Did you know?
The coconut tree is one of the symbols of the Maldivian emblem. National tree of the islands and only natural shade protection of Maldives beaches, coconut trees can grow up to 30 meters and reach the age of 100 years. Their wood is used to build Dhonis.
The drum-based traditional music, Bodu Beru ( meaning big drum) is a reminder of Maldives long relations with East Africa a few centuries ago. Bodu Beru music is very rhythmic and can be perceived as transcendental.
And the best part? Most of the dazzling variety of coral life and tropical fishes are at a ridiculously shallow depth of 5 meters, where the natural warmth of the tropical water frees snorkelers from even having to wear a wetsuit!
The Maldives consists of 1,190 coral islands grouped in a double chain of twenty-seven atolls situated in the Indian Ocean. Most atolls consist of a large, ring-shaped coral reef supporting numerous small islands.
The country covers an area approximately 90,000 square kilometres, of which only 298 square kilometres is dry land. The islands are of average one to two square kilometres in area, and no individual island is longer than eight kilometres. The Maldives lies between 1-1.5 meters above sea level, with the highest island situated at 3 meters above sea level.
Maldives is largely flat and has no land features such as hills or rivers, but some islands have dunes such as that found in Hithadhoo island of Addu Atoll, and wetlands and marshes such as those found in the Fuvahmulah island of Gnaviyani Atoll.
The Maldives is renowned for its white sandy beaches, pristine turquoise waters and unique underwater marine life.
In 2011, Baa Atoll, which is home to a globally significant biodiversity among its numerous reefs in the Indian Ocean, became a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The people of the Maldives islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands. About 164 islands are developed as tourist resorts and the remaining islands are uninhabited or used for agriculture & other livelihood purposes.
The capital of the Maldives is Male’.
Originally brought to the Maldives by Arabs from the Persian Gulf, Thaara is another traditional song and dance performance by only men, which also starts slow and peaks towards the end. While Bandiya Jehun, a women-only dance performed with water pots, is perhaps an offshoot of the Indian pot dance. Several other types of poetry, song and dance abound across these serene isles, perhaps not a very surprising fact considering that Maldivians of old were known to speak in a particular kind of poetry as a form of entertainment and communing.
When it comes to the culinary side of things, Maldives is no less diverse. Short eats such as Bajiya, Zileybi, Roas Paan, Cutlets and many more are obvious Dhivehi* takes on foreign dishes. Dishes from the visitors and neighboring countries have made their way into the Maldives and made their way into the hearts and stomachs of the residents who have no qualms about adopting and adapting dishes to their unique tastes. In recent years, Maldivian chefs have begun to experiment with Maldivian takes on popular dishes such as noodles, pizza, spaghetti and more, no doubt enriching the vast list of world cuisine.
*What Maldivians prefer to refer to themselves as.
Did you know?
There are approximately 1200 islands in Maldives. Around 800 of them are still uninhabited, 200 islands are populated, about 110 host Hotels and Resorts. The rest of the islands are used for airports, agriculture, picnics, governmental or other industrial activities.
The Maldives flag has various symbols and symbolic colors : Green for peace and the national Coconut Tree, a White Crescent for Islam and Red for the blood of their fights for independence.
If you are traveling to a resort, the transfer is confirmed upon booking your accommodation. Simply walk off the plane, be greeted, received, and directed to your transfer, which will take you to the gorgeous resort of your (pre-booked) choice.
If your choice of stay is one among the many resorts that are scattered around the airport, you will be whisked away on a speedboat. However, if your resort is a bit further away, you are in for an unforgettable sight.
Velana International Airport is proudly home to the largest seaplane fleet in the world, where experienced pilots fly thousands of travelers to and from resorts around Maldives during daylight hours. The stunning views these seaplane rides tease, will make you feel like they end too soon.
Nature worship and pagan rituals were said to be practiced in the Maldives until Buddhism was widely adopted, and practiced across Maldives for the next 1400 years. This eventually gave way to Islam, which was declared the official religion of Maldives in 1153 AD.
Coinage from ancient China has been discovered in Maldives, proving trade ties with past dynasties, while Maldivian cowry shells, one of the most valuable and widely used currencies in the world at one point, have been discovered in all corners of the world.
Did you know?
Some dhoni Captains and crews still do not use compass or GPS to navigate through the islands and atolls. They find their ways throughout the coral labyrinths helping themselves with the bow of their dhonis and the stars. During clear nights, some have the rare ability to carefully observe the moves of the lagoon surface to avoid coral reefs.