1. What is the Maldives ?
The Maldives is an independent country in Asia. The country consists of a network of beautiful coral islands and the sea between them, with a land surface area of 1% of the country’s territory.
2. Where is the Maldives located?
The Maldives is made up of a small island group scattered across the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean, roughly 500 km from the southernmost tips of Sri Lanka and India. The country’s territory covers an area of 90,000 square kilometres and consists of approximately 1,200 coral islands. Average temperature on the Maldives is 29 degrees Celsius.
The Maldives is represented in the Common Wealth and the United Nations. The country is a democracy and has a population of circa 290,000 citizens. The closest neighbouring countries are India and Sri Lanka. Only 200 of the 1200 islands are inhabited and individual resorts and hotels occupy only 88 of these.
The Maldivian capital Male’ is only 10 minutes by boat from the international airport.
3. How do we reach the Maldives?
You can reach the Maldives by sea or by air. The international airport is located on the island of Hulhule. There are international scheduled flights including: Sri Lankan Airways, Qatar Airway, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Indian Airlines, Balkan, Bulgarian Airlines, LTU, Condor, AOM French, Austrian Airlines and Malaysian Airlines. Some of these airlines fly daily, weekly or twice weekly and connect the Maldives to many major centres around the world.
The Maldives are also visited by regular charter flights including, Britannia Airways, Balair, Monarch Airlines, Lauda Air, Air Europe of Italy, Sterling Airways, Air Holland, South African Airways, Air Tours International.
4. What is the Airport like?
As the airport is situated on a long and thin island, from above it looks somewhat like an aircraft carrier.
This international airport is regarded as one of the safest airports in the world. The reason is that there is only one runway and therefore only one plane can either land or take off at a time.
The airport is located some 4 kilometers/2 miles from the capital island Male’ on a nearby island.
5. Do I need a Visa to visit the Maldives?
A visa prior to arrival in the Maldives is not required. All tourists from all countries are granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival. However, all visitors need to have a valid passport. If a passport expiry date falls within 30 days of arrival, tourists cannot extend their stay beyond the passport’s expiry date. Working or engaging in employment while visiting with a tourist visa is prohibited. The Ministry of Human Resources Employment and Labour can provide work visas.
6. What is the currency used?
In the Maldives the currency is called “Ruffia” or Rf. One US dollar is equivalent to 15.42 Rf.
All resorts, liveaboards and most souvenir shops accept major cards and cash payments in US dollars.
7. What is the time difference?
The Maldives are five hours ahead (GMT +05:00) of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
8. When is the best time to visit the Maldives?
The most popular period to visit the Maldives, therefore also the peak season, is between December and April. During these months, hotels and resorts tend to get fully booked with prices and rates that are higher than during the rest of the year.
Christmas and New Year is the busiest and most expensive part of the peak season period. Between May and November it’s still warm, but the skies can be cloudy, humidity is higher and rain is more likely. This is the low season with fewer tourists and lower prices.
The transition months of November and April are considered to have increased water clarity with better visibility for divers.
9. What vaccinations should I have?
Normally, authorities in the Maldives do not require vaccinations. However, if you are from a Central African or South American country, or if you have travelled through these areas before arriving in the Maldives, you need to have a valid certificate indicating that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever. Other than this exception, you do not need any specific vaccination certificates to visit the Maldives.
If you want to be extra careful, do consult your personal physician for his or her recommendations. Visitors should check with their carrier when making reservations, as health regulations may change with short notice.
10. What is the capital of the Maldives?
The capital of the Maldives is Male’ which is pronounced “Maaley”.
Male’ is considered one of the smallest capitals in the world in terms of geographical size. One third of the country’s population, about 75,000 Maldivians, live in Male’. Male’ is different from any other island in the country as it is a city of high-rise buildings and paved roads. While the government offices are located in one area, the main streets are lined with shops and offices. This is the base for all economic activity. The capital also has a number of places of historical interest.
11. Are there any hotels in the capital?
Male’ has a number of hotels offering high quality accommodation and a number of guesthouses offering affordable accommodation and services. Most of these hotels are only a few minutes walk from the jetty, where all ferryboats arrive from the airport. Hotels on Male’ are also used by expatriates coming for business and as transit hotels for tourists coming on evening flights and travelling to resorts that do not offer night transfers.