The Maldives is a chain of some 1,190 low-lying coral islands spread across 26 atolls in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Each island is the crest of an ancient volcanic mountain range, yet the highest point in the archipelago is just eight feet above sea level.
Conforming to most people's idea of paradise, the Maldives deliver. Comprising pristine tropical islands covered with swaying palm trees, white-sand beaches, brilliant, turquoise lagoons, colourful corals and masses of marine life, they are true island getaways, ideal for sun worshipers, water sports enthusiasts and honeymooners.
Most visitors fly into the capital Male, the modern face of the islands, and then hop to one of the resort islands aboard a boat taxi or dhoni. Pause long enough though and you'll see some impressive artefacts, including Sultanese thrones and palanquins. For a different perspective and to put all the islands into context, take a short flight over the archipelago and watch the patterns of sea, sand, reef and island unfurl below you.
Snorkelers and divers are well catered for. The coral is at its most colourful at Maa Kandu and Kuda Kandu, whilst Banana Reef is one of the best dive spots, with dramatic sea cliffs, caves and overhangs hiding reef fish, turtles, manta rays and moray eels. Whale sharks and nurse sharks can also be seen, whilst hammerheads gather at Hammerhead Point off Rasdhoo Madivaru.
Alternatively, explore the wreck of the Maldive Victory, a sunken cargo ship that provides a home for coral, sponges and large schools of fish. Stay above water and take a surf safari and go in search of the different waves and breaks that crash against the atolls.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0619.
Hot and tropical. The best time to visit is between December and April. The southwest sees monsoon weather from May to November and at this time the whole country is likely to be cloudy and extremely humid.
Major Islamic festivals are observed as public holidays, including Ramadan, the month of fasting. Independence Day is celebrated on 26 July, with processions and brightly decorated floats. Republic Day, on 11 November is another important public holiday, with brass bands and parades in Malé.
All food aside from seafood is imported and most resorts serve international cuisine.Seafood like tuna grouper and octopus are excellent. Curry and kavaabu (deep fried snacks made from rice, tuna, coconut, lentils and spices) are popular. The Maldive Lady is the local cocktail.
Dress is generally informal, but locals who are Muslim will be offended by nudity or scanty clothing in public places. Beachwear is not acceptable in the capital, Malé, or on any other inhabited island. Cover the legs and body when entering a mosque. The Government rigidly enforces these standards. The indigenous population not involved in the tourist trade lives in isolated island communities maintaining almost total privacy. Religious customs and practices should be respected, particularly during Ramadan, when many locals will be fasting. Tipping is officially discouraged.
Hulule International (MLE) on Hulule Island, 2 km from Malé.
Tourism is strictly regulated and visits to outer islands require a permit and being sponsored by a resident of the island being visited. Air Maldives connects many islands and resort transfers are usually by Maldivian Air Taxi on a seaplane. Local transport is by dhoni, a motorised vessel. Most islands are so small they can be walked in little time but the capital has taxis, motorcycles and bicycles.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Maldives. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0619.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Maldives. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Maldives, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0619.
The types of holiday listed below are just a flavour of the experiences available in Maldives. We can also suggest and plan alternative types of holiday to take into account your individual interests. To start planning what to do whilst away, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0619.
Tim Tan - Indian Ocean Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0619