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Maldives Travel Guide

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Full country name: Republic of Maldives
Area: 298 sq km
Population: 396,334
Capital City: Malé
Language: Dhivehi (Mahl)
Religion: 100% Muslim
Government: Presidential republic
Time Zone: (UTC+5)
Dialing Code: 960
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD4,300

Budget: $15-25
Mid-range: $30-40
High: $50+
Budget: $50
Mid-range: $170
High: $900+

Geography: Maldives is an island group in the Indian Ocean, south of India. The country consists of about 1,190 islands, that are composed of coral reefs and sand bars. There are only two open passages, that permit safe ship navigation to Maldives. The largest island of Maldives is Gan. Maldives have a flat terrain, with only some minor dunes located at some of the islands. The islands of Maldives are too small for rivers, however small lakes and marshes can be found.

Climate: The Maldives have a tropical climate with temperatures ranging between 24 C - 33 C all year round. There are two seasons in Maldive's weather: the dry season and the rainy one. The dry season is associated with the winter monsoon and the rainy season with the summer monsoon. The wet southwest monsoon lasts from April to October with strong winds and even storms. The northeast monsoon reaches Maldives in the beginning of December and lasts till the end of March.

Recommended clothing: It is advised to dress casually in lightweight clothes (cotton, linen) all year long. Nudism is prohibited in Maldives.

Food: Maldivian cuisine is heavily influenced by Sri Lankan and south Indian (Kerala) tradition. Since the islands are surrounded by water fresh fish is largely available, in particular mas and tuna (kandu mas). A traditional Maldivian meal consists of fish, rice and side dishes of lime, chili and onions. Locals use a lot of spices, but very few vegetables. Usually, the food is flavored with coconut. Since, all of the resorts are self contained, there is at least one restaurant on each of the islands. Note, that ordering to go all inclusive, does not mean that drinks are included, not necessarily is even water included.

Drink: Since Maldives are strongly Muslim, locals do not consume alcohol, however, nearly all resorts are licensed to serve it (usually with a steep markup). Tap water in resorts is not always drinkable - check with the management. Note, that bottled water is extraordinary expensive, with US$5/bottle being typical.

Health: No serious health problems are associated with Maldives. Most of them come from diving or sun related injuries. As a rule, heat stroke is what causes problems in tropic islands, therefore you should drink lots of water, and get into the shade as often as possible. Lots of the resorts have a doctor or a nurse.

Public Holidays:
1 Jan New Years Day (Gregorian)
15 Feb National Day
26 Feb Prophet Muhammadh's (PBUH) Birthday
18 Mar The Day Maldives Embraced Islam
26 Jul Independence Day
27 Jul On the Occasion of Independence Day
11 Aug Beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan
10 Sep Eid ul-Fitr
11-12 Sep On the Occasion of Eid ul-Fitr
3 Nov Victory Day
11 Nov Republic Day
15 Nov Hajj Day
16 Nov Eid ul-Ad'haa
17-18-19 Nov On the Occasion of Eid ul-Ad'haa
7 Dec New Years Day (Hijri)

Note: Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes Eid al-Fitr, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Many restaurants are closed during the day and there may be restrictions on drinking in public places. Some disruption may continue into Eid al-Fitr itself, although this is generally unlikely to affect life on the resort islands. Eid al-Fitr and Eid el-Kebir may last anything from two to 10 days, depending on the region.

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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