Paradise awaits you... Holiday in Maldives and discover a pristine tropical island with swaying palm trees and pure white beaches surrounded by crystalline lagoons of varying shades of blue. Indeed, it is not without reason that the Maldives Islands has been described as '(the) flower of the Indies' by Marco Polo and 'one of the wonders of the world' by Iban Batuta. It's no wonder that a large percentage of tourists who come to the Maldives Islands are repeat visitors ? people who came once and fell so in love with the place that they simply had to come again. Once you sample the heady mixture of secluded serenity, thrilling water sports activities, soothing spas, relaxing beaches all wrapped in the luxurious comfort of modern amenities during our Maldives tours ? you are bound to want the experience again. Sunny, unique and unspoiled, the islands of Maldives offers you sunshine, no matter what time of the year you decide to visit the Maldives ? islands that are truly heaven on Earth.
Maldives is usually picture perfect with sunlit days, breezy nights, balmy mornings, and iridescent sunsets. With the average temperature at about 30 C throughout the year, the sun is constant on most days shining through treetops, creating lacy patterns on your feet, healing cold-bones with its warmth. Throughout the day, the sun will make itself known, ensuring that it will be remembered and missed, like an old friend, as you pack up your suitcases to leave. Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (north-east monsoon) and wet season (south-west monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies and slate grey seas, and crashing thunder makes up for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a verdant, wet, thoroughly enjoyable experience.
To enter Maldives no pre-arrival visa is required.
A 30 day free visa is issued upon arrival for all nationalities, provided the following conditions are met:
? Should posses a valid passport and have a valid ticket to continue the journey out of Maldives.
? Should Have enough funds to cover the expenses for duration of the stay in Maldives. (US$100 + $50 dollars per day) or a confirmation of reservation in a Tourist Resort or a Hotel
Caution: Full thirty day visa is not a right of the passenger to claim, but lies at the discretion of the Immigration to issue not more than thirty days and any period less than thirty days.
The Maldives lies in two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean, just across the equator. The country is made up of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls, spread over 90,000 sq km. These atolls structures are formed upon a sharp ridge rising from the ocean, making way for their secluded uniqueness. Each atoll in the Maldives is made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon, with deep channels dividing the reef ring. 99% of the Maldives is made up of sea. The people of the islands are widely dispersed across the atolls, with about 200 inhabited islands and about 90 islands developed as tourist resorts while rest are uninhabited or used for agricultural and other livelihood purposes.
Although archaeological finds indicate that the Maldives was inhabited as early as 1500 BC, much of the country's origin is lost in history most of which is as much folklore and myth as fact. It is believed that permanent settlements were established around 500 BC by Aryan immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Many customs, traditional practices and superstitious beliefs that still prevail in the country also attest to the past influences. It's a 100% Islamic nation which is believed be as a result of Arab traders who visited Maldives while on trading. In 1887, the Maldives became a British protectorate in an unusual arrangement to ensure the defence of the nation and during 2nd world war the British had forward their bases to the north and south of the archipelago. Maldives finally gained the fully independent status on July 26, 1965 and later changed the government from a Monarchy to a Republic on November 11, 1968.
The population of Maldives has increased rapidly during the last few decades. However with a population of nearly 300,000 the country still remains one of the smallest independent nations in Asia. About a quarter of the population is resident in Male' the capital. Outside Male' the largest population are in Hithadhoo in Addu Atoll, Fuamulah and Kulhudhufushi in Haa Dhaalu Women have always had an important role in the family and community. Its culture is influenced by different visitors who arrived in Maldives throughout the times. We can see Indian, Sri Lankan, Arabian, Persian, Indonesian, Malaysian, and African cultural traits. However, acting as a melting point the Maldives assimilated these influences and has created a unique cultural identity.
The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi, a language which has more influences towards Indian group of languages with its roots in Sanskrit and according to some researchers, an ancient form of Sinhala, (spoken in Sri Lanka). Since Maldives embraced Islam in 1153, Islam has been central to the life of Maldivians. The main events and festivals of Maldivian life follow the Muslim Calendar. From infancy children are taught the Arabic alphabet. Religious education is provided both at home and at school. Maldives being at an important crossroad in the Indian Ocean, traders and visitors over time have left their mark on Maldivian cuisine in addition to contributing towards the moulding of the country's culture and norms.
The national bank, Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male' as well as in other major population hubs such as the Male' International Airport . Several other regional banks also operate in central city, Male', including the State Bank of India, Bank of Ceylon, and HSBC. Most banks represented in Male' provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services and credit card services at several key points in Male'. he Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa. One Rufiyaa is 100 Laari and is available in 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Rufiyaa notes. One US Dollar is equivalent to is Rufiyaa 12.85.
Do dress appropriately, especially when visiting inhabited islands and Male'. The Maldives is a Muslim country and dressing conservatively is preferred, with women covering their shoulders and thighs. For men, shorts are acceptable. Beachwear (swimming trunks, bikinis and bathing suits) are the norm at resorts, but nudity is prohibited in all public places. Do be conscious of the local environment. While diving or snorkelling, ensure that you do not disrupt marine life. Do not litter on beaches or in the sea. Apart from being an eyesore, plastic and trash products kill corals and fish.
After landing on the narrow strip of the Male' international airport in the Maldives, you need to catch either a boat or a seaplane or a domestic flight to reach your actual destination. If you are travelling to a tourist resort, hotel, or safari cruise, a CFH representative and hotel staff will welcome you on arrival and will guide you to the hotel's own transfer which should be booked when you proceed with your resort reservation except for hotels in Male city catch a ferry from the airport, that leaves every few minutes for just a dollar or 10 Maldivian Rufiyaas during daytime. Taxis are easily available in Male' city and you will be charged Rufiyaa 20 for each trip, no matter where you go in Male'. You could always take the easier option ? walking; anywhere in Male' is reachable in ten minutes.
The islands in Maldives are small and low-lying with neither rivers nor mountains. These islands have tropical castaway qualities; tall coconut palms, white sandy beaches and crystal clear lagoons. Come to a lush, tropical island set in the shimmering waters of a shallow lagoon, ringed by a reef vibrant with marine life, its soft sand shaded by filigreed palm fronds. For your perfect vacation, please select your dream resort from our carefully studied list of resorts and hotels in Maldives OR give us few clues to guide you with the ideal selection.
Maldives boasts over sixty Safari boats with a wide range of accommodation facilities from bunk beds to king size suites, private bathrooms with hot and cold water and satellite televisions. There is a great range of rafts available for hire from traditionally hand crafted boats to modern designed cruisers with built in Jacuzzis. Each of these rafts come with the well trained crew, professional dive instructors with a separate dhoni for diving cruises, Island excursions and other adventures that lounge in endless floating islands of Maldives.
Tourism in Maldives which was introduced in 1972 has successfully developed in the past years. Maldives tourism has been rapidly growing the number of tourist arrivals and resort islands over the last ten year period. On the European market, Maldives today rank among the most attractive travel destinations in the tropics. Maldives offers large natural resources for tourism and encourages eco-tourism to protect the sensitive environment and underwater life. Tourism Ministry recently revealed that tourist arrivals are on the rapid development expecting over 35% increase for 2011 and have prominently encouraged many investors to construct new resorts by allocating preferential conditions.
"Because of their global reach and reputation, World Travel Awards are unique and regularly referred to as the 'Oscars' of travel and tourism,"
"15 awards to Maldives in various categories. Winners were selected with the help of thousands of industry professionals worldwide who have been voting online"
"With an increase of 99.74% Maldives is ranked as no.3 amongst the 28 finalists of New 7 Wonders of Nature. The ranking for this week is based on according to the number of votes received in the past four weeks from outside the country as well as local nationals"
"Maldives has won the 1st place among Top 10 Romance Destinations in Asia by Trip Advisor traveller's choice award 2010. Other awards include: 2nd place in Top 10 Beach & Sun Destinations in Asia. 3rd place in Top 10 Relaxation & Spa Destinations in Asia"
"second year in a row, Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives has been listed in the Luxury Travel Gold List 2010's Top 20 in the categories of 'Best Overseas Resort' and 'Best Overseas Spa Resort"