The Maldives


A total of 1,190 tropical islands surrounded by a turquoise sea make up the Maldives. This Indian Ocean paradise consists of no less than 26 atolls, with sweeping coral reefs and huge lagoons.

Remarkably, just 10% of the islands are inhabited, while a further 87 act as exclusive resorts.

Few places under the bright holiday sun can equal the Maldives for natural beauty, water sports, night fishing trips, scuba diving and snorkelling. As for beauty, every island has its own lagoon sheltered by a coral reef – with most fringed by palm trees and mantled in lush vegetation.

Situated south-west of Sri Lanka, close to the Equator, the Maldives’ crystal clear waters are always warm – making the country ideal for families. And most appealingly, just below the ocean’s sparkling surface is a world like no other, with fish and plants of virtually every colour, shape and size.

Malé, the Muslim nation’s island capital, is also known for its family-friendly approach, with welcoming restaurants, well stocked shops and markets, museums, and an imposing Grand Mosque.

Although remote, getting the family to the Maldives is relatively straightforward: far more difficult is persuading them to leave!

The currency here is the Maldivian Rufiya. You can exchange major currencies at banks, tourist resort islands, hotels and leading shops. Payments in hotels can be made using US Dollars, traveller’s cheques or credit cards. Most of the major island resorts, local and souvenir shops accept American Express, Diners, MasterCard and Visa with ATMs widely available in Malé.

If you are planning on taking traveller’s cheques take them in US Dollars to avoid additional exchange rate charges.


See & Do

Surrounded by so much natural beauty, you may be quite content with the lapping blue seas and stunning beaches. But if you want to make the most of your time in the Maldives here are a few suggested activities you could try and places to visit.

  • Kudahuvaahoo Island – ruins of old Buddhist temples (boats leave from Malé), Banana Reef (dive to see grouper, sharks, jackfish, blue-striped snapper and barracuda – or enjoy the cliffs and caves)
  • Fish Head (scuba dive at this world-famous site to see caves, coral and grey reef sharks)
  • Villigili (take the ferry to this tranquil island to watch cricket and meet the locals)
  • Malé – visit the President’s Palace, National Museum, Day Market and Friday Mosque
  • Aerial photography (enjoy a flight over the islands to snap great photographs)
  • Windsurfing
  • Big game fishing
  • Whale and dolphin spotting



Malé is a popular place for shopping, with handicrafts – including traditional Maldivian lacquered ornaments – on sale next to everyday items. Also popular are red mats, woven by the women of Gadhdhoo on Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. Sizes range from mattress mats to placemats. Many patterns are quite ornate.

Most souvenirs are best bought in the northern part of Malé’s Chaahdanu Magu. Local produce from the atolls is best selected at the local market where many kinds of fruit and vegetables are for sale. Excursions to smaller islands provide excellent opportunities to purchase local handicrafts, jewellery and sarongs.


Food & Drink

Malé has a number of restaurants serving local and international dishes. And, depending on size, each resort has up to ten restaurants where international dishes and meals based on local seafood are offered.

The variety and quality of locally caught fish is outstanding, with tuna, octopus, swordfish and grouper widely available. Local specialities include chicken and beef curry and kavaaba – deep-fried snacks made from coconut, rice, tuna, spices and lentils. Tea – sai in the Maldives – is a favourite local drink along with raa, which comes from the palm tree and is slightly fermented. Desserts include vanilla bean rice and banana hot cakes.

Among Malé’s restaurants worth visiting are:

  • Departure Restaurant, at the airport – (Italian, Asian, Continental and seafood)
  • Farivalhu Restaurant, Central Hotel (Asian and international)
  • Haruge Café (island food)
  • Kings Corner (Indian, Chinese and Continental)

Other popular restaurants include the Maryaad – at the airport, Nanhair Chinese, Park View, Manik’s and Quench.



The Maldives has little or no Western-style nightlife. However, the resorts stage informal discos in their bars – sometimes with live bands and karaoke - screen films and organise cultural shows. Traditional dancing and singing are popular throughout the islands.



It is possible to spend a night on an uninhabited island - usually as part of an island tour. Your hotel should be able to provide you with further details.


Health & Safety

As vaccination requirements can change visitors are advised to check with their doctor before travelling to the Maldives. Water in some areas should be boiled or sterilised. Hotel food is generally safe and crime throughout the country is low.



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