Have you ever wondered if tranquil tropical islands with swaying palm trees, pure white beaches and brilliant turquoise lagoons really exist? The answer is yes – it is Maldives.
The Republic of Maldives is an island nation. It is situated in the Indian Ocean about 700km (435 miles) southwest of Sri Lanka. Maldives consist of 26 atolls encompassing a territory of 1,192 islets, of which 250 islands are inhabited.
Maldives islands will give you once in a lifetime experience. Its beauty is addictive and the leisure time and this amazing nature will remind you that there indeed is a sense of living. Maldives combine secluded serenity, exotic resorts, thrilling water sports activities, soothing spas, relaxing beaches in a luxurious way.
Around 90 islands have been turned into tourist resorts. The resorts can be reached by speedboats or seaplanes from the international airport and by dhoni (local boats). Each and every resort has soft sandy beaches, translucent clear lagoons surrounded by coral reefs and inhabited by diverse flora and fauna and everything else you need on a tropical holiday within a few minute’s walking distance. You can actually enjoy your own private aquarium and spend time with small, white sharks, large turtles and if you are lucky enough the dolphins.
You will also get the chance to see colors you have never seen before, colors of flowers so intense and a variety of unordinary little animals.
Maldives spa resorts belong to the finest luxury spa services in the world. You will be able to indulge yourself, relax, rejuvenate and realize that life is more than stressful working hours, fast food and constant chasing. Maldives will teach you to enjoy your own company.
Maldives is not for everybody. It is for those who enjoy luxury and are ready to pay for it. Backpackers and amateur anthropologists looking to live the locals’ life should not dare. This is a perfect place for scuba divers, who will love the fabulous reefs and the wealth of marine life as well as high visibility and warm temperatures (sometimes even at depths of 50 meters) of the underwater world.
Besides choosing a perfect resort for you, a good way to see Maldives is a holiday on a cruise boat. By choosing this arrangement, you will be able to see varied dive sites at different atolls and locations and sample island life, visit virgin uninhabited islands and appreciate the unique beauty of different resort islands and truly experience the uniqueness of this tropical paradise.
To truly get to know The Maldives, you should not miss visiting so-called fishermen islands where the locals live as well as the capital Male. Male is one of the smallest capitals in the world, just 2km long and 1 km wide. Unlike the other islands, Male is filled with tall buildings, crowded with shops and cars. Shops in Male are opened until 11 pm but do they close during Salaah, the fixed ritual of the Islamic prayer.
You can rent a cab and go sightseeing around Male. Their government has set a special prize for this route, not over 14 rupees for 4 individuals.
When visiting the fishermen’s islands, make sure you cover your shoulders and feet because that is considered appropriate.
Ok, enough with persuasions, here is some info and useful tips for those who are actually thinking of going.
The climate in Maldives is tropical, which means warm and sunny all year long. Temperature variations are minimal with hottest month being May and the coldest December. Tourist season lasts from December till April, with Christmas and New Years’ Time being the most crowded. It rains the most in May and October, so these months should be avoided.
GMT + 5
Dhivehi is spoken all around Maldives. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages. Most Maldivians speak English, so it is easy to get around. In hotels and resorts, employees can speak German, Italian, French and even Japanese.
Having been an important crossroad in the Indian Ocean, Maldivian cuisine is influenced by many visitors and traders and has a touch of Arabic, Indian, Sri Lanka and Oriental tastes. Since Maldives comprises more sea than land, fish is one of the mail elements of Maldivian food with different seasonings and vegetables. Resorts offer diverse international cuisine including Indian, Thai, oriental, Middle Eastern and continental as well as a wide range of alcoholic beverages, which are prohibited by religion and law for the Maldivians and hence not served in inhabited islands. You must not get around some of the Maldivian short eats known locally as hedika. Many of these are unique to the Maldives and come in sweet, sour and spicy varieties.
The main sports activities in Maldives are snorkeling and diving but you can also go fishing, waterskiing, canoeing, parasailing, windsurfing and playing golf.
There are no official sales in the Maldives. You can only bargain on Singapore Bazaar in Malé.
Although forbidden, many local people sell coral items. You should avoid buying these as it is forbidden to take them out of the country. It is also forbidden to have a dog on the island, so you will have to leave your pets at home. To bring in any other animal (oh yeah, pigs are not allowed too), you would need a previous approval.
All resorts organize a good nightlife but you can also enjoy and participate in different cultural manifestations of the locals to whom singing and dancing are an integral part of everyday life.
Do not even think about pornographic materials, weapons, and any types of drugs – you may end up in prison and having to deal with a trial in the Dhivehian language.
Do not look for good topless spots because you won’t find them. “Naturism” is not an accepted type of behavior.