Facts about Maldives
Maldives, one of the best places for diving tours and for the rest of the so-called factor of "Robinson Crusoe", offers the possibility of blending with nature, trips to uninhabited islands and an unforgettable feeling of isolation from the quotidian world with the blue skies, the white sand and the emerald water.Maldives is an island nation consisting of sand and surf, where the imagination meets the reality. Sunny, unrivaled and unspoiled by the pollution, this beautiful country is considered to be one of the best places in the world for tourism and a paradise for tourists.In 2008, Maldives was classified as the Best Country Brand for Rest and Relaxation and Best Country Brand for Beach. It also ranked number two in the Best Country Brand for Natural Beauty and 3rd in the Best Country Brand for Resort and Lodging Options in the same year. In 2013, Maldives has won the prestigious Seven Star Global Luxury Awards as a "Seven Star Destination Winner".
The Republic of Maldives lounges in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator, and is also known as the Maldives Islands. It is neighbored by India and Sri Lanka and stands in the Laccadive Sea.
The Maldives is composed of 1,192 coral islands, which are grouped in a double chain of 26 ring lined atolls, ahead of the north-south direction, covering roughly 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 sq mi), becoming one of the world's most dispersed countries. 80% of the Maldivian territory is 1 meter or less above sea level.
The weather in the Maldives is generally warm and humid year round, determined by the monsoons. The sun shines all year through because of the equatorial position of the country. Average temperature around 25 - 32 degrees Celsius.
What to wear:
The dress code is generally casual. T-shirts and cotton clothing are most suitable. In Male', the capital island and other inhabited islands it is recommended that women wear modest clothing, by covering their shoulders and knees.
The Maldives population is about 338,442 according to 2012 estimates. The origin of the Maldivians is lost in antiquity, but history reveals that the islands have been populated for over 3,000 years ago. The first settlers came from the coastal regions of India and Sri Lanka. It is easy to feel comfortable and relaxed with a Maldivian because of they are warm, friendly and hospitable by nature.
Maldives or Dhivehi Raajje, the old Maldivian name of the country, has a proud history and rich culture evolved from the first settlers who were from various parts of the world travelling the seas in ancient times. The Maldives has been a fusion of different cultures as people from different parts of the world came here and settled down. A few of the local music and dance for instance are having African influences, with hand beating of drums. As one would expect there is a great South Asian influence in some of the music and dancing and especially in the traditional food of the Maldivians. Their favorite dishes are the curries. Yet, many of the South Asian habits especially regarding women - for example the Sub Continent's tradition of secluding women from public view - are not tenets of life here. In fact women play a major role in society - not surprising considering the fact men spend the whole day out at sea fishing. Many of the traditions are strongly related to the seas and the fact that life is dependent on the seas around us.
In 1153, Maldives embraced Islam, and since then it became very important in the life of Maldivians. The Muslim Calendar coordinates the main events and festivals in the country. Children are taught the Arabic alphabet from infancy, so they could recite The Noble Quran; religion education is provided both at school and at home.
The official Maldivian language is called Dhivehi and it is spoken in all the Maldives islands. It involves the use of many English, Hindi and Arabic words. English is also recognized as the second main language and it is widely spoken by Maldivians so visitors can easily communicate with the locals.
Tourism is the largest economic activity in the Republic of Maldives and it accounts for 30% of GDP and more than 60% of foreign exchange receipts. The second leading sector is represented by fishing, but unfortunately the fish catch has dropped sharply in the last years. The Maldivian economy is regarded as exemplary in the region and welcomes foreign investment.
The currency in the Maldives is represented by the Rufiyaa and Laaree. The exchange rate for US Dollar is MRf.15.42 for the dollar. The US Dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency. Payments in the resorts and hotels can be made in most hard currency in cash, travellers' cheques or credit cards. Commonly used credit cards are American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card.
In Maldives, the educational standards are among the highest in the region and the schools are following the British system of education. All the school subjects are being studied in English, apart from 2 subjects: Islam and Dhivehi. The functional literacy rate is 98%.
Maldives is trying her best to meet the goals of the MDGs, by expanding the health services throughout the country, and by effective immunization programs and the availability of better health care facilities. The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male' is the biggest hospital in the country providing sophisticated medical care. ADK Hospital is the biggest private health care facility and follows high medical standards. Some resorts have in-house doctors. A decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of a diving emergency.
GMT 5 hours
In the government sector, the business hours are from Sunday to Thursday 7.30 - 14.30 and in the private sector from 9.00 to 5.00, although most offices in the private sector open for a half day on Saturday. Friday and Saturday are considered as weekend days.
Maldives has a sophisticated communication system, which is having international satellite links and the latest technology. IDD facilities are available on all resorts and card phones are available everywhere in the country. Dhiraagu and Wataniya are the Maldivian Telecommunications Companies which are the Internet service providers and they cater mobile telephones for daily rental.
The electric system is 230-240 Volts -AC. The UK 3 square pin adaptors are mostly used all over the country.
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