Maldives, officially the Republic of the Maldives and also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean consisting of a double chain of twenty-six atolls, orientated north-south, that lie between Minicoy Island (the southernmost part of Lakshadweep, India) and the Chagos Archipelago. The chains stand in the Laccadive Sea, about 700 kilometres south-west of Sri Lanka and 400 kilometres south-west of India.
The islands of Maldives appear in-between the trading route of the Indian Ocean. Thus settlers, and visitors from neighbouring regions and around the world have come in contact with the islands for as long as history has been recorded. Such is the to-and-fro flow of people and their cultures, that a marked effect has been left in the Maldivian people, the language, beliefs, arts, and attitudes.
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.
The weather in Maldives is affected by the large landmass of South Asia to the north. The presence of this landmass causes differential heating of land and water. These factors set off a rush of moisture-rich air from the Indian Ocean over South Asia, resulting in the southwest monsoon. 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.
When to go
The Maldives specialises in winter sun for Europeans, making high season December to April, when the islands enjoy the dry monsoon with little rain and lower humidity while Europe shivers. February to April is the hottest period and resorts are almost all operating at capacity during this period.
From May to November is the period when storms and rain are more likely. It’s still warm, but skies can be cloudy and the humidity is higher. This is the low season, with fewer people and lower prices, with the exception of August.
Things to Do
Diving Maldives: The warm seas of Maldives have high visibility throughout the year, with water clear enough to see the passing fish as far as fifty meters away at times. Over a thousand species of fish and other underwater creatures inhabit the Maldivian waters.
Watersports: In a place that is more sea than land, there is no end to the fun things you do in the water. Maldivians swim for recreation, they play water polo with their friends at weekend picnics, they surf addictively.
Excursions: The best way to experience the life of an ordinary Maldivian is to travel to an inhabited island. Some of these islands are slightly more modern: with brightly painted house walls and harbour areas. A very cool excursions is the one when you visit Lisbon.
Relax and unwind: The Maldives is considered by many to be the premier tropical beach destination in the world and the best place to relax and unwind from the hectic and chaotic lifestyle of the modern world.
How to 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 $100 + $50/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.
As the Maldives comprises more sea than land, it is only natural that fish (mainly tuna) have always been the most prominent element of Maldivian food. However, with travelers from different parts of the world, new seasonings and vegetables were introduced in to the country and added to the existing (limited) repertoire of seafood and tubers (e.g. taro & sweet potato). Each new discovery was incorporated into the diet in quantities most palatable to Maldivians.
'A typical Maldivian meal: masroshi pastries, mas riha fish curry, papadhu, grilled fish, rice and sweet black tea.'
Habits & Norms
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are the 3 main meals and afternoon tea with snacks a favourite past time. These days a mid-morning breakfast taken around 10 or 11 is also normal. Festival days of Eid and the Holy month of Ramadan see Maldivian kitchens become very busy.
Many people say that there is no nightlife in Maldives but this depends on your definition of nightlife. The country is Muslim dominated and so you should not expect to see much of the night parties as such.
Many of the hotels and resorts also have discos, where one can dance to popular numbers. In many discos there are live band performances, which provide hours of entertainment to the visitors. Jazz music performances are extremely common over here. Nightlife at Beaches is filled with fun and entertainment .The bars and the discos are a good place to check out the night culture of the country.
You can chance on cocktail at sunset parties and you would be sure of catching some fun. The dress code at most of these parties is casual and the fact that you are at the beach means that you don’t have to put on shoes if you are uncomfortable. For meeting Portuguese girls is it a very good idea to score them at a bar or club.