snorkeling equipment is available at all resorts. Some organize regular snorkeling trips to give visitors a chance to experience the diversity of marine life and reef structures in the Maldives.
surfing

The Maldives is quickly establishing itself as a surfing destination. Surfing is relatively new in the Maldives, especially when compared to more established activities like diving. The O’Neil Deep Blue Contest, which now takes place regularly, has placed the Maldives firmly on the surfing map of the world. While most of the recognized surf breaks are in Male ‘Atoll, there is certainly more to discover. For resort-based surfing, it is wise to choose one of the resorts on the east side of North Male Atoll, where you have access to a number of excellent breaks.
Submarine

To this day, divers are considered to be the only people who really enjoy their vacation in the Maldives. After all, what is a visit to the Maldives without experiencing the magical underwater world? With the introduction of the Germany-built whale submarine, divers and non-divers alike can enjoy the enchantingly beautiful coral reefs and gorgeous tropical fish from the comfort of an air-conditioned submarine with friends, family or loved ones. This incredible adventure takes place on board the largest passenger submarine in the world! Dive 100 feet below the surface of the ocean and experience marine life and other treasures, sights that were once only seen by divers. With a 100% global safety record, this is a must for any visitor, an excursion that is only available in very few parts of the world.
environment

The unique island geography of the Maldives makes them particularly vulnerable to climate-related effects such as rising sea levels, monsoon storms and drought. The high population density and reliance on climate-sensitive industries such as fishing and tourism add to the country’s vulnerability.
The Maldivian President, who went underwater with his cabinet, gave the connection between the Maldives and “the environment” a new meaning. The world now knows how dependent the Maldives are on their natural environment. The environment has a direct impact on all facets of Maldivian life. The islands are protected by thousands of reefs that must live for this unique archipelago to exist in the future.