The heavenly Maldives
Ivory beaches, impossibly clear water, palms swaying gently in the salty breeze – welcome to the Maldives. Holidays in the Maldives are perfect for anyone who wants to rest and recharge or make the most of the incredible water visibility. The islands’ upmarket resorts come with overwater bungalows, which feature steps that lead you directly down into the ocean waves, and there are more than 3,000 coral reefs to explore under the surface. Snorkellers and divers can get up close to turtles, whale sharks and hundreds of species of colourful fish in this corner of the world. Beach lovers, meanwhile, can simply dig their toes in the sand and sip a cocktail or two under the coconut palms.
In terms of where to go? You’re spoilt for choice. Pepper your lazy beach holiday with culture hits in cities like the Maldives’ capital Malé, or focus all your holiday energy on some of the best beaches and clearest waters in the Indian Ocean
North Malé Atoll is where you’ll find the region’s capital, Malé – a hive of activity that brags vibrant markets and a chance to witness ‘real island life’ in the Maldives. For history buffs, Dhaalu Atoll has a rich culture and several historical sites, including the Kudahuvadhoo Old Friday Mosque built from coral stone in the 17th century.
If you want to get up close and personal with marine life, Lhaviyani Atoll offers first-class diving and snorkelling sites, including the world-renowned Kuredu Express. Meanwhile, Ari Atoll is famous for its knockout beaches and several shipwrecks ripe for exploring by seasoned divers. South Ari Atoll is notorious for its whale shark sightings, which occur year-round, making it one of the best places in the world to swim with these gentle giants. And finally, Baa Atoll is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, known for its immense biodiversity, including endangered species such as sea turtles and various species of coral.
This island archipelago in Southeast Asia consists of more than 1,000 coral isles in a chain of twenty-seven atolls, which are dotted across the Indian Ocean.
With a total land size of 115 square miles, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia. But it’s also one of the most geographically dispersed in the world, spreading over an impressive 35,000 square miles.
The national language in the Maldives is Maldivian, also known as Dhivehi. However, English is widely spoken, especially in the tourist resorts.
The official currency in the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Rf).
The Maldives’ main international airport is Malé International Airport. Flights from the UK take between 10 and 12 hours and usually include a stop en route, often in Dubai.
Major credit cards are accepted in the larger resorts and hotels. Please bear in mind ATMs are scarce on some islands, so you should take some cash with you. US Dollars can be exchanged at the airport, banks and in some hotels.
If you are visiting the Maldives as a tourist, you will be granted a 30-day visa on arrival. Your passport should be valid for six months after the date of entry in the Maldives. Immigration officers examine passports very carefully so please check yours is not damaged before you leave home. We recommend you check the requirements well before you travel by using the tool at CIBT visas and read the travel advice at GOV UK.
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