Capital city: Male
Temperature: from 23°C to 31°C
Best time of year to visit: October to April
Currency: Rafia (Currency: MYR)
Exchange rate: 1 MVR = 0.4516 RMB
Plug converter: The standard is European type plugs (with two round pins). 230 volts AC, 50Hz
Country code: +960
Flight: Major Chinese cities Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have direct flight to Male
The Maldives, the smallest country in Asia, is home to the best beaches in the world, with nearly 1200 coral islands. Each island is surrounded by white sandy beach and sparkling blue waters. This fact alone brings in millions of tourists a year to the Indian Ocean paradise.
From an aerial view, the Maldives display lush green islands, delicate white sand, crystal clear waters, making it the Indian Ocean’s shining pearl. Away from the hustle and bustle of Male, the Maldives atolls look like a paradise. Known as one of the world’s three major diving destinations for dive enthusiasts, the Maldives is rich in marine resources, with more than 700 kinds of fish, fresh marine life and corals making it a gorgeous underwater world.
The Maldives were first settled in the 5th century B.C. by Buddhist seafarers from India and Sri Lanka. Islam was adopted in 1153. Originally, the islands were under Sri Lanka. They came under British rule in 1887. For centuries a sultanate, the islands adopted a republican form of government in 1952, but the sultanate was restored in 1954. An independence agreement with Britain was signed July 26, 1965. In 1968, a referendum announced the establishment of the Maldives Republic and the abolition of the Sultanate.
Maldivians are a warm, hospitable and friendly people, their ancestors are Sri Lankans, Africans, Indians, Arabs and Portuguese. Island culture is influenced by Sri Lanka, India and Africa with characteristics such as local bodu-beru drums, similar to African drumbeats; dhoni sailboats crafted with Arabian skills; and mosque wooden beams on the complex similar in style to Southeast Asia.
The vast majority of people are Sunni Muslims. Religious laws mean drinking alcohol and eating pork are not allowed, although exceptions are made in tourist areas.
Coconuts are a major part of many dishes in Maldives and can be served in grated form, as milk or as coconut oil which is used to deep fry foods.
Maldives is surrounded by sea so it’s not surprising that fish and seafood is an important staple to its people. Favorite fish include skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, frigate tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi.
Resorts host diverse international menus as well as traditional local dishes. Eating in Male affords tourists the best opportunity to try real, local food.
Maldives does not have a wealth of handicrafts. Most goods are imported. Memorable souvenirs to bring home include geometric patterns, hand-woven wire blankets, stamps and coins, island style notebooks and magnets.
What to pack?
Maldives is an island destination. Bring beachwear and swimming appropriate clothes, sunscreen, bug repellent, hat, sunglasses. Comfortable clothes for the heat. Snorkeling gear. Flip flops or sandals.