Sunny all year long, Waves like nowhere else, underwater beauty like paradise! Visit Maldives for a perfect holiday. The Maldives, known to the locals in their native language (Dhivehi) as Dhivehi Raajje, are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 natural coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and west of Sri Lanka. None of the coral islands measures more than 1.8 meters above sea level. Only 192 islands are inhabited by its 300,000 inhabitants. The rest of the islands remain Virgin Islands except for more than 100 islands that have been developed for the top end of the tourist market.

With some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the world, the clear waters of the Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life. The richness and variety is astonishing; dazzling coral walls, magnificent caves and schools of brightly colored tropical fish await you when you get down to the reef.

Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make the Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.

The Maldives has a tropical-monsoon climate, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August. However, the weather patterns of Maldives do not always conform to the monsoon patterns of South Asia.

FLORA & FAUNA
Flora

Coconut palms, mangroves, pandanuses, bread trees and very tall specimens of Ficus Benghalensis (named “Nika”) are the most common plants in the Maldives. Coconuts palms, which can reach up to a 25-meter height, produce coconuts, leaves, fibers and wood; they reproduce naturally, as nuts fall from the trees and germinate. The mangroves live between land and sea: they have long roots plunging into the water and are one of the few land plants that can tolerate sea water and salt. The pandanus, a tree that can reach an 8-meter height, produces red-orange fruits used in particular types of food. In many islands, it is possible to find mangos, papayas, limes, bananas and bread trees. It is easy to come across some of the most famous ornamental plants, such as bougainvilleas, hibiscuses and frangipanis. The skylines of most of the Islands are highlighted by the coconut palm tree, which is also the national tree. The shorelines of the islands are covered by variety of grass, sedge, shrubs and trees. The tallest tree found in the Maldives is the banyan tree. The islands are covered with a dense scrub. The northern and southern islands are more fertile than those in the central group, and the eastern islands generally are more fertile than the western. Coconut, breadfruit, plantain, papaya, mango, and banyan trees flourish. Shrubs and flowers are widespread. Rats, rabbits, and flying foxes are the only indigenous mammals.

Fauna

The most common animal in the Maldives is the gecko that lives on walls close to artificial light and feeds on insects. There are also small reptiles, called “bondu”, which are yellow-headed iguanas. Thanks to their skin, they mimic trees and sand very well. The only mammals are small palm mice and flying foxes. Maldives are outstanding not only for their colorful and transparent water, but also to for their spectacular marine life. You cannot visit the Maldives without snorkeling and admiring that amazing show. Swimming among different species of multi-colored fish, admiring the slow movements of turtles and reef sharks, is a unique and unforgettable experience. The ichthyic benthic fauna includes different species of fish.

The surgeonfish with two sharpened spines on his tail, used for self defence; the butterfly fish, that eats coral polyps and corals; the angelfish, which is probably the most beautiful among the reef fishes, shy but curious at the same time; the triggerfish, with its particular horizontal swimming.

Ancient history and settlement

Comparative studies of Maldivian oral, linguistic and cultural traditions and customs indicate that the first settlers were Dravidian people from Tamil Nadu in the Sangam period (300 BC–AD 300), most probably fishermen from the southwest coasts of what is now the south of the Indian Subcontinent and the western shores of Sri Lanka. One such community is the Giraavaru people descended from ancient Tamils. They are mentioned in ancient legends and local folklore about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in Malé.

A strong underlying layer of Dravidian population and culture survives in Maldivian society, with a clear Dravidian-Malayalam substratum in the language, which also appears in place names, kinship terms, poetry, dance, and religious beliefs. Malabari seafaring culture led to Malayali settling of the Laccadives, and the Maldives were evidently viewed as an extension of that archipelago. Some argue (from the presence of Jat, Gujjar Titles and Gotra names) that Sindhis also accounted for an early layer of migration. Seafaring from Debal began during the Indus valley civilisation. The Jatakas and Puranas show abundant evidence of this maritime trade; the use of similar traditional boat building techniques in Northwestern South Asia and the Maldives, and the presence of silver punch mark coins from both regions, gives additional weight to this. There are minor signs of Southeast Asian settlers, probably some adrift from the main group of Austronesian reed boat migrants that settled Madagascar.

The earliest written history of the Maldives is marked by the arrival of Sinhalese people, who were descended from the exiled Magadha Prince Vijaya from the ancient city known as Sinhapura. He and his party of several hundred landed in Sri Lanka, and some in the Maldives circa 543 to 483 BC. According to the Mahavansa, one of the ships that sailed with Prince Vijaya, who went to Sri Lanka around 500 BC, went adrift and arrived at an island called Mahiladvipika, which is the Maldives. It is also said that at that time, the people from Mahiladvipika used to travel to Sri Lanka. Their settlement in Sri Lanka and the Maldives marks a significant change in demographics and the development of the Indo-Aryan language Dhivehi, which is most similar in grammar, phonology, and structure to Sinhala, and especially to the more ancient Elu Prakrit, which has less Pali.

Alternatively, it is believed that Vijaya and his clan came from western India – a claim supported by linguistic and cultural features, and specific descriptions in the epics themselves, e.g. that Vijaya visited Bharukaccha (Bharuch in Gujarat) in his ship on the voyage down south.

Philostorgius, a Greek historian of Late Antiquity, wrote of a hostage among the Romans, from the island called Diva, which is presumed to be the Maldives, who was baptised Theophilus. Theophilus was sent in the 350s to convert the Himyarites to Christianity, and went to his homeland from Arabia; he returned to Arabia, visited Axum, and settled in Antioch.

Buddhist period

Buddhism came to the Maldives at the time of Emperor Ashoka's expansion, and became the dominant religion of the people of the Maldives until the 12th century AD. The ancient Maldivian Kings promoted Buddhism, and the first Maldive writings and artistic achievements, in the form of highly developed sculpture and architecture, are from that period. Before embracing Buddhism as their way of life, Maldivians had practised an ancient form of Hinduism, ritualistic traditions known as Śrauta, in the form of venerating the Surya (the ancient ruling caste were of Aadheetta or Suryavanshi origins).

The first archaeological study of the remains of early cultures in the Maldives began with the work of H.C.P. Bell, a British commissioner of the Ceylon Civil Service. Bell was first ordered to the islands in late 1879 he returned twice to the Maldives to investigate ancient ruins. He studied the ancient mounds, called havitta or ustubu (these names are derived from chaitiya and stupa) (Maldivian: ހަވިއްތަ) by the Maldivians, which are found on many of the atolls. Although Bell asserted that the ancient Maldivians had followed Theravada Buddhism, many local Buddhist archaeological remains now in the Malé Museum in fact also display elements of Mahayana and Vajrayana iconography.

Isdhoo Lōmāfānu is the oldest copper-plate book to have been discovered in the Maldives to date. The book was written in AD 1194 (590 AH) in the Evēla form of the Divehi akuru, during the reign of Siri Fennaadheettha Mahaa Radun (Dhinei Kalaminja). In the early 11th century, the Minicoy and Thiladhunmathi, and possibly other northern Atolls, were conquered by the medieval Chola Tamil emperor Raja Raja Chola I, thus becoming a part of the Chola Empire.

According to a legend from Maldivian folklore, in the early 12th century AD, a medieval prince named Koimala, a nobleman of the Lion Race from Sri Lanka, sailed to Rasgetheemu island (literally "Town of the Royal House", or figuratively "King's Town") in the North Maalhosmadulu Atoll, and from there to Malé, and established a kingdom. By then, the Aadeetta (Sun) Dynasty (the Suryavanshi ruling cast) had for some time ceased to rule in Malé, possibly because of invasions by the Cholas of Southern India in the 10th century. Koimala Kalou (Lord Koimala), who reigned as King Maanaabarana, was a king of the Homa (Lunar) Dynasty (the Chandravanshi ruling cast), which some historians call the House of Theemuge. The Homa (Lunar) dynasty sovereigns intermarried with the Aaditta (Sun) Dynasty. This is why the formal titles of Maldive kings until 1968 contained references to "kula sudha ira", which means "descended from the Moon and the Sun". No official record exists of the Aadeetta dynasty's reign. Since Koimala's reign, the Maldive throne was also known as the Singaasana (Lion Throne). Before then, and in some situations since, it was also known as the Saridhaaleys (Ivory Throne). Some historians credit Koimala with freeing the Maldives from Chola rule.

Several foreign travellers, mainly Arabs, had written about a kingdom of the Maldives ruled over by a queen. This kingdom pre-dated Koimala's reign. al-Idrisi, referring to earlier writers, mentions the name of one of the queens, Damahaar, who was a member of the Aadeetta (Sun) dynasty.

Islamic Period

A Plaque in Juma Mosque, Malé, Maldives, on which Yusuf Tabrizi's name is written. Yusuf Tabrizi was an Iranian who is said to have converted Maldives in 12th century AD to Islam. The conversion to Islam is mentioned in the edicts written in copper plates from the end of the 12th century AD.

The famous Moroccan traveller Ibn Batutta, who visited the Maldives in the 14th century, wrote how a Moroccan, one Abu Barakat the Berber, was believed to have been responsible for spreading Islam in the islands. Even though this report has been contested in later sources, it does explain some crucial aspects of Maldivian culture. For instance, historically Arabic has been the prime language of administration there, instead of the Persian and Urdu languages used in the nearby Muslim states. Another link to North Africa was the Maliki school of jurisprudence, used throughout most of North-Africa, which was the official one in the Maldives until the 17th century.

Some scholars have suggested the possibility of Ibn Battuta misreading Maldive texts, and have posited another scenario where this Abu Barakat might have been a native of Berbera, a significant trading port on the north western coast of Somalia. This scenario would also help explain the usage of the Arabic language and the predominance of the Maliki school on the islands.

Another interpretation, held by some of the islanders, is that Abu Barakat was an Iranian from Tabriz. In the Arabic script the words al-Barbari and al-Tabrizi are very much alike, owing to the fact that at the time, Arabic had several consonants that looked identical and could only be differentiated by overall context (this has since changed by addition of dots above or below letters to clarify pronunciation – For example, the letter "B" in modern Arabic has a dot below, whereas the letter "T" looks identical except there are two dots above it). The first reference to an Iranian origin dates to an 18th-century Persian text.

The Maldives was the first landfall for traders from Basrah, sailing to Sri Lanka or Southeast Asia. In the Maldives, ships could take on fresh water, fruit and the delicious, basket-smoked red flesh of the black bonito, a delicacy exported to Sindh, China and Yemen. The people of the archipelago were described as gentle, civilised and hospitable. They produced brass utensils as well as fine cotton textiles, exported in the form of sarongs and turban lengths. These local industries must have depended on imported raw materials.

The other essential product of the Maldives was coir, the fibre of the dried coconut husk. Cured in pits, beaten, spun and then twisted into cordage and ropes, coir's salient quality is its resistance to saltwater. It stitched together and rigged the dhows that plied the Indian Ocean. Maldivian coir was exported to Sindh, China, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf.

"It is stronger than hemp", wrote Ibn Battuta, "and is used to sew together the planks of Sindhi and Yemeni dhows, for this sea abounds in reefs, and if the planks were fastened with iron nails, they would break into pieces when the vessel hit a rock. The coir gives the boat greater elasticity, so that it doesn't break up."

British protectorate, 1887–1965

An RAF Short Sunderland moored in the lagoon at Addu Atoll, during WWII On 16 December 1887, the Sultan of the Maldives signed a contract with the British Governor of Ceylon turning the Maldives into a British protected state, thus giving up the islands' sovereignty in matters of foreign policy, but retaining internal self-government. The British government promised military protection and non-interference in local administration in exchange for an annual tribute, so that the islands were akin to an Indian princely state.

In 1953, there was an abortive attempt to form a republic, but the sultanate survived. In 1957 the British established an air base in the strategic southernmost atoll of Addu, paying £2000 a year, employing hundreds of locals. Nineteen years later, the British government (Labour's Harold Wilson) gave up the base, as it was too expensive to maintain.

In 1959, objecting to Ibrahim Nasir's centralism, the inhabitants of the three southernmost atolls protested against the government. They formed the United Suvadive Republic and elected Abdullah Afeef as president and chose Hithadhoo as capital of this republic.

Independence and Republic

Mohamed Amin Didi served as the first president of the Maldives for most of 1953 and was deposed for his unpopular policies. During the 1950s and 1960s, the British presence east of Suez was in steep decline. On 26 July 1965 an agreement was signed on behalf of His Majesty the Sultan by Ibrahim Nasir Rannabandeyri Kilegefan, Prime Minister, and on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen by Sir Michael Walker, British Ambassador designate to the Maldive Islands, which ended the British responsibility for the defence and external affairs of the Maldives. The islands thus achieved full political independence, with the ceremony taking place at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Colombo. After this, the sultanate continued for another three years under Muhammad Fareed Didi, who declared himself King rather than Sultan.

On 15 November 1967, a vote was taken in parliament to decide whether the Maldives should continue as a constitutional monarchy or become a republic. Of the 44 members of parliament, forty voted in favour of a republic. On 15 March 1968, a national referendum was held on the question, and 93.34% of those taking part voted in favour of establishing a republic. The republic was declared on 11 November 1968, thus ending the 853-year-old monarchy, which was replaced by a republic under the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir. As the King had held little real power, this was seen as a cosmetic change and required few alterations in the structures of government.

Tourism began to be developed on the archipelago by the beginning of the 1970s. The first resort in the Maldives was Kurumba Maldives which welcomed the first guests on 3 October 1972. The first accurate census was held in December 1977 and showed 142,832 persons residing in Maldives. However, political infighting during the '70s between Nasir's faction and other political figures led to the 1975 arrest and exile of elected prime minister Ahmed Zaki to a remote atoll. Economic decline followed the closure of the British airfield at Gan and the collapse of the market for dried fish, an important export. With support for his administration faltering, Nasir fled to Singapore in 1978, with millions of dollars from the treasury.

Maumoon Abdul Gayoom began his 30-year role as President in 1978, winning six consecutive elections without opposition. His election was seen as ushering in a period of political stability and economic development in view of Gayoom's priority to develop the poorer islands. Tourism flourished and increased foreign contact spurred development. However, Gayoom's rule was controversial, with some critics saying Gayoom was an autocrat who quelled dissent by limiting freedoms and political favouritism.

A series of coup attempts (in 1980, 1983, and 1988) by Nasir supporters and business interests tried to topple the government without success. While the first two attempts met with little success, the 1988 coup attempt involved a roughly 80-person mercenary force of the PLOTE Tamil militant group who seized the airport and caused Gayoom to flee from house to house until the intervention of 1600 Indian troops airlifted into Malé restored order. The November 1988 coup was headed by Muhammadu Ibrahim Lutfee, a small-businessman. On the night of 3 November 1988, the Indian Air Force airlifted a parachute battalion group from Agra and flew them over 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) to the Maldives. The Indian paratroopers landed at Hulule and secured the airfield and restored the government rule at Malé within hours. The brief, bloodless operation, labelled Operation Cactus, also involved the Indian Navy.

21st century

On 26 December 2004, following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, the Maldives were devastated by a tsunami. Only nine islands were reported to have escaped any flooding, while fifty-seven islands faced serious damage to critical infrastructure, fourteen islands had to be totally evacuated, and six islands were destroyed. A further twenty-one resort islands were forced to close because of serious damage. The total damage was estimated at more than US$400 million, or some 62% of the GDP. 102 Maldivians and 6 foreigners reportedly died in the tsunami. The destructive impact of the waves on the low-lying islands was mitigated by the fact there was no continental shelf or land mass upon which the waves could gain height. The tallest waves were reported to be 14 feet (4.3 m) high.

During the later part of Gayoom's rule, independent political movements emerged in Maldives, which challenged the then-ruling Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (Maldivian People's Party) and demanded democratic reform. These movements brought about significant change in political structure. In 2008 a new constitution was approved and the first direct presidential elections occurred, which were won by Mohamed Nasheed and Mohammed Waheed Hassan (as Vice-President) in the second round. The 2009 parliamentary election saw the Maldivian Democratic Party of President Nasheed receive the most votes with 30.81%, gaining 26 seats, although the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party, with 24.62% of the vote, received the most seats (28).

The government of President Mohamed Nasheed faced many challenges, including the huge debts left by the previous government, the economic downturn following the 2004 tsunami, overspending (by means of overprinting of local currency rufiyaa) during his regime, unemployment, corruption, and increasing drug use.

Taxation on goods was imposed for the first time in the country, and import duties were reduced in many goods and services. Social welfare benefits were given to those above 65 years of age, single parents, and those with special needs. On 10 November 2008, Nasheed announced an intent to create a sovereign wealth fund with money earned from tourism that could be used to purchase land elsewhere for the Maldives people to relocate should rising sea levels due to climate change inundate the country. The government reportedly considered locations in Sri Lanka and India due to cultural and climate similarities, and as far away as Australia.

On 23 December 2011, the opposition held a mass symposium with as many as 20,000 people in the name of protecting Islam, which they believed Nasheed's government was unable to maintain in the country. The mass event became the foundation of a campaign that brought about social unrest within the capital city. On 16 January 2012, the Maldives military, on orders from the interior ministry, unconstitutionally arrested Judge Abdulla Mohamed, the chief justice of the Maldives Criminal Court, on charges he was blocking the prosecution of corruption and human rights cases against allies of former President Gayoom. On 7 February, Nasheed ordered the police and army to subdue the anti-government protesters and allegedly told them to use force against the public. Police came out to protest against the government instead.

President Mohamed Nasheed resigned on 7 February 2012 by letter, and followed that with a televised public address informing Maldivians of his resignation. Later Nasheed told foreign media that he was deposed by a military coup led by President Waheed. There have been disputes over exactly what happened that day. Nasheed's vice president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, was sworn in as President in accordance with the Constitution at the Peoples majlis in front of the Chief Justice.

On 23 February 2012, the Commonwealth suspended the Maldives from its democracy and human rights watchdog while the ousting was being investigated, and backed Nasheed's call for elections before the end of 2012. Though in March 2012 the new regime promised new elections; in April the state minister of foreign affairs announced that elections would not be held in the near future. On 8 October, Nasheed was arrested after failing to appear in court to face charges that he ordered the illegal arrest of a judge while in office. However, his supporters claim that this detention was politically motivated in order to prevent him from campaigning for the 2013 presidential elections.

  • Capital
    :
    Malé
  • Currency
    :
    Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR)
  • Area
    :
    298 km2 (206th) 115 sq mi
  • Population
    :
    341,356 (2014)
  • Density
    :
    1,102.5/km2 (11th) 2,855.4/sq mi
  • Ethnic groups
    :
    100% Maldivians
  • Religion
    :
    Islam
  • Languages
    :
    Maldivian (Dhivehi)
  • International Airport
    :
    Male International Airport (MLE)
  • Time Zone
    :
  • Calling code
    :
    +96
  • Major Festivals in Maldives
    :
    Ramadan, Eid-ul Al’h’aa, Kuda Eid.
  • Electricity:
    :
    220 – 240 Volts (Universal adaptor comes in handy)
TEN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MALDIVES
  • Maldives is the lowest country in the world. Its ground level is averaged at 1.5 meters (4 feet 11 inches), and its highest point, a certain spot in Villingili Island that stands at 2.3 meters (7 feet 7 inches), is the lowest on the planet. Because the country is low-lying, Maldivians worry about the possibility of it sinking, especially now that climate change continues to take effect.
  • To raise awareness on climate change, Maldives held an underwater cabinet meeting in 2009. It was the first country in the world to do so.
  • Ninety-nine percent of Maldives is water.
  • Maldives, which follows the British educational system, has a stunning functional literacy rate of 98%.
  • Every element in the Maldives flag is symbolic – the crescent moon stands for Islam, the green section represents palm trees, and the red background symbolizes the blood shed by Maldivian heroes.
  • As a Muslim country, Maldives calls for casual but modest clothing. In fact, the shorts/pants and T-shirt combination is the accepted swimwear in the inhabited islands. Bikinis are worn only in island resorts.
  • Maldives is one of the safest travel destinations on the planet – the island resorts, specifically, since they are largely isolated.
  • The word atoll is derived from the Divehi word atholhu, which means a ring-like coral island surrounding a lagoon. It is the only English word derived from Divehi.
  • While many countries in the world take their weekend break on Saturday and Sunday, Maldives – like other Muslim countries – has its weekend on Friday and Saturday.
  • Not only is Maldives the smallest country in Asia, it is also the smallest Muslim country in the world.

The Maldives enjoy a sunny climate for the better part of a year. Hence, locals and visitors alike prefer to dress in lightweight clothes. Since the Maldivians observe the religion of Islam, it is advisable to dress conservatively when visiting inhabited islands like the Capital Male’ City. The idea is not to wear revealing dresses. In the resorts you can dress as you please.

Most visitors prefer to wear T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts and shorts. The preferred footwear is sandals and flip-flops. For classy dinners at resorts and visiting inhabited island’s semi formal and casual clothing will be perfect.

The Maldives is all about the white sandy beaches and underwater beauty. Hence, pack a lot of swimwear and beachwear.

In addition to the clothing, you can include the following items when you pack for your dream holiday in the Maldives :
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Digital camera
  • Camcorder
  • Money belt
  • Hat or Cap
  • Torch light
  • First aid kit
  • Electricity adaptor
  • Mosquito or insect repellent
Health & Safety

The Maldives is distinguished as a serene paradise on earth due to the peacefulness it offers. Consistently the Maldivian authorities implement necessary measures regarding health and safety of the visitors. On arrival to the Maldives, visitors will be obliged to fill an immigration form in which declarations of health should be made for the authorities to take required actions.

Insurance

Before arriving to the Maldives it is important to subscribe for adequate insurance that covers for medical emergencies. Your insurance details and emergency contact numbers should be brought with you when visiting the Maldives.

Vaccinations

The Maldives is generally a disease free country with only the occasional bouts of dengue fever outbreaks. However, resort islands are not affected by dengue outbreaks. The only vaccinations required for the visitors are the yellow fever and cholera vaccine. The yellow fever and cholera vaccine are also only required for tourists arriving from a region where these diseases are endemic.

Sunburn

The sun bestows a lot of pleasure to the visitors, but it might also strike some displeasure if you are not careful. The equatorial sun emits dangerous ultraviolet rays at midday. If you are sunbathing when the sun is hot and bright, always apply sun protection lotion or cream. You can acquire such protective lotions from the resort shops.

Overexposure to the sun might result in dangerous sunburn and heatstroke. It is also advisable to wear a sunglass to protect your eyes. Always drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated. Do remember to get a nice Maldivian tan, but not a bad sunburn!

Water Risks

Necessary precautions and measures are in place to avoid unfortunate accidents in the water. Always follow the instructions provided by your instructors when you go for diving or any other water related activity.

If you are going for snorkeling do remember to take necessary precautions. Snorkeling is one of easiest ways to explore the underwater life present in the house reef of your resort. Before starting your snorkeling adventure, you must test the simple snorkeling gears to see whether you are comfortable in them.

Always be wary of changing water current and wind. Never drift further away from the lagoon or boat while snorkeling. The reefs are delicate environments so you should never touch the corals, shells and fish as it involves unnecessary risks and may cause damage to the reef.

It is advisable to use life jackets while at sea. Resort islands will provide such safety gears and lifeguard services.

Healthcare Facilities

Modern primary health care facilities are available in the Maldives. Practically all the resort islands provide the services of a resident doctor and first-aid services as required by the law. Health Centres and Hospitals located in the atolls can attend to non-serious medical issues.

Two prominent hospitals in the Maldives are located in the Capital Male’. Namely the State run Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and the privately owned ADK hospital. Specialist doctors and clinics are also operated in the Capital City. The Maldives Coast Guard and Seaplane services will facilitate evacuation of tourists who require emergency treatment from the Capital City or abroad. State-of-the-art Hyperbaric Chamber or Decompression Chamber services are available for dive related emergencies. Such Hyperbaric Chambers are established in six different resort islands located in various parts of the country.

Personal Safety

The Maldives is a relatively crime free country. Theft and burglaries in resorts are very rare. However, it is advisable to keep your room and personal belongings safely locked away.

Airport Representatives

All the major Resorts and Hotels welcome their guests to the Maldives through specially appointed Airport Representatives. These Airport Representatives are based just outside the arrival hall of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE). Their services are available for twenty four hours, every single day.

There are stalls in the airports displaying names of their respective Resorts and Hotels. These stalls will be manned by representatives of the Resorts and Hotels who will assist you and facilitate your transfer to the chosen holiday destination. The Airport Representatives will assist you settle any unfortunate issues that might arise in the airport.

Airport Representatives will help you collect your luggage and provide information about your Resorts or Hotels. Once you reach the International Airport, from there you will be transferred to your holiday getaway. The Airport Representatives will arrange your transfer in a domestic airline, seaplane, speed launch and ferry boats depending on your destination.

Airport Representatives in the Maldives are highly trained professionals who are capable of conversing in various languages. Most of the time, Resorts, Hotels and Travel Agencies will arrange for you to be greeted by an Airport Representative who will converse in your own language.

Reach your dream holiday retreat without any hassle at the airport with the professional help of Airport Representatives.

The beautiful country of the Maldives welcomes everyone with open arms. Accordingly the Maldives is one of the easiest countries in terms of visa and immigration arrangements. Any tourist from any nationality is granted a free 30 day visa on arrival to the Maldives. Hence, there is no need for you to undergo any hassle with regards to obtaining prior visa. Once you reach the airport, Immigration personnel will assist you with the visa procedures.

Obtaining Tourist Visa
The free 30 day visa is granted upon complying with the following procedures :
  • Visitor should have a valid passport or travel document authorised by a sovereign state.
  • Visitor should have a valid return ticket to exit the Maldives.
  • Visitor should have the financial capacity to cover the expenses for the duration of the stay or a confirmed reservation from a tourist Hotel or Resort in the Maldives. The financial capacity is measured by US$100 + $50 dollars per day.
Visa Conditions
The Department of Immigration and Emigration reserves the right to issue a visa for any number of days, not exceeding the 30 day limit. Immigration department reserves the right to deport any person :
  • Using the tourist visa to work in the Maldives
  • Participates or incites unlawful activities
  • Disrupting the political and religious harmony of the country
  • Becoming a nuisance to the public
Extending Tourist Visa
The free 30 day visa period can be extended for a further 60 days, totalling 90 days including the original free visa period of 30 day.
  • To extend the Tourist Visa the following procedures should be followed :
  • Extension application should be made through the “Visa Extension Application Form” to the Department of Immigration and Emigration, before the expiry of the free 30 days visa.
  • Department of Immigration and Emigration will re-evaluate the financial capacity of the applicant.
  • A fee of MVR 750 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Rufiyaa) will be levied for visa extension.
  • Visit the website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration http://www.immigration.gov.mv for detailed information about Tourist Visa and immigration requirements
AIRPORTS
There are four international and six domestic airports in the Maldives. Click the following airport names for more details :
International Airports

1. Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE)

This airport, which is popularly known as the Male’ International Airport is the gateway to the Maldives. Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is located in Hulhule’. The airport is connected to the capital Male’ by a 10 minute ferry boat ride.

Over 30 International Airlines operate daily flights to this airport. Due to the single runway, it is one of the safest airports in the world. Maldives Customs Service and Department of Immigration and Emigration provide their services continually in the airport. A world class duty free shopping area is present at this airport.

Facilities available at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport include 24 hours healthcare centre, infant and mother care room, free trolley services, baggage storage and wrapping services, free shower room, prayer room, VIP lounge, smoking lounge, internet kiosk, communication offices and banking service.

Transfers to other resort islands and hotels originate from this airport through domestic flights, seaplanes, speed launch and ferry boat services.

Visit the Maldives Airports Company Limited’s website for detailed information about this airport. http://www.macl.aero

2. Gan International Airport (GAN)

Gan International Airport is located on Gan island in Addu City, the southernmost atoll of the country. This airport originated from an airstrip used by the Britain’s during the Second World War.

This airport is the main access point for the southern parts of the country. International charter flights and private jets frequently use this airport to reach the nearby resorts.

Daily scheduled flights operate from Gan International Airport to other airports in the country including Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. Customs and Immigration services are provided here.

Visit the website of the Gan International Airport for detailed information about this airport. http://www.ganairport.com

3. Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ)

Hanimaadhoo International Airport is located in Haa Dhaalu Atoll Hanimaadhoo island. Currently international flights operated from this airport fly only to neighbouring India.

Daily scheduled flights are operated from and to this airport from other domestic and international airports in the country. Private jets and charter jets are also flown here.

For tourists, Hanimaadhoo International Airport provides access to the northernmost atolls of the Maldives; Haa Alifu and Haa Dhaalu atolls.

4. Villa International Airport (VAM)

Villa International Airport is situated on Maamigili island of Alifu Dhaalu Atoll. The airport currently operates scheduled domestic flights to six different atolls of the Maldives including Kaafu Atoll, Addu Atoll, Gnaviyani Atoll, Baa Atoll, Dhaalu Atoll and Alifu Alifu Atoll.

From this airport, tourists can transfer to the nearby resort islands in sort speed launch journeys.

Domestic Airports

1. Dharavandhoo Airport (DRV)

This domestic airport located on Baa Atoll, Dharavandhoo Island was opened in October 2012. Local airlines operate daily scheduled flights to this airport.

Speed launch service is available to continue the journey to the popular resorts of Baa atoll.

2. Thimarafushi Airport (TMF)

Thimarafushi Airport is located on Thimarafushi island of Thaa Atoll. This domestic airport became operational in 2013.

Currently scheduled flights fly into this airport from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. Speed launch transfer to nearby resorts in Thaa Atoll is arranged through this airport.

3. Kadhdhoo Airport (KDO)

This domestic airport located on Kadhdhoo island of Laamu Atoll is the result of one of the earliest airport building projects of the country. The airport is connected to inhabited islands of the atoll by a causeway.

Scheduled flights from other domestic and international airports of the country fly to this airport. Kadhdhoo airport provides access to the resorts in the atoll through speed launch transfers.

4. Kooddoo Airport (GKK)

Kooddoo Airport, located on Kooddoo Island of Gaafu Alifu Atoll was opened in 2012. This island is home to one of the leading fish processing factories of the Maldives.

Kooddoo Airport provides speed launch transfer to resorts of the atoll and daily schedules flights fly to this airport from other regions of the country.

5. Kaadedhdhoo Airport (KDM)

Kaadedhdhoo Airport is located on Gaafu Dhaalu atoll, Kaadedhdhoo island. This airport was opened on 1993.

Daily scheduled flights fly to this airport and speed launch transfer is available to nearby destinations.

6. Fuvahmulah Airport (FVM)

Fuvahmulah Airport is located in the one and only island present in Gnaviyani Atoll. The airport became operational in 2011.

The airport is used for scheduled flying to the Capital Male’ City. It also provides access to guest houses located in Fuvahmulah.

Where is the Maldives located?

The Maldives is an archipelagic nation of 1190 islands scattered across the Central Indian Ocean, belonging to the continent of Asia. The closest neighbors to the Maldives are India and Sri Lanka.

What is the time difference?

The Maldives are five hours ahead (GMT +05:00) of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

How to reserve accommodations in the Maldives?

Resorts and Hotels operate websites through which you can directly confirm your accommodation. There are many licensed Travel Agencies and Tour Operators that provide booking services online and offline as well. International Tour Operators from various countries also facilitate travel services to the Maldives.

What is the most popular season to visit the Maldives?

The sun shining throughout the year, any time is a good time to visit the Maldives. Rainfalls occur frequently during June and July. From December till April, is considered as the dry season. During the dry season you can enjoy plenty of sunshine. The rainy season is perfect for surfers to ride the legendary swells.

How can I reach the Maldives?

You can reach the Maldives aboard numerous International Airlines that operate daily flights to the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE). Alternatively you can also reach the Maldives by embarking on a sea journey with the International Cruise operators to the Maldives.

How do I get around in the Maldives?

Once you reach the International Airport, you will be transferred to your chosen holiday island, through a local airline that operates flights to the regional airports or aboard a seaplane that operates flights to the resort islands or speed launch and ferry boat transfer to nearby destinations. Representatives of the resorts, hotels and travel agencies will help you with transferring from the airport.

What are the visa requirements to visit the Maldives?

The Maldives is one of the easiest countries to acquire a tourist visa, as any visitor with a valid passport will be granted a free 30 day visa upon arrival.

What are the health requirements in the Maldives?

A visitor coming from a region where cholera and yellow fever is endemic requires an inoculation certificate from cholera or yellow fever. Children less than 1 year are exempted from this health requirement. Visitors arriving within 6 days after leaving or transiting in countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, without obtaining a yellow fever vaccination certificate are subject to the vaccination upon arrival and will be quarantined for 10 days at their own expenses.

What are the prohibited and restricted goods?

It is prohibited to import religious materials offensive to Islam, idols (for worship), pornographic materials, narcotics and psychotropic substances and live pigs. Restricted items include arms and ammunitions, alcohol and Spirits, pork and its by-products, dogs and dangerous animals unless authorized by the government. The Maldives Customs Service will confiscate any prohibited or restricted items listed here.

Is it allowed to bring pets to the Maldives?

It is not allowed to bring dogs to the Maldives. However, you can bring cats to the Maldives provided that the cat has been vaccinated for rabies and various other diseases, one month prior to visiting the Maldives.

What is the currency of the Maldives?

The currency of the Maldives is Rufiyaa. All the major international currencies can be exchanged at favorable rates through banks and licensed money exchangers.

What are the credit cards used in the Maldives?

Major International Credit Cards like American Express, Visa Card, Master Card and JCB Card can be used in the Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants and major Shops of the Maldives.

What are the languages spoken in the Maldives?

The native language of the Maldives is called Dhivehi. English is widely spoken in the country. Major resorts and hotels provide the services of translators, fluent in popular international languages.