All about The Maldives
Island Hotels and Resorts 2018
Offers, rates and availability for 2018
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If you need to escape from everyday's rythm to the complete peace...
if you just want to hide and leave the rest of the world behind....
if you enjoy just doing nothing, and being lazy feeling the warm sun...
if you want to be with your loved ones at one of the last paradises on earth...
if you love diving in the crystal blue water of the Indian Ocean...
then the only destination for you is Maldives Islands.
Perfect nature combined with very good services and rates suitable for everyone's budget and taste.
Visit one of Maldives Hotels and Resorts and words such as "romance" - "hideaway" - "relaxation" - "peace", can become feelings and images under the warm sun of Maldives and will never be forgotten.
- The Republic of Maldives consists of about 1.190 low-lying coral islands, of which only 200 are inhabited. Most of the inhabited islands are covered by lush tropical vegetation and palm trees, while the numerous uninhabited islands, some of which are mere sand spits or coral tips, are covered in shrubs.Each island is surrounded by a reef enclosing a shallow lagoon. Hundreds of these islands together with other coral growth form an atoll, surrounding a lagoon. All the islands are low-lying, none more than 2m (7ft) above sea level.
Country name: Republic of Maldives.
Local short form: Dhivehi Raajje
Local long form: Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
Population: 396.300 (2009 est.)
Area: 298 square kilometers (115 square miles)
Language: Maldivian Dhivehi, (dialect of Sinhala), English
The national language is Dhivehi. English is widely used as a business language in government offices and the commercial sector. Other languages are widely used within tourist areas.
Religion : Sunni Muslim . The indigenous population is entirely Sunni Muslim, and the group practice of other religions is illegal.
Ethnic groups: South Indians, Sinhalese, Arabs
History: Early Settlers.
Legend has it that a prince and his wife, the daughter of the King of today’s Sri Lanka, stopped at Raa Atoll during a voyage and were invited to stay as rulers.
Later King Koimala and his wife settled in Malé with permission of the Giraavaru tribe, the aboriginal tribe of Kaafu atoll. Nowadays Giraavaru people are still easily recognisable through their clothes and hairstyle, but only a few hundred of them are left and were resettled in Malé in 1978. Their island, Giraavaru has been transformed into a tourist resort. Aryans from India and Sri Lanka are believed to have settled in the Maldives from 1500 BC onwards - according to latest archaeological findings. “Elu”, an archaic form of Sinhala (spoken in Sri Lanka) shows great similarities to Dhivehi. As a favourite stop-over on the busy trade routes, the Maldives have had many visitors and influences, trading with Arabia, China and India with coconut, dried fish and above all the precious cowry shell, a small white shell found on the beach, used as currency in countries near the Indian Ocean. These shells were found as far away as Norway or West Africa showing the extent of the trade relations of the Maldives.
Conversion to Islam
Mohamed Ibn Batuta, a Moroccan traveller who visited the Maldives in the 14th century recorded an interesting legend on how the country converted to Islam. Abul Barakaath Yoosuf Al Barbary, an Islamic scholar, visited the Maldives during a time when people lived in fear of the “Rannamaari”, a sea-demon, who came out of the sea once a month threatening to destroy everything unless a virgin was sacrificed. The unfortunate young girls were chosen by lot, had to stay in a temple near the seashore and were found raped and dead in the morning. The daughter of the house he was staying at had been selected to be the victim and he decided to save her. Disguised as a girl he spent the night in the temple reciting continuously from the Holy Quran. In the morning when people went to find out the fate of the chosen girl they were amazed to find him alive and still reciting the Quran. When the King found out that the demon had been defeated through the power of the Holy Quran he embraced Islam and ordered all the subjects to follow him.
The Portuguese had a keen interest in the Maldives due to the availability of cowry shells, and ambergris, an important ingredient in perfumes, and had been approached by the formerly expelled Sultan, Hassan IX to help him regain his throne. Three attempts were repelled mainly due to Ali Rasgefaanu, who proved to be a brave and tough fighter. He became Sultan Ali VI but only for a few months as he was killed during another Portuguese attack, dying a martyr’s death. His tomb, built at the very spot where he died in the sea is now on dry land due to the reclamation of land in Malé. Martyr’s day, a public holiday, has been devoted to him. The next 15 years saw the darkest period in Maldivian history, when the Portuguese tried to enforce Christianity upon the islanders. Mohamed Thakurufaanu and his two brothers from the island of Utheemu, used a form of guerilla warfare for eight long years, during which one of the brothers was caught and beheaded. Their strategy was to land on an island at night, kill the Portuguese in a surprise attack and sail off before dawn. Thakurufaanu sought the help of the Malabari, killed the Portuguese leader Andreas Andre, locally known as Andiri Andirin, and recaptured Malé. He was made Sultan and reigned for 12 years forming a trained standing army, introducing coins, improving trade and religious observance and founding a dynasty that lasted for 132 years.
The British Protectorate
On December 16, 1887 the Sultan of the Maldives signed a contract with the British Governor of Ceylon turning the Maldives into a British protectorate. The British government promised the Maldives military protection and non-interference in local administration in exchange for an annual tribute paid by the Maldives. In 1957 the British established a RAF base in the strategic southernmost atoll of Addu for £2000 a year, where hundreds of locals were employed. 19 years later the British government decided to give up the base, as it was too expensive to maintain.
The Maldives gained independence on July 26, 1965.Three years later a republic was declared with Prime Minister Ibrahim Nasir as the first president. In 1978 President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom became president and has been re-elected thrice since then.A coup attempt in 1988 by Sri Lankan mercenaries was successfully repelled. Small as it is the Maldives has always maintained independence and a strong unity despite influences and threats from outside. They are now an internationally renowned country, a member of the UN, WHO, SAARC, Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement and others and play an important role in advocating the security of small nations and the protection of the environment.
Social Conventions: The majority of the indigenous population does not mix with the tourist
visitors, with the exception of those involved with tourism in the resorts and Malé.
Dress is informal, but locals who are Muslim will be offended by nudity or scanty clothing in public places, and the government rigidly enforces these standards. Bikinis and other scanty beachwear are not acceptable in Malé or on any other inhabited island; they should be restricted to resort islands only. When entering a mosque, the legs and the body, but not the neck and the face, should be covered. Handshaking is the most common form of greeting. The indigenous population not involved in the tourist trade lives in isolated island communities maintaining almost total privacy. A large number of locals smoke, but smoking and eating during Ramadan is discouraged.
Currency: Rufiyaa (MVR)
Climate: The Maldives have a hot tropical climate. There are two monsoons, the southwest from May to October and the northeast from November to April. Generally the southwest brings more wind and rain in June and July. The temperature rarely falls below 25C (77F).
Time: GMT + 5.
Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round-pin plugs are used, although square-pin plugs are now becoming more common.
Passports: Valid passport required by all nationals.
Visas: Tourist visas for 30 days will be issued on arrival only and are free of charge to all visitors in possession of valid travel documents (passports must be valid till at least 06 months later than departure date). Click here for complete information
Health Care: There are two hospitals on Malé, the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital the ADK private hospital. First-aid facilities are available on all resort islands. A decompression chamber is accessible in Malé in case of diving emergencies. Medical treatment in the Maldives can be very expensive and comprehensive health insurance is recommended.
Food and Drink: Malé, the capital, has a few good restaurants that serve local and international food. On resort islands, there are between one and ten restaurants, usually depending on the resort's size. Note that all restaurants on resort islands are run by the resort - there is no access to private enterprise. Cuisine is international, with all food other than seafood imported. There are no bars, except in the resorts, where there is a good range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available, often at extremely high prices.
Things to know: All bars are situated on resort island (no alcohol is available on Malé, though it is available on the nearby Airport island).Locals do not drink at all.
National specialities: Seafoodsuch as tuna, grouper, octopus, jobfish and swordfish is widely available.Kavaabu (deep-fried snacks made from rice, tuna, coconut, lentils and spices).
Curries, such as chicken or beef, are widely available. Curry leaves are added to a lot of Maldivian dishes.
National drinks: Sai (tea; a Maldivian favourite). Raa (toddy tapped from palm trees, sometimes left to ferment and thus slightly alcoholic - the closest any Maldivian gets to alcohol).
Service charges are invariably added onto all chargeable services in resorts. Extra tipping is not expected, though cash tips (US$1 per bag) for porters is appreciated.
Nightlife: There is little or no organised nightlife, although most resorts have informal discosbar areas, sometimes featuring live bands playing either traditional or Western music. Beach parties and barbecues are also popular. On some evenings, many resorts have cultural shows and some show films.
Many different types of traditional national dancing and singing may be enjoyed across the islands.
Getting Around By Air: Internal air services are operated by Maldivian (Q2) linking Malé with Kaadedhdhoo, Kadhdhoo and Gan. There are also services to Hanimaadhoo in the north. There are also two seaplane companies operating seaplane transfers from Malé airport to individual resorts. These are Trans Maldivian Airways and Maldivian Air Taxi . These services are also available for trips around the islands.
Getting Around by Water: Visitors generally remain on their resort island for the duration of their stay, although island-hopping trips by dhoni charters are widely available. High-speed boats usually meet arrivals at the airport, supplied by the resort they are booked with, and boats are available for hire at the ferry counter near the jetty area. The speedboats connect the airport with North and South Malé Atolls.
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