Welcome to the Maldives, where sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the
weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun wait to engulf you their arms.
Maldives is located in the middle of Indian Ocean, 670 km/416 miles South-West of Sri Lanka. The Island archipelago comprises of 1190 islands, 202
of which are inhabited. Maldives is divided into 19 Administrative regions called Atolls. The Capital Island Male’ is somewhat in the middle of the Country
and there are tourist resorts in 9 Atolls. South and North Male’ Atoll, South and North Ari Atoll, Lhaviyani Atoll, Baa Atoll, Vaavu Atoll, Dhaalu Atoll and Seenu Atoll.
Land Area: 1,190 Islands with a land area of 115 square miles (298 sq. km).
Sea Area: Approx. 41,500 square miles (107,500 sq. km)
Formation and Geographical Location
The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls,
spread over 90,000 square kilometers. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness.
Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. A string of islands take their places among this atoll ring;
encircling the island lagoon. The reefs of the islands, alive with countless types of underwater creatures and vibrant corals, protect the islands from wind and wave action
of the surrounding vast oceans. This unique structure of reefs and channels makes navigation almost impossible for the passer-by without sufficient information about these waters
Ninety-nine percent of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 90 islands
are developed as tourist resort and the rest are uninhabited or used for agriculture and other livelihood purposes
Political Status: Since 1965, Maldives is an Independent Republic, electing Democratically the Parliament. The President is the Head of the Government, elected every 5 years
Capital : Malé – Male’ the Capital Island envelopes an area of 1.77 sq.kms.
Maldives Standard Time: +5 hrs GMT ( 5 hours ahead of GMT )
Religion: 100% Sunni Muslim – Maldives is perhaps the only Country with a 100% Muslim population. Islam was introduced around A.D.800, and the moderate form practiced in
Maldives has remained virtually unchanged.
Weather & Climate: The weather in the Maldives is usually picture perfect: sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. The temperature hardly ever
changes – which makes packing for your holiday an easy task (see what to pack). With the average temperature at about 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year, the sun
is a constant on most days, shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself
known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave
Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November.
Currency: The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa. One Rufiyaa is 100 Laari and is available in 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Rufiyaa notes. One US Dollar is equivalent to is Rufiyaa 12.85.
The approximate Exchange rates are:
US $ 1 = 12.85 Mrf
Sterling £1 = 18 Mrf.
German Mark = 6.5 Mrf
Credit Cards Accepted
American Express, Diners Club, EuroCard, JCB, MasterCard, Visa.
Most banks represented in Malé provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services and credit card services at several key points in Malé.
As your plane breaks through the clouds revealing the emerald islands below, prepare for one of the most exciting flying experiences. The runway of Hulhule’ airport, that runs parallel to the shore creates a (rather safe, of course) adrenalin rush, for a second, when it makes you think that the plane is landing on water.
The Male International Airport is mere fifteen minutes from Male’. The airport is small, but well-equipped with souvenir and duty-free shops, restaurants, medical facilities, and provides banking and postal services.
The airport is accessible via Male’ on a dhoni ferry, that run every few minutes between the two islands.
The airport island also hosts the five-star Hulhule’ Island Hotel.
What to pack
Visiting the Maldives is the chance for you to break out the brightly coloured summer clothes that are so often out of place in colder climates. The higher temperatures and ever-present sunshine means that locals and visitors alike prefer dressing in lightweight materials. T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts would be the best option to stay cool. The ideal footwear would be sandals and flip-flops.
Whether to pack only the more casual options like shorts and khakis or the newest Gucci number depends on what you plan to do, or where you plan to stay. Smart casual clothing is usually enough for Male’ or resorts, but the more up-market resorts may require that you dress up for dinner.
Sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats are widely necessary for a comfortable holiday, but they are available widely for purchase in resorts and around Male’.
Immigration and Visa
Tourists are issued a 30-day visa on arrival. A valid travel document is necessary. You can obtain circumstantial visa grants through the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Male’.
It is prohibited to bring in firearms, drugs, pornography or idols of worship into the Maldives. Tourists also cannot bring in dogs, pigs and pork items. Alcohol and pork products under a special license are available in resort islands.
Visitors to the Maldives, if arriving from infected countries, require an international certificate of inoculation against yellow fever and cholera to come into the country.
Info and Assistance at the Airport
The Airports Company has a counter outside the Arrival Terminal to provide information and assistance to tourists. The counter also has a variety of free brochures in different languages.
If you have a booking at a resort, the transfer would usually be arranged for you prior to your arrival into the country. The option of speedboat or seaplane (where available) will be left to you to choose from.
Travelling in between inhabited islands are done through various ferry services. Ferries to nearby islands Villingili and Hulhumale’ can be taken from Male’.
The airport departure tax of US$12.00 is usually included when you purchase your airline ticket.
Duty-free shopping is available at the departure terminal at the Male’ International Airport. There are specialized shops with a wide variety of international brands selling well-known products and competitive prices. Products include souvenirs, perfume, electronics, toys, watches, fashion accessories and jewellery, liquor, tobacco and confectionary.