Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean. This paradise has mind-blowing water, breathtaking beaches, out of this world snorkelling, and overall heavenly scenery. The official name of the country is the Republic of Maldives. It lays southwest of India and Sri Lanka.
The spectacular archipelago has more than 1,190 low-lying coral islands that gather into 26 atolls. The atolls are seen from 200 inhabited islands of Maldives.
WHY WE LOVE
There is a lot to love about the Maldives. If you love water, sun, and local culture than you must visit the Maldives. This breathtaking archipelago is 99% water and home to some of the most incredible coral reefs on the planet! Apart from their beauty the Maldivian reefs also offer incredible access to the wonderful world of underwater life. Maldives is inhabited by 10-12 species of dolphins and whales! This list includes the charismatic whale shark. Plus, Maldives is home to five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles! There you will be able to find the green turtle, the hawksbill, the olive ridley turtle, the loggerhead, and the leatherback turtle.
The stunning beaches and azure waters that famously represent this tropical idyll offer perfect locations for relaxation as well as adventure!
Travel to Maldives if you want to go where unbelievable beaches meet out of this world sea adventure! Some argue that this archipelago located in the Indian Ocean is home to the best beaches in the world. Beaches are found on nearly every one of the country’s 1000 plus islands. Some beaches differ from others, all are equally as beautiful. There are beaches with softer sand granules than others. Although, they all have one thing in common, white powder sand, luminous cyan-blue water, and unprecedented beauty.
This country is perfect for mermaids and mermen alike, there are infinite amounts of water activities available, not to mention breathtaking dive destinations.
Maldives features some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world. The clear Indian Ocean waters are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life. The water’s richness and variety are absolutely incredible with its dazzling coral walls, fascinating caves and schools of brightly coloured tropical fish. Imagine swimming alongside manta rays, turtles, sharks and even the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. Plus, the water is so warm you won’t even need a wetsuit!
The Maldives also has a fascinating history and local culture. Despite adopting elements from various different cultures, Maldivians have managed to infuse outside traditions with their own customs and folklore in order to create an exclusive cultural identity. Discover what life on the islands is all about. Travel to Maldives and get to know this remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise.
“Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime." Lonely Planet
Did you know…?
- Maldives is the world’s smallest Muslim country.
- The weekend days include Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday like western countries.
- Maldives is over 99% water!
- World’s First Underwater Cabinet Meeting was Held in Maldives. The president and his 13 government officials held a cabinet meeting on the sea’s bottom back in October 2009 while, this was done to draw attention to the dangers of rising water levels and the threats the island chains are facing.
- Maldives is the lowest and flattest nation in the world.
- Maldives is ranked the world’s third most endangered nation due to its flooding from climate change and global warming.
- In 2011, UNESCO designated an area comprised of 75 islands as the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve.
- Maldivians used to build their houses out of coral. This practice is now forbidden in order to protect the reefs but there are a few examples of this traditional housing in Male and other local islands.
Maldives travel guide
When to go
The Maldives island nation is hot and sunny year-round, but it has a dry and a wet, rainy season. The best time to visit the Maldives is between the months of November and April, although you should keep in mind that high season falls between December and March. Monsoon season begins in May and end around October, peaking around June.
How to get there/around
In order to get to Maldives, you must fly directly into Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, also known as Malé International Airport (MLE). This is relatively easy, the more difficult part is getting to your island, that is, if you’re not staying in Malé of course. Although the flight to your resort may only be 15 minutes there are no precious seaplane schedules so be prepared in case you have to wait an hour, or two. Keep in mind that seaplanes return airfare on a seaplane can be upwards of $800 to $1,000 USD per person. Depending on which country you call home, this could double your flight budget. But, the Maldives is so magnificent, we could agree that it’s worth it.
What to see & do
Maldives has a lot of two things, water and coral. That is what you should expect to see a lot of. There is no one island that is that most beautiful, they are all stunning and have their fair share of sea life.
You can go cruising, snorkelling, and diving! Expect to see many schools of blue and yellow-striped snappers and lionfish, Maldives is also known for having many yellow boxfish, sea turtles, and dolphins! If you’re looking for a bit of an adventure rush we suggest you go fly boarding, free diving, kayaking, kite surfing, parasailing, surfing, wake boarding, and or water skiing.
Please note that you might run into irresponsible tourism activities such as jet skiing and or underwater scootering. We ask that you refrain from participating in these activities whereas they could be harmful to both the wildlife and their natural habitat.
If you’re interested in history and culture we suggest you visit the Malé Friday Mosque, also known as the Malé Hukuru Miskiy, the oldest mosque in the country. This beautiful structure dates to 1656 and is made entirely out of coral stone. The Mosque is covered with intricate detailing and carvings of Quranic script. It was added to the tentative UNESCO World Heritage cultural list of unique examples of sea-culture architecture back in 2008.
What to pack
- Light scarf (women)
- Long skirt or dress (women)
- Loose light trousers
- Swimsuit that will not move and or slip off
- Underwater camera
- Modest beach clothing
- Polarized sunglasses
- Sandals/flip flops
- Sun hat
- Dry bag
- Insect repellent
- Singles/small notes
- QUALITY SUNSCREEN
Where to go
Some travel insights from our experts about Maldives
- Being in the sun for long periods of time, combined with physical activity and sweat causes the body to lose a lot of important salts and minerals. Unfortunately, most of the water you will find on the island will be treated and demineralized, this combined with the fact that it is virtually impossible to find sport drinks on the island (although you can find energy drinks, not the same) means it is important you rehydrate with salt packets. Make sure you pick up a few rehydration salt packets from your local pharmacy and or while in the airport…better to be safe than sorry.
- Chances are, if you invite a local Maldivian to dinner and or coffee, you will be expected to spot the bill.
- Make sure to check what the seaplane baggage weight allowance is, your main flight might allow for 30 kg plus carry-on whereas most seaplanes have a 25 kg max per person. This means you will have to pay extra for the extra weight.
Do: Visit the local market and the fish market in the morning to experience the daily life of the local.
Do: Take your shoes off before entering someone’s home.
Do: Dress properly when visiting a Mosque or religious site. Make sure to enter barefoot, and have your knees and shoulders covered. Women should also have their heads covered with a shawl or sarong of some sort.
Do: Respect Malé’s curfew. If you’re not staying there make sure you’re ready and set to transfer back to your island before 10:00 pm (22:00).
Do: Be patient with the internet and cell service. Remember, the Maldives are a remote chain of islands and although many places do have wi-fi, chances are it’ll be somewhat spotty and definitely not as fast as what you’re used to.
Don’t: Don’t purchase or sell turtle shells and black corals, they are protected species in the Maldives.
Don’t: Go topless unless the resort and or hotel you are staying at confirms it is allowed, chances are, it is not. If staying on a local island and or travelling outside of your resort island it is important to make sure that bathing suits and or bikinis are allowed at the beaches you intend on visiting.
Don’t: Hug, hold hands, or kiss on inhabited islands. Maldives is a conservative country with strict PDA laws, their customs should be followed. Discretion is key for all travelling couples, regardless of orientation.
Don’t: Bring pork products, alcohol (even duty-free from a connecting stop), and or tobacco products without a health warning printed on them into the country.
Don’t: Expect flights between islands to be cheap.
Cuisine delights: 3 Must-Try Maldivian dishes
Coconuts, fish, and starches are the foundation of traditional Maldivian cuisine. Garudiya, also known as Garudhiya is the national dish of Maldives. This dish consists of a clear fish broth. The fish used to create the broth is usually one of three tuna fish endemics to the area, the tunas include skipjack, yellowfin, little tunny and/or frigate tuna. The dish may also be referred to as Garudhiya and Baiy, which simply means that the broth comes accompanied with a side of rice.
Rihaakuru is a slightly acidic tuna derived fish-based paste. This food is thick and dark, it is eaten pure in the Maldives and usually accompanied by rice, taro, roti or breadfruit. Rihaakuru may also be cooked with fried onions, curry-leaves (hikandifaiy) and chilies, when this is done it becomes a delicious variant dish called theluli rihaakuru, which means spiced rihaakuru. Rihaakuru may also be mixed with coconut milk, this is called rihaakuru diya.
Masburi Riha is the third must try dish on our list, this phrase literally translates to “fish curry-big cuts of fish”. This spiced fish curry is delicious and packs someone of a punch and kick, when done right you will find there is a delicious balance between the acidity of lime juice and the heat of chilis, which all gets mellowed out by the sweet taste of onions and coconut. Some argue this dish is best eaten with roti but in our opinion it’s delicious with anything that’ll sop up Masburi Riha’s delicious flavours.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE
The official and common language of the Maldives is Dhivehi. Due to the small number of Maldivians that speak Dhivehi it is difficult to find translation services outside of speciality language books. Please note that Arabic and English are widely spoken throughout the islands.
Hello - Aleikum saluam
Please note that As-salamu alaykum (Nice to meet you) is also a common greeting.
What's your name? - Caleghe namaki kòba?
How are you? - Haalu kihineh tha?
How much does it cost? - Agu kihaavareh?
I don't understand - Nenghe
Sorry - Maaf kurey!
Thank you – Shukuriyaa
You're welcome - Maruhabaa