History of Maldives:
The first known settlers arrived from Ceylon and southern India
around 500 BC as the islands were on Indian Ocean trade routes.
This introduced both Buddhist and Hindu religions, while Arab
traders, many centuries later, brought Islam to the shores.
It wasn't until the 16th Century that the Europeans got
involved. First Portuguese merchants arrived, then in the 17th
century, the Dutch took hold but without establishing a colonial
administration. Finally in 1867, the British established a
protectorate which allowed them to build defense facilities.
Economy Overview: 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
When tourism first arrived, the Moslem government was careful to
contain development in a small area near the airport. In 1972
there was just one resort but as time went by tourism became a
major part of the economy.
Male' - the Capital
Male', is the capital of the Republic of Maldives. The city is
located on Male' Island in the Kaafu Atoll. Although Male' is
geographically located in Kaafu Atoll, administratively it is
not considered part of it. A commercial harbor is located in the
Island. It is the heart of all commercial activities in the
country. Many government buildings and agencies are located on
the waterfront. Male' International Airport is on adjacent
Hulhule Island which includes a seaplane base for internal
transportation. The island is heavily urbanised, the city taking
up essentially its entire landmass. It is the world's most
densely populated city.
Fact File - Maldives
Conventional Long Form: Republic of
Local Long Form:
Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Southern Asia, group of atolls in
the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India
26 July 1965 (from UK)
Red with a large green rectangle in
the center bearing a vertical white crescent; the closed side of
the crescent is on the hoist side of the flag
1,190 coral islands grouped into 26
atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist
resorts); archipelago with strategic location astride and along
major sea lanes in Indian Ocean.
Coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E
298 km2 (204th)
115 sq mi
- Water (%): Negligible
359,008 (July 2006 est.)
South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
Maldivian Dhivehi (dialect of
Sinhala, script derived from Arabic), English spoken by most
Tropical; Hot, Humid; Dry, North
East Monsoon (November to March); Rainy, South West Monsoon
(June to August)
Water Temperatures: 25-29°C.
Best time to Visit:
November to April
1 INR = 0.274138 MVR
1 EUR = 16.3271 MVR
1 USD = 12.8000 MVR Rufiyaa
comes in notes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. One Rufiya is
divided into 100 laari (coins).
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find out Current Exchange Rate
240 volts with British style plugs
When to Go
Since the Maldives has warm, tropical weather year-round it is
always a good time to visit. There are particular times during
the year when such things as resort prices or water clarity (for
diving) change which may be of interest to you. If you visit
during the dry season, which is from December to April, you get
a few extra hours of sunshine and a less likely chance of rain.
However, this is the most popular time to visit, and resorts can
be fully booked with prices that are higher during these months.
The Christmas and New Year holidays are the busiest and most
expensive part of this season. During the
wet season, from May
to November, rain, cloudy skies and higher humidity can be more
likely (though you can see many sunny days during this time). There are fewer tourists and lower prices during this period.
For divers, November and April are good months to visit since
the seasonal change can bring increased water clarity and better
What to Pack
We have compiled a "what to
pack" list specifically made for
the needs of a traveler in Maldives Island. Staying in resorts or
in hotels in Male' minimizes the list as they provide most
everything. There are also shops located in resorts and in Male'
where you should find your basic needs.
with high SPF (Sun Protection Factor)
Hat or Cap for shade from the sun
Light cotton clothing
Personal diving or snorkeling equipments (resorts as well as dive shops on Male' rent out this equipment)
Credit Card (Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Diners Club, and Eurocard are accepted)
What to Wear
We recommend you bring light cotton clothing to wear during your
stay in the Maldives. Since it is generally hot and humid,
shorts and t-shirts are the best types to bring. Business dress
is casual, and when visiting inhabited islands such as Male', it
is asked that visitors dress modestly. If you plan to visit
during the "wet" season (May through November), we recommend you
bring a light rain jacket.
*Nudism is prohibited
Healthcare in the Maldives is limited but sufficient. All resort
islands have first-aid facilities to tend to your healthcare
needs while on vacation.
Food and water are safe to drink and eat on all resorts. Food is
generally safe to eat on Male' and other inhabited islands
although you may want to drink bottled water or canned/bottled
beverages without ice.
Most of the problems come from diving or sun related injuries.
Heat stroke etc always cause problems in the tropics but team
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.
In preparation for the certification of the Malaria Free
Maldives, all incoming passengers from malaria-infected
countries are screened.
For Certification of Sanitary Port an organized Medical Service,
adequate staff and equipment provides in and out passengers care
and attend Medical emergencies at port.
Disinfections is compulsory for Cargo aircraft and passenger
aircrafts coming from Yellow Fever and Malaria endemic areas.
People of Maldives:
Maldivians are very peaceful and hospitable. In this small
nation over 200,000 people live, with approximately 70,000 of
them on the capital city of Male. Male is a mixture of
traditional and modern culture. The older generation clings to
their way of life and the younger generation embraces western
trends that are evident in their dress and music. Women are not
as restricted as those in other Muslim countries. They are
allowed to serve in the military and hold prominent jobs. Women
are not required to wear the head to toe burke; however some of
the more devout women choose to wear a head covering. All
natives have access to education. Most school children are
taught English as well as their native language of Dhivehi.
Festivals & Culture
Maldivians have great national pride. In all festival planning a
feeling of family is sensed as women, men, and children share in
the preparation of food, decoration, and entertainment
programmes. Most celebrations will find a blending of tradition
and modern entertainment. Folk dances and music using wooden
instruments may be followed by modern jazz or pop music. People
from all professions work side by side in a spirit of
co-operation for these celebrations.
The Maldives are an island nation in the Indian Ocean, and its
culture is an amalgamation of Malaysian, Indonesian, East
African, Arab and Indian influences. Few Art forms of Maldives
Boduberu: This most popular
form of indigenous music is performed by about 15 people,
including three drummers and a lead singer. They are accompanied
by a small bell and an "Onugandu" - a small piece of bamboo with
horizontal grooves, from which raspy sounds are produced by
scrapping. Bodu Beru is usually sung after a hard day's work.
Today, Bodu Beru is an important item of entertainment at stage
shows, celebrations and festivals. The costume of the performers
is a sarong and a white short sleeved banian.
Thaara: Thaara is the
Dhivehi word for tambourine. It is performed by about 22 people
seated in two parallel rows facing each other. It is a type of
music which has a semi religious touch, and is distinct to men
only. The performers wear white sarongs and white shirts with a
green scarf tied around their necks. Thaara was introduced to
The Maldives by the Gulf Arabs who came here in the mid 17th
century. A type of music similar to Thaara is still practised in
the Gulf and in south Arabia.
Langiri: Langiri is a dance
and music played by young men as an evening stage show. To
perform Langiri each dancer holds two sticks that are about two
feet long. The sticks known as "Langiri Dhandi" are decorated,
each having a colourful artificial flower at the head end. In
the dance the performers sit in tow rows of twelve or in six and
as they sway their bodies waist up and at the same time keep
clapping the Langiri Dhandi in different styles.
Bolimalaafath Neshun: This
is a dance performed by women. The dance shows the old tradition
of women offering gifts to the sultan, on special occasions such
as Eid festival. The gifts, usually shells, are kept in a small
vase or box known as the "Kurandi Malaafath". It is kept closed
and is intricately decorated from outside. The vase is covered
in a piece of colourful silk cloth. The women who carry the case
too wear bright coloured local dresses which are fumigated by
burning incense. In the dance there are about 24 people
performers. Bolimalaafath Neshun is still regarded as the most
important of all the dances performed by Maldivian women.
The Maldives has great shopping. Whether you're staying at a
resort or in hotel you can find good places to shop. Resorts
usually have their own souvenir shops, and nearby island
villages have tourist shops, but Male' (the capital) is known to
be the best place for shopping. Also, you
may bargain the price with shopkeepers on Male'.
Some of the locally made souvenirs include
lacquered wooden boxes, reed mats,
and items, such as journals or photo
albums, made from palm trees. You can also find the more
common souvenirs like,
post cards, calendars, seashells, books,
and t-shirts. You may find items you need, other than souvenirs, at
shops in your resort or at shops in Male'.
Duty free shopping is only available in
the departure terminal of the Male' international airport. The
lounge has specialized shops for electrical goods, watches,
cameras, fashion, liquor, jewelry, tobacco and more.
Shopping hours on Male' are from 8:30am to 11pm Saturday through
Thursday. Shops do close for 15 minutes, 5 times a day
for Muslim prayer times however this is not usually adhered to
in other tourist areas or in resorts. Tourist shops accept US
The import of
firearms, liquor, drugs and pornography are prohibited. An
official license is required for import of alcohol. Alcohol is
available in all the resorts and not sold / available in Male'.
Dogs, Pigs, and pork products are prohibited. Special permission
should be sought to bring the personal pets (dogs not allowed).
No prior visa
is required to enter the Republic of Maldives. Entry permit
will be granted to visitors on arrival at designated ports
of entry, based on the immigration requirements.
Free 30 days
Visa upon arrival for all visitors
entering the Republic of Maldives should have confirm
bookings in registered tourist resort/hotels etc.
An entry permit
does not allow an visitor to take up employment, set up any
business or exercise any profession whether paid or unpaid
except with the consent and in conformity with the pertinent
laws and regulations of the Maldives.
and Embarkation card shall be filled by every passenger and
submitted to the Immigration Officer on entry.