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The Maldives Country

Author: Shayad Saeed

Date: 2020.02.02

The Maldives country is a very unique tourist destination that can cause confusion for first-time visitors. Some visitors make horrible mistakes because they are not aware of certain things. I have seen a family came with 2 hotels booked close by each other, hoping they will meet each other daily basis, but because they were 2 different islands, they couldn’t meet each other. Some tourists try to bring alcohol from duty-free with them to some islands and they were held by the police. These types of mistakes can cause unnecessary troubles. That’s why I will try to provide some vital information for your trip and will try to answer your all questions. If I fail to answer any of them, don’t hesitate to chat with me from the below link on the right corner.

 

It is so unique that there is no second place that can be compared. First of all its 100% Muslim country. The country is formed on tiny small islands, which are separated by the ocean and each island is about an average of 0.6km length. 99% of the country is ocean and 1% is the land. It is the lowest country in the world and the smallest in Asia. It also holds 5% of the total corals in the world and is a home for 1000s of rare species. The white beaches, sandbanks, crystal clear water, blue sky, and equator, the list can go on. So if you want visit first thing you need to do is ask some questions like the following

Highlights (Topics to cover about the Maldives)


1. Where to stay?

Choosing a place or a hotel to stay can be a very difficult decision for first-time visitors. As a guide, I always receive these questions. What are the best places to stay? Which is the cheapest place to stay? Where is the best budget hotel? The answer to all these questions is: It all depends on the purpose, length, budget of your travel, every place, hotels, and islands has its advantages and disadvantages. Before we jump to any conclusion, I want to tell you that, you will find almost everywhere in the Maldives it is the same type of white beaches, sandbanks, clear water, rich marine life, corals and clear sky. Having that still, some atolls and islands can be little better than one another in terms of sea creatures, coral reefs, and location. Examples (Baa Atoll is considered as the biosphere reserve (a cleaning station for the whales and mantas). Whale sharks are most commonly found in Ari Atoll, the deepest and best diving spots are in Faafu Atoll, The best place for fishing, Huvadhoo Atoll and for surfers, it is Kaafu Atoll. Bio luminous planktons (glowing beaches) are common in Raa Atoll.) Note* The Maldives is divided into 26 geographical locations also called Atolls.

 

Now you might think ok that’s not a problem I will visit all these Atolls! Well, it is not possible to move between the atolls unless you have along vacation and lots of money? First of all, there is no transportation network that covers the entire Maldives. I will focus on this on the topics on“ how to travel around by public transportations?”

 

In the Maldives the word “Hotels” is mostly referred to as city or island accommodations, in other words, island guest houses and resorts are called to the private islands also managed by hoteliers. These are the main two types of accommodations. The difference is between them is huge and vital to know before you make a decision.


Maldives Resorts

These are private islands that have been leased by the government of the Maldives to private companies for the purpose of tourism-based activities. Therefore the entire island is leased for one company most. Unlike local island guesthouses, you can find bars, clubs, DJ parties, massage parlors, diving schools with many activities, and bikini is allowed on these islands. There are mainly 3 categories of rooms on these islands and are (Garden rooms, beach rooms, overwater rooms). The number of rooms on each island varies, an average 80-120 rooms. These islands are full of privacy and less crowded. That’s why it’s the best place for relaxing, especially for those who live in busy cites, this is a place you need. That is also why many famous celebrities, athletes, and royals visit these islands. Like I mentioned each island is separated by the ocean, so even the government authorities need a special warrant to enter these private islands.  There are over 132 resorts in the country and the prices to stay in a resort will cost you an average 600$ per night. Most of these islands are 5-star properties, but there are some 4 star and 3-star islands.

Maldives Resorts
maldives-city-hotels

Island Guest Houses or City Hotels

These guest houses or hotels are located on the local islands. Until 2010 there were no hotels in the local islands as it was prohibited by the law of the country. but as backpackers, students, and many people cannot afford these resorts the government decided to allowed them to visit and stay with locals with special conditions. That is to obey and respect the law and local culture of the country. Which means no, no alcohol, no public kissing, no pork, and no pets are allowed on these islands. The first island to open with this project is called Maafushi island and today we have more than 70 (3-star hotels) in Maafushi. Having those restrictions, all these local island hotels are categorized as 3 star properties Travelers who travel for (Budget, Family, honeymoon, and Local stays) can choose these local islands. The most famous local islands to visit can be (Maafushi, Gulhi, Dhiffushi, Guraidhoo, Thulusdhoo, Huraa). These islands are also in Male Atoll, which saves some traveling expenses and time. The average hotel rates are between 60-100$ per night. These hotels are the best for long staying guests and culture explorers. Book a city hotel.

Maldives Island Hotels
maldives-public-transfers
Maldives seaplane

2.How to travel around by public transportations?

There is no transportation network that connects the entire Maldives. Part of the country is connected by planes and another part is connected by sea transportation. To visit an island, you need either a ferry boat or a plane transfer. The most used transportation is the ferry boat transfers as these are the cheapest (1-5$ PP), which are fine for a short distance and good weather. To travel from one atoll to another atoll the boats will take up to 3-24 hours even the speed boat takes 1-6 hours and during the bad weather, many boats will not travel. That’s why there are no reliable boats to travel across the country. However, there is an internal ferry network for each atoll, which in some regions operates daily one ferry, and some regions weekly one or two (these internal ferry boats also take around 2-5hrs to the most distant islands in the atoll). Click here for the ferry boat schedules. Also, there are some private speed boat transfers, which are fast and convenient, costs around (20-50$ PP) takes around 30-50mn to the most distant island in the atoll.

There are only very few islands that can be visited by domestic planes. The domestic flights are operated to transfer between Atolls, most of the domestic airports are located in uninhabited islands, then again from the domestic airport you will need another boat transfer to the islands located in the Atolls.

Taxi

Taxi can be used from the Velana International Airport to visit Male city and Hulhumale city. Taxi transfers are only available to these two lands and take a 15-minute ride. The cost of the taxi is around 7$. The taxi queue will be in front of the speedboat jetty.

Speedboat

Maldives international Airport holds the biggest seaplane port in the world. Seaplane is one of the most convenient ways for far distant resorts as it can take off from international Airport and land directly to most resorts and islands. Private charters are also available. The cost for tickets depends on the travel destinations (to the nearest Atoll is around 500-600$ PP) and private charter seaplane can be around 10000$ for the close by atolls.


3. What are the best places to visit?

Because of the dispersity, it is not possible to visit many islands and even if you are rich and have enough time, I say it is not worth to visit as many islands as possible since they all share the same beauties. But there must be some places to visit right? If you can afford I would suggest you consider this: Remember the Maldives is full of surprises anywhere you go on an adventure trip, there are almost 80-90% chance you will find something amazing.

    List of places to visit in Maldives
  • 1. A Desert Island
  • 2. A Sandbank
  • 3. An underwater reef (Diving)
  • 4. A local island
  • 5. Biosphere reserve (Baa Atoll)
  • 6. Bio luminous beach (Raa Atoll)
  • 7. Capital City (Kaafu Atoll)
  • 8. The Marina Bay (Kaafu Atoll)
  • 9. Underwater Restaurant ( 6 locations)
  • 10. Kooddoo Sky Jump (GA.Atoll)

Maldives Excursions

4. Which activities are best recommended?

As mentioned above the countries 99% is the ocean and, therefore most of the tourist activities are water-based activities. So if you are a swimmer you can do (snorkeling, diving, kayak riding, surfing, jetski riding etc…) if you are non-swimmer you can still do some activities too like: (whale submarine tour, sunset cruise, dolphin cruise, city tour, island hopping, day visits to resorts etc…)

Maldives Activities

5. Maldives Religion

Now you might think about why this topic! It is important to know the religion and law of every country before visiting, without proper information, sometimes travelers have been in trouble in the past. It was a Buddhist country before the 12th Century. Yoosuf Thabrezi is believed to be the person responsible for the conversion to Islam in 12th Century, since then it is 100% Muslim Country. the country has some rules which are different from other tourist destinations in the world. Drinking or carrying Alcohols in the city or any local island is illegal, bikini, some foods (ham, pork), public kissing again in the city and local island is against the Law and culture of the Maldives.

Maldives Historical Tour

6. Dhivehi Language

The official language of the Maldives is called Dhivehi ((ދިވެހި, similar to Arabic, Dhivehi is also written and read from right to left. The Maldives has a 98% literacy rate, which is one of the highest in the world. Also, modern day community 80% of people can understand and speak in English, so for travelers find easy to communicate with local.

7. Maldives Currency

The currency of the Maldives is called As Rufiya and at the moment the currency value to USD is 15.45. Everywhere in the country US dollars are accepted. But the one-dollar bill is less value if exchanged to currency. Many places 1 dollar bill will be taken as 10mvr. There are 2 USD ATM in the mainland, one is located in the Male international Airport. The other one is in Male city.


8. Capital City

Capital city Male’ city is the capital and most populous city of Maldives country. With a population of 133,412 citizens and estimated 50,000 workers in an area of 1.92 square kilometers, makes Male city one of the most densely populated place in the world. The city is geographically located at the southern edge of North Male’ Atoll (Kaafu Atoll). The city holds Maldives's 1/3 of the population and its most important landmarks including a stingray feeding point and a surfing view. Male City tour is also a great way to learn and discover the history of Maldives.

Male Activities

9. Airport Guide

There are a total of 17 airports across the Maldives, and the Main international Airport is called Velana International Airport, which is also located next to the Maldives capital city. Now if you are first-time visitor things might not be the same as you expected, the airport is a separate island only used for the airport. So yes most of the Maldives transfers are arranged by sea. for more details of the airport services and check-in process please read the Maldives international airport guide. For the flight schedules visit FIS


Maldives Toursit Attraction

10.Tourist Attractions

There are some interesting tourist attractions across the country. Because of the dispersity, it is not easy to access all the attractions. Few attractions are located in Male city and others are indifferent islands. At the moment there are very few public transportations from Male to those islands. Please visit Maldives tourist attractions list to find the proper information.


the-maldives-island

11.Maldives Islands

The Maldives Country is located in the Indian Ocean, it consists of 1,200 coral islands grouped in chain formation of 26 atolls, along the north-south direction, spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, this is why it is called one of the world's most dispersed countries. Almost every island is separated by ocean water. Out of 1200 islands only 200 islands are inhabitant rest all are called inhabitant islands. The best islands to visit can be (Vaadhoo, Fuvahmulah, Hulhudhuffaaru, Thoddoo


12.Why visit Maldives?

If you are looking for the best vacation, then you are in the right place. There are many reasons why you should choose Maldives for your holiday. We Maldives Tour Guide a local company here provides all the services and can arrange everything you need. The first reason why you should choose Maldives is because of:

Its uniqueness

The Maldives holds 5% of the world's coral reef. There are an estimated 700 types of creatures in the country. The white sandy beaches, clear water, geographical identity, and marine life makes it completely unique experience for the visitors. There are many astronomical experiments that can be done during your vacation in the Maldives. few we will try to highlight (3 planets on the same sky can be seen through naked eyes, Green layer of the sun can be visible during the sunset, you can reach to 0 latitudes and 0 longitudes in the equator line (center of the world) in other words you can cross the equator line, you can easily see the glowing sea planktons, flying fish or swim with the whale sharks, manta rays etc...apart from that the ocean breeze and the healthy (Green) environment of the islands also can be considered to choose the Maldives.

Tourist-Friendly Country

Yes, it has gained the reputation of being one of the most tourist-friendly and safest countries in Asia for tourists. It is hard to find any tourist attack case in the history of Maldives. and being a local that's something I am proud of. Yes yes it is 100% Muslim country and there are some restrictions and laws, but most of them apply in Local islands and the city. Private islands and resorts have almost all the facilities and few restrictions. like drinking alcohol, foods like pork and bikini are not allowed in the local islands but allowed in resorts. out 1200 island local islands are only 200 islands and all others are private islands and resorts. The police, locals and the government shows a huge respect for the tourists and the whole country warm welcome and appreciate visitors. Everybody understands the country is depending on tourism. in some cases, if a tourist makes a mistake like smoking in no designated area, police always show them the right place, but if a local is seen smoking in the area gets fined immediately.

Enviorement

Even today, it is listed in one of the most isolated countries in the world. being separated by a huge ocean from the rest of the world, there was a very limited connection to the outside world, The Maldives was listed in the 1980s world bank report as the top 20 poorest countries n the world. After the tourism was introduced the country has started developing and before that, the country was mostly relying on free donations. The Maldives is also the lowest the country in the world and at great risk of being submerged into the ocean. the picture on the right side was taken from the capital Male city, during high tide when the ocean reaches like 6 inches to the ground level. There are different islands with different heights and thanks to the Japanese Government and its people who aided for making Male city a safe island by building higher concrete sheets surrounding the islands. So the Maldives government is trying to the same project for the endangered other local islands, and your visit is the key to achieving it.

Weather

The highest temperature recorded was 36°C   and the lowest was 17°C. We have 2 monsoons and both monsoons have sun. The first monsoon (North East) is from November to May and the (South West) is from June to October. North-East monsoon is considered as most sunny days and the best time for fishing, snorkeling, activities and for visiting. South West is considered as less sunny and more raining days. when the weather is bad, the sea also becomes rough and difficult for water-based activities, that's why we recommend all travelers to check the weather when you plan your holiday in Maldives.

13.Is it Safe to visit Maldives?

Yes, it is a very safe place. According to some reports, it is the safest place in Asia for tourists. Despite being a 100% Muslim country, the government is very flexible with tourists, every day you can find tourists who don't follow the rules and law, but no actions are taken. in fact, the tourists are more protected than the citizen. if a citizen is caught in a nonsmoking area, there will be immediate fine, while tourists are always advised to stop smoking in the area, public kissing and many other behaviors are against the culture and law, yet you will find some tourists these behaviors in public. Even its mention very clear bikini is not allowed in city or island beaches, but there are some tourists who doest follow these rules. That's all because the entire economy of the country depends on tourism and if the government is strict on these no wonder tourists will not feel happy.

However there is something to keep in mind, and that is the weather and ocean current. If you are a non swimmer, do not go to the sea for your self and even if you are a good swimmer its highly recommended to wear life jackets. The current inside the channel can take you out of the atoll within few minutes. SO you must daily check the tides and current flow of the sea, before you jump in. You dont have worry abouts sharks or other creatures in the sea, current is the most dangerous.


MALDIVES WEATHER

13.The community

A population of 515,696 inhabitants living in an area of 298 square kilometers, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia and geographically one of the world's most dispersed countries. The country is divided into 26 areas called (atolls). Out of the total 1200 islands, people live in 200 islands. The average population of the islands is 2000 people. Some islands are inhabited with 400 people, but each every island is separated by ocean sea, which is why traveling between the islands has been always a challenge for us (locals) and visitors.


Struggles of the country

The Maldives was listed on the top 20 poorest countries of the world in the 1980s World bank report. In the past, the country was mostly depending on free donations. After the tourism started in 1972 slowly the country started growing and today the country is standing on its feet, but still, the dispersity of the country makes it hard for governing the country.

Transportation

Transportation has been always a big challenge for Maldivians. To travel between each island a sea vessel is needed and during the bad weather the Maldives waves get as high as 10 feet, even today many small boats collapse aside and people lose their life in Maldives.

Drinking Water

There are many islands even today without fresh water for drinking and one of them is our homeland GA.Maamendhoo. Even today (27/02/2019) people collect rain water from the roofs. When the dry season comes and the collected water runs out, people will start using the well water, which is not very fresh.

Education

The Maldives holds one of the highest literacy rates in the world. 98% of the people of Maldives can read and write, but the problem is not all of the islands has higher education. Most of the islands including our homeland does not have good facilities and many schools are up to the secondary level, which mean for higher education people should leave the island and the poorest people cannot afford this movement. This is also the reason why more people are attracted to the main city.

Medical

Similar to education, medical is also a challenge for the Maldivians. The biggest problem is dispersity because of that the government has to provide all facilities like (a powerhouse, hospital/clinic, school, etc..) for all the islands even for those islands with population of 400 people, when its bad weather it's not safe, expensive and many shutdowns the boats for the bad weather. A bigger hospital is not possible to operate on an island where a population less than 2000 people, that's why many islands have small clinics. Until 1998 there was not even a clinic in many islands, that's why many of our generations from those islands were delivered at our own houses, with the help of the neighbors.

The lowest country in the world

None of the Maldives' coral islands is higher than six feet (1.8 meters) from the sea level, makes it the lowest country in the world. It is in the risk of submerged into the ocean, at a high tide in the capital city the sea level reaches 7 inches.

IPCC report - Rising sea level and its effects on low islands

Soil Erosion

Being in the center of the world separated by a huge ocean, Maldives also faces a strong ocean current. This is believed to be one of the reasons for soil erosion. This is becoming a huge threat to many islands and its peoples. To protect these little islands, stone barracks are needed.


Ocean Day

Even though the entire economy of Maldives depends on tourism, still negligence is part of the community. Many plastics are founded in the Maldives Ocean. In Maldives every year on June 8 the world ocean day is celebrated and some of the community service organizers arrange cleaning our house reefs and remove plastic from the ocean .


The life of a Maldivian - an experience beyond your imagination -

The Maldives islands are multi-faceted. The culture, traditions, and customs of the country are mostly influenced by Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Arab, Indian, Persian, Indonesian and even African influences. A fabulous cultural mix that makes all the richness of the Maldives.

Sadly today the culture and traditions of the country are almost faded away, The Maldives we were born on (the 1990s) was a different place than what it is today, many believe it was the golden age, as the time of transformation began from an underdeveloped country to a developing state was achieved in between. Luckily our generation has witnessed and experienced many traditions, culture and the struggling life of our ancestors. Thats why i want to share this story with you. Before (1999) children were delivered in their own houses, because of no hospital were not available on the islands, the process of the delivery is a very risky and serious matter that everybody on the island gets involved. Handling the matter cause deaths due to the non-availibility of medical staff, technology, and no conventional medicines. This is the story of our generation. A life without electricity, gas, telecommunication, motorized vehicles, vaccine, freshwater was a huge challenge for many of our generations to survive. Today many things have changed, but still many islands remain with some basic needs like (freshwater, Sewages, shelter, etc...)

With all of those miseries still, the people of Maldives were able to survive and live with peace and prosperity. We had kindness, support, unity, bravery, and courage in our people, probably the most united nation of the world during that time. Brave people volunteers by risking their lives. Our grandparents traveled to Sri Lanka by sailing boats, to get rice and other food supplies without any modern navigation, the trip has a very small chance to find back home. It was a do or die trip that takes 2 months minimum, navigated by looking at the stars on the sky some people never make it back home. The whole community was built on depending on each other's support. To travel between the islands, the bokkura (small sailboat) was used, these boat owners don't charge the people, yes it was always free back in the 1990s to travel between close-by islands. The people of the island will gather in an assembly point when a horn is whistled, it means it is either an emergency or it requires the support of everyone. Along with this, we have also witnessed many traditions and cultures, that is unfortunately not practiced or seen in today's community anymore. Apart from that, we had a wonderful life, the environment was much more natural. The blue whales are spotted close by our house reef, yellowfin tuna comes to our shores, turtles lay eggs in our houses. Most of our childhood life was spent on the ocean, with wildlings and creatures, swimming with sharks without knowing its nature was probably a stupid thing, but it was a fun activity and we never felt threatened by the giants 8 feet long tawny nurse sharks ("nidhan miyaru" sleeping shark - local name) it was a funny thing to wake the shark while holding its tail so that it runs on the sudden awake for a 2-meter distance with us and stops.

-Thank You-


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