The Maldives are numerous coral reef islands, the name of which consists of the words "mahal" (palace) and "diva" (island). For the first time, divers discovered this tourist destination in the early 70s of the last century. But the real popularity for these paradise islands came after the advertising of Bounty chocolate bar. Turquoise ocean, white sandy beach, palm trees — the picture impressed people around the world so much that it became an ultimate dream and a place where everyone aspires to get. And even the fact that the advertisement was shot somewhere in Thailand does not bother travelers at all. Everybody wants to get into this ideal world and experience what a "paradise pleasure" feels like.
|Malé||402 071||Dhivehi||Maldivian rufiyaa||298 km²|
What to see and where?
Malé is the capital and one of the most densely populated cities in the world. It welcomes tourists and remains a transfer point for further travel to the paradise islands. It's fascinating that the town itself is much smaller than the majority of the Maldives islands, but the largest part of the population (about 133,019 people) lives here. The capital is located on the south coast of North Malé atoll, which is part of another atoll - Kaafu. The Maldivians themselves lacked space in the small capital, so they created a new island, Hulhumale, which they began settling in 2004. There are not so many beaches or paradise landscapes in Malé, but it is worth taking a stroll through its streets. The attractions include the National Museum, the Presidential Palace, the court building, Friday Mosque, and many other exciting places of worship and tombs, as well as the central square, the waterfront, and city parks. It is safe in the city, but do not forget that it is a Muslim republic, and you should behave and dress accordingly here.
North Malé is the largest atoll that includes the capital of Malé and 50 other islands, of which only eight are inhabited. Each of the islands included in the atoll has its own purpose — an airport island, a poultry farm island, and a storage island where the Maldivians keep fuel. The capital of the Republic is the main attraction in North Malé. Despite a large number of people and heavy boat traffic, there are untouched corners where complete silence reigns. All beaches on the islands belong to the hotels. The wild Villingili beach is the best place for retreat. You can reach it by boat. North Malé is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts. It offers numerous XIX-century shipwrecks on the seabed.
South Malé Atoll consists of 30 islands. People inhabit only three of them. The other seventeen islands are resorts, and the rest are uninhabited. The islands attract tourists from all over the world with their luxurious beaches, pure azure water, mild climate, and vibrant sea world. Surfers come here for the big waves — Kandooma Resort has become a bulwark of this movement. The Guraidhoo Nature Reserve is located nearby. People come here to relax from the fuss of the city, celebrate the New Year, or to a wedding. The islands remain a favorite destination for families with children, newlyweds, and older people.
The Alif Alif Atoll (aka Ari) consists of two parts: the northern region — Alif Alif, and the southern part — Alif Dhaalu. It includes 70 islands: 18 of them are inhabited, 25 are luxurious resorts, and the remaining 27 islands are so tiny that no one lives there. Each island of Alif Alif Atoll impresses with lush vegetation and amazing beaches.
Angaga is a favorite island of Europeans, Asians, and Australians. The canonical Maldivian landscapes surround the place with azure water, white sand, and coconut palms. The island's main attraction is its bungalows, covered with palm branches and sand instead of the floor.
Bathala is a place where you can get acquainted with sea inhabitants. It attracts mainly divers, and it doesn't provide any other entertainment besides sports activities. Palm trees are rare here, but coral reefs are not far from the shore.
Dhiffushi is a place where you can see powerful waves crashing into coral reefs. Luxury bungalows overlooking the ocean attract fans of both passive and active recreation.
Dhaalu Atoll or Southern Nilandhe Atoll comprises 46 islands, with a total population of 1,500 people. The rich underwater world and abundance of coral reefs attract divers and tourists who come for relaxation. In addition to relaxing on a beach, you can go on exciting tours.
Dhaalu has preserved the ruins of ancient mosques and temples from the Buddhist period, as well as mysterious mounds that are known as Hawitta. The native population is friendly and offers unique handmade souvenirs.
Velavaru Island has preserved its wild, untouched nature: bushy thickets, tall palm trees, a lagoon, and clean beaches are an authentic charm. The island is home to giant turtles, whose numbers are, unfortunately, declining every year.
Meedhiffushi is a part of the Maldives that is just starting to host travelers. However, those people who have already visited this place consider it to be ideal for a vacation. Tourists shall find here fashionable hotels, restaurants, and a diversity of activities.
Baa Atoll charms with ocean turquoise coastlines, white sand, and lush vegetation. The Maldivians themselves and many travelers consider Baa to be the jewel of the entire region. The archipelago is 40 kilometers long. It consists of 51 islands: 10 of them are inhabited, and 41 have untouched nature.
The island of Eydhafushi is the capital of Baa Atoll. It is the largest fishing center in the whole Republic. UNESCO has not neglected the unique nature and diversity of its marine world. Nowadays, it is a biosphere reserve, where fish of amazing colors, whale sharks, rays, and sea turtles live.
In the south of Baaa, Olugiri Island is located. It is home to sea frigates, and green turtles rest on the coast. It offers a wide range of activities for holidaymakers, and diving is one of the most popular. Only here can you see the babies of whale sharks, tuna, and various representatives of the fauna.
Things to consider when heading to the Maldives
- The Maldives is a Muslim country, so nudism and drinking alcohol outside the territories of hotels is strictly forbidden here. It is also illegal to bring alcoholic beverages with you.
- Underwater hunting, fishing near the island (only in particular areas), pollution of the islands, damage to corals and seashells are punished by law through fines and even imprisonment. There are, in fact, a lot of prohibitions, but all of them have one goal in common — to preserve the flora and fauna of the islands untouched.
- English is widespread on the islands. In many hotels, the personnel speaks Russian.
- There are no poisonous snakes or insects in the Maldives. Even whale sharks living in the waters of the Indian Ocean are absolutely safe for humans.
- If you want to get citizenship here, you should know that only members of the Muslim faith can do this. The state's legislation prescribes this norm.
- There are no dogs in the Maldives, and keeping and bringing dogs is prohibited here, as a dog is considered to be an unclean animal in Islam. Cats, birds, and even iguanas are introduced as pets here.