- Of the near 1,200 islands that make up the country of the Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, only around 200 are inhabited by local people (the population is 400,000 in total) and around 100 are leisure resorts. There are 27 geographical chains of atolls, (atoll being the recognisably ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral) spread along 862-kilometres. Most of the resorts are in North Malé, South Malé, Ari, Felidhu, Baa and Lhaviyani Atolls.
- The Maldives is growing in popularity, with over 1.2 million visitors expected in 2017. It is debatable whether the story that the islands are ‘disappearing’. There is the factor of global warming, which is causing sea levels to rise, and threaten their very existence. It is the flattest country in the world with an average height of just over 1.8 metres above sea level. We, however, were told on more than one occasion that the fact that ‘they are sinking’, is the best PR stunt ever… Whatever gets you there, I say. Visiting the Maldives is always a good idea!
- The temperature is between 24 and 36 degrees celcius throughout the year. There is a constant, gentle sea breeze, which stops it being overly humid. Basically, its perfect.
- Malé is the capital of the Maldives, and where international flights land. Tourists then travel by seaplane (expensive and fast) or boat (chapter and slow) to their resorts. There are more than 150,000 people that live in Malé, which is just 5.8 square kilometres. Tight squeeze! The buildings go right up to the water’s edge!
Above: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
- The Maldives economy is built upon five star luxury resorts, but the rise of companies such as Air BnB and home stays, mean that a new, more affordable way of seeing these islands is emerging. You do run the risk of making travel troubles for yourself, however, so do make sure you do lots of research first, if you want to take that route.
- Maldivians, in the main, are devout Muslims and follow Islam. It is recommended that you dress conservatively while passing through the airport, but most large resorts don’t have strict dress codes.
- There are 25 protected marine areas, set up mainly to protect diving areas from commercial fishermen. Returning divers to the Maldives will notice a huge change in the coral in recent years, which has suffered huge bleaching effects due to changing sea temperatures.
- Worried about sharks? Don’t be! You’ll see loads of them, but they will be more scared of you. The last recorded shark attack was over 32 years ago.
- Maldives resorts are mainly luxurious, and will look after you from the moment you land. You’ll be greeted and whisked off to a transfer lounge. Check out my guide that explains your journey from Malé to your resort.
- Drinking water is one of the biggest factors in pushing up the prices of all the resorts. Each resort needs a desalination unit to convert seawater into drinking water – an expensive process!
Inspired? Read more of my Maldives articles…