The Maldives

THE REPUBLIC OF MALDIVES – The Maldive Islands

Specks of emerald green enveloped by dazzling turquoise waters like scattered beads in the ocean, white powdery beaches, tall palms lean on towards the sea, crystalline white sands giving way to crystal clear waters, shades of turquoise blend flawlessly with deeper hues of blue; pristine coral reefs and some of the most incredible underwater life on our planet.

Rising from the deep blue of the vast ocean are more than a thousand islands and thousands more reefs that form the Maldives.

“Assalaam Alaikum” – The time honored Maldivian greeting be it to a visitor or friend; it denotes the Islamic culture of the people and comes with a fervent wish for peace. For centuries our shores have been a haven of peace and tranquility for travelers.

Hospitality has been an inherent part of Maldivian culture and a part of island life. It has always been a land where visitors are welcomed with open arms, where people are ready to share.

Today we share our immense wealth of natural beauty and cultural diversity with the rest of the world.

Welcome to the Maldives.

The name “Maldives” means garland or necklace of islands. It is also known as the pearls of the Indian Ocean. Totaling over 1200 islands they group in ring like formations and look like necklaces or garlands from the air.

Each of these “Robinson Crusoe” type coral islands most of them no more than a Kilometer wide, has the typical tropical vegetation of swaying palms and a white powder like sandy beach on its periphery. The islands itself are encompassed by crystal clear lagoons that provides a breathtaking hues of colors as it deepens to dark blue ocean.

The Maldives is as attractive underwater as it is over water, hosting two of the worlds top 10 dive spots, the Maldivian coral reefs are home to a wide range of colorful coral and probably the most diverse spectrum of fish one will ever see. Since the arrival of the first tourists, in 1972 the Maldives has come a long way, each year Maldives is host to over 750,000 tourists from all over the world. Almost a quarter of who are repeaters.

The Maldivian Resort hotel concept is substantially different from the normal resort concept, as each Maldivian Resort Hotel is located on a separate island, it offers the ultimate privacy for those seeking a private moment.

The Maldivian Resort Hotel range provides a choice for everyone from the ultimate luxury spa oriented resorts to the more basic no frills resorts all with a touch of the warm Maldivian hospitality. Within our range of Maldivian Resort hotels you are bound to find one that suits you, whether you are a honeymooner, a diver or would like a fun filled family holiday at resorts providing entertainment for children, or alternatively would like to host a conference or mix a bit of both business & leisure.

Fast Facts about the Maldives

Location
Southwest of Sri Lanka, on the equator.

Geography
1,190 coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Stretches 820 kilometers north to south and 120 kilometers east to west. 202 are inhabited, 90+ are exclusive resort islands.

Climate
Generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average temperature around 29 – 32 degrees celsius.

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 wear modest clothing without baring too much.

Population
About 338,000 according to 2012 estimates. Origin of the Maldivians are lost in antiquity, but history reveals that the islands have been populated for over 3,000 years ago. Early settlers were travelers on the Silk Route and from the Indus Valley Civilization. Inherently warm, friendly and hospitable by nature, it is easy to feel comfortable and relaxed with a Maldivian.

Culture
A proud history and rich culture evolved from the first settlers who were from various parts of the world traveling the seas in ancient times. The Maldives has been a melting pot of different cultures as people from different parts of the world came here and settled down. Some of the local music and dance for instance resemble African influences, with hand beating of drums and songs in a language that is not known to any but certainly represents that of East African countries. As one would expect there is a great South Asian influence in some of the music and dancing and especially in the traditional food of the Maldivians. However many of the South Asian customs especially with regard to women – for instance the Sub Continent’s tradition of secluding women from public view – are not tenets of life here. In fact women play a major role in society – not surprising considering the fact men spend the whole day out at sea fishing. Many of the traditions are strongly related to the seas and the fact that life is dependent on the seas around us.

Language
Dhivehi is the language spoken in all parts of the Maldives. English is widely spoken by Maldivians and visitors can easily make themselves understood getting around the capital island. In the resorts, a variety of languages are spoken by the staff including English, 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 25% of the GDP. Fisheries and trade follow close behind. The Maldivian economy is regarded as exemplary in the region and welcomes foreign investment.

Currency
The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa and Laaree. The exchange rate for US Dollar at the time of writing is MRf 15.42 for the dollar. One Rufiyaa is equivalent to 100 laarees. Rufiyaa bank notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. Coins are in the denominations of MRf.2.00, MRf.1.00, 50 laarees, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 laaree. The US Dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency. Payments in the resorts and hotels can be made in most hard currency in cash, travelers’ cheques or 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.

Health
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 providing sophisticated medical care. ADK Hospital is the biggest private health care facility and follows high medical standards. Some resorts have in-house doctors. A decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of a diving emergency.

Local Time
GMT + 5 hours

Business Hours
From Sunday to Thursday 8.00 – 16.00 in the government sector and generally from 9.00 to 5.00 in the private sector, although most offices in the private sector open for a half day on Saturday. Weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.

Communication
Up-to-date technology and international satellite links allow Maldives to have a sophisticated communications system. IDD facilities are available on all resorts and card phones are available on all inhabited islands. Dhiraagu, the Maldives Telecommunications Company also provides mobile telephones for daily rental. It is also the Internet service provider.

Electricity
The electric system is 230-240 Volts AC.

Visa Requirements
To enter Maldives no pre-arrival visa is required.

A thirty day free visa is issued on arrival for all nationalities, provided the following conditions are met (a) posses a valid passport (with 6 months minimum validity) and (b) have a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives.