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Since its ‘discovery’ as a tourist destination in the latter half of the 20th century, the Maldives has gone from strength to strength, and tourism now accounts for a large proportion of the country’s economic output. The increasing availability of flights to the Maldives from most international departure points has also encouraged more visitors to experience this tropical paradise. Spread amongst the 1,000+ islands of the archipelago are pristine beaches, excellent diving spots and all-inclusive resorts. Book a flight to the Maldives with Qatar Airways to discover a world that is virtually picture-perfect.
Although there are almost 1,200 islands in the Maldives, only around 200 of these are inhabited. Many more islands have been developed specifically for tourism, and it is these that most tourists will visit during their trip to the Maldives. There are almost 100 self-contained resorts offering sun, sea and excursions.
For the more adventurous traveller, it is now possible to discover another side of the Maldives and island hop independently. The island nation’s capital, Malé, is one of the most popular destinations outside of the resorts, and is home to attractions such as the Sultan Park and National Museum and Republic Square.
For many, the primary purpose of a trip to the Maldives is to indulge in a wide range of leisure activities in the tropical sunshine. Scuba diving is particularly popular, and the water around the islands is famed for the good visibility it offers. Colourful tropical fish, sharks, rays and shipwrecks lie beneath the waves to be discovered during your trip to the Maldives. Surfing is also quickly gaining popularity, and there are many boat trips tailored to the watersport.
One of the universal activities enjoyed by visitors to the Maldives is simply relaxing on the beach. Most resorts have their own beach, and there may even be private beaches available when renting overwater bungalows.
As the archipelago is surrounded by water, traditional Maldivian Cuisine unsurprisingly features fish quite heavily. Rice, spices and other Indian-inspired dishes are also common. There are a number of restaurants and cafés in Malé where you can get a taste of real Maldivian food.
If you’re staying at a resort though, dining will usually be dictated by what’s on offer at their own restaurants. Asian and European foods are generally well represented, with some variation depending on the type of resort and its target demographic.
There’s usually plenty of opportunities for shopping in between sunbathing and fine dining during your trip to the Maldives. Many resorts offer excursions to some of the inhabited islands, where you can pick up souvenirs and local crafts.
Independent travellers looking to do some authentic shopping will find most of the opportunities for doing so located within Malé. These range from local markets to textile shops and bookshops. As Malé is the main transit area through which tourists travelling to the Maldives pass on their way to the resorts, there are also plenty of souvenir shops.
The Maldives is an Islamic nation, but it is progressive and culturally diverse so visitors should not encounter any noticeable cultural nuances. Most of the tourist resorts are self-contained and separated from the inhabited islands, but it is important to be respectful of the cultural and religious beliefs of locals who work in the resorts.
Those who travel to the Maldives independently and venture outside of the resort areas should be aware of the cultural etiquette of the country. Both men and women should dress modestly away from the beach, and some dining establishments require that diners should cover their legs in the restaurant area.
Flights to the Maldives land at Malé International Airport.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Maldives please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type A / D / G / J / K / L
International dialing code: +960