We all know Maldives as one of the most sophisticated holiday destinations in the world – but only a few know that there is much more to these turquoise blue waters than its white sand beaches, islands and exotic resorts. Read more to discover the unknown about Maldives.
#1 – Maldives is the smallest muslim country in the world, with a 100% Islamic population. This also means strict restrictions on alcohol and bathing suits at all times – except on the resorts islands and hotels. Islam being the official state religion, there has been a rising tide of religious intolerance in Maldives making freedom of religion practically impossible.
According to the constitution of Maldives – all non-Muslims are precluded from voting, obtaining citizenship, and holding public positions; while non-Muslim foreigners are prohibited from worshiping publicly, or from encouraging local citizens to participate in any other religion.
#2 – Maldives is made up of almost 1200 small islands which are grouped together to make 26 scenic atolls. But only 200 of these islands are actually inhabited by the locals. Uninhabited islands are used for farm land, industry purposes, or as “picnic” islands for resorts, which today tourists can also visit and rent for a day as their private island topped with romantic meals.
#3 – Not every resort island in the Maldives is the same. While one island could be covered with palm trees, the other could be lying really low without a single tree on it. Therefore, It is vital to pick your island carefully before you visit.
But when you look at the common features of the luxury resorts and various Maldives hotels, most accommodations boast of exclusivity, romance and privacy – without any cultural restrictions. For instance the Taj Exotica Maldives is lush with tropical plants and encircled by clear blue waters of one of the largest lagoons of the Maldives.
#4 – Almost 100 islands in the Maldives have already disappeared and the rest are continuously threatened with the everyday natural erosion. According to various scientist predictions the rising sea levels of our planet could completely flood and wipe off the islands of Maldives that lie just five feet above the sea level into a lost Atlantis by the turn of this century.
#5 – Maldives boasts of a 98% literacy rate which is truly surprising. Owing to its small population, a unified education system put together with the help of UNICEF, and the fact that 100% of its children attend primary education with a 99% graduation rate – almost everyone you will meet in Maldives will be a well-educated and well-informed individual.
#6 – Maldives has a list of many underwater firsts in the world. In 2009, the first underwater cabinet was held in Maldives in a plea for climate change and to highlight the threat of global warming. Today, it has the first undersea restaurant in the world – ITHAA; the first underwater spa in the world – named LIME, in Huvafen Fushi, a luxury resort in the Maldives; and the first underwater nightclub – called SUBSIX.
#7 – Commuting in-between islands is not always easy. Once you land at the Male airport – don’t just assume that you can hop onto a taxi and reach your accommodation. In all probability your hotel will send a representative for you at the airport, but even then the commute can take long hours depending on where you are staying.
To reach Male city – you can take the Airport Express Speedboat, charged at MRF30 or US$2 for a one way transfer per person, leaving every 15 minutes. From male you have options of taking a public ferry charged at MRF10 or US$1 per person one way, leaving every 10 minutes. But if you are staying on another island – be prepared to take a speedboat or even further through a domestic seaplane flight. Please note – that there is no set schedule for seaplane flights – so long delays are but natural.
#8 – Bio-luminescence is highly unpredictable in the Maldives. One of the very few destinations in the world claim the presence of bio-luminescent planktons – a phenomenon due to which the water glows at night like a starry sky. But yes, witnessing bioluminescence in Maldives involves an element of luck and there is no predicted time of the year that you can experience it for sure. Although, the best chances seem to be in the month of June to October.
#9 – Maldives is literally a life-size aquarium. If you are a water baby – Maldives is for you, with the best chance of viewing some unbelievable marine life both above and below the water. Be it the largest whale sharks, dolphins, Manta rays, sea turtles or reef sharks – almost everything you can imagine in water can be found here. Did you know – that an adult parrot fish can produce around 1 ton of sand per year – contributing to the existence of the fine coral sand – as the result of undigested corals they eat.
#10 – Maldives has a lot of unique culture/history – if you know where to look. Yes, there is historical significance everywhere in Maldives – from its flag to its currency, and its architecture. Cowry shells, which can be found by millions in Maldives were used as units of money during medieval times. This is why nowadays shells commonly ornate the logos on the Maldivian coins. Also, traditionally Maldivians used to build their houses in coral – a form of architecture now forbidden since Coral Reefs are worldwide protected. But if you are on a hunt – old coral houses still can be seen in Male and some local islands.
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