The Sunny side of Life
Welcome to the Maldives, where sands are white as the smiles of the locals, where fish swim happily in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, where the weather is a dream, and the deep rays of the sun wait to engulf you their arms.
In ancient times, the shores of the Maldives welcomed lost travellers. Still welcoming, these shores remain, providing a tranquil haven for visitors.
The beautiful Maldives Islands are scattered across the Indian Ocean and are connected by a modern high powered communication network. Local Company Dhiraagu and International Company Ooredoo provides telecommunication and internet services across the Maldives. Correspondingly these companies supply efficient fixed line, GSM, mobile and internet services.
The dialling code of the Maldives is +960. International roaming services are also available in the Maldives. You can easily purchase a mobile SIM card from any of the service providers using your passport as documentary evidence. The communication networks in the Maldives provide ISD and STD services as well.
Almost all the resorts, hotels and restaurants provide free WiFi services to their guests. Internet service providers in the country offer data packages that can be utilised in 3G or 4G networks in most parts of the country.
Maldives Post Limited provides competent postal services. Topflight International companies like DHL and FedEx are also actively engaged in the Maldives.
Maldives is formed as one of the most complex and vibrant atoll structures found anywhere on the planet. The 26 natural atolls are categorised into 20 atolls for administrative purposes.
The 20 administrative atolls have distinct names and features that makes each one of them extraordinary. Now it is possible to explore all the atolls of the Maldives by staying in resorts, hotels, guest houses and traversing across the ocean in liveaboards.
The following are the names of the 20 administrative atolls starting from the northernmost atoll and ending with the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.
Thiladhunmathi Uthuruburi (Haa Alifu Atoll)
Thiladhunmathi Dhekunuburi (Haa Dhaalu Atoll)
Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi (Shaviyani Atoll)
Miladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi (Noonu Atoll)
Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi (Raa Atoll)
Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (Baa Atoll)
Faadhippolhu (Lhaviyani Atoll)
Male’ Atholhu (Kaafu Atoll)
Ari Atholhu Uthuruburi (Alifu Alifu Atoll)
Ari Atholhu Dhekunuburi (Alifu Dhaalu Atoll)
Felidhe Atholhu (Vaavu Atoll)
Mulaku Atholhu (Meemu Atoll)
Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi (Faafu Atoll)
Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi (Dhaalu Atoll)
Kolhumadulu (Thaa Atoll)
Hahdhunmathi (Laamu Atoll)
Huvadhu Atholhu Uthuruburi (Gaafu Alifu Atoll)
Huvadhu Atholhu Dhekunuburi (Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll)
Fuvahmulah (Gnaviyani Atoll)
Addu Atholhu (Seenu Atoll)
The customs and social behaviour of the Maldivians have been greatly influenced by the Indians, Sri Lankans, Arabs and North Africans who visited the Maldives while traversing through the trading routes of the central Indian Ocean. The Maldivian culture is rich and vibrant due to the infusion of various other cultural elements.
Though Maldives was culturally influenced by other traditions, Maldivians have built and preserved an exclusive cultural identity.
Accordingly the Maldivians converse using a language of their own; called Dhivehi. In 1153 AD Maldivians converted to Islam and the religion has transformed and introduced new fundamentals to the Maldivian culture.
Maldivians inherited a treasure trunk of ancient mythology and folklore that was passed orally through generations. These myths cover fascinating stories on various aspects of island life.
Since the islands are surrounded by sea, most folktales depict fearful sea demons and spirits that haunt the islanders.
Life in Islands
Traditionally the island communities were very close-knit. This togetherness is still prevailing in the small island societies. Historically roles within a community were defined and allocated. Accordingly men will be mainly engaged in fishery, carpentry and toddy tapping. Women were mainly engaged in household duties and raising families.
Certain rituals and practices were followed in the islands on special occasions like weddings. Some of these rituals survive to this day.
The advent of tourism in the 1970’s accelerated the modernisation process of the country. Consequently novel industries were initiated and people became engaged in them. Today an increasing number of women hold crucial positions within the public and private sector. As a result of economic growth, dramatic lifestyle changes were introduced.
Music and Dance
The Maldives boasts of a rich culture of music and dance. Some of the cultural music and dances can trace their roots to distant continents. Regularly resort islands organise cultural performances to entertain their guests. Similarly during festivals you can observe islanders performing traditional music and dance items.
One of the most famous Maldivian cultural displays which involve singing and dancing is called the “Bodu Beru”. The origins of this spectacle can be traced back to East and South West Africa. The Bodu Beru performers, numbering around 20 will be wearing traditional garb of sarongs and white sleeved shirts. Bodu Beru performance is guaranteed to make you sway along with the drumbeats.
Other traditional music and dance items include; Dhandi Jehun, Langiri, Thaara and Gaa Odi Lava. Most of these items involve rhythmic music and dances using various cultural props.
There are some cultural routines exclusively performed by Maldivian women. They include; Bandiyaa jehun, Maafathi Neshun and Bolimalaafath Neshun. Some of these acts were designed to perform in the royal courts.
Indian and Western music have also greatly influenced the musicians of the country. Frequently resorts host performances of local bands to enliven their guests.
Maldivians are known for being avid craftsmen. The intricate stone carvings found in the Friday Mosque in Male’ is a living example of Maldivian craftsmanship. Accordingly the Friday Mosque is a very popular tourist attraction.
The mastery and inventiveness of Maldivians can be seen in lacquer works, mat weaving, coir rope making and calligraphy. Traditional dresses and ornaments profess the artistry and creativeness of Maldivian artisans. Such exceptional works can be acquired by visitors as souvenirs.
A visit to the Maldives not only guarantees the best vacation of your lifetime, but it also gives you exposure to a great cultural experience.
The national currency of the Maldives is Rufiyaa. Previously MRF and Rf was used as the symbol for Rufiyaa. However, currently the ISO recognised code for Rufiyaa is MVR. One Rufiyaa is subdivided into hundred laaris (cents). Presently 1 US Dollar is equivalent to MVR 15.42.
Historically the Maldivians used cowry shells as their currency to trade with the outside world. Modern banknotes were first issued in the Maldives on 5th September 1948.
Rufiyaa Banknotes and Coins
There are six distinct denominations of Rufiyaa banknotes presently in circulation. Available denomination of Rufiyaa banknotes includes; MVR 5, MVR 10, MVR 20, MVR 50, MVR 100 and MVR 500. The design of the Rufiyaa banknotes depicts drawings of coconuts, Maldivian boats, and historical buildings.
There are seven denominations of Rufiyaa coins. Available denominations of Rufiyaa coins include; MVR 2, MVR 1, 50 Laari, 25 Laari, 10 Laari, 5 Laari and 1 Laari. The coins depict sketches of National Emblem, conch shell, turtle, Friday Mosque, sailing boat, tuna fish, and palm tree.
Buying Maldivian Rufiyaa
Most currencies can be exchanged to Maldivian Rufiyaa through banks and licensed Money Exchangers. Money exchanging services is provided round-the-clock at the arrival terminal in Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE).
Most commonly used International currencies in the Maldives includes; US Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euros. Most of the resort islands, liveaboards, hotels, restaurants, travel agents and souvenir shops accept foreign currency and credit card payments.
Banks and Credit Cards
The Maldives Monetary Authority acts as the Central Bank of the country. The Bank of Maldives, having branches across the country is the National Bank of the Maldives. Other reputed local and International Banks also operate in the country.
The normal banking hours are generally from Sunday to Thursday 08:00hrs-15:00hrs. Most Banks are closed on weekends, public and bank holidays. Local and International Banks provide ATM services to customers. Local Banks may charge a nominal fee for ATM transactions involving International Credit Cards.
Major International Credit Cards like American Express, Visa Card, Master Card and JCB Card can be used in the Maldives for financial transactions.
Visit this link to get daily updated exchange rates of major foreign currencies: http://www.bankofmaldives.com.mv/exchange-rates
Electricity is accessible generally without any intermission in every inhabited and resort islands. The voltage of the electricity provided in the Maldives is 220-240 volts. Additionally the utility frequency of the power supplied is 50 Hz.
Commonly the British standard three-pin rectangular plugs are used in AC power plugs and sockets. Nonetheless, other types of power adaptors and converters are also promptly obtainable should your electronic devices require them.
Over the recent years the Maldives have taken immense strides in the direction of harvesting renewable energy. Currently there are resorts that generate environmentally-safe electricity using wind, solar and wave energy resources.
Republic of the Maldives is a sovereign archipelagic nation positioned in the Indian Ocean. Notably the South Asian Island nation has no counterpart in the entire world in terms of its unique geography and topography.
The Maldives encompass more than 99 % of the sea and less than 1 % of the land. The 99 % of the sea is home to one of the most diverse marine treasures of the world. Less than 1 % of the land is a masterpiece in natural landscaping.
The Maldives comprises of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains. Incidentally the Maldivian language has the distinct pleasure of contributing to the English word “atoll”, which was derived from the Maldivian word “atholhu”.
There are channels of various sizes between the atolls used for navigation. For efficient administrative functioning, the 26 natural atolls are categorised into 20 administrative divisions. Particularly the island nation is located in a strategic area with access to major international sea routes in the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives, located on top of a vast underwater mountain range have around 1190 islands and sandbanks. The pearl string like islands covers a land area of no less than 298 km2. All the islands are encircled by a lagoon blessed with crystal clear water. These islands are protected by a reef structure, housing one of the most exclusive and spectacular underwater life.
Map Coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E
Continent: Asia (South Aisa)
Total Area: 90000 km2
Land Area: 298 km2
Coastline: 644 km
Total Islands: 1190
Inhabited Islands: 187
Resort Islands: 106
Exclusive Economic Zone: 200 nm
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 snorkelling do remember to take necessary precautions. Snorkelling is one of easiest ways to explore the underwater life present in the house reef of your resort. Before starting your snorkelling adventure, you must test the simple snorkelling 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 snorkelling. 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.
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.
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.
Transportation within the Maldives is straightforward, even though the islands are dispersed across the third largest ocean on earth. Once you reach the Maldives, there are seaplanes waiting to fly you around the country. These seaplane flights are a magical affair as you will be treated to an aerial view of one of the most phenomenal tropical landscapes on earth.
Over the recent years the Maldives have embarked on mega projects to build airports across different regions of the country. In addition to the seaplanes you can now directly board an aircraft from the local airlines that will disembark you to the airport nearest to your chosen destination.
Transportation from the airport to your holiday getaway is additionally available through Speed Launches. These Speed Launches will deliver you a journey to remember and you can discover many islands en route.
Normally when you book for your holiday through a travel agent or directly from a resort, they will be present at the airport to receive you. In light of this, you can remain calm without any anxiety about reaching your chosen holiday spot, as everything will be arranged for you.
Transport Options in the Capital City
You can reach Male’, directly from the International Airport island Hulhule’, by embarking on the ferry boats operated round-the-clock between the islands. While in Male’, you can use, the local cabs for transport and sightseeing.
Most visitors prefer to take a leisurely walk across the island for sightseeing. If you find yourself driving a vehicle, remember that Maldivians drive on the left side of the road and the speed limit is 25 km/h.
Generally resorts offer buggy services to guests preferring a ride. There are no metered taxis available in Male’, but there is no reason to be concerned of, as the taxi fare is capped at a fixed price per ride. Currently there is also a public bus service operated in the Capital City.
Travelling between the Islands and Atolls
Commonly Boats and Speed Launches are used to travel between the islands and atolls. Maldivians are avid builders of seagoing vessels.
Get pleasure from the sea breezes and exquisite sights while travelling by sea. Local boats called “Dhoni”, which are powered by diesel engines, are commonly used for sea journeys.
Maldives, the sunny side of life is blessed with magical and breathtaking displays of sunshine for the better part of a year. Similar to tropical countries, the Maldives enjoys a dry and wet season. Conveniently, the hot and humid weather is complemented with cooling sea breezes and periodic rain.
The dry season or the Northeast Monsoon locally known as “Iruvai” continues from January to March. While the wet season or the Southwest Monsoon locally known as “Hulhangu” progress from Mid-May to November. Traditionally the natives used a calendar called “nakaiy” to identify weather developments.
Amidst the two seasons, there is little or no change in the temperature. This makes every season the best season to visit the Maldives. Likewise packing for a holiday in the Maldives is undemanding due to the uniform weather forecasts.
On average the daily temperature may fluctuate from 31 °C during the day to 23 °C in the night. The highest temperature ever recorded in the Maldives was 36.8 °C. Whereas the lowest temperature ever recorded in the Maldives was 17.2 °C.
The dry season is the season for admirers and enthusiasts of the sun. Throughout the dry season you are assured of beautiful and bright sunshine. Accordingly the seas are serene with clear blue skies. There is only sporadic rain during this season. Hence, this is the ultimate season for sunbathing, sunset watching and scuba diving.
The wet season showers torrential rain to the Maldives. Occasional thunderstorms and strong winds are the norm of this season. Consequently large waves and swells are generated in the ocean. As a result, the wet season is the most favourable occasion for surfers to showcase their flair in the great surf spots of the country. Nevertheless, the sun announces its presence on interludes, even during the wet season by bursting forth from the cloudy skies, dispensing rays of bright sunshine.
Get the Maldives latest weather forecasts from: http://www.meteorology.gov.mv/