10 Things you need to know before travelling to the Maldives
The islands await
1. The Double Loop
The Maldives consists of 1,192 islands spread in a double loop chain of 26 atolls that stretch almost 800km from North (towards Sri Lanka) to South (the great Indian Ocean and beyond).
2. An atoll, you ask?
An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef—these can encircle a lagoon completely or partially—sometimes providing sheltered (aka calmer) waters within the lagoon. The word 'atoll' originates from the country's national language—Dhivehi.
3. At a lowest high
The Maldives has the lowest highest point in the world at 2.4 metres above the mean sea level. It's also the flattest country.
4. 0.1 percent land
That's right; the country is 99 percent water.
5. Safe, clean, aquamarine
The Maldivian waters are safe and clean. With over 2,000 species of fish and 200 of coral, it is a paradise for snorkellers and divers with not a single sea urchin in sight. In addition, the world's largest population of reef manta rays reside here and it's so easy to see turtles, dolphins and whale sharks. Most lagoons at the resorts are sheltered, making it great for anyone to swim in and spot fish (even baby sharks)!
6. Most Maldivians are Muslims
You'll find mosques on the local islands as the island-dwellers follow the tenets of Islam and some resorts don't serve pork. Keep your legs and shoulders covered out of respect when visiting a local island and know that alcohol is also prohibited everywhere except resort islands in the Maldives.
7. Teetotal Holiday?
Expanding on point #6, the alcohol ban means you shouldn't try to bring alcohol in or take any out of the Maldives as the airport scanners will detect it. While available at resorts, alcohol is extremely expensive but most resorts do offer 'specials' on drinks and Happy Hours.
8. To seaplane or not to seaplane?
You don't have to pick a resort that requires a seaplane transfer to get to pristine waters—step out of Male's Velana Airport and it is clear turquoise as far as the eye can see. Seaplanes do offer an amazing view of the atolls but while costly, it's an experience to remember. If you do, pick an international flight that arrives at Male early in the day. This will allow ample time for the internal seaplane transfer (flights are between 30-60 minutes long) as they only fly in daylight.
9. Island time
To maximise the daylight hours, many resorts operate on 'island time' which is one hour ahead of Male time (which is +5 GMT) so you'll need to manually set your phone to this.
10. Where to go and what to do?
The answer: A myriad of experiences to suit your every whim and fancy. However, we suggest you keep these points in mind to help you narrow it down: Accessibility (boat or seaplane transfer?); size (intimate or full-fledged resort?); vibe (romantic or family-friendly?); and extras (are you looking for glam surroundings with butlers and 24-hour room service, or pared-down experiences?).
Most resorts offer multiple dining experiences, spas, marine excursions and watersports as the standard so you can choose to do as much or as little as possible. But whichever is your preferred style of island-living, we promise the magnificence of the Maldives will take your breath away.
This story was originally posted at WanderLuxe by The Luxe Nomad
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