The Maldives is nothing short of amazing. Even the most seasoned travellers are bound to experience the utmost pleasure and joy when stood against a backdrop of what is easily the real-life depiction of paradise. The infinite blues, pierced by thousands of islands and sandbanks, heavenly accommodation and dining options, as well as leisure activities that are limited only by imagination, grab a hold of virtually every guest and refuse to let go. For you to truly appreciate the magnificence and uniqueness of the Maldives and to add pizzazz to the story of your Maldives, here is a compilation of a dozen facts that will certainly grant you an ‘expert level’ badge:
1. The Maldives is the flattest country in the world. Its highest point is just 2,4 meters above mean sea level.
2. The year-round air temperature is between 29 and 32 degrees Celsius and the water averages at balmy 28 degrees Celsius.
3. The country area is about the same size as Portugal’s, with ninety-nine percent of it being water.
4. Maldivian language is called Dhivehi and it is closely related to the Sinhalese language of Sri Lanka. While English is widely spoken (as are many other major languages), here are some words you can learn to impress: Shukuriyaa (thank you), madi (manta), koamas (dolphin), loabi (darling), olhu (water between sandbanks), dhoni (boat).
5. More than 2,000 species of fish and more than 200 species of coral have been identified in the Maldives.
6. Diving and snorkelling in the Maldives is a must! Whether it be taking your first breaths in a lagoon, snorkelling on house reefs or eventful dives in channels, outreefs and underwater islands, you’ll be amazed by the variety of marine life as well as with the passion and knowledge dive center teams possess.
7. The Maldives is comprised of 1,192 coral islands, which are grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. Atolls are ring-shaped reefs that came to be as volcanoes subsided and sea levels rose. The word ‘atoll’ originates in Dhivehi, the country’s national language.
8. The Maldives is home to the world’s largest known population of reef manta rays. The Manta Trust estimates that the waters are home to around 5,000 mantas, with more than 3,000 of them already identified.
9. With a fleet of 50 Twin Otters, Trans Maldivian Airways is the world’s largest seaplane operator.
10. Many of the islands are used as nesting grounds for sea turtles. Turtles will often return to the very same beach to lay their own eggs.
11. For daylight saving purposes, a lot of resorts observe ‘island time’, which is 1 hour ahead of Male’ time.
12. Weather patterns can vary greatly across the archipelago. The islands receive plenty of sun throughout the year and the best time to visit is between January and December 🙂
13. The Maldives has a rich and vibrant culture, ranging from traditional bodu beru performers and crafts such as wooden lacquerware and fishing boats (dhonis).
14. Contrary to popular belief, the Maldives is not just for honeymooners and luxury travellers. There is a good choice of accommodation on local islands as well as resorts suitable for families after an affordable, adventure-packed time.
15. The unofficial motto of the resorts is ‘No shoes, no news’. Scrunch your toes in the sand and live up to it!
Curious to explore options for an all-inclusive holiday at a new 3-star resort in the popular Lhaviyani Atoll, just 40 minutes from Male?
The article was published in Trans Maldivian Airways’ in-flight magazine and reworked with the author’s permission.