An archipelago of around twenty-six of very varied size sustaining around 1,190 islands. Of these, 200 are inhabited and 90 are, or soon will be, resorts. The highest point in the country is three meters but most islands are less than 1 – ½ meters above sea level.
Around 280,000 of which some 80,000 live in Male’, the capital. Everyone is Muslim (sunni) and speaks Dhivehi, although the southern islands have a distinct dialect.
In the Indian Ocean, an hour’s flight southwest of Colombo and Trivandrum. The country is 820 kilometers in length stretching to just below the equator.
Maldivian Rufiyaa. Tourists may do all their business in US Dollars. The exchange rate has long been fixed at 11.72 rufiyaa to one dollar. For a thousand years and more, the medium of exchange was the cowry shell (cyprea moneta) that was farmed in the Maldives and taken from here all around the world.
The temperature is constantly between 26 – 30 degree Celsius, two distinct seasons divide the year. The northeast monsoon runs from December through to April. This is the tourist high season when there is little rainfall, wide blue skies and endless hours of sunlight. The southwest monsoon runs from May through to November. During this period it is still generally dry and sunny though there is sporadic rainfall and cloud cover (rarely prolonged enough to spoil a holiday).
Informal, light cotton clothes are ideal. Any length of shorts, tops and swimwear is acceptable on the resorts, but nudity is forbidden. Guest may wish to bring a set of smarter clothes for the evening. When taking a local island visit or a trip to Male’ it is recommended, out of respect for Maldivian sensitivities, that longer, less informal, clothes are worn.
Local Time - GMT + 5 hours (½ hours behind India).
7.30 – 14.30 in the government sector and from 9.00 – 23.00 for most shops.