The Maldives is a geological marvel consisting of 1,190 coral islands that form an archipelago of 26 major atolls stretching like a string of pearls across the Indian Ocean. The top of the chain of islands lies to the south west of India. The atolls stretch southwardsfrom there and past the western side of Sri Lanka, ending just over the other side of the equator in the Southern Hemisphere. Each atoll is blessed with incredible biodiversity including an abundance of exotic corals and a rainbow spectrum of marine life.
Discover the sunshine, white sand and crystal-clear waters of a thousand ‘Robinson Crusoe’ islands with tranquil lagoons of infinite shades of blue; the ultimate combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination. Nonetheless, there is plenty more to the Maldives than just that, visit the Maldives and discover the beauty of the destination for yourself!
Location: Southwest of Sri Lanka, straddling the equator. Latitudes 4 degrees 17 north and longitudes 73 degrees 50 east.
Geography: 1,190 coral islands forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Stretches 820 kilometres from north to south and 120 kilometres from east to west. 202 islands are inhabited, 107 are private resort islands.
Climate: Generally warm and humid with year-round sunshine. Average temperature is around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius, rarely colder than 25 degrees Celcius.
What to wear: Dress is generally casual. T-shirts and cotton clothing are most suitable. In Male’, the capital island, and other inhabited islands it is recommended that women respect local customs and wear modest clothing.
Population: Approx. 298,968 according to 2006 Census.
Language: Dhivehi is the local language spoken in all parts of the Maldives. English is widely spoken by Maldivians and visitors can easily make themselves understood in the capital city. In the resorts, a variety of languages are spoken by the staff including English, Chinese, German, French, Italian and Japanese.
Economy: The Maldives’ economy has been growing at an annual average of 10% for the past two decades. Tourism is the main industry, contributing close to 20% of the GDP. Fisheries and trade follow close behind, with tuna being the biggest export.
Currency: The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa although US Dollars can also be used in the capital city. The exchange rate for the US Dollar is fixed at MRf.15.42. There are ATMs at the airport and in Male’. Resorts generally accept most currencies and credit cards. Commonly used credit cards are American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card.
Education: The functional literacy rate is 98%. Educational standards are among the highest in the region and schools follow the British system of education.
Local Time: GMT + 5 hours (DST) /GMT + 4 hours (BST)
Business Hours: From Sundays to Thursdays 0800hrs to 1500hrs in the government sector and generally from 0900hrs to 1700hrs in the private sector. Additionally, most offices in the private sector are open for half days on Saturdays. The weekend falls on Fridays and Saturdays.
Communication: Up-to-date technology and international satellite links allow the Maldives to have sophisticated communications systems. IDD facilities are available on all resorts and card phones are available on all inhabited islands. Dhiraagu and Ooredoo; the telecommunications companies in the Maldives, also provide mobile phones for daily rental and WiFi/Dialup internet services. Local SIM cards can be purchased at the airport if required.
Health: No travel vaccinations are required for the Maldives. Visitors may wish to take precautions against mosquitos (which can bite day and night) by wearing insect repellent, although resorts regularly take measures to control them. Snorkellers and divers are recommended not to touch the marine life to avoid accidental bites or stings. Health care facilities are improving almost on a daily basis. The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’ is the biggest hospital in the country. ADK Hospital, also in Male’, is the biggest private health care facility. Some resorts have in-house doctors. There are decompression chambers located at resorts in case of diving emergencies.