The Maldives Islands is a place that we associate with paradisiacal beaches, white sands and crystal clear waters, but many people do not know where they are or that they are a country in themselves.
The Republic of Maldives, Maldive Islands or simply Maldives, is an independent island country, and it does not have any territory on the continent.
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About the Maldives
Maldives is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean, 450 kilometres from India and southwest of Sri Lanka. The islands are also often considered to be in the Laccadive Sea within the Indian Ocean itself. They belong to the continent of Asia, more specifically it is one of the southernmost points of the Asian continent.
It is a tropical country that includes 26 atolls with a curious shape of giant rings that are made up of more than 1000 coral islands.
Where is Maldives located? – Map of Maldives
Here is the location of the Maldives on the map:
Surface of Maldives
The Maldives Islands are a series of coral atolls built from the crowns of an ancient submerged volcanic mountain range. All the islands are low, none rise more than 2 meters above sea level.
The reefs form a barrier that protect the islands from the destructive effects of the monsoons. The rainy season, from May to August, is brought by the southwest monsoon; while from the months of December to March, the northeast monsoon brings dry and light winds.
The atolls have sandy beaches, lagoons, and lush growth of coconut trees, along with breadfruit trees and tropical shrubs. Fish abound in the reefs, lagoons and seas adjacent to the islands, making it an ideal place for snorkelling and diving.
Little history of Maldives
The archipelago was inhabited as early as the 5th century BC by Buddhist people, probably from Sri Lanka and southern India.
The Portuguese settled in Malé from 1558 until their expulsion in 1573. In the 17th century, the islands were a sultanate under the protection of the Dutch rulers of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and, after the British took possession of Ceylon in 1796, the islands became a British protectorate, formalized in 1887. In 1932 the first democratic constitution was proclaimed, where the country remained a sultanate. A republic was proclaimed in 1953, but during that year the country became a sultanate again.
In 1965, the Maldives Islands achieved full political independence from the British, and in 1968 a new republic was inaugurated and the sultanate abolished. The last British troops left on July 26, 1965, a date celebrated in the Maldives as Independence Day. Maldives became a member of the Commonwealth in 1982.
Political System of the Maldive Islands
The constitution of the Maldives was adopted in 2008. The head of state and government is the president, assisted by a vice president and a cabinet. The president and vice president are directly elected by universal suffrage for a maximum of two five-year terms. The cabinet is made up of the vice president, government ministers, and the attorney general. With the exception of the vice president, the president appoints cabinet members.
The 2008 constitution established Islam as the official state religion. Non-Muslims cannot become citizens, and the government is prohibited from enacting laws that contravene the principles of Islam.
The highest legal authority is the Supreme Court. The president in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission appoints its judges. All judges must be Sunni Muslims.
Capital of the Republic
The capital of the Republic of Maldives is Male. Located in Kaafu Atoll (or also called Malé Atoll), Malé is the largest city in the country with just over 100,000 inhabitants. The island on which it is located, with an area of 2 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, is urbanized throughout its area.
Malé is not of great tourist interest, since it is a very densely populated city and the only area of the country where we can see buildings of considerable height. It has quite narrow streets and most of them are very busy. Malé, the capital of the Maldives Islands, is the main source of supplies for the rest of the country.
Here we visit Malé in a long 30-minute walk:
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The culture of the Maldives is influenced by different visitors who came to the Maldives throughout the ages. We can see Indian, Sri Lankan, Arab, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian and African cultural traits.
The main language of the country is Dhivehi. The Dhivehi is a unique blend of Arabic, English, Hindi, Sinhalese, and Urdu. Hence, it is similar to many of the languages spoken in North India, Southeast Asia, and Sri Lanka. Of course, since tourism is a major industry in the country, almost all international languages are spoken in hotels and resorts, such as English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. Most travelers will easily find someone who can communicate with them fluently.
Tourism in the Maldives Islands
Although the Maldives Islands is not an inexpensive or affordable destination for many people, in recent years new accommodation options have been created to adapt the stay to a greater number of potential clients.
Here we show you how to travel to the Maldives, with a video taken by ourselves:
Getting to Maldives – Maldives Airports
The Maldives Islands are served almost exclusively at Malé International Airport, whose official name is Velena International Airport (MLE). This airport is located on the artificial island of Hulhule, in the North Malé Atoll.
A large number of airlines operate at Malé International Airport. SriLankan Airlines ranks first as the largest foreign airline as they now operate 35 weekly flights to and from the Maldives. Other airlines that fly here are Aeroflot, Air France, Air India, Bangkok Airways, Cathay Pacific, Condor, Etihad, Emirates, FlyMe, Hong Kong Airlines, Lufthansa, Korean Air or Turkish Airlines.
There are also some other very small domestic airports found in and around the Maldives Islands. These domestic airports provide you with an easy way to get from one island to other, and you may be heading to one if you are taking a private transfer by plane. Some of these airports are Ifuru, Kadhdhoo, Dhaalu, Fuvahmulah, Thimarafushi, and Kooddoo Airport.
Types of Islands, for tourism in the Maldives – Resorts
The resorts are private islands for tourism in the Maldives. They are perhaps the most famous type of accommodation in the Maldives and what any tourist thinks of when visiting them. They are usually very complete complexes, cared for down to the smallest detail and where we will spend a stay in the closest thing we can find to paradise. They usually offer numerous activities to their guests and have a very complete restaurant service. On the resort islands you do not have to follow the strict laws of the official Muslim religion in the country.
Because of all this, it is the most expensive type of accommodation in the Maldives.
Here we visit a room in a Maldives resort:
Maldives local islands
The local islands were opened a few years ago to international tourism and are a cheaper option for tourism in the Maldives. The best known are Maafushi, Thulusdhoo, Gulhi, Rasdhoo …
Here we see a local island in the Maldives, Thulusdhoo:
Hotels on Maldives local islands
Urban hotel accommodation has recently become popular with tourists visiting the Maldives. In fact, it has been only a few years that it has been allowed by law to stay on local islands. The tourist can stay on a local island in Maldives and enjoy a variety of excursions, visit local shops and dine at its restaurants. It is one of the ways to save on vacation in Maldives. They are usually 3 or 4 star hotels, quite basic.
Guesthouses in Maldives
Guesthouses are the cheapest category of accommodation in the Maldives. It is defined as “an establishment that is not a resort or a tourist hotel, but that has been developed in accordance with the standards determined by the Ministry of Tourism to provide accommodation to the tourists and the family of the house is looking after the guest.” .
More Info about Maldives islands
Check our post about Cheap hotel in Maldives
More information, photos, videos and curiosities of the Maldives: