The beautiful archipelago of Maldives lies in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka. The islands have often been likened to a string of pearls framed against the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea. Millions of visitors come here for a blissful and enchanting vacation and almost everyone goes back home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Maldives tourism is one of the primary industries here. Visitors are greeted with enthusiasm and exuberance. Resorts are lovely and filled with all sorts of conveniences and you will feel like you have stepped off the earth and entered an alternate dimension. Also known as the earth’s flattest country, Maldives is known for not having any natural land higher than 2.3 metres above sea level.
Maldives has a fascinating geography. It consists of 1192 coral islands that are grouped into 26 atolls. With these atolls spread across 90,000 square kilometres, Maldives is one of the world’s most dispersed countries. Live coral reefs and sandbars make up the atolls. The largest island in Maldives is Gan. The capital, Malé, is also known as King’s Island. Since more than 80% of the country is made up of coral islands, Maldives is often considered to be an underwater island and holds great appeal for divers. There is lush tropical vegetation on most of the inhabited islands.
Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate and since it is the lowest elevated country in the world, the temperature here is constantly humid and hot. Maldives has two monsoons, a southwest that lasts from May to October and a northeast that is from November to April. The southwest brings rain in June and July and temperatures remain consistently warm, never really falling below 25 degrees centigrade.
Maldives is the world’s smallest Muslim nation. But with its proximity to India and Sri Lanka, the cultures of these countries have influenced Maldives as well. With the additional North African and Arabian influences, Maldives culture has emerged as a rich and vibrant fusion of all these elements. The island communities are close-knit, and the locals follow certain age-old traditions and beliefs which remain even till today. However, Maldives tourism has really shaped the country into the luxurious vacation spot that it is today, and resort islands often organise cultural performances to entertain and inform their guests about islanders and their traditional music and dance.
Whether you’re coming here for some adventure or to quietly enjoy a romantic vacation with your loved one, Maldives tourism has something special for all requirements. For those not inclined to do much, they don’t even have to walk too far from their villa to come by a beachside hammock where they can lie down and enjoy the views.
Those in the pursuit of more strenuous activities will be excited by all the scuba diving that can be done here. The underwater world takes a life of its own especially as visibility is so startlingly clear and there’s a rich variety of marine life and coral to observe here.
Maldives is considered to be the honeymooner’s paradise and for good reason. Whether you plan to visit Meeru Island or the resort island of Kuramathi, you will have to acknowledge that Maldives tourism is exactly what the brochures have promised. Sharp, clear azure blue waters, soft white sands and hardly any litter. In fact, fish are even known to swim right up to the water’s edge.
Nevertheless, there are several other activities that you can indulge in, while enjoying your trip to Maldives. It could be dolphin watching, which some resorts include as part of their package. They load up guests in a traditional boat known as a ‘Dhoni’ and let visitors enjoy the remarkable sight of dolphins cavorting around them as the sun sinks gently over the horizon.
Yet another sport that has caught the fancy of many people is surfing. There aren’t that many surf spots but of late, surfing has become popular in the Maldives with a few international surf contests also being held here.
If travelling from India, on-arrival Maldives tourist visa is issued at the airport itself by immigration officials. Also, the official Maldives currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR).
Dhivehi, English, Indo-European and Indo-Iranian
Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR)
The following are some travel tips, do's and don'ts to keep in mind during your Maldives trip.
If you’ve settled on your plan to visit Maldives for your vacation, do remember to check the SOTC website for some wonderful offers on Maldives tour packages