Are you planning a trip to the Maldives? With close to perfect crystalline blue waters surging gently against isolated stretches of pristine white sand, the islands of the Maldives offer a peaceful sanctuary, amazing food and so much to do for people of all ages. The Maldives has been voted as one of the most exotic destinations on earth. The island country is paradise for any traveler who fancies water based activities.
Things to know before visiting Maldives for the first time:
1. The Republic of Maldives is the smallest country on the continent of Asia.
2. Maldives consists of 1192 coral islands grouped in 26 atolls arranged in a north to south directions spread over the Indian Ocean for roughly 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles).
3. The Maldives are the flattest country in the world. The maximum island height is 2.4 m above sea level. Every year it sinks more. People speculate that one day the Maldives will totally disappear. You also won’t find any hills, nor rivers in The Maldives.
4. The country became an independent state in 1965, after gaining its sovereignty from The United Kingdom.
5. The official language of Maldives is English and Dhivehi.
6. The currency is the Rufiyaa (MVR). 15 MVR = 1 USD
7. The country has a population of 452,000 people.
8. Instead of using taxis to get around, people in the Maldives make use of public ferries.
9. The capital city is Malé,traditionally called the “King’s Island” for its central location. To get to the islands from Malé you have to take a seaplane or speedboat. Resorts that are close to Malé can be reached by speedboat and resorts that are further out can only be reached by seaplane. Seaplanes cost between $800 – $1,000 and only operate during the day. Speedboat transfers are cheaper and can usually be arranged during the day or evening.
10. The weather is mostly sunny throughout the year, which makes it easy to plan a vacation in the Maldives anytime of the year.
11. Maldives offers a FREE visa on arrival for all nationalities except Indian and Bruneian citizens. You will be able to get a 30-day tourist visa when you arrive and show proof of a return flight and accommodation.
12. There are 10 airports in the Maldives. 4 international and 6 domestic. Most international visitors arrive and depart from Male International Airport.
13. The Maldives is a strictly Muslim nation and visitors must obey the local traditions. There is no alcohol allowed (except inside resorts). Women are barred from wearing bikinis or revealing clothing (except on a beach), there are no pork products, and public displays of affection allowed, even just quick smooches, are against the law.
14. Like other Muslim countries, the Maldives‘ weekend starts on Friday not Saturday and Sunday like the western countries.
15. Most of the islands do not have ATMs so you must withdraw cash in Malé or the airport.
16. Most shops are closed on Friday.