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| image=[[Image:Doni aux Maldives cropped.jpg|noframe|250px]]
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| location=Maldives in its region (small islands magnified).svg
| location=[[Image:LocationMaldives.png|noframe|250px]]
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| flag=Flag of Maldives.svg
| flag=[[Image:mv-flag.png]]
 
 
| capital=[[Male]]
 
| capital=[[Male]]
| government=Republic
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| government=presidential republic
 
| currency=Rufiyaa (MVR)
 
| currency=Rufiyaa (MVR)
| area=''total:'' 300 km<sup>2</sup><br />''water:'' 0 km<sup>2</sup><br />''land:'' 300 km<sup>2</sup>
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| area=300km²
| population=359,008 (July 2006 est.)
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| population=394,999 (July 2011 estimate)
 
| language=Maldivian Dhivehi, English spoken by most government officials
 
| language=Maldivian Dhivehi, English spoken by most government officials
 
| religion=Sunni Muslim
 
| religion=Sunni Muslim
| electricity=220V/50Hz (European or British plugs)
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| electricity=220V, 50Hz (European or British plugs)
 
| callingcode=+960
 
| callingcode=+960
 
| tld=.mv
 
| tld=.mv
 
| timezone=UTC+5
 
| timezone=UTC+5
 
}}
 
}}
The '''Maldives''' (Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ ''Dhivehi Raajje'') [http://www.visitmaldives.com] are an archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the [[Islands of the Indian Ocean|Indian Ocean]]. They lie south-southwest of [[India]] and are considered part of [[South Asia|Southern]] [[Asia]].  
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The [http://www.visitmaldives.com/en '''Maldives'''] (Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ ''Dhivehi Raajje'') are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the [[Islands of the Indian Ocean|Indian Ocean]]. They lie south-southwest of [[India]] and are considered part of [[South Asia|Southern]] [[Asia]].
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Maldives was for the most part unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Just 185 of the islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic functions, of that tourism and agriculture are dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP. Over 90% of the state government income comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.  
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
  
 
===History===
 
===History===
Formerly a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection, the Maldives are now a republic. Long ruled over with an iron fist by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who did not hesitate to jail dissidents and was re-elected five times in more or less rigged elections, resistance to his rule culminated in violent rioting in 2003 and 2004. Much to everybody's surprise, free and fair elections were finally held in 2008, and Gayoom gracefully conceded defeat to opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, "Anni".
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Formerly a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection, the Maldives are now a republic. Long ruled over with an iron fist by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who did not hesitate to jail dissidents and was re-elected five times in more or less rigged elections, resistance to his rule culminated in violent rioting in 2003 and 2004. Under international pressure, free and fair elections were finally held in 2008, and Gayoom gracefully conceded defeat to opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, "Anni".
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Following protests that started on 1 May 2011, Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign from office on 7 February 2012. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, supported by the former dictator, was appointed president of the Maldives. There have been reports of violence and human rights violations by the security forces against protesters backing Nasheed.  
  
The Tsunami of 26 December 2004 caused extensive damage to the Maldives - of a population of only 290,000, over a third was directly affected by the tsunami and more than 29,000 people were left homeless. The economic damage alone was over 62% of the GDP or US$470 million.  
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The Tsunami of 26 December 2004 caused extensive damage to the Maldives - of a population of only 290,000, over a third was directly affected by the tsunami and more than 15,000 people were left homeless. The economic damage alone was over 62% of the GDP or USD470 million.
  
Some islands, including Thaa atoll Vilufushi, felt the brunt of the wave, and residents on the island are now living in temporary shelters on the island of Buruni in the same atoll.  More than a year later, there are in excess of 11,000 people in temporary shelters across the country.  It was a brutal shock to the small island state which is so vulnerable to environmental disasters and global warming.
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The immediate response from international donors and agencies mobilized more than USD400 million in aid after the disaster, much of which was used to help misplaced persons rebuild their homes and infrastructure damaged by the waves. As of December 24, 2010, six years after the tsunami, the number of persons living in temporary shelters had fallen from 15,000 to only 1,600 people.
  
 
===Economy===
 
===Economy===
Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Over 600,000 tourists visited the islands in 2006. Fishing is a second leading sector. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a minor role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labor. Most staple foods must be imported. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 18% of GDP. Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and possible global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.
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Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Over 600,000 tourists visited the islands in 2006. Fishing is a second leading sector. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a minor role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labour. Most staple foods must be imported. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 18% of GDP. Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.
  
 
===Culture===
 
===Culture===
Maldivians are almost entirely Sunni Muslim, and the local culture is a mixture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences.  While alcohol, pork, dogs and public observance of non-Muslim religions are banned on the inhabited islands, the resort islands are allowed to exist in a bubble where anything goes.
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Maldivians are almost entirely Sunni Muslim, and the local culture is a mixture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences.  While alcohol, pork, drugs and public observance of non-Muslim religions are banned on the inhabited islands, the resort islands are allowed to exist in a bubble where almost anything goes.
  
Note that the weekend in the Maldives runs from Friday to Saturday, during which banks, government offices and many shops are closed. You won't notice this at the resorts though, except that lunch hours may be shifted for Friday prayers.
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The weekend in the Maldives runs from Friday to Saturday, during which banks, government offices and many shops are closed. You won't notice this at the resorts though, except that lunch hours may be shifted for Friday prayers.
  
 
===Climate===
 
===Climate===
 
The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30&deg;C throughout the year.  However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.
 
The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30&deg;C throughout the year.  However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.
 
  
 
==Regions==
 
==Regions==
The Maldives are formed of 26 atolls, or ''atholhu'' in Dhivehi &mdash; the source of the English word. These are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometers wide that have fragmented into countless islands.
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The Maldives are formed of 26 atolls, or ''atholhu'' in Dhivehi &mdash; the source of the English word. These are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometres wide that have fragmented into countless islands.
  
 
Atoll naming is complex, as the atolls have both lengthy traditional Dhivehi names like ''Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi'', and snappy code names like ''Baa''  
 
Atoll naming is complex, as the atolls have both lengthy traditional Dhivehi names like ''Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi'', and snappy code names like ''Baa''  
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| regionmap=Maldives regions map.png
 
| regionmap=Maldives regions map.png
 
| regionmaptext=The twenty atolls of the Maldives
 
| regionmaptext=The twenty atolls of the Maldives
| regionmapsize=160px
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| regionmapsize=upright=1.3
  
 
| region1name=[[Lhaviyani]]
 
| region1name=[[Lhaviyani]]
 
| region1color=#a9d5c9
 
| region1color=#a9d5c9
| region1items=Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi
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| region1items=Faadhihpolhu
 
| region1description=
 
| region1description=
  
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==Cities==
 
==Cities==
 
*[[Male]] - The capital and largest city
 
*[[Male]] - The capital and largest city
*[[Hithadhoo]] - Second-largest city and short-lived home of the Suvadive secessionist movement
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*[http://wikitravel.org/en/Seenu Addu City] - Second-largest city and short-lived home of the Suvadive secessionist movement
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy -- ''Everybody'' gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or US$25/day in cash.  This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long.  See the Department of Immigration and Emigration website [http://www.immigration.gov.mv/] for details.
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The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy -- ''Everybody'' gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or USD100 + USD50/day [http://www.immigration.gov.mv/index.php/entry-to-maldives.html] in cash.  This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long.  See Maldives Immigration website [http://www.immigration.gov.mv/] for details.
  
Importing '''alcohol''', '''pork''' or '''pornography''' (very broadly defined) into the Maldives is forbidden and all luggage is X-rayed on arrival.  On the way out, note that exporting '''sand or seashells''' is also forbidden.
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Importing '''alcohol''', '''pork''' or '''pornography''' (very broadly defined) into the Maldives is forbidden and all luggage is X-rayed on arrival.  On the way out, note that exporting '''sand''',''' seashells''' or''' coral''' is also forbidden.
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
Practically all visitors arrive at '''Malé International Airport''' ({{IATA|MLE}}, {{ICAO|VRMM}}), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital [[Male]].  The airport is served by a wide array of flights to [[India]], [[Sri Lanka]], [[Dubai]] and major airports in [[South-East Asia]], as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe.  Many flights stop in [[Colombo]] (Sri Lanka) on the way.
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Practically all visitors arrive at '''Malé International Airport''' ({{IATA|MLE}}, {{ICAO|VRMM}}), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital [[Male]].  The airport is served by a wide array of flights to [[China]], [[India]], [[Sri Lanka]], [[Dubai]] and major airports in [[South-East Asia]], as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe.  Many flights stop in [[Colombo]] (Sri Lanka) on the way.
  
'''Gan Airport''' ({{IATA|GAN}}, {{ICAO|VRMG}}), on the southern atoll of [[Addu]], also serves an international flight to [[Milan]] several times a week.
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'''Gan Airport''' ({{IATA|GAN}}, {{ICAO|VRMG}}), on the southern atoll of [[Addu]], also serves an international flight to [[Colombo]]
  
 
Departure taxes are included in your ticket.
 
Departure taxes are included in your ticket.
  
British Airways now flies directly from London Gatwick to Male 3 times a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday)
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British Airways now flies directly from [[London]] Gatwick to Male 3 times a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday)
  
Singapore Airlines flies daily direct from Singapore to Male, with late night timings.
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Cathay Pacific Airlines flies 4 times a week from [[Hong Kong]] (Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun)
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Singapore Airlines flies daily direct from [[Singapore]] to Male, with late night timings.
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Turkish Airlines flies directly from [[Istanbul]] Ataturk to Male 5 times in a week.
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Emirates flies direct from [[Dubai]] to Male', twice a day.
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Austrian Airlines flies between [[Vienna]] and Male once a week (outbound Vienna on Wednesday, inbound on Thursday morning)
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Condor flies direct from [[Frankfurt]] to Male', twice a week (Wednesday & Sunday).
  
 
===By boat===
 
===By boat===
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Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: '''boats''', '''sea planes''' (air taxis) and '''private yachts'''. The boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car, while planes and private yachts are mainly reserved for tourists.
 
Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: '''boats''', '''sea planes''' (air taxis) and '''private yachts'''. The boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car, while planes and private yachts are mainly reserved for tourists.
  
Air taxis and boats prefer not to operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark and are going to a distant resort, you may have to spend the night in [[Male]] or at the airport hotel in [[Hulhule]]. Private transfers, though expensive can be opted for resort transfers, instead of spending the whole night at Male. Private transfers could cost anywhere between US$500-800.  On the way back, there may also be a significant gap between the time your transfer arrives and your flight departure.  Check with your resort or travel agent.
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Air taxis and boats prefer not to operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark and are going to a distant resort, you may have to spend the night in [[Male]] or at the airport hotel in [[Hulhule]]. Private transfers, though expensive can be opted for resort transfers, instead of spending the whole night at Male. Private transfers could cost anywhere between USD500-800.  On the way back, there may also be a significant gap between the time your transfer arrives and your flight departure.  Check with your resort or travel agent.
  
Independent travel to inhabited islands other than Male requires an '''Inter Atoll Travel Permit''' from the Ministry of Atolls [http://www.atolls.gov.mv/hopping.asp], and receiving one requires Rf.10, a copy of your passport and &mdash; the hard part &mdash; an invitation from a resident of the island you wish to visit.  Permits are not necessary for the organized island-hopping tours arranged by resorts and liveaboards.
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Public ferries and cargo boats are available for more independent-minded and budget-conscious travellers.
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Independent travel to inhabited islands other than Male requires an '''Inter Atoll Traveling Permit''' (IATP) [http://www.customs.gov.mv/en/procedures/?p=1208], and receiving one requires MVR10, a copy of your passport and &mdash; the hard part &mdash; an invitation from a resident of the island you wish to visit.  Permits are not necessary for the organized island-hopping tours arranged by resorts and liveaboards. [ATTENTION: The last passage is likely to be outdated. As of May 2014, no such permits appeared to be necessary.]
  
 
===By plane===
 
===By plane===
No point in the Maldives is more than 45 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services.  There are two main operators: '''Maldivian Air Taxi''' [http://www.maldivianairtaxi.com/], with red and white planes, and '''Trans Maldivian Airways''', with yellow and blue planes.  The services are largely identical, with both flying DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 10 passengers.
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No point in the Maldives is more than 90 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services.  There are two main operators: '''Maldivian Air Taxi''' [http://www.maldivianairtaxi.com/], with red and white planes, and '''Trans Maldivian Airways''' [http://www.tma.com.mv/], with yellow and blue planes.  The services are largely identical, with both flying DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 15 passengers. In 2013, Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) were both acquired by the Blackstone group and the company was named Trans Maldivian Airways.  
  
 
Scheduled inter-island services are provided by '''Island Aviation''' [http://www.island.com.mv/], which flies from Male to [[Gan]], [[Hanimaadhoo]], [[Kaadeddhoo]] and [[Kaddhoo]].  Travel permits are required.
 
Scheduled inter-island services are provided by '''Island Aviation''' [http://www.island.com.mv/], which flies from Male to [[Gan]], [[Hanimaadhoo]], [[Kaadeddhoo]] and [[Kaddhoo]].  Travel permits are required.
  
 
===By boat===
 
===By boat===
The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands in the North and South Male atolls. They come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay in &mdash; the Four Seasons has a large enclosed motor cruiser with drinks and food, while the lesser resorts have open sided ''dhoni'' fishing boats.
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[[Image:Doni aux Maldives cropped.jpg|thumb]]
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Water transport take four forms:
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*  '''Public ferries''' cheap and infrequent (normally 3-6 times weekly) to population centres.  See [http://www.mtcc.com.mv/ MTCC]. 
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*  '''Private ferries''' Fringe services that complement public services to population centres. E.g. a private ferry often runs from Male to Maafushi, taking some of the strain of the public ferry. Getting information on private ferries is a challenge as they are run by and for locals, and hence there little need to put any information on the internet.
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*  '''Scheduled speedboats''' These are shared, timetabled speedboats aimed at tourists providing airport transfers and occasionally 'picnic islands' day trips.  See [http://www.atolltransfer.com/ Atoll Transfer] based in Male, and [http://www.icomtours.com/ ICom tours] who are based in Maafushi. 
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*  '''Charter speedboats''' that allow you to get anywhere, anytime, at high cost (more people the cheaper per person). These are much faster than public ferries and will leave when you want to. If you are visiting any resort island this is how you will need to get there. These are also known as 'taxi boats'.
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The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands and resort islands. They come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay in the Four Seasons has a large enclosed motor cruiser with drinks and food, while the lesser resorts have open sided dhoni type boats.
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No public ferries run on Friday. Timetables can be found at [http://www.mtcc.com.mv/]. The nature of ferry times and their regularity can make 'island-hopping' a challenge but not impossible. More difficult is going between atolls by public ferry, as few inter-atoll ferries exist.  Getting decent information (even from locals) is tough. Getting anywhere that is not a population centre will normally need a speedboat charter and very deep pockets.
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If trying to plan a island hopping vacation a good way to start is by looking at islands with guesthouses and contacting the guesthouses for information on how to get there, guesthouse owners will know all the options - you can then look at how to string together 2 or 3 islands using public ferries. Most popular are the islands in the South Male atoll, with Maafushi the clear tourist hub.
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If visiting a resort as a FIT ('free independent traveler' in the tourist jargon) you may be able to organise a transfer from Maafushi or elsewhere, saving on expensive transfers from the airport.  For example transfers from Maafushi to a South Male atoll resort are around $25-$30 per person each way.
  
 
==Talk==
 
==Talk==
 
Maldivian '''[[Dhivehi phrasebook|Dhivehi]]''', a close relative of [[Sinhala phrasebook|Sinhala]] (spoken in Sri Lanka) but with borrowings from Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and many other languages, is the official language. It is written in a remarkable hybrid script called ''Thaana'', which uses Arabic and Indic numbers as the base of the alphabet, written from right to left with Arabic vowel signs.  The script is thought to have originated as a secret code for writing magical formulas so that outsiders can't read them, which would also explain why the ordering of the alphabet is, as far as linguists can tell, completely random!
 
Maldivian '''[[Dhivehi phrasebook|Dhivehi]]''', a close relative of [[Sinhala phrasebook|Sinhala]] (spoken in Sri Lanka) but with borrowings from Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and many other languages, is the official language. It is written in a remarkable hybrid script called ''Thaana'', which uses Arabic and Indic numbers as the base of the alphabet, written from right to left with Arabic vowel signs.  The script is thought to have originated as a secret code for writing magical formulas so that outsiders can't read them, which would also explain why the ordering of the alphabet is, as far as linguists can tell, completely random!
  
English is widely spoken, particularly by government officials and those working in the tourism industry. English is the language of instruction in schools.
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English is widely spoken, particularly by government officials and those working in the tourism industry. English is the language of instruction in schools, which means that you will be able to communicate with the locals with varying degrees of difficulty.
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Since Maldives happen to be a popular destination for German and Italian holiday goers, a sizeable number of local resort workers are able to speak fluent German and Italian. This may vary depending on the resorts you plan to visit, though.
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
  
 
==Do==
 
==Do==
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[[Image:Surgeonfish_Powderblue.JPG|thumb|Powderblue surgeonfish, one of the most common reef fish in the Maldives]]
  
[[Image:Surgeonfish_Powderblue.JPG|thumb|Powderblue surgeonfish, one of the most common reef fish in the Maldives]]
 
 
===Diving and snorkelling===
 
===Diving and snorkelling===
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Aside from making the water bungalow rock on your honeymoon, the primary activity on the Maldives is [[scuba diving]].  The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometres away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.
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Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where protected waters harbour an extraordinary diversity of marine life, including some 250 species of stony and soft coral, over 1,000 types of reef fish, as well as the endangered Hawksbill and Green turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. 
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Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year and a 3mm shorty or Lycra diveskin is plenty. Diving is possible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm, the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30m. Decompression chambers can be found on Bandos in [[Kaafu]] (15min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on [[Alifu]]. 
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While diving is very good by world standards even in the immediate vicinity of Male, visibility and the chance of encountering large pelagics increases as you head to the outer atolls. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea. Safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc) being the rule rather than the exception.
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The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices, but in general, you'll be looking at around US$50 for a single boat dive with your own gear and closer to USD75 without.  Beware of surcharges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. Many divers opt for liveaboards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees.
  
Aside from making the water bungalow rock on your honeymoon, the primary activity on the Maldives is [[scuba diving]]The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometers away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant.  Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.
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'''Best dive sites in the Maldives'''<br />
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*Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll is one of the Maldives’ most famous marine sites, Hanifaru Bay is renowned worldwide for harbouring one of the largest seasonal gatherings of manta raysIt’s also believed to be the only place in the world to see their spectacular cyclone feeding; during the west monsoons (from May until November), large amounts of plankton wash into this funnel-like lagoon, attracting as many as 200 manta rays as well as whale sharks spiralling in a free-for-all feeding frenzy.
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*Blue Hole, Baa Atoll is a coral-lined underwater chimney that narrows from 22 metres to seven metres provides a spectacular experience for divers and snorkellers alike, who may spot myriad marine life including Hawksbill turtles, triggerfish and perhaps the resident Guitar shark.
  
While diving is very good by world standards even in the immediate vicinity of Male, visibility and the chance of encountering large pelagics increases as you head to the outer atolls.  Many divers opt for liveaboards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees.  Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea.  Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year and a 3mm shorty or Lycra diveskin is plenty. Diving is possible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm, the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30 m. Decompression chambers can be found on Bandos in [[Kaafu]] (15 min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on [[Alifu]].
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For the people who don't know how to SCUBA dive, they can start to learn to dive with a professional instructor, go snorkeling or enjoy other water sports.
  
The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices, but in general, you'll be looking at around US$50 for a single boat dive with your own gear and closer to US$75 without. Beware of surcharges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. On the upside, safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc) being the rule rather than the exception.
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'''Best islands for snorkeling'''<br />
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Snorkelers are always in search of the best islands on the Maldives with great house reef so that they can spend as much time as they want snorkeling around the island, exploring abundant marine life. Here are the best snorkeling islands on the Maldives:
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*Maalhosmadulu Island, Amilla Beach Villa Residences, Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
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*Bandos Island, Bandos, North Male Atoll
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*Baros Island, Baros, North Male Atoll
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*Fihalholi, Fihalholi Island Resort, South Male Atoll
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*Biyadhoo, Biyadhoo Island Resort, South Male Atoll
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*Mandhoo, Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll
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*Vilamendhoo, Vilamendhoo Island Resort, South Ari Atoll
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*Machchafushi, Centara Grand Island, South Ari Atoll
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*Moofushi, [https://www.paltino.com/constance-moofushi/ Constance Moofushi Resort], South Ari Atoll
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*Maayafushi, VOI Maayafushi Resort, North Ari Atoll
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*Bathala, Bathala Island Resort, North Ari Atoll
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*Filtiheyo, Filitheyo Island Resort, Faafu Atoll
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===Surfing===
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The Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular surfing destination. Turquoise water and perfect waves makes it an ideal and uncrowded destination for surfers looking for smooth surfing conditions.
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The best period for surfing in the Maldives is between March and October; the biggest waves occurring in June, July and August. This paradise is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing.
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The recent O’Neil Deep Blue Contests held in the Maldives has placed Maldives firmly on the world’s surf map. While most of the recognized surf breaks are in Male’ Atoll, there is certainly more to be discovered. South Central atolls Laamu and Huvadhoo are more exposed to swell moving up from the Antarctic and is the first stop to unleash its power on the fringes of the south south/west of these atolls. Most surfing information is focused on Male and resorts around Male, which sadly in recent years has become overcrowded with safari boats and aggressive tourists all fighting for waves. The southern atolls are still quite with world class breaks....some secret spots to be found.
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Specialized companies organize tailored multi-day boat trips in the region, allowing surfers to move easily from one point to another and maximizing the surfing time.
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 +
Since 2010 Maldivian law changed, allowing Tourists to vacation on local islands, away from resorts and safari boats. These local boutique hotels offer realistic prices for surf travelers, who wish to stay on land and experience the real Maldives.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
The local currency is the '''Maldivian rufiyaa''' (MVR, Rf), divided into 100 laari.  However, by law resorts price services in US dollars and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's absolutely no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts.  Most hotels have a shop but this is limited to diving and holiday essentials (sun cream, sarongs, disposable cameras, etc.)  Some excursions from resorts will take you to local islands where there are handicraft type things to buy, but there are typically made outside the Maldives and sold at outrageous markups.
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The local currency is the ''Maldivian rufiyaa'' sometimes symbolised locally as "Rf" placed before or after the amount and divided into 100 laari. Throughout our guides we use the international symbolisation of '''MVR''' placed before the amount with no intervening space.   
 +
 
 +
However, by law resorts price services in US dollars (USD) and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's absolutely no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts.  Most hotels have a shop but this is limited to diving and holiday essentials (sun cream, sarongs, disposable cameras, etc.)  Some excursions from resorts will take you to local islands where there are handicraft type things to buy, but they are typically made outside the Maldives and sold at outrageous markups.
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 +
If you are heading to Male or the other inhabited atolls, exchanging some rufiyaa will come in handy.  The coins, in particular, are quite attractive and make an interesting souvenir in themselves, but the smaller denominations are rarely used or seen. The official exchange rate to the US dollar is floated but practically 15:1, but while dollars are near-universally accepted, shops usually exchange them at 15:1 or even 10:1. You can get select major currencies exchanged at the airport after arrival at the forex center in the airport itself.
 +
 
 +
If you want to get a local SIM card, there is a Dhiraagu shop (the primary local telecom company) just to the left of the airport arrivals area upon exiting.  A local cell number is needed to purchase time at many Wi-Fi spots around the country (sometimes reachable from where liveaboards anchor for the night).
 +
 
 +
==Costs==
 +
Maldives are expensive for those who have comfort- and service-oriented tourism in mind.  Resorts have a monopoly on services for their guests and charge accordingly: for mid-range resorts, USD1000 per week per couple is a ''conservative'' budget for meals, drinks and excursions, above and beyond the cost of flights and accommodation. Practically anything &mdash; including hotel rooms if booked locally &mdash; gets slapped with an arbitrary 10% "service charge", but tips are expected on top. The service charge is, by law, divided among the staff at months end, and hence is a proxy employee profit sharing scheme.
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 +
At the same time, for a traveller who has time, Maldives can be an affordable and possibly rewarding experience, with prices comparable to the Caribbean (Cuba aside), but extremely poor value when compared to other South and South East Asian countries, if one's aim is adventure tourism. For people focused on sampling the local life and ambiance away from the tourist crowd, the prices are roughly similar to Malaysia.
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A number of inhabited islands have guesthouses with typical prices $50-100 per room, but expect the arbitrary 10% "service charge" and 6% GST and maybe 3.5% if you need to pay with a credit card on top - $75 soon comes nearer to $100. At more remote islands, renting rooms in villages is possible at even less than that. Food is inexpensive (and fish curries are delicious), but without variety and anything imported (which is almost everything) is expensive. Public ferries will transfer you between different islands of the same atoll for a few dollars (though for less obvious locations, there will typically be 1 ferry per day/two and no ferries on Fridays). For transfers to remote atolls, one can negotiate with cargo boats, which would often take people for USD15-40, depending on the destination. Cargo boats do not have schedules and depart when loaded. One may expect 1 boat in 1-3 days for each atoll.
  
If you are heading to Male or the other inhabited atolls, exchanging some rufiyaa will come in handy. The coins, in particular, are quite attractive and make an interesting souvenir in themselves, but the smaller denominations are rarely used or seen. The official exchange rate to the US dollar is fixed at 12.75:1, but while dollars are near-universally accepted, shops usually exchange them at 12:1 or even 10:1.
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It is important to have in mind that staying on inhabited islands implies respecting the strict Muslim norms (no alcohol, modest dress, reserved behavior). At the same time, the locals are very welcoming and the experience may be much deeper and more rewarding than staying in resorts, depending on one's mindset.
  
===Costs===
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One thing you will save money on is alcohol. In fact it is free because you can't buy it (outside resort islands that cost a fortune to reach (private transfer required). The real budget killer comes with doing anything that is not sitting on a beach or swimming off the shore as getting to better reefs, uninhabited island and anything that needs a private boat is expensive ($150-200/boat) and there is just not enough tourists (or lack of organisation) to have larger group tours leaving regularly as in somewhere like Thailand that could cut and share costs.
There's no way around it: the Maldives are '''expensive''', and there is effectively no budget accommodation or transport.  Resorts have a monopoly on services for their guests and charge accordingly: for mid-range resorts, $1000 per week per couple is a ''conservative'' budget for meals, drinks and excursions, above and beyond the cost of flights and accommodation.  Practically anything &mdash; including hotel rooms if booked locally &mdash; gets slapped with an arbitrary 10% "service charge", but tips are expected on top.
 
  
 
==Eat==
 
==Eat==
 
All the resorts are self contained so they have at least one restaurant, which generally serve the type of cuisine expected by their guests. ( i.e. modern European or generic Asian).  Breakfast is almost always included, and most resorts offer the option of '''half-board''', which means you get a dinner buffet, and '''full board''', which means you get a lunch and dinner buffet.  These can limit the damage compared to ordering a la carte, but your options are typically very limited and drinks are often not covered, not necessarily even water.  If you're planning on drinking a lot, it may be worthwhile to go '''all inclusive''', but even this typically restricts you to house drinks.
 
All the resorts are self contained so they have at least one restaurant, which generally serve the type of cuisine expected by their guests. ( i.e. modern European or generic Asian).  Breakfast is almost always included, and most resorts offer the option of '''half-board''', which means you get a dinner buffet, and '''full board''', which means you get a lunch and dinner buffet.  These can limit the damage compared to ordering a la carte, but your options are typically very limited and drinks are often not covered, not necessarily even water.  If you're planning on drinking a lot, it may be worthwhile to go '''all inclusive''', but even this typically restricts you to house drinks.
  
The only other place to find food is [[Male]]. This comes in two forms. Either small restaurants aimed at the tourists (of which there are a couple of nice Thai restaurants), which are often expensive, or small cafes called ''hotaa'', selling local Maldivian food at prices as low as Rf.20 for a complete meal.
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[[Male]] has a thriving restaurant scene, aimed both at tourists and the increasingly moneyed Maldivian elite. Outside of greater Male the options are limited, with small populated islands having zero or one cafe (called ''hotaa'') selling local Maldivian food at prices as low as MVR20 for a complete meal.  
  
 
===Maldivian cuisine===
 
===Maldivian cuisine===
Line 192: Line 265:
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
As the Maldives are Muslim, alcohol is banned for the local population. However, nearly all resorts and liveaboard boats are licensed to serve it, usually with a steep markup. Expatriate residents have an allowance that they can use in Male.
+
Legally, if you're 18 and not a Muslim, you can buy and drink alcohol. '''However since the Maldives are a Islamic nation, alcohol is effectively banned for the local population.
 +
 
 +
However, nearly all resorts and liveaboard boats are licensed to serve alcohol, usually with a steep markup. The expatriate liquor permit which used to allow expats to buy alcohol for their own consumption has been removed. The only place near Male, aside from resorts, where people can drink alcohol is at the Hulhule Island Hotel, commonly known as HIH or the airport hotel.
  
 
Maldivians generally do not drink alcohol although this is less true of the younger generation. They are, however, unhappy about being filmed or photographed while drinking.
 
Maldivians generally do not drink alcohol although this is less true of the younger generation. They are, however, unhappy about being filmed or photographed while drinking.
  
Tap water in resorts may or may not be drinkable -- check with management.  Bottled water is extortionately priced, with US$5/bottle being typical.
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Tap water in resorts may or may not be drinkable -- check with management.  Bottled water in the resorts is extortionately priced, with USD5/bottle being typical. Bottled water in Male or on an island is much cheaper. It can be a good idea to bring a few 5 litre bottles from Male to your resort if you have the option.
  
 
==Sleep==
 
==Sleep==
{{sleeppricerange|Under US$100|US$100-300|Over $300}}
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Accommodation in the Maldives can be broadly separated in to three categories
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1)  '''The tourist resort''' - by far and away the dominant sector, with over 30,000 beds as of 2015. Resorts come in many shapes and sizes from luxury resorts to less expensive resorts, there are many options catering almost exclusively to the package tour market.  However independent visitors, often booking through an online agency, are becoming more popular, especially with those looking to combine staying in guesthouses with a few days in a resort.
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2)  '''The Male hotel''' - this sector caters for the islander visiting the capital for a few days or weeks, the businessman staying in [[Male]] for work, and the international tourist, staying in Male for the night due to its proximity to the airport.
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3)  '''The guesthouse''' - currently going through something of a revolution, with guesthouses on inhabited islands now the fastest growing sector, but still accounting for less than 2,000 beds. This is the more affordable option for independent tourists exploring the atolls.  Guesthouses range from simple establishments with 2 or 3 rooms, to proper hotels located near the 'bikini beach' on an inhabited island. Due to the lack of eating options on many islands, guesthouses often have half board and full board options.
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The Maldives has a well established and mature tourism industry accounting for more than 25% of the economy. This translates to a sophisticated network of tour agencies, marketing firms, and last minute discounters who all know how to maximise profits and squeeze the most out of each resort. Add to this the seemingly hundreds of internet websites and booking companies selling resort holidays.  For the independent traveler looking to book their own holiday this presents a labyrinth of different options that can make organising an independent trip quite exhausting - every resort has its own website, review websites offer tens of thousands of reviews, booking websites offer 100s of discounts and special offers depending on room type and meal plan - planning a resort visit can soon become an internet trawling nightmare. 
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Be aware that price discrimination is rampant - the same room in the same resort for a given day will have a different price depending on your nationality and whether you are booking direct or through an agency, and may vary by agency (although major internet booking websites tend to all offer the same price once you take tax and service charges in to account).  If you are only considering staying at a resort, and not visiting any islands independently, do consider booking a standard package tour from a travel agency in your home country (and shopping around agencies to compare prices) - this will most likely give you the best price. If you are trying to independently book a resort, try phoning an agency in Male with a rough idea of the type of resort you are looking for, and seeing what they offer, you can then compare with internet prices. Everything will be quoted in US dollars.
 +
 
 +
'''Tips for getting the best price for a resort'''
 +
 
 +
1.  '''Contact a few agencies in Male''' as well as checking prices on booking websites and resort websites. Some agencies will have negotiated rates with certain resorts that can be 30% or more below what is quoted online. To find Male based agencies put 'travel and tours' in to your favourite online map, eg [https://www.google.bg/maps/search/Travels+%26+Tours/@4.1745955,73.5069194,16z/data=!3m1!4b1]
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 +
2.  '''See if you can organise your own transfer'''.  This works best for resorts in the North and South Male atolls. Taking a public ferry or shared speedboat to Maafushi, then a transfer (eg with ICom) to a nearby resort island, will work out much cheaper than a speedboat transfer direct from the airport. For example the Olhuveli resort, in the South Male Atoll, charges US$277 per person for a one way speedboat transfer to/ from the airport, getting a public ferry to Maafushi (US$2 per person), and then an ICom speedboat transfer to Olhuveli from Maafushi (US$30 per person) is a significant saving.
 +
 
 +
3.  '''Book half-board''' rather than Bed & Breakfast.  Evening meals can be furiously expensive ($80+ per person excluding drinks for a 2 course meal).  Breakfasts tend to be huge buffets, lessening the need for lunch / full board.
 +
 
 +
4.  '''Be very clear on whether the price includes tax, service charges, credit card fees, and airport transfers'''.  Many online prices exclude these, which combined add 23%+ to your bill.
 +
 
 +
5.  '''Be aware of the cost of activities in your chosen resort'''. The more expensive the resort, the more expensive the activities. If you want to do more than just relax on the beach, the cost of activities do add up ($80 per person for a 3 hour snorkeling trip, $110 per person for a sunset cruise, $160 for a 3 hour trip to a local island etc.)
 +
 +
 
 +
===Resorts===
 +
{{sleeppricerange|Under USD100|USD100-300|Over USD300}}
  
Aside from the capital Male, there are no hotels in the Maldives, only '''resorts'''.  Most resorts take up their own island (1500x1500m to 250x250m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on.  Many have a "no shoes" policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.  
+
Most resorts take up their own island (from the tiny 250x250m to the sprawling 1500x1500m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on.  Many have a "no shoes" policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.  
  
 
The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:
 
The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:
 
+
*<sleep name="Anantara Veli, Maldives" alt="" address="P.O. Box 2098 Veligandu, South Male Atoll Male, Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 664 4100 " url="http://veli-maldives.anantara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 705" lat="3.967428" long="73.505765">The Anantara Veli Maldives resort if ideal for couples and friends getaway. The resort has an amazing view towards the palm fringed island the pristine coral reefs of south Male. Further the Resort is only just 35 minutes from Malé International Airport.
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Anantara Kihavah Maldives" alt="" address="P.O. Box 2014 Kihavah Huravalhi Island Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 660 1020" url="http://kihavah-maldives.anantara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 1,054" lat="5.296123" long="73.057086">Anantara Kihavah Maldives is located in the Baa Atoll island and near the Hanifaru Bay. The resort is 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport. The Resort consist of 79 spacious private pool villas, ranging from 260 to 2,730 square meters
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Anantara Dhigu Maldives" alt="" address="P.O. Box 2098 Dhigufinolhu, South Male Atoll Male, Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 664 4100 " url="http://dhigu-maldives.anantara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 516" lat="3.97284" long="73.502311">The Anantara Dhigu Maldives in located in the Dhigufinolhu island in Maldives . The Resort has a magnificent beach area where many water sports are taken place. The Resort also provides visitors with a tennis court, gym , and an infinity pool
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Anantara Naladhu, Maldives" alt="" address="P.O. Box 2098 Veligandu Huraa, South Male Atoll Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 664 4105" url="http://naladhu.anantara.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 999" lat="3.971591" long="73.506913">The Anantara Naladhu Maldives offers expansives villas and houses each with a private pool with an amazing view towards the Indian ocean.
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="PER AQUUM Niyama Maldives" alt="" address="Dhaalu Atoll PO Box 2002 Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 676 2828" url="http://www.minorhotels.com/en/peraquum/niyama" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 570" lat="2.680999" long="72.931463">The Peraquum Niyama Resort is located in the Niyama island with white sands which is ideal for honeymooners, active couples and style-savvy families. The resort offers a variety of underwater activities as well as relaxing spa treatments for all.
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</sleep>
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*<sleep name="PER AQUUM Huvafen fushi Maldives" alt="" address="North Male Atoll PO Box 2017 Republic of Maldives" directions="" phone="(+96)0 6644 222" url="http://www.minorhotels.com/en/peraquum/huvafen-fushi" checkin="" checkout="" price="USD 715" lat="4.368476" long="73.369821">The Peraquum Huvafen Fushi Resort is an ideal private getaway for couples with lots of fun activities such as saltwater floatation pools, yacht rides, seaplane rides and many more
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</sleep>
 
* '''Dive resorts''', designed primarily for divers.  Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent.  Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.
 
* '''Dive resorts''', designed primarily for divers.  Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent.  Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.
 
* '''Holiday resorts''', designed primarily for families.  These are large and have a full complement of facilities (multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc), but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy.  Most of these are located on [[Kaafu]], with easy access from Male.
 
* '''Holiday resorts''', designed primarily for families.  These are large and have a full complement of facilities (multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc), but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy.  Most of these are located on [[Kaafu]], with easy access from Male.
* '''Luxury resorts''', designed primarily for honeymooners and the jet set. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay top dollar for the privilege.
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* '''Luxury resorts''', designed primarily for guests seeking romance, quality services in an idyllic location. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay top dollar for the privilege.  
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*<sleep name="Maafushivaru Maldives" alt="" address="Ari Atoll" directions="" phone=" +960 668-0001" url="http://maafushivaru.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Maafushivaru Maldives ✅, which is surrounded by clear waters with a house reef, powder-white soft sand and lush vegetation. This 500 m long island features thatch-roofed villas, a spa and gym. Contemporary beach or over-water villas are air conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV with DVD player and iPod docking.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Aveyla Manta Village" alt="" address="Dharavandhoo" directions="" phone=" +960 332-2922" url="http://aveylamantavillage.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Aveyla Manta Village ✅ is a modern hotel housing a spacious lounge area, a rooftop terrace and a games room. The hotel offers free WiFi in public areas and complimentary continental breakfast in the restaurant. Each room includes air-conditioning and heating facilities as well as a flat-screen TV and private bathroom.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Waadheege" alt="" address="Fuvahmulah" directions="" phone=" +960 754-1032" url="http://waadheege.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Waadheege ✅ offers a garden and free WiFi. Among the various facilities are a terrace and a shared lounge. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk.At the guest house, the rooms are fitted with a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, and selected rooms include a terrace.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="G 10 Beach Inn" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 777-3842" url="http://g10beachinn.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">G 10 Beach Inn ✅ is tucked away in Hulhumale only 4 km away from Male International Airport. This charming accommodation is only steps away from the crystal clear waters of Hulhumale Beach. It provides guests with free WiFi access.Rooms are tastefully furnished and clean. All rooms come with air conditioning, a fridge</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Sunny Suites" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-3035" url="http://sunnysuites.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Sunny Suites ✅ features rooms with city views and free WiFi. A 7-minute walk from Ferry Terminal Park, the property provides a private beach area, as well as a terrace. The rooms include a terrace.Guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom and a bath.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="City Grand" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-5955" url="http://citygrand.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">City Grand ✅ offers modern and comfortable accommodation with free WiFi access in the entire property. Set close to the beach, guests can enjoy activities such as snorkelling, canoeing, windsurfing and diving.Fitted with tiled flooring, air-conditioned rooms include a wardrobe, clothes rack, a minibar, a flat-screen TV</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Beach Palace" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 775-3910" url="http://beachpalace.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Beach Palace ✅ welcomes guests with free internet access and an in-house restaurant. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.All the rooms at Beach Palace are tastefully furnished with a flat-screen TV, minibar and writing table. En suite bathrooms come with free toiletries and hot-water showers. </sleep>
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*<sleep name="Loona Hotel" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-6794" url="http://loonahotel.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Loona Hotel ✅ offers elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. A 15-minute drive from Male International Airport, it features several water sports, free bike rental and free parking.Fitted with classic wood furnishings, Loona’s air-conditioned rooms have draped curtains and chandeliers. </sleep>
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*<sleep name="Ashaz Inn" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-9007" url="http://ashazinn.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Ashaz Inn✅ is located just 1.9 miles from the Male International Airport. Free WiFi access is available in the public areas of the property.Each air-conditioned room here will provide you with a flat-screen satellite TV, tea/coffee maker and minibar. Featuring a shower, private bathroom comes with a hairdryer.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Sunset Royal" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +" url="http://sunsetroyal.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Sunset Royal ✅ provides affordable accommodation featuring air-conditioned rooms with breakfast and free WiFi. The inn is only a few steps away from the white sandy beach.Each room at Sunset Royal will provide you with a cable TV and city views. There is also an en suite bathroom equipped with hot/cold water shower.</sleep>
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*<sleep name="Eve Caurica" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-9715" url="http://evecaurica.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Eve Caurica ✅ is set in Hulhule.Every room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Certain units include a seating area to relax in after a busy day. Some units feature views of the sea or city. Eve Caurica features free WiFi throughout the property.Bike hire is available. Number of activities are avaible</sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="Airport Beach Hotel" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 795-0494" url="http://airportbeachhotel.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Airport Beach Hotel ✅ is located in Hulhumale just 4 km away from Male International Airport. This beachfront property welcomes guests with an outdoor swimming pool, free motorbike rentals and free WiFi access. The property has a spa centre and and a rooftop spa bath. Rooms are bright, comfortable and air-conditioned. </sleep>
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*<sleep name="Coral Queen Inn" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335-0040" url="http://coralqueeninn.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Coral Queen Inn ✅ has its own buffet restaurant and is just 4 km from Malé Airport on Hulhumale. Guests have access to free WiFi in all areas of the property.All rooms have a flat-screen satellite TV, safe, electric kettle and minibar. Private bathroom includes a shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. Friendly staff.</sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="Laguna Boutique" alt="" address="Hulhumalé" directions="" phone=" +960 335 4555" url="http://lagunaboutique.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Laguna Boutique ✅ offers accommodation in Hulhumale. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.Every room at this guest house is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Rooms include a private bathroom.You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property.The area is popular for snorkeling and windsurfing. </sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="WhiteShell Island Hotel & Spa" alt="" address="Maafushi" directions="" phone=" +960 797-1516" url="http://whiteshellislandhotelspa.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">WhiteShell Island Hotel & Spa ✅ is a beautiful property located in Maafushi Island. Stylish rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi access.Fitted with hardwood floors and elegant décor, rooms feature a private balcony. A flat-screen TV, minibar and personal safe are all included.</sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="Kaani Lodge" alt="" address="Male" directions="" phone=" +960 300-3626" url="http://kaanilodge.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Kaani Lodge ✅ provides basic air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen satellite TV. A rooftop cafe and free Wi-Fi in public areas are provided. The front desk operates 24 hours.Kaani Lodge is a great stop-over point for guests going to the Maldivian islands. From Male Jetty, it is a 10-minute dhoni (boat) ride to Male.</sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="Surfview Raalhugandu" alt="" address="Male" directions="" phone=" +960 330-1005" url="http://surfviewraalhugandu.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Surfview Raalhugandu ✅ is offering accommodation in Male City. This property is set a short distance from attractions such as Villingili Ferry Terminal, Henveiru Park, and National Football Stadium. Hulhumale Ferry Terminal is 500 m from the property. The rooms in the guest house are equipped with a satellite TV.</sleep>
 +
*<sleep name="Rasdhoo Sea View" alt="" address="Rasdhoo" directions="" phone=" +960 777-7860" url="http://rasdhooseaview.com-maldives.com" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Rasdhoo Sea View ✅ provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi on Rasdu Atoll. The hotel has its own restaurant.An ideal spot for snorkelling and diving with hammerhead sharks, Rasdhoo Sea View is 60 km from Malé Airport.Each room has private bathroom, flat-screen satellite/cable TV and safe. A minibar is included. </sleep>
  
 
[[Image:Thulhagiri_Bungalows_Row.JPG|thumb|240px|Overwater bungalows, Thulhagiri, [[Kaafu]]]]
 
[[Image:Thulhagiri_Bungalows_Row.JPG|thumb|240px|Overwater bungalows, Thulhagiri, [[Kaafu]]]]
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A Maldivian classic is the '''overwater bungalow''', built on stilts directly above a lagoon.  While these look fabulous and sound appealing, they have their downsides:
 
A Maldivian classic is the '''overwater bungalow''', built on stilts directly above a lagoon.  While these look fabulous and sound appealing, they have their downsides:
 
* They're usually packed tightly together (often sharing a wall), meaning little privacy.
 
* They're usually packed tightly together (often sharing a wall), meaning little privacy.
* Especially at low tide, the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkeling.
+
* Especially at low tide, the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkelling.
 
* Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
 
* Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
 
* The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to impossible to sleep if a storm blows through.   
 
* The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to impossible to sleep if a storm blows through.   
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Many resorts, especially the smaller dive-oriented ones, cater largely to a single nationality, leading to "Italian" resorts, "Dutch" resorts, "German" resorts, etc.  While almost all welcome any nationality and have some English-speaking staff on hand, you may be cut off from any evening entertainment and have problems eg. diving if you don't speak the local lingo.
 
Many resorts, especially the smaller dive-oriented ones, cater largely to a single nationality, leading to "Italian" resorts, "Dutch" resorts, "German" resorts, etc.  While almost all welcome any nationality and have some English-speaking staff on hand, you may be cut off from any evening entertainment and have problems eg. diving if you don't speak the local lingo.
  
==Learn==
+
===Guesthouses===
 +
By now there are many guesthouses on inhabited islands. Maafushi island is popular among tourists looking for hassle-free accommodations of this sort. Low end prices are €25-35.
 +
 
 +
More examples include: Equator Village on Addu Atoll, a former RAF base converted to a 78 room hotel. Cost is around USD100-150 pp/per day all inclusive (includes regular brand alcohol).  Another unique location is Keyodhoo Guest House, this guest house is located on top of a recreation centre build by Australian after the tsunami (USD20 pp/per night).  Most travellers to these locations are scuba divers for the diving or adventure travellers.  Other Inns/B&B can also be found on Vaavu Atoll, Dhaalu Atoll, Kaafu Atoll, North and South Male Atoll.  Only a few of these Inn/B&B have their own pool.  Be sure to inquire if bikini is allowed on the local beach.  Travel between the inn and beach are usually very close but be sure to dress appropriately with Maldive customs.
  
The only serious schools are in Male and many children travel here each day. There are some village schools on the outlying islands.
+
===Village homestays===
 +
More independent-minded travellers and those looking for cultural experience may consider renting rooms in villages. This will require either walking through the village and asking around if you're particularly confident of your social skills, or inquiring in Male whether someone can put you in contact with their friends or relatives on remote island for such an informal homestay. Prices can be as low as 15 euros per night for a clean functional room.
  
There are no universities and this is starting to cause a problem as more and more of the younger generation want to get away and study.
+
* For stays on the Fonadhoo island of the Laamu atoll, you can attempt to contact Mr. Wajeeh at 9990967, 9999364, [email protected] . He can also arrange pick-ups from Kadhdhoo airport (KDO).
 +
 
 +
==Learn==
 +
The education system, although having many problems such as poor student literacy rates in English (the medium of instruction for most subjects), is freely available for all Maldivians.
  
 
==Work==
 
==Work==
 +
Getting a job in the Maldives can be tricky. It is not the kind of place where you can just turn up and start job hunting. Generally the resorts take on a mix of local and international staff so you need to approach the resort Human Resources departments. There is a good mix of jobs but a lot of the roles are diving based (divemasters, instructors, photographers, etc).
  
Getting a Job in the Maldives can be tricky. It is not the kind of place where you can just turn up and start job hunting. Generally the resorts take on a mix of local and international staff so you need to approach the resort Human Resources departments. There is a good mix of jobs but a lot of the roles are diving based (divemasters, instructors, photographers etc)
+
Most resorts are predominantly one or two nationalities so finding the resorts that match your language skills helps. After that experience always helps (especially for diving instructors as the Maldives are well known for their strong currents and half of the time the currents will take you straight out into the Indian Ocean).
  
Most resorts are predominately one or two nationalities so finding the resorts that match your language skills helps. After that experience always helps (especially for diving instructors as the Maldives are well known for their strong currents and half of the time the currents will take you straight out into the Indian Ocean.)
+
Generally if you get a job with a resort then they will get you a work permit and pay for your flight, food and accommodation. They don't really have much choice-- it's hardly as if you can pop out to the supermarket and pick up a pizza for dinner.
  
Generally if you get a job with a resort then they will get you a work permit and pay for your flight, food and accommodation. They don't really have much choice its hardly as if you can pop out to the supermarket and pick up a Pizza for dinner.
+
All foreign workers have to have a series of medical tests before you can start work in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. This includes a blood sample (lots of tests including HIV as well as x-ray etc). It is quick and easy but they are very uncommunicative about what they are doing.
 
 
All foreign workers have to have a series of medical tests before you can start work in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. This includes a blood sample (lots of tests including HIV as well as x-ray etc). It is quick and easy but they are very uncommunicative about what they are doing.
 
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
  
There is very little crime in the Maldives as the tourists generally stay in the resorts since there is not much to do outside. This means that you can feel safe on your own at all times. Generally Maldivians are honest, helpful and welcoming people although you are unlikely to come into much contact with them in resorts.
+
Crime is rare. Generally, Maldivians are honest, helpful and welcoming people.
 +
There are no drugs anywhere in the resorts but many Maldivians have easy access to drugs, reportedly 50% of the young generation are drug users; there is a growing drug problem among the local population and so petty crime to support it has arisen. Take the usual precautions such as not leaving money and valuables lying around, and use in-room safe deposit boxes. Take note that every $50 US you spend at a bar or restaurant represents 10 days' wages for cleaners.
  
There are no drugs anywhere in the resorts and most Maldivians rarely come into contact with anything more than an occasional beer that has been smuggled out of a resort.  That said, there is a growing drug problem among the local population and hence petty crime to support this has arisen.  Take the usual precautions such as not leaving money and valuables lying around. Remember that $50 that you were going to use in the bar that night represents 10 days' wages for the cleaners etc.
+
===LGBT visitors===
  
Anti-government street rioting occurred in Male between 2003 and 2005, but political tensions have largely been relieved by the opposition victory in the elections of 2008.
+
Homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives. However, this law is for Maldivians and does not apply for visiting travelers.
  
 
==Stay healthy==
 
==Stay healthy==
 +
There are no serious problems with diseases in the Maldives. Beware that tap water may not be drinkable at all resorts: enquire locally. The Maldives are malaria-free, but some islands do have mosquitoes and catching [[dengue fever]] from them is possible, albeit highly unlikely. For those coming from regions infected by yellow fever, an international certificate of inoculation is required.
  
There are no serious problems with diseases in the Maldives.  Beware that tap water may not be drinkable at all resorts: enquire locally.  The Maldives are malaria-free, but some islands do have mosquitoes and catching [[dengue fever]] from them is possible, albeit highly unlikely. For those coming from regions infected by yellow fever, an international certificate of inoculation is required.
+
Most of the problems come from diving or sun related injuries. Heat stroke always cause problems in the tropics but couple that with divers spending hours at a time on a boat wearing a wetsuit and overheating of one form or another is a real issue. Keeping this in mind, such injuries will be easily avoidable as long as you drink lots of water and get into the shade as much as possible.
  
Most of the problems come from diving or sun related injuries. Heat stroke always cause problems in the tropics but couple that with divers spending hours at a time on a boat wearing a wetsuit and overheating of one form or another is a real issue. As long as you know this, drink lots of water, and get into the shade as much as possible it is easy to avoid.
+
Lots of the resorts have their own doctor or nurse and most are within easy reach of the decompression chambers. Male has an efficient and fairly modern hospital but bear in mind that it is a long way to get medically evacuated from.
 
 
Lots of the resorts have their own doctor or nurse and most are within easy reach of the decompression chambers. Male has an efficient and fairly modern hospital but bear in mind that it is a long way to get medevaced home from.
 
  
  
 
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[[de:Malediven]]
 
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[[eo:Maldivoj]]

Latest revision as of 12:37, 18 March 2018

Location
Maldives in its region (small islands magnified).svg
Flag
Flag of Maldives.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Male
Government presidential republic
Currency Rufiyaa (MVR)
Area 300km²
Population 394,999 (July 2011 estimate)
Language Maldivian Dhivehi, English spoken by most government officials
Religion Sunni Muslim
Electricity 220V, 50Hz (European or British plugs)
Country code +960
Internet TLD .mv
Time Zone UTC+5

The Maldives (Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ Dhivehi Raajje) are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.

Maldives was for the most part unknown to tourists until the early 1970s. Just 185 of the islands are home to its 300,000 inhabitants. The other islands are used entirely for economic functions, of that tourism and agriculture are dominant. Tourism accounts for 28% of the GDP. Over 90% of the state government income comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

Formerly a Sultanate under Dutch and British protection, the Maldives are now a republic. Long ruled over with an iron fist by Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who did not hesitate to jail dissidents and was re-elected five times in more or less rigged elections, resistance to his rule culminated in violent rioting in 2003 and 2004. Under international pressure, free and fair elections were finally held in 2008, and Gayoom gracefully conceded defeat to opposition leader Mohamed Nasheed, "Anni".

Following protests that started on 1 May 2011, Mohamed Nasheed was forced to resign from office on 7 February 2012. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, supported by the former dictator, was appointed president of the Maldives. There have been reports of violence and human rights violations by the security forces against protesters backing Nasheed.

The Tsunami of 26 December 2004 caused extensive damage to the Maldives - of a population of only 290,000, over a third was directly affected by the tsunami and more than 15,000 people were left homeless. The economic damage alone was over 62% of the GDP or USD470 million.

The immediate response from international donors and agencies mobilized more than USD400 million in aid after the disaster, much of which was used to help misplaced persons rebuild their homes and infrastructure damaged by the waves. As of December 24, 2010, six years after the tsunami, the number of persons living in temporary shelters had fallen from 15,000 to only 1,600 people.

Economy[edit]

Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Over 600,000 tourists visited the islands in 2006. Fishing is a second leading sector. The Maldivian Government began an economic reform program in 1989 initially by lifting import quotas and opening some exports to the private sector. Subsequently, it has liberalized regulations to allow more foreign investment. Agriculture and manufacturing continue to play a minor role in the economy, constrained by the limited availability of cultivable land and the shortage of domestic labour. Most staple foods must be imported. Industry, which consists mainly of garment production, boat building, and handicrafts, accounts for about 18% of GDP. Maldivian authorities worry about the impact of erosion and global warming on their low-lying country; 80% of the area is one meter or less above sea level.

Culture[edit]

Maldivians are almost entirely Sunni Muslim, and the local culture is a mixture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences. While alcohol, pork, drugs and public observance of non-Muslim religions are banned on the inhabited islands, the resort islands are allowed to exist in a bubble where almost anything goes.

The weekend in the Maldives runs from Friday to Saturday, during which banks, government offices and many shops are closed. You won't notice this at the resorts though, except that lunch hours may be shifted for Friday prayers.

Climate[edit]

The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.

Regions[edit]

The Maldives are formed of 26 atolls, or atholhu in Dhivehi — the source of the English word. These are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometres wide that have fragmented into countless islands.

Atoll naming is complex, as the atolls have both lengthy traditional Dhivehi names like Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, and snappy code names like Baa that refer to administrative regions and may consist of more than one geographical atoll. The code names are actually just the letters of Dhivehi alphabet, but being easier for non-Maldivians to remember and pronounce, the code names are popular in the travel industry and are hence also used here. Of the 20 administrative atoll groups, only (parts of) 10 are open to tourism, and from north to south these are:

The twenty atolls of the Maldives
Lhaviyani (Faadhihpolhu)
Raa (Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)
Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
Kaafu (North and South Male Atoll)
Site of the capital Male and the airport, home of most Maldivian resorts.
Alifu (Ari)
To the west of Kaafu, the second most popular group.
Vaavu (Felidhu)
Meemu (Mulak)
Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi)
Dhaalu (Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi)
Seenu (Addu)
The southernmost atoll, the second-largest in population and site of Gan International Airport.


The other atolls are Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Laamu, Nyavinani, Seenu, Shaviyani, and Thaa.

Cities[edit]

  • Male - The capital and largest city
  • Addu City - Second-largest city and short-lived home of the Suvadive secessionist movement

Get in[edit]

The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy -- Everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or USD100 + USD50/day [25] in cash. This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long. See Maldives Immigration website [26] for details.

Importing alcohol, pork or pornography (very broadly defined) into the Maldives is forbidden and all luggage is X-rayed on arrival. On the way out, note that exporting sand, seashells or coral is also forbidden.

By plane[edit]

Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport (IATA: MLE, ICAO: VRMM), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital Male. The airport is served by a wide array of flights to China, India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on the way.

Gan Airport (IATA: GAN, ICAO: VRMG), on the southern atoll of Addu, also serves an international flight to Colombo

Departure taxes are included in your ticket.

British Airways now flies directly from London Gatwick to Male 3 times a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Friday)

Cathay Pacific Airlines flies 4 times a week from Hong Kong (Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun)

Singapore Airlines flies daily direct from Singapore to Male, with late night timings.

Turkish Airlines flies directly from Istanbul Ataturk to Male 5 times in a week.

Emirates flies direct from Dubai to Male', twice a day.

Austrian Airlines flies between Vienna and Male once a week (outbound Vienna on Wednesday, inbound on Thursday morning)

Condor flies direct from Frankfurt to Male', twice a week (Wednesday & Sunday).

By boat[edit]

There are no regular passenger boats to the Maldives. Even yachts usually steer clear, as navigating around the reefs is hazardous and permits are expensive.

Get around[edit]

Getting around in the Maldives takes three forms: boats, sea planes (air taxis) and private yachts. The boats are the Maldivian equivalent of a car, while planes and private yachts are mainly reserved for tourists.

Air taxis and boats prefer not to operate at night, so if you arrive at the airport after dark and are going to a distant resort, you may have to spend the night in Male or at the airport hotel in Hulhule. Private transfers, though expensive can be opted for resort transfers, instead of spending the whole night at Male. Private transfers could cost anywhere between USD500-800. On the way back, there may also be a significant gap between the time your transfer arrives and your flight departure. Check with your resort or travel agent.

Public ferries and cargo boats are available for more independent-minded and budget-conscious travellers.

Independent travel to inhabited islands other than Male requires an Inter Atoll Traveling Permit (IATP) [27], and receiving one requires MVR10, a copy of your passport and — the hard part — an invitation from a resident of the island you wish to visit. Permits are not necessary for the organized island-hopping tours arranged by resorts and liveaboards. [ATTENTION: The last passage is likely to be outdated. As of May 2014, no such permits appeared to be necessary.]

By plane[edit]

No point in the Maldives is more than 90 minutes away by plane from Male, and visitors to the more far-flung resorts use air taxi services. There are two main operators: Maldivian Air Taxi [28], with red and white planes, and Trans Maldivian Airways [29], with yellow and blue planes. The services are largely identical, with both flying DHC-6 Twin Otter seaplanes that take around 15 passengers. In 2013, Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) and Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) were both acquired by the Blackstone group and the company was named Trans Maldivian Airways.

Scheduled inter-island services are provided by Island Aviation [30], which flies from Male to Gan, Hanimaadhoo, Kaadeddhoo and Kaddhoo. Travel permits are required.

By boat[edit]

Doni aux Maldives cropped.jpg

Water transport take four forms:

  • Public ferries cheap and infrequent (normally 3-6 times weekly) to population centres. See MTCC.
  • Private ferries Fringe services that complement public services to population centres. E.g. a private ferry often runs from Male to Maafushi, taking some of the strain of the public ferry. Getting information on private ferries is a challenge as they are run by and for locals, and hence there little need to put any information on the internet.
  • Scheduled speedboats These are shared, timetabled speedboats aimed at tourists providing airport transfers and occasionally 'picnic islands' day trips. See Atoll Transfer based in Male, and ICom tours who are based in Maafushi.
  • Charter speedboats that allow you to get anywhere, anytime, at high cost (more people the cheaper per person). These are much faster than public ferries and will leave when you want to. If you are visiting any resort island this is how you will need to get there. These are also known as 'taxi boats'.

The taxi boats generally take tourists to and from the islands and resort islands. They come in all different shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay in the Four Seasons has a large enclosed motor cruiser with drinks and food, while the lesser resorts have open sided dhoni type boats. No public ferries run on Friday. Timetables can be found at [31]. The nature of ferry times and their regularity can make 'island-hopping' a challenge but not impossible. More difficult is going between atolls by public ferry, as few inter-atoll ferries exist. Getting decent information (even from locals) is tough. Getting anywhere that is not a population centre will normally need a speedboat charter and very deep pockets. If trying to plan a island hopping vacation a good way to start is by looking at islands with guesthouses and contacting the guesthouses for information on how to get there, guesthouse owners will know all the options - you can then look at how to string together 2 or 3 islands using public ferries. Most popular are the islands in the South Male atoll, with Maafushi the clear tourist hub. If visiting a resort as a FIT ('free independent traveler' in the tourist jargon) you may be able to organise a transfer from Maafushi or elsewhere, saving on expensive transfers from the airport. For example transfers from Maafushi to a South Male atoll resort are around $25-$30 per person each way.

Talk[edit]

Maldivian Dhivehi, a close relative of Sinhala (spoken in Sri Lanka) but with borrowings from Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and many other languages, is the official language. It is written in a remarkable hybrid script called Thaana, which uses Arabic and Indic numbers as the base of the alphabet, written from right to left with Arabic vowel signs. The script is thought to have originated as a secret code for writing magical formulas so that outsiders can't read them, which would also explain why the ordering of the alphabet is, as far as linguists can tell, completely random!

English is widely spoken, particularly by government officials and those working in the tourism industry. English is the language of instruction in schools, which means that you will be able to communicate with the locals with varying degrees of difficulty.

Since Maldives happen to be a popular destination for German and Italian holiday goers, a sizeable number of local resort workers are able to speak fluent German and Italian. This may vary depending on the resorts you plan to visit, though.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Powderblue surgeonfish, one of the most common reef fish in the Maldives

Diving and snorkelling[edit]

Aside from making the water bungalow rock on your honeymoon, the primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving. The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometres away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.

Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, where protected waters harbour an extraordinary diversity of marine life, including some 250 species of stony and soft coral, over 1,000 types of reef fish, as well as the endangered Hawksbill and Green turtles, manta rays and whale sharks.

Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year and a 3mm shorty or Lycra diveskin is plenty. Diving is possible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm, the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30m. Decompression chambers can be found on Bandos in Kaafu (15min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on Alifu.

While diving is very good by world standards even in the immediate vicinity of Male, visibility and the chance of encountering large pelagics increases as you head to the outer atolls. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea. Safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc) being the rule rather than the exception.

The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices, but in general, you'll be looking at around US$50 for a single boat dive with your own gear and closer to USD75 without. Beware of surcharges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. Many divers opt for liveaboards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees.

Best dive sites in the Maldives

  • Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll is one of the Maldives’ most famous marine sites, Hanifaru Bay is renowned worldwide for harbouring one of the largest seasonal gatherings of manta rays. It’s also believed to be the only place in the world to see their spectacular cyclone feeding; during the west monsoons (from May until November), large amounts of plankton wash into this funnel-like lagoon, attracting as many as 200 manta rays as well as whale sharks spiralling in a free-for-all feeding frenzy.
  • Blue Hole, Baa Atoll is a coral-lined underwater chimney that narrows from 22 metres to seven metres provides a spectacular experience for divers and snorkellers alike, who may spot myriad marine life including Hawksbill turtles, triggerfish and perhaps the resident Guitar shark.

For the people who don't know how to SCUBA dive, they can start to learn to dive with a professional instructor, go snorkeling or enjoy other water sports.

Best islands for snorkeling
Snorkelers are always in search of the best islands on the Maldives with great house reef so that they can spend as much time as they want snorkeling around the island, exploring abundant marine life. Here are the best snorkeling islands on the Maldives:

  • Maalhosmadulu Island, Amilla Beach Villa Residences, Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Bandos Island, Bandos, North Male Atoll
  • Baros Island, Baros, North Male Atoll
  • Fihalholi, Fihalholi Island Resort, South Male Atoll
  • Biyadhoo, Biyadhoo Island Resort, South Male Atoll
  • Mandhoo, Mirihi Island Resort, South Ari Atoll
  • Vilamendhoo, Vilamendhoo Island Resort, South Ari Atoll
  • Machchafushi, Centara Grand Island, South Ari Atoll
  • Moofushi, Constance Moofushi Resort, South Ari Atoll
  • Maayafushi, VOI Maayafushi Resort, North Ari Atoll
  • Bathala, Bathala Island Resort, North Ari Atoll
  • Filtiheyo, Filitheyo Island Resort, Faafu Atoll

Surfing[edit]

The Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular surfing destination. Turquoise water and perfect waves makes it an ideal and uncrowded destination for surfers looking for smooth surfing conditions.

The best period for surfing in the Maldives is between March and October; the biggest waves occurring in June, July and August. This paradise is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing. The recent O’Neil Deep Blue Contests held in the Maldives has placed Maldives firmly on the world’s surf map. While most of the recognized surf breaks are in Male’ Atoll, there is certainly more to be discovered. South Central atolls Laamu and Huvadhoo are more exposed to swell moving up from the Antarctic and is the first stop to unleash its power on the fringes of the south south/west of these atolls. Most surfing information is focused on Male and resorts around Male, which sadly in recent years has become overcrowded with safari boats and aggressive tourists all fighting for waves. The southern atolls are still quite with world class breaks....some secret spots to be found.

Specialized companies organize tailored multi-day boat trips in the region, allowing surfers to move easily from one point to another and maximizing the surfing time.

Since 2010 Maldivian law changed, allowing Tourists to vacation on local islands, away from resorts and safari boats. These local boutique hotels offer realistic prices for surf travelers, who wish to stay on land and experience the real Maldives.

Buy[edit][add listing]

The local currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa sometimes symbolised locally as "Rf" placed before or after the amount and divided into 100 laari. Throughout our guides we use the international symbolisation of MVR placed before the amount with no intervening space.

However, by law resorts price services in US dollars (USD) and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's absolutely no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts. Most hotels have a shop but this is limited to diving and holiday essentials (sun cream, sarongs, disposable cameras, etc.) Some excursions from resorts will take you to local islands where there are handicraft type things to buy, but they are typically made outside the Maldives and sold at outrageous markups.

If you are heading to Male or the other inhabited atolls, exchanging some rufiyaa will come in handy. The coins, in particular, are quite attractive and make an interesting souvenir in themselves, but the smaller denominations are rarely used or seen. The official exchange rate to the US dollar is floated but practically 15:1, but while dollars are near-universally accepted, shops usually exchange them at 15:1 or even 10:1. You can get select major currencies exchanged at the airport after arrival at the forex center in the airport itself.

If you want to get a local SIM card, there is a Dhiraagu shop (the primary local telecom company) just to the left of the airport arrivals area upon exiting. A local cell number is needed to purchase time at many Wi-Fi spots around the country (sometimes reachable from where liveaboards anchor for the night).

Costs[edit]

Maldives are expensive for those who have comfort- and service-oriented tourism in mind. Resorts have a monopoly on services for their guests and charge accordingly: for mid-range resorts, USD1000 per week per couple is a conservative budget for meals, drinks and excursions, above and beyond the cost of flights and accommodation. Practically anything — including hotel rooms if booked locally — gets slapped with an arbitrary 10% "service charge", but tips are expected on top. The service charge is, by law, divided among the staff at months end, and hence is a proxy employee profit sharing scheme.

At the same time, for a traveller who has time, Maldives can be an affordable and possibly rewarding experience, with prices comparable to the Caribbean (Cuba aside), but extremely poor value when compared to other South and South East Asian countries, if one's aim is adventure tourism. For people focused on sampling the local life and ambiance away from the tourist crowd, the prices are roughly similar to Malaysia.

A number of inhabited islands have guesthouses with typical prices $50-100 per room, but expect the arbitrary 10% "service charge" and 6% GST and maybe 3.5% if you need to pay with a credit card on top - $75 soon comes nearer to $100. At more remote islands, renting rooms in villages is possible at even less than that. Food is inexpensive (and fish curries are delicious), but without variety and anything imported (which is almost everything) is expensive. Public ferries will transfer you between different islands of the same atoll for a few dollars (though for less obvious locations, there will typically be 1 ferry per day/two and no ferries on Fridays). For transfers to remote atolls, one can negotiate with cargo boats, which would often take people for USD15-40, depending on the destination. Cargo boats do not have schedules and depart when loaded. One may expect 1 boat in 1-3 days for each atoll.

It is important to have in mind that staying on inhabited islands implies respecting the strict Muslim norms (no alcohol, modest dress, reserved behavior). At the same time, the locals are very welcoming and the experience may be much deeper and more rewarding than staying in resorts, depending on one's mindset.

One thing you will save money on is alcohol. In fact it is free because you can't buy it (outside resort islands that cost a fortune to reach (private transfer required). The real budget killer comes with doing anything that is not sitting on a beach or swimming off the shore as getting to better reefs, uninhabited island and anything that needs a private boat is expensive ($150-200/boat) and there is just not enough tourists (or lack of organisation) to have larger group tours leaving regularly as in somewhere like Thailand that could cut and share costs.

Eat[edit][add listing]

All the resorts are self contained so they have at least one restaurant, which generally serve the type of cuisine expected by their guests. ( i.e. modern European or generic Asian). Breakfast is almost always included, and most resorts offer the option of half-board, which means you get a dinner buffet, and full board, which means you get a lunch and dinner buffet. These can limit the damage compared to ordering a la carte, but your options are typically very limited and drinks are often not covered, not necessarily even water. If you're planning on drinking a lot, it may be worthwhile to go all inclusive, but even this typically restricts you to house drinks.

Male has a thriving restaurant scene, aimed both at tourists and the increasingly moneyed Maldivian elite. Outside of greater Male the options are limited, with small populated islands having zero or one cafe (called hotaa) selling local Maldivian food at prices as low as MVR20 for a complete meal.

Maldivian cuisine[edit]

A typical Maldivian meal: masroshi pastries, mas riha fish curry, papadhu, grilled fish, rice and sweet black tea.

Maldivian food revolves largely around fish (mas), in particular tuna (kandu mas), and draws heavily from the Sri Lankan and south Indian tradition, especially Kerala. Dishes are often hot, spicy and flavored with coconut, but use very few vegetables. A traditional meal consists of rice, a clear fish broth called garudhiya and side dishes of lime, chili and onions. Curries known as riha are also popular and the rice is often supplemented with roshi, unleavened bread akin to Indian roti, and papadhu, the Maldivian version of crispy Indian poppadums. Some other common dishes include:

  • mas huni — shredded smoked fish with grated coconuts and onions, the most common Maldivian breakfast
  • fihunu mas — barbequed fish basted with chili
  • bambukeylu hiti — breadfruit curry

Snacks called hedhikaa, almost invariably fish-based and deep-fried, can be found in any Maldivian restaurant.

  • bajiya — pastry stuffed with fish, coconut and onions
  • gulha — pastry balls stuffed with smoked fish
  • keemia — deep-fried fish rolls
  • kulhi borkibaa — spicy fish cake
  • masroshimas huni wrapped in roshi bread and baked
  • theluli mas — fried fish with chili and garlic

Drink[edit][add listing]

Legally, if you're 18 and not a Muslim, you can buy and drink alcohol. However since the Maldives are a Islamic nation, alcohol is effectively banned for the local population.

However, nearly all resorts and liveaboard boats are licensed to serve alcohol, usually with a steep markup. The expatriate liquor permit which used to allow expats to buy alcohol for their own consumption has been removed. The only place near Male, aside from resorts, where people can drink alcohol is at the Hulhule Island Hotel, commonly known as HIH or the airport hotel.

Maldivians generally do not drink alcohol although this is less true of the younger generation. They are, however, unhappy about being filmed or photographed while drinking.

Tap water in resorts may or may not be drinkable -- check with management. Bottled water in the resorts is extortionately priced, with USD5/bottle being typical. Bottled water in Male or on an island is much cheaper. It can be a good idea to bring a few 5 litre bottles from Male to your resort if you have the option.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Accommodation in the Maldives can be broadly separated in to three categories

1) The tourist resort - by far and away the dominant sector, with over 30,000 beds as of 2015. Resorts come in many shapes and sizes from luxury resorts to less expensive resorts, there are many options catering almost exclusively to the package tour market. However independent visitors, often booking through an online agency, are becoming more popular, especially with those looking to combine staying in guesthouses with a few days in a resort.

2) The Male hotel - this sector caters for the islander visiting the capital for a few days or weeks, the businessman staying in Male for work, and the international tourist, staying in Male for the night due to its proximity to the airport.

3) The guesthouse - currently going through something of a revolution, with guesthouses on inhabited islands now the fastest growing sector, but still accounting for less than 2,000 beds. This is the more affordable option for independent tourists exploring the atolls. Guesthouses range from simple establishments with 2 or 3 rooms, to proper hotels located near the 'bikini beach' on an inhabited island. Due to the lack of eating options on many islands, guesthouses often have half board and full board options.

The Maldives has a well established and mature tourism industry accounting for more than 25% of the economy. This translates to a sophisticated network of tour agencies, marketing firms, and last minute discounters who all know how to maximise profits and squeeze the most out of each resort. Add to this the seemingly hundreds of internet websites and booking companies selling resort holidays. For the independent traveler looking to book their own holiday this presents a labyrinth of different options that can make organising an independent trip quite exhausting - every resort has its own website, review websites offer tens of thousands of reviews, booking websites offer 100s of discounts and special offers depending on room type and meal plan - planning a resort visit can soon become an internet trawling nightmare.

Be aware that price discrimination is rampant - the same room in the same resort for a given day will have a different price depending on your nationality and whether you are booking direct or through an agency, and may vary by agency (although major internet booking websites tend to all offer the same price once you take tax and service charges in to account). If you are only considering staying at a resort, and not visiting any islands independently, do consider booking a standard package tour from a travel agency in your home country (and shopping around agencies to compare prices) - this will most likely give you the best price. If you are trying to independently book a resort, try phoning an agency in Male with a rough idea of the type of resort you are looking for, and seeing what they offer, you can then compare with internet prices. Everything will be quoted in US dollars.

Tips for getting the best price for a resort

1. Contact a few agencies in Male as well as checking prices on booking websites and resort websites. Some agencies will have negotiated rates with certain resorts that can be 30% or more below what is quoted online. To find Male based agencies put 'travel and tours' in to your favourite online map, eg [32]

2. See if you can organise your own transfer. This works best for resorts in the North and South Male atolls. Taking a public ferry or shared speedboat to Maafushi, then a transfer (eg with ICom) to a nearby resort island, will work out much cheaper than a speedboat transfer direct from the airport. For example the Olhuveli resort, in the South Male Atoll, charges US$277 per person for a one way speedboat transfer to/ from the airport, getting a public ferry to Maafushi (US$2 per person), and then an ICom speedboat transfer to Olhuveli from Maafushi (US$30 per person) is a significant saving.

3. Book half-board rather than Bed & Breakfast. Evening meals can be furiously expensive ($80+ per person excluding drinks for a 2 course meal). Breakfasts tend to be huge buffets, lessening the need for lunch / full board.

4. Be very clear on whether the price includes tax, service charges, credit card fees, and airport transfers. Many online prices exclude these, which combined add 23%+ to your bill.

5. Be aware of the cost of activities in your chosen resort. The more expensive the resort, the more expensive the activities. If you want to do more than just relax on the beach, the cost of activities do add up ($80 per person for a 3 hour snorkeling trip, $110 per person for a sunset cruise, $160 for a 3 hour trip to a local island etc.)


Resorts[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under USD100
Mid-range USD100-300
Splurge Over USD300

Most resorts take up their own island (from the tiny 250x250m to the sprawling 1500x1500m), meaning that the ratio of beach to guests must be one of the best in the world and it is hard to imagine that you would ever have to struggle to find your own private piece of beach to relax on. Many have a "no shoes" policy and with such soft sands it is easy to love this idea.

The range and themes or the resorts is impressive, and most people will find one they like. Broadly speaking, however, they can be grouped into three brackets:

  • Anantara Veli, Maldives, P.O. Box 2098 Veligandu, South Male Atoll Male, Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 664 4100, [1]. The Anantara Veli Maldives resort if ideal for couples and friends getaway. The resort has an amazing view towards the palm fringed island the pristine coral reefs of south Male. Further the Resort is only just 35 minutes from Malé International Airport. USD 705. (3.967428,73.505765) edit
  • Anantara Kihavah Maldives, P.O. Box 2014 Kihavah Huravalhi Island Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 660 1020, [2]. Anantara Kihavah Maldives is located in the Baa Atoll island and near the Hanifaru Bay. The resort is 30-minute seaplane flight from Malé International Airport. The Resort consist of 79 spacious private pool villas, ranging from 260 to 2,730 square meters USD 1,054. (5.296123,73.057086) edit
  • Anantara Dhigu Maldives, P.O. Box 2098 Dhigufinolhu, South Male Atoll Male, Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 664 4100, [3]. The Anantara Dhigu Maldives in located in the Dhigufinolhu island in Maldives . The Resort has a magnificent beach area where many water sports are taken place. The Resort also provides visitors with a tennis court, gym , and an infinity pool USD 516. (3.97284,73.502311) edit
  • Anantara Naladhu, Maldives, P.O. Box 2098 Veligandu Huraa, South Male Atoll Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 664 4105, [4]. The Anantara Naladhu Maldives offers expansives villas and houses each with a private pool with an amazing view towards the Indian ocean. USD 999. (3.971591,73.506913) edit
  • PER AQUUM Niyama Maldives, Dhaalu Atoll PO Box 2002 Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 676 2828, [5]. The Peraquum Niyama Resort is located in the Niyama island with white sands which is ideal for honeymooners, active couples and style-savvy families. The resort offers a variety of underwater activities as well as relaxing spa treatments for all. USD 570. (2.680999,72.931463) edit
  • PER AQUUM Huvafen fushi Maldives, North Male Atoll PO Box 2017 Republic of Maldives, (+96)0 6644 222, [6]. The Peraquum Huvafen Fushi Resort is an ideal private getaway for couples with lots of fun activities such as saltwater floatation pools, yacht rides, seaplane rides and many more USD 715. (4.368476,73.369821) edit
  • Dive resorts, designed primarily for divers. Geared expressly for people who want to spend most of their time underwater, facilities on land are limited, but the house reef is usually excellent. Often found in the more far-flung parts of the archipelago.
  • Holiday resorts, designed primarily for families. These are large and have a full complement of facilities (multiple restaurants, day-care centers, etc), but don't have over-the-top luxury and have less privacy. Most of these are located on Kaafu, with easy access from Male.
  • Luxury resorts, designed primarily for guests seeking romance, quality services in an idyllic location. The place to be if you want designer furniture, gourmet food and a plasma TV in an overwater villa reachable only by rowboat, and are willing to pay top dollar for the privilege.
  • Maafushivaru Maldives, Ari Atoll, +960 668-0001, [7]. Maafushivaru Maldives ✅, which is surrounded by clear waters with a house reef, powder-white soft sand and lush vegetation. This 500 m long island features thatch-roofed villas, a spa and gym. Contemporary beach or over-water villas are air conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV with DVD player and iPod docking.  edit
  • Aveyla Manta Village, Dharavandhoo, +960 332-2922, [8]. Aveyla Manta Village ✅ is a modern hotel housing a spacious lounge area, a rooftop terrace and a games room. The hotel offers free WiFi in public areas and complimentary continental breakfast in the restaurant. Each room includes air-conditioning and heating facilities as well as a flat-screen TV and private bathroom.  edit
  • Waadheege, Fuvahmulah, +960 754-1032, [9]. Waadheege ✅ offers a garden and free WiFi. Among the various facilities are a terrace and a shared lounge. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk.At the guest house, the rooms are fitted with a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV. Each room is fitted with air conditioning, and selected rooms include a terrace.  edit
  • G 10 Beach Inn, Hulhumalé, +960 777-3842, [10]. G 10 Beach Inn ✅ is tucked away in Hulhumale only 4 km away from Male International Airport. This charming accommodation is only steps away from the crystal clear waters of Hulhumale Beach. It provides guests with free WiFi access.Rooms are tastefully furnished and clean. All rooms come with air conditioning, a fridge  edit
  • Sunny Suites, Hulhumalé, +960 335-3035, [11]. Sunny Suites ✅ features rooms with city views and free WiFi. A 7-minute walk from Ferry Terminal Park, the property provides a private beach area, as well as a terrace. The rooms include a terrace.Guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV. Each room is fitted with a private bathroom and a bath.  edit
  • City Grand, Hulhumalé, +960 335-5955, [12]. City Grand ✅ offers modern and comfortable accommodation with free WiFi access in the entire property. Set close to the beach, guests can enjoy activities such as snorkelling, canoeing, windsurfing and diving.Fitted with tiled flooring, air-conditioned rooms include a wardrobe, clothes rack, a minibar, a flat-screen TV  edit
  • Beach Palace, Hulhumalé, +960 775-3910, [13]. Beach Palace ✅ welcomes guests with free internet access and an in-house restaurant. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.All the rooms at Beach Palace are tastefully furnished with a flat-screen TV, minibar and writing table. En suite bathrooms come with free toiletries and hot-water showers.  edit
  • Loona Hotel, Hulhumalé, +960 335-6794, [14]. Loona Hotel ✅ offers elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. A 15-minute drive from Male International Airport, it features several water sports, free bike rental and free parking.Fitted with classic wood furnishings, Loona’s air-conditioned rooms have draped curtains and chandeliers.  edit
  • Ashaz Inn, Hulhumalé, +960 335-9007, [15]. Ashaz Inn✅ is located just 1.9 miles from the Male International Airport. Free WiFi access is available in the public areas of the property.Each air-conditioned room here will provide you with a flat-screen satellite TV, tea/coffee maker and minibar. Featuring a shower, private bathroom comes with a hairdryer.  edit
  • Sunset Royal, Hulhumalé, +, [16]. Sunset Royal ✅ provides affordable accommodation featuring air-conditioned rooms with breakfast and free WiFi. The inn is only a few steps away from the white sandy beach.Each room at Sunset Royal will provide you with a cable TV and city views. There is also an en suite bathroom equipped with hot/cold water shower.  edit
  • Eve Caurica, Hulhumalé, +960 335-9715, [17]. Eve Caurica ✅ is set in Hulhule.Every room is equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Certain units include a seating area to relax in after a busy day. Some units feature views of the sea or city. Eve Caurica features free WiFi throughout the property.Bike hire is available. Number of activities are avaible  edit
  • Airport Beach Hotel, Hulhumalé, +960 795-0494, [18]. Airport Beach Hotel ✅ is located in Hulhumale just 4 km away from Male International Airport. This beachfront property welcomes guests with an outdoor swimming pool, free motorbike rentals and free WiFi access. The property has a spa centre and and a rooftop spa bath. Rooms are bright, comfortable and air-conditioned.  edit
  • Coral Queen Inn, Hulhumalé, +960 335-0040, [19]. Coral Queen Inn ✅ has its own buffet restaurant and is just 4 km from Malé Airport on Hulhumale. Guests have access to free WiFi in all areas of the property.All rooms have a flat-screen satellite TV, safe, electric kettle and minibar. Private bathroom includes a shower, hairdryer and free toiletries. Friendly staff.  edit
  • Laguna Boutique, Hulhumalé, +960 335 4555, [20]. Laguna Boutique ✅ offers accommodation in Hulhumale. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.Every room at this guest house is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Rooms include a private bathroom.You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property.The area is popular for snorkeling and windsurfing.  edit
  • WhiteShell Island Hotel & Spa, Maafushi, +960 797-1516, [21]. WhiteShell Island Hotel & Spa ✅ is a beautiful property located in Maafushi Island. Stylish rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi access.Fitted with hardwood floors and elegant décor, rooms feature a private balcony. A flat-screen TV, minibar and personal safe are all included.  edit
  • Kaani Lodge, Male, +960 300-3626, [22]. Kaani Lodge ✅ provides basic air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen satellite TV. A rooftop cafe and free Wi-Fi in public areas are provided. The front desk operates 24 hours.Kaani Lodge is a great stop-over point for guests going to the Maldivian islands. From Male Jetty, it is a 10-minute dhoni (boat) ride to Male.  edit
  • Surfview Raalhugandu, Male, +960 330-1005, [23]. Surfview Raalhugandu ✅ is offering accommodation in Male City. This property is set a short distance from attractions such as Villingili Ferry Terminal, Henveiru Park, and National Football Stadium. Hulhumale Ferry Terminal is 500 m from the property. The rooms in the guest house are equipped with a satellite TV.  edit
  • Rasdhoo Sea View, Rasdhoo, +960 777-7860, [24]. Rasdhoo Sea View ✅ provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi on Rasdu Atoll. The hotel has its own restaurant.An ideal spot for snorkelling and diving with hammerhead sharks, Rasdhoo Sea View is 60 km from Malé Airport.Each room has private bathroom, flat-screen satellite/cable TV and safe. A minibar is included.  edit
Overwater bungalows, Thulhagiri, Kaafu

A Maldivian classic is the overwater bungalow, built on stilts directly above a lagoon. While these look fabulous and sound appealing, they have their downsides:

  • They're usually packed tightly together (often sharing a wall), meaning little privacy.
  • Especially at low tide, the water level may be too low to allow swimming or snorkelling.
  • Resort facilities may be a fair distance from the bungalows.
  • The lapping of waves is romantic enough on a calm day, but can make it next to impossible to sleep if a storm blows through.

These factors vary from resort to resort, so research carefully. A good one is definitely worth trying at least once, but many Maldives repeaters prefer a bungalow with a private beach.

When considering where to go, factor in transport time and costs from the airport: the more far-flung resorts generally require an expensive seaplane transfer and you may have to stay overnight at the airport on the way. On the upside, the further away you are from Male, the more peaceful the islands and the better the diving.

Many resorts, especially the smaller dive-oriented ones, cater largely to a single nationality, leading to "Italian" resorts, "Dutch" resorts, "German" resorts, etc. While almost all welcome any nationality and have some English-speaking staff on hand, you may be cut off from any evening entertainment and have problems eg. diving if you don't speak the local lingo.

Guesthouses[edit]

By now there are many guesthouses on inhabited islands. Maafushi island is popular among tourists looking for hassle-free accommodations of this sort. Low end prices are €25-35.

More examples include: Equator Village on Addu Atoll, a former RAF base converted to a 78 room hotel. Cost is around USD100-150 pp/per day all inclusive (includes regular brand alcohol). Another unique location is Keyodhoo Guest House, this guest house is located on top of a recreation centre build by Australian after the tsunami (USD20 pp/per night). Most travellers to these locations are scuba divers for the diving or adventure travellers. Other Inns/B&B can also be found on Vaavu Atoll, Dhaalu Atoll, Kaafu Atoll, North and South Male Atoll. Only a few of these Inn/B&B have their own pool. Be sure to inquire if bikini is allowed on the local beach. Travel between the inn and beach are usually very close but be sure to dress appropriately with Maldive customs.

Village homestays[edit]

More independent-minded travellers and those looking for cultural experience may consider renting rooms in villages. This will require either walking through the village and asking around if you're particularly confident of your social skills, or inquiring in Male whether someone can put you in contact with their friends or relatives on remote island for such an informal homestay. Prices can be as low as 15 euros per night for a clean functional room.

  • For stays on the Fonadhoo island of the Laamu atoll, you can attempt to contact Mr. Wajeeh at 9990967, 9999364, [email protected] . He can also arrange pick-ups from Kadhdhoo airport (KDO).

Learn[edit]

The education system, although having many problems such as poor student literacy rates in English (the medium of instruction for most subjects), is freely available for all Maldivians.

Work[edit]

Getting a job in the Maldives can be tricky. It is not the kind of place where you can just turn up and start job hunting. Generally the resorts take on a mix of local and international staff so you need to approach the resort Human Resources departments. There is a good mix of jobs but a lot of the roles are diving based (divemasters, instructors, photographers, etc).

Most resorts are predominantly one or two nationalities so finding the resorts that match your language skills helps. After that experience always helps (especially for diving instructors as the Maldives are well known for their strong currents and half of the time the currents will take you straight out into the Indian Ocean).

Generally if you get a job with a resort then they will get you a work permit and pay for your flight, food and accommodation. They don't really have much choice-- it's hardly as if you can pop out to the supermarket and pick up a pizza for dinner.

All foreign workers have to have a series of medical tests before you can start work in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. This includes a blood sample (lots of tests including HIV as well as x-ray etc). It is quick and easy but they are very uncommunicative about what they are doing.

Stay safe[edit]

Crime is rare. Generally, Maldivians are honest, helpful and welcoming people. There are no drugs anywhere in the resorts but many Maldivians have easy access to drugs, reportedly 50% of the young generation are drug users; there is a growing drug problem among the local population and so petty crime to support it has arisen. Take the usual precautions such as not leaving money and valuables lying around, and use in-room safe deposit boxes. Take note that every $50 US you spend at a bar or restaurant represents 10 days' wages for cleaners.

LGBT visitors[edit]

Homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives. However, this law is for Maldivians and does not apply for visiting travelers.

Stay healthy[edit]

There are no serious problems with diseases in the Maldives. Beware that tap water may not be drinkable at all resorts: enquire locally. The Maldives are malaria-free, but some islands do have mosquitoes and catching dengue fever from them is possible, albeit highly unlikely. For those coming from regions infected by yellow fever, an international certificate of inoculation is required.

Most of the problems come from diving or sun related injuries. Heat stroke always cause problems in the tropics but couple that with divers spending hours at a time on a boat wearing a wetsuit and overheating of one form or another is a real issue. Keeping this in mind, such injuries will be easily avoidable as long as you drink lots of water and get into the shade as much as possible.

Lots of the resorts have their own doctor or nurse and most are within easy reach of the decompression chambers. Male has an efficient and fairly modern hospital but bear in mind that it is a long way to get medically evacuated from.Create category

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