Beautiful coral reefs, fabulous sandy beaches, pleasant climate and diverse flora and fauna, make Maldives the top global tourist location and a real heaven on Earth. Young couples particularly adore choosing Maldives for their honeymoon, but other people also love coming here. Maldives can also be good visiting alone or with family. Maldives is small, but has a lot to offer its guests!
Where is the Maldives?
Maldives is a small independent Republic located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, south of India and Sri Lanka. This little country is, in fact, an archipelago of over a thousand coral islands with only 192 of them being inhabited. These numerous islands are grouped in 26 coral atolls which are all barely above the sea level. It makes Maldives the lowest sea-level country in the world. Malé is the capital city located on the biggest island in the archipelago, and it is also among the most densely populated cities in the world.
History of the Maldives
Maldives has a long history, and it seems that the first people settled in here some 2500 years ago. They had intense connections with India and Sri Lanka throughout the history, and that is why Buddhism used to be the dominant religion in Maldives. Historians believe that the great emperor Ashoka was the one who spread this religion in the Maldives.
In the 12th century, one Berber missionary while visiting Maldives began to spread Islam and ever since, Islam has become the official religion throughout the archipelago. Ibn Battuta, one of the most famous travelers and explorers, was also present in the Maldives for some time, and he left a lot of interesting and relevant information about the islands.
Maldives used to be a part of Portuguese and British Empires. They finally gained their independence in 1968. All of these cultures have left their impact on the archipelago, and some of them can still be seen today.
Reaching Maldives will not be a problem since there are direct flights to this incredible country. The main airport is Male International Airport. The airport code is MLE. Once you arrive, you can always choose among many seaplanes that will transport you around the whole archipelago. These planes are not only a means of transportation but also a real tourist attraction. They will provide you with incredibly astonishing views of coral reefs and other beauties.
Transportation on the Maldives
There are also frequent ferry lines between the islands. You can also get around using common boats or Speed Launches. Maldives also has local taxis between the atolls which are quite comfortable and fast. Your hotel will provide you with necessary transportation arrangements.
The currency in Maldives is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. Although exchange rates may vary, 1 US Dollar should get you about 15 Maldivian Rufiyaa. Since Maldives is a tourist island, most establishments will accept US dollars and other major currencies like the Pound Sterling or Yen. If you would rather spend the Rufiyaa, you can change your money at the airport.
Since most resorts accept dollars, using their currency may only come in handy for purchases with the locals. Your best bet would still be to use your US dollars so you do not have to worry about changing it back when leaving. They also allow a cashless visit so you can use travelers checks or your credit or debit card to make purchases.
Maldives has pretty decent tropical weather all year with September being its rainy season. If you like it hot you may wish to visit Maldives around March. If swimming in the Maldives is your thing, then April would be your best shot. The average temperature most months in the Maldives is 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Its average lows are about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maldives Resorts Will Exceed All Expectations
Once you make a decision to visit Maldives, deciding on accommodation will surely be one of your hardest choices. This is because there are a lot of wonderful Maldives hotels and resorts to choose from. Maldives invests a lot of their resources in tourism, housing and the quality of the services they provide. This in turn makes this beautiful place not only a must visit, but it also places Maldives among the highest ranked destinations everyone would love to visit at least once in their life.
The beautiful nature and the unreal blue color of the sea are two components that remain etched in tourists’ memories forever. However, the fairytale-like types of accommodation that perfectly fit the environment make Maldives a real present, a gem on Earth no one would ever like to leave.
Maldives Five Star Hotel Stay
The well-known accommodation involves staying in hotels, depending on your budget. Most of the hotels in Maldives are five-star, offering all-inclusive service. All of these hotels undoubtedly have amenities such as indoor and outdoor pools, a spa, a gym, massages, night bars and clubs, children’s parks, and much more. But in addition, hotels that are ranked as four- or three-star accommodations will also make sure you lack nothing during your stay.
Indeed, the presence of the huge number of hotels in Maldives creates a competition between all the types of accommodation. All of the hotels compete to provide their clients with the best possible service since the word of mouth and recommendation is vital for the future business and future visitors. Therefore, you will not make a mistake no matter what hotel you choose.
Famous Bungalow Villas at the Maldives
The most popular accommodation in Maldives are the famous villas. These over-water bungalows overlooking the sapphire sea are also the most photographed accommodations is the Maldives. They are great for couples who want a romantic honeymoon. Inside these bungalows, you not only get an exquisite view, you also get served wine and delicious, traditional foods.
The Maldives bungalows can usually be found in the popular resorts. There are various kinds of bungalows such as beach bungalows – located on the beach with all the possible, luxury facilities or water villas – the small, but cozy and luxury houses above the sea.
There are also Jacuzzi beach villas which offer an incredible design and comfortable, private apartment, where you get Jacuzzi service. The cool thing about the villas and bungalows is that not only do you get luxury and comfort; you also get privacy.
If you are visiting Maldives on a budget, you may want to shop great deals or skip the bungalows. They are beautiful but can be expensive. A night in one of these villas or bungalows placed in resorts can cost around $300.
However, since there are other options, you will still enjoy a luxurious experience in the Maldives. This beautiful place can host tourists who are traveling on a budget.
Cheap Accommodation in Maldives
In 2009, the local population was allowed to build their own guesthouses. Today you can find several locally owned establishments suitable for your stay, and the price is very affordable. You can find local establishments where you will pay less than $40 per night. Some of these places are excellent price for quality wise, when compared to hotels and villas.
Although they do not offer an all inclusive service, your room will be clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. An interesting thing about most of the bathrooms in Maldives is the fact that they are completely separated from your room. So, in this case, you will also get outdoors, but walled bathroom you will surely find interesting and easy to use.
All-inclusive stay at Maldives
If you are looking for an all-inclusive service, you may wish to skip the locally owned guest houses and stay at a resort or hotel. Choosing an all-inclusive option for your stay may end up saving you money in the long run. Most hotels and resorts will offer free food and drinks as your all-inclusive stay package.
Beautiful Maldives Beaches – Snorkelling and Diving are the Most Popular Activities
Having in mind that the Maldives are surrounded by beautiful sea, the main excursions feature diving and snorkeling. If you are inexperienced in these activities, you can hire a trainer to guide you and show you some of the best underwater locations rich in endemic and rare species of fish and aquatic plants.
A good, but somewhat riskier way is to ask some of the locals to show you their favorite reefs and diving spots. You will be amazed how beautiful and miraculous the spots chosen by the locals are. They are usually more beautiful than those places chosen by the regular diving excursions.
If you have the courage to see and swim with the whale sharks, then Maldives are the perfect place for doing so. You can also ask some of the locals to bring you on such an excursion. You will have to pay around $35 for this unforgettable experience.
Other Things to do in the Maldives
Apart from beaches, atolls and other natural beauties, there are also many other destination attractions you simply must see. The capital city Malé is probably the most enthralling town in the world since it occupies the whole island. What is amazing about Male is that it looks like it will literally fall into the ocean. If you reach it by plane, the first image that will come to you is Atlantis because Malé has a resemblance to this legendary city.
Visiting Republic City
Once you come to the city you should go to the Republic Square where you can enjoy some rest in a fantastic park. From there you can easily reach one of the main tourist attractions in the city – the Islamic Center. In the Islamic Center, you can witness its amazing architecture and incredible wooden carvings.
Also, right next to the Centre, you can see the 17th century Friday Mosque, which was entirely made of coral stones. That is not all! Next to the mosque you can see the shrine of the man who introduced Islam to Maldives. You can discover more about the countries past in the National Museum. You should also visit the local bazaars. There are many markets in the city, but the produce and fish markets are probably the most exciting.
Maldives Cuisine and the love for Fresh Fish
Depending on the type of accommodation you choose, you can also choose the kind of the cuisine. For instance, if you stay in a hotel, you can choose from a wide variety of dishes and meals, either traditional or international. The same goes for the restaurants in the country. They all offer meals for everyone – meat lovers, vegetarians, and tourists willing to try any kind of traditional meals prepared according to an old and transmitted-from-generation-to-generation recipe.
If you really want to investigate what it is like to live in Maldives and to taste a real, local and traditional cuisine of the Maldives, you should get to know the local population. The old and wise rule says: Eat where the locals eat, and you will get the most quality dishes on your holiday. That is why tourists who decide to stay in the guesthouses owned by locals will have the chance to meet the true Maldivian cuisine.
Locals eat authentic meals that usually involve a lot of grilled fish. Maldivians love to eat in groups, and if you stay in a privately owned accommodation you may be invited to eat with their families.
Don’t leave the country without trying tuna mixed with onion and lime juice. It is usually served with the tasty and must-try bread, called Roshi. Traditional lunch and dinner typically contain fresh fish, mouthwatering curry, buttered rice and of course Roshi.
An unusual custom in Maldivian families is that they eat their lunch or dinner with bare hands. However, if you find this custom too inappropriate, you will be served your meal with cutlery.