One of the most stunning places on earth
Whatever the reason for your holiday, the unforgettable sceneries and crystal clear water among the Maldives coral atolls are priceless.
Enjoy first class service and catering as you unwind and dine in royal lodgings, discover the underwater treasures or bathe in the sun under ever-blue skies.
Come join us for a tour of the 26 atolls and their 1192 islands which together are the "Republic of the Maldives".
Fitting the setting, accommodation on the Maldives ranks among the most luxurious on the planet. Most resort inhabit whole islands offering secluded private villas or tent-city's which all feature a garrison of personal caretakers.
Most of the top notch overnight offers also feature their own wine-cellar and private chef to cater to your worldly needs. On the hotels profile pages you can see which extras your chosen paradise holds for you.
Western amenities are widely spread and you won't have to miss any luxury you are used to from back home
The Maldives are an island country with only 1% of its area being above sea level. The islands formed on the back of north-south ridges below the water and consist exclusively of corals.
GMT + 5 hrs.
- Capital island
- Total islands
1,192 islands in 26 atolls
- Inhabited islands
- Resort islands
- Major industries
Tourism and Fishing
Rufiyaa (USD 1 = MRF 15.42)
- Government Working hours
8:00 am to 3:00 pm Sunday to Thursday
- Bank hours
9:00am to 03:00 pm Sunday to Thursdays
- Widely available beers
Heineken / Carlsberg, Singaporean Tiger, Lion from Sri Lanka, San Miguel from the Philippines
In a nutshell:
The Maldives have always been ruled by kings or queens, located along major trade routes and for a brief time being an exporter of cowrie shells, a currency in west africa and asia at the time.
Then came the age of colonisation in the 16th century and with it the Portugese, Dutch, French and finaly the British in the 19th century.
In 1965 the Maldives gained independence from Britain, yet the Commonwealth continued to operate an airbase on the island of Gan in the south for another 11 years. Rumours had it the USSR was interested at the airbase at the time yet received a refusal of the maldivian government.
Today the countries greatest challange is its global economical adaption with limited resources in agriculture, fishing and tourism, whilst dealing with a rising sea level.
And more elaborate:
The Maldives make their first entry into recorded history in the third century B.C. with ancient Buddhist ruins at about the time when "Asoka the Great" roamed the central asian countryside.
Recent archeological discoveries also connect the Maldives with ancient Buddhist places of scholarship such as Nalanda and Vikramashila. An archaeological site list released in 1990 states 59 islands with ancient Buddhist findings.
Following this Buddhist period (almost 1400 years) which is origin to the maldivian language, customs and architecture, Islam was introduced into the country in the 12th century and is today the countries state religion.
Arab trade was at an all time high and it's influence reached from europe to asia when in 1153 the king converted to Islam. The man named responsible for this conversion was the Sunni Muslim Abu al Barakat. His tomb is housed in the 1656 erected Hukuru Mosque, the Maldives oldest Muslim house of worship.
The king adopted the Muslim title of Sultan and the name of "Muhammad al Adil" before initiating six Islamic dynasties with 84 sultans and sultanas which lasted until 1932. At this point the sultanate became elective.
Buddhism has been suppressed during this time, with a document called "Dhanbidhū Lōmāfānu" contains information about beheadings of monks and the raze of numerous temples.
When the Portugese arrived in 1558 they brought along Christianity. After 15 years of unsuccessful missionary work the locals started a revolt under Muhammad Thakurufaanu Al-Azam and his two brothers which drove the Portugese out of the Maldives.
About 200 years later when the Dutch became a hegemonial power in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) they took control over the Maldives without involving themselves into local or religious affairs. However, when the British annexed Ceylon from the Dutch in 1796 the Maldives became a British protectorate with its status officialy recorded in 1887 when the sultan agreed to the british influence over external relations and defense.
The British as the Dutch left the Maldives alone in matters of internal affairs which continued to be regulated by Muslim traditional institutions.
Until 1953 the Maldives kept the status of British crown protectorate, which was succeeded by the First Republic under President Muhammad Amin Didi. Since then the Maldives had their fair share in political turmoil just as any other emerging democracy.
The current President is Abdulla Yameen who is in power since 2013.
The Maldives are situatede in the Indian Ocean, south-west of India. The landmass is comprised of 1192 islands in 26 atolls which form a double chain along a north-south axis.
Landmass totals at about 298 sqare kilometres with 644km coastline and the countries borders are encompassing a stunning 90.000km2 making the Maldives the most discordant country on earth.
Lowest elevation is at 0.00 metres and the countries highest point measures 2.4 metres. It's north to south length is 750km with the widest point (west to east) at 120km.
Most of the Maldives atolls are ring shaped and support numerous islands on their coral reef structure. Vegetation is mostly tropical except on inhabitet islands where banana, papaya, and various citrus fruits are grown. Breadfruit and coconut trees are cultivated in less favorable agricultural areas.
Temperatures in the Maldives range between 24 and 33 °C on avarage with comparably high humidity. Anual rainfall in the region amounts to an average of 2.5 litres/m2 in the nothern areas and 3.8 litres/m2 in the southern parts.
There are only 2 yearly seasons to speak of; dry-season in winter during which the northeast monsoon blows, and wet-season in the summer associated with the southwest monsoon.
The shift from wet to dry season usually occurs around October/November and lasts until March. Nevertheless, the weather in the Maldives does not necessarily match the monsoon pattern.
Cultural heritage dates back over 2000 years, with relics found and dated to the 3rd century B.C.. The country has been in relation with leading centers of Buddhist learnings in the ancient world and numerous scripts and artifacts have been unearthed which connect the Maldives to some of the oldest principles and teachings in Buddhism.
Despite the countries adaption of Islam in the 12th century, literally all of its customs and even it's language and script originate in the 1400 years of Buddhism before that.
Given the islamic teaching that "before Islam was 'Ignorance'" the islanders seem to have little or no struggle at all to accept their origins. Which is nice as the introduction of Islam into the Maldives has seen a few non-believers decapitated and otherwise harassed at the time.
Apart from all that religion, the maldivian people have a deep bond to the sea. These connections can be seen in social life which mostly happens along the shores, and their affection for water sports; especially surfing.
There is even an ayurvedic massage with sand, used by the locals as relief for muscle and joint aches.