Sri Lanka, on the equator.
1,190 coral islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls.
Stretches 820 kilometres north to south and 120 kilometres east to
west. 202 are inhabited, 87 are exclusive resort islands.
Generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average
temperature around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius.
WHAT TO WARE
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
About 270,000 according to 1998 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
travellers on the Silk Route and from the Indus Valley Civilisation.
Inherently warm, friendly and hospitable by nature, it is easy to feel
comfortable and relaxed with a Maldivian.
A proud history and rich culture evolved from the first settlers
who were from various parts of the world travelling 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 handbeating 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.
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.
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 20% of the GDP. Fisheries and trade follow close behind. The
Maldivian economy is regarded as exemplary in the region and welcomes
The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa and Laaree. The exchange
rate for US Dollar at the time of writing is MRf.11.82 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, travellers’ cheques or credit cards. Commonly used credit
cards are American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and
The functional literacy rate is 98%. Educational standards are
among the highest in the region and schools follow the British system
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
GMT + 5 hours
From Sunday to Thursday 7.30 - 14.30 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.
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.
The electric system is 230-240 Volts -AC.
NATION OF ISLAND
Sun, sand and sea, a thousand ‘Robinson Crusoe’ islands, massive
lagoons with different depths and infinite shades of blue and
turquoise, dazzling underwater coral gardens; a perfect natural
combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination. However there
is more to the Maldives than just that.