About Maldives Islands: Maldives Location, Culture and Beauty
Escape to a barefoot intelligent luxury where the most pristine beaches indulge your mind, soul and body. Taste the “No News” “No Shoes” all the way to Whatever/Whenever Maldives castaway experience. Let us be your way to immerse yourself to an exclusive oasis of serenity and beauty.
A holiday to Maldives takes you to a trip of a lifetime filled with surprises and excitement. Maldives is an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 natural coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, located in the southwest of India and west of Sri Lanka, ninety nine percent of its 90,000 square kilometre is covered by the sea. Experience the finest of Maldives “One Island One Resort” with its turquoise lagoon waters in different shades of blue, the purest white sand beaches, the unique underwater dining and the world class luxury resorts.
Relax in an underwater spa looking out the coral reef and colourful tropical fish, enjoy a unique dining experience at an all-glass underwater restaurant, dance and jive to international DJs of underwater nightclubs, take a glass-bottom boat ride through the crystal waters, or gear up and take a dip for a fabulous snorkeling as you explore the aquatic life of Maldives, dive among corals, fish, eagle rays and manta rays. Romance is always in the air at the tropical paradise, Maldives private islands and secluded sandbanks are yours to take. Fancy a romantic walk in the evening with your loved ones by the beach, or watch your favorite movie in an open air private space under the bright sky full of bright twinkling stars as you feel the warm breeze touches your skin and embrace the tranquil sound of the waves.
Whether it is a family getaway, honeymoon holiday, birthday or wedding celebration, a rest & relaxation holiday, or a festival celebration, Maldives has amazing things to offer.
Make your Maldives plans with our enthusiastic, friendly, well-travelled and dedicated personal concierges here at Zeldiva Luxury. Here, your needs are second to none.
Do I need a visa before I arrive in Maldives?
No pre-arrival visa is required to enter Maldives for all nationalities. A 30-day free visa will be issued on arrival in Maldives Airport provided the following conditions are fulfilled.
- You should posses a valid passport with Machine Readable Zone (MRZ).
- The validity of the passport must be at least 6 months.
- You should possess a valid return ticket to leave Maldives.
- You must have sufficient funds to cover your expenses during your stay in Maldives (Minimum US$100 + $50 per day) or a confirmation of reservation in a Tourist Resort or a Hotel.
- You may renew your tourist visa, if you like, by applying to the Immigration before the expiration of the visa already granted.
- For more information about visa procedure, visit Maldives Immigration website
History of About Maldives Islands: Maldives Location, Culture and Beauty
Maldives, formerly known as Maldives Islands consists of 28 natural coral atolls (a ring - shaped coral reef) and 1194 islands. The first settlers were known to be Buddhist sailors from India and Sri Lanka in the 5th century B.C. and Islamism was adopted in the year 1153.
After the 16th century, Maldivian politics was influenced by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the French and it became a British protectorate in the 19th century and on 26 July 1965 it gained total independence from the British. Any way, the British government retained the use of the Royal Air Force Station on Gan Island and Hitaddu facilities.
After this, the Sultanate continued for another three years under Muhammad Fareed Didi, who declared himself King rather than Sultan. In a national referendum in March 1968, Maldivians abolished the Sultanate and established a Republic, ending the 853-year-old monarchy, under the presidency of Ibrahim Nasir. The current President is Abdulla Yameen, who was elected in 2013.
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY
Maldives, a South Asian country located in the Indian ocean, South-West of India, consists of approximately 1,190 coral islands grouped in a chain of 26 atolls, spreading over 90,000 sq. kilometers. An atoll, also known as coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef with a coral rim that encloses a lagoon partially or fully. However, only 1% of this surface area consists of land.The area of the islands average between 1 to 2 sq. kilometers and lie between 1 and 1 ½ meters above mean sea level. Maldives has no hills but some islands have dunes which can reach 2.4 meters above sea level. On average, each atoll has approximately 5 to 10 inhabited islands. The tropical vegetation consists of small groves of banana, papaya, drumstick, citrus trees, breadfruit, coconut palms, and magu, The nation lies between latitudes 07° 06'30" N to 00° 41'48" S and longitudes 72° 32'30" E to 73° 45'54" E westside of India and Sri Lanka.
WEATHER & CLIMATE
In Maldives, the sunny side of life is blessed with beautiful sunshine for the major part of a year. The dry season or the Northeast Monsoon locally known as “Iruvai” is experienced from January to March/April. The gentle and continuous breeze usually soothes down the high humidity and lessens its severity.
The wet season or the Southwest Monsoon locally known as “Hulhangu” is experienced from Mid-May to November. During this period, torrential rains, strong winds and storms are prevalent. The natives of Maldives use a calendar called “Nakaiy” to identify weather developments.
Daily temperature ranges from 31° C during the day to 23° C at night. The Mean daily maximum temperature in the central Male is 30.5° C and the minimum temperature is 25.7° C
People, Clothing & Language of About Maldives Islands: Maldives Location, Culture and Beauty.
Currently the population of the Maldives is 341,256 in addition to 60000 registered foreigners who reside in the country.
The official language of Maldives is Maldivian or Dhivehi, an Indo-Aryan language which is a derivation of Elu Prakrit and is closely related to the Sinhalese language. Many languages have influenced the evolution of the Maldivian language through the ages, most importantly Arabic. Others are French, Persian, Portuguese, Hindustani, and English.
The first known script used to write Dhivehi is “Eveyla Akuru” script and is found in historical recording of kings. Later a script called “Dhives Akuru” was introduced and used for a long period. The present day written script is called “Thaana” which is written from right to left.
Maldivian education system follows the British Standard and English is the second language of the Maldivians. Most Maldivians are proficient and fluent at the English language.
The traditional costumes of Maldives are quite simple. Men wear sarongs (a large length of fabric wrapped around the waist) with a long sleeved shirt, usually white in colour. The traditional dress for women is called libaas, a dress typically worn during special occasions, festivals and during dance performances. They are adorned with gold or silver coloured threads. Cotton is the preferred fabric due to the island’s tropical weather.
According to the historical evidence, Buddhism was introduced to the island from the neighbouring country, Sri Lanka which has been followed by the Maldivians for a very long period. There is also evidence that Maldivians were also practicing versions of Paganism and Hinduism prior to Buddhism..
Maldives embraced Islam in 1153, which has become a vital part of their life since then. All the important events and festivals of Maldivians follow the Muslim calendar. Religious education is provided both at home and at school and Islam is part of the school curriculum and is taught along with other subjects.
Culture & Ethnicity of About Maldives Islands: Maldives Location, Culture and Beauty
The largest ethnic group of Maldives are Dhivehis who speak Dhivehi language. They are fundamentally an Indo-Aryan people, closely related to the Sinhalese and with the traces of Middle Eastern, South Asian, Austronesian and African genes.
The traditional Maldivian family consists of a patriarch who is the bread earner of the family. Fishing, seamanship, tapping toddy and boat-building, and carpentry, are some of the traditional professions of men. The women prefer to stay at home and take care of the children and household chores and other activities such as drying and smoking fish.
A form of folk music called as ‘BoduBeru’ is a part of Maldivian culture which has some links to African drumming rituals of tribals.
Even though folk music, dance, arts and crafts of Maldivian culture have an impact from their neighbours and the African and Arab world, it has its own uniqueness.
Maldives is considered as one of the world’s finest scuba diving destinations on par with Australia, Belize, Egypt, Indonesia and Thailand. Around 700,000 tourists visit the Maldives each year (2008) out of which 15% go to the Maldives specifically for scuba diving. Most of the holiday resorts offer scuba diving facility. Most of these resorts have PADI certified dive centres housing experienced PADI Instructors and PADI divemasters. There are a number of liveaboard operators offering scuba diving cruise holidays that take guests to many dive sites all over the Maldives. The presence of whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and moray eels, and various other forms of smaller fish and coral species attract the scuba divers to the island.
Some of the most popular dive sites are: Diguru Guri Broken Rock, Gangehi Kandu, Hukrueli Faru, Kudarah Thila, Maalhos Thila, Maaya Thila, Mushi Mas Mingili Thila, Kalhahandi Kandu, Cocoa Corner (Cocoa Thila), Guraidhoo Kandu South, Banana Reef, Kuda Haa, Bushy Eastside, British Loyalty, Kottey Outside, Turtle Point, Bodu Hoholha, Maa Kandu Outside, and Mahaala.
Snorkeling involves observing the underwater depths with the aid of a diving mask, a snorkel and, usually, swim fins. Snorkelling in the Maldives does not require you to possess any specific qualification. Snorkelling is perfect for exploring the house reefs of resorts at a leisurely pace. Maldives offer a fantastic visibility and have some of the clearest waters on Earth with all year round water temperature at 20°- 30°C (68°- 86°F), and lagoons often reaching 32°C (90°F).
The wonder of the underwater will surprise you. Dolphins, beautiful anemonefish, hawksbill turtles, colorful giant clams, blacktip and whitetip reef sharks, whale sharks, eagle rays, massive schools of fusiliers, clown triggerfish, various interesting butterflyfish and bannerfish, many octopus, stunning coral plates, morays, napoleons, reef fish of all colours and sizes, alone or in groups, micro creatures, squids and a lot more to see while snorkeling.
The dive centres also provide boat trips to different spots if you want to see and explore different sites. Liveaboards, apart from offering dive and surf packages, also offer snorkelling trips, so check with your tour operator/ travel agent for rates, timings and other details.
Surfing in the Maldives is influenced by two monsoons--North-East and South-West monsoons. North-East monsoon occurs from March till April, an optimal time in the Southern atolls for surfing. The South-West monsoon occurs from May to October, the ideal time for surfing in the Northern atolls or the Central atolls. The Southern hemisphere during the winter season from March to October, is the best place to take surfing trips. The storms bring the largest swells to the archipelago during this time. The biggest waves occur in June, July and August.
Maldives has some good surfing spots such as Pasta Point, Honkys, Sultans, Jailbreaks, etc. found in the North-Malé atoll and Shangri-la, Zubair’s, and Kottey found in the Addu atoll (Southernmost) as well as spots like Tiger Stripes, and Love Charms, found in Huvadhoo atoll. Thaa and Laamu atolls are also home to good surf spots.
If you wish to explore a wide range of surf breaks, the best thing to do is to book a surf package from a liveaboard (safari) as they will normally cruise to different spots per trip. But, if you wish to confine yourself to a resort and want to catch a good wave, resorts such as Chaaya Island Dhonveli Resort (home to Pasta Point) and Hudhuranfushi Island Resort (home to Lohi’s) among others are perfect destinations.
Maldivian resorts as well as private charter operations usually offer big-game fishing trips. Fishing enthusiasts can involve in the adventure of hooking a large yellowfin tuna, wahoo, marlin or a majestic sai-fish. The local law does not require the release of the fish after catching and so you can enjoy a delicious BBQ of your catch at your resort.
The healthy reefs around Kuredu Resort & Spa are a haven for fishing enthusiasts and the chances for a good catch are always positive and limitless. Experience the thrills of deep sea big game fishing from on board the ‘Noosa Cat fishing boat’ (fiberglass catamarans). With a big game fishing excursion from the resorts in Maldives you can enjoy the sight of the Maldives’ picturesque landscape, and with some luck, return with some big fish too and enjoy your BBQ.
Apart from big game fishing, there are a number of other types of fishing that you can try. They are: night fishing, line fishing, full day fishing, casting fishing, shore fishing, jigging/popping, and bottom fishing
Maldives, the tropical paradise offers a lot of adventurous fun activities for tourists. Most interesting of them are watersports, loved by swimmers and non- swimmers alike. Many resorts have water sports centres with professional instructors and guides that also offer courses of different levels for water sports that require skill and ability such as wind- surfing and wakeboarding. The following are all fun- filled water based activities to indulge in at your selected resorts:
- Catamaran sailing
- Kite surfing
- Riding in glass-bottom boats or Dinghies
- Scuba diving
- Big Game fishing
- Banana boat rides
- Under-water walking etc.
An ‘island-hopping’ excursion would take you to another resort, an uninhabited island and an inhabited island on board the traditional Maldivian dhoni (a multi-purpose sail boat with a motor or lateen sails) all in a day-tour so that can you explore the true Maldives island by meeting the locals and visiting historical places of interest. Snorkeling in the clear waters of a desert island, fishing and a barbecue on the beach are also a part of this excursion. Some resorts conduct the excursion by sea plane. You may request for a change in the itinerary from the resort to customize your excursion to fit your preferences. Some excursions include only visiting to Male for spending the day.
The Maldives is a world’s hotspot for dolphin and whale watching and ranks among the top five places for dolphin and whale watching. Varieties of playful dolphins and mammoth whales frequent the Maldives especially during May. There is no better tropical setting than the Maldives to discover diverse species of dolphins and whales. Presently over 23 different genuses of dolphins and whales have been recorded in the Maldives.
Species of dolphins that you can explore in the rich waters of the Maldives include: spinner dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, striped dolphins, risso’s dolphins. Spinner Dolphins are the commonest species, and they occur here in their tens of thousands. They have a regular daily routine to their lives, feeding offshore at night, coming into the atolls in the early morning, and leaving again for the open ocean in the late afternoon. This dependable schedule means that it is very easy to find spinner dolphins at certain times every day. And as a result, many Maldivian resorts offer morning or afternoon dolphin excursions to see spinners.
Some of the whale species are: sperm whales, blue whales, bryde’s whales, cuvier's beaked whales, dense-beaked whales and the longman’s beaked whales--the rarest whale in the world.
Photo Flights are excursions that offer the tourists an opportunity to have a glimpse of the majestic view of island from high up in the air in a low flying aircraft, such as a seaplane. This will give the tourists another opportunity to enjoy the sights more leisurely at the comfort of the aircraft.
This is Ideal for photographers, photo enthusiasts, and adventure seekers to arouse their adventurous spirit and have an unforgettable experience. This aerial sightseeing will open their eyes to a new dimension of beauty of the island.
This will give them an opportunity to fly over the pristine lagoons, white sand beaches, uninhabited islands and the little fishing villages and capture the glimpses of the beautiful resorts, coral islands and the fascinating schools of fish playing in the waters of the sea. Known as the ‘tropical paradise’, the aerial view of Maldives will be an enthralling experience and a 15 minute session of photo flights is worth a lot.
The Maldives, known as the sunny side of life, is blessed with sunshine throughout the year. Sunset is the most magnificent time of the day in Maldives. Resort islands in the Maldives usually organize sunset cruises for visitors interested in enjoying the beauty of sunset. This is usually a one hour long cruise on board a local dhoni, the Maldivian traditional boat made of wood by master craftsmen. You can watch the sunset on the horizon more closer than from the island. This beautiful array of different colours painted over the sky will be an stunning experience. The sudden sight of dolphins will be an unexpected nature’s reward and a delight to experience.
Dhoni or Doni is a multi-purpose sailboat used in Maldives. It is handcrafted, has a motor or lateen sails and resembles a dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel.
The traditional dhoni is one of the ancient sea vessels in the Maldives. Many of them were built using coconut palm timber and were used by Maldivian fishermen in the olden days and later many fishermen changed to mechanized dhoni after the industrial revolution. The usage of Dhoni is very significant for the multi-island nation, Maldives.
Due to the unique formation of this island nation there are only two means of transportation available, boat or seaplane.
Some islands can only be reached by boat, and some require a seaplane ride. But for others you’ll have the choice between the two. Speed boat is the most cost-effective option and is usually included in your holiday package costs to Maldives. A speedboat from your resort will be waiting for you across the road from the terminal when you arrive at the Malé airport and you will be taken safely to your resort. These speedboats are operated by individual resorts and they come in different forms and sizes, but all are comfortable in their own way. Depending on your final destination, you will be passing through other islands, resorts and possibly, may encounter some dolphins as well, if you are lucky.
The seaplane is much quicker compared to boat journeys. A 3-hour boat journey can be reduced to an half-an hour journey by a seaplane. The advantages of taking a seaplane are that it will give you an aerial view and save your time.
These flights provide a range for service flights such as airport-to-resort shuttles, island-hopping and short sight-seeing trips which provide breathtaking views of the coral reefs, islands and the crystalline lagoons.
The flight companies also offer their seaplanes for aerial photography that allows one the chance to capture the natural beauty of the Maldives as seen from above. The Trans Maldivian Airways is the famous seaplane company in the Maldives which flies the tourists from a seaplane port next to the Male International Airport to the resorts throughout the country. They operate the 18-seater DeHavilland Twin Otter seaplane, a Canadian make. All seaplane transfers are made during daylight hours. The cost is between US $250 and US $450 return, depending on the distance and the deal between the resorts, and it’s generally included in the holiday package price.
Maldivian Airways is the airline division of Island Aviation Services based in Malé (The main base is Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) in the Maldives which is the national airline of the Maldives. It operates both international flights and inter-island services.
Flyme is another domestic Airline based in Maldives operated by Villa Air which is part of the Villa Group of Companies. Flyme provides scheduled flights to domestic airports, serving both the local as well as the international markets.
We, Zeldiva Travels have a Meet & Greet Team, which is responsible for receiving our travellers at the airport and assisting them with all the formalities at the airport.
Upon arrival at Malé International Airport, visitors will be met by our Care Team who will take them to the domestic terminal for the enjoyment of the services provided by the Airport Lounge whilst all formalities are completed and be with them until they embark upon domestic flight from Malé International Airport to the Domestic Airport where once again they will be received by our Care Team, who will take them to the awaiting speed boat for a sea transfer to the Resort island.