Maldives has rightly earned a reputation as paradise, and you will not be disappointed if you paradise - endless white beaches, sinking in tropical greenery and clear lagoon, sparkling in the sun. If you love diving, you will not impress the stunning coral reefs and rich marine life of the archipelago ...
The island nation of Maldives is 700 km. south-west of Sri Lanka, in the equatorial waters of the Indian Ocean. Two nearly parallel to the chain of islands fringed by coral reefs, and lying on a relatively small distance from each other, stretch for 820 km. from north to south. In total there are 1196 islands forming 26 atolls, of which only 199 are inhabited and 100 - open to the public. The total area of the country about 90 thousand. Sq. km of land - only 298 m. km.
Capital - Male (73 thousand inhabitants). - Is the main administrative and commercial center of the country, through which all communication with the outside world.
Maldives widely known for their atolls, resorts, each of which - it is your own unique world, surrounded by pristine beaches and coral indescribably blue sea. This "place on the edge of the world," where there is no noise of cities and bothersome signs of civilization, where only the exotic nature and the endless expanses of the ocean. Numerous underwater coral reefs and caves stretching across the Maldives archipelago, lush tropical vegetation and pristine emphasizes the unique beauty of the islands and the ancient culture of the local people create a unique ambiance for secluded relaxation.
The largest atoll in the northern part of the country - Male (Cafu), stretches for 69 km. from north to south and 39 km. - From west to east. On the northern island of the atoll nation's capital Male '- the only city and the port of the archipelago, as well as one of the smallest capitals in the world (an area of about 1.8 square meters. Km.) And one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Capital is not rich in places of interest and, if necessary, it can be bypassed for an hour and a half, but as it should be excursions to visit the National Museum with a unique exhibition of sculptures of Buddhist temples of the twelfth century. in Sultansoy Park, shady park Jumhury Maidan, Muliage Palace (1913), the country's most revered site - Honey Ziyarat chapel, the tomb of the national hero of the country, Mohammed Takurufanu Nilafaru street-magician, Bazaar Singapore at the top of the street-chandan Magu, Islamic Center to Grand Friday Mosque (Grand Mosque, and indeed the largest in the country), Old Friday Mosque with its unique minaret and the tombs of national heroes and members of the royal family, as well as 25 beautiful mosques of the capital, of which the most interesting Hukuru Miskiiy (XII-XV c.) with a minaret (1675) and the cemetery of the sultans, Bandar bowl, green Daruma barite Miskiiy (XV., the oldest in the country), Kalu Vacaru bowls and others. Each tourist is usually faced with another interesting structure - international Airport on the island of Hulhule, which is built literally on the water's edge and impresses everyone entering the country. Modern Diving Club is located near the new port of Malé, and the beach of the island poured artificially and is considered one of the cheapest in the country.
Ari Atoll stretches for 33 km. from east to west and 96 km. from north to south east of Male and consists of a large and a small Ari Atoll Rasdhoo. The structure of the atoll consists of about 70 islands, of which only 18 are inhabited and 26 islands are considered tourist. This is a relatively new resort area, but the distance from the capital only contributes to the popularity Ari tourists.
Alaveli, Machchafushi, Viligilivaru, Ellaidu and Bata are considered "divers islands", since here a convenient approach to the reefs from the magnificent sandy beaches, and nearby there are several marine reserves (it should be noted that in the area of the atoll Rasdu and in the northern part of Ari Atoll no strong undercurrents). Angaga earned the title of "island-beach" (the beach takes more than 25% of its territory). Kudafoludu - one of the first islands, top class hotels in the country, besides proud of its local landmark - a huge banyan tree, growing right on the site. At Kuramathi located as many as 3 luxury hotels, as well as an archaeological site on which Thor Heyerdahl conducted his famous excavations. On Nalaguraidu is the largest and most modern hotel in the Maldives (with the largest pool, respectively), there are plenty of sports facilities and even a few roads. On Rangali Finolhu - at least modern hotel complex chain "Hilton" with ultra-diving school. Small Kudara, Aturuga, Velids, Diddy Finolhu, Fesdu, Mayafushi, Mirihi, Vakarufali and Madugali, as well as larger Veligandu, Vilamendhoo, Tundufushi and Diffushi - just calm and luxury resorts "in Maldives" with all the ensuing consequences.
Fadiffolu Atoll lies 120 km. north of Male. Kanuhura is located on the island created by the latest technology and design of the hotel complex, opened in 2000, is surrounded by a band of tiny command magnificent beaches. Near Kureddu are more than 40 beautiful dive sites, including the famous passage Kureddu Express-east of the island, and the Kureddu has an excellent base for water sports. Triangular Madiriguraidu known for its beautiful landscape with a coconut grove right in the center of the island and the luxurious strip of sand in the north.
Diving - the main attraction of the country after its superb beaches. The geological structure of the islands and the beautiful climate here formed the conditions for one of the best in Asia dive sites. At any resort by experienced instructors will show tourists a spectacular underwater world of coral reefs and unique underwater fauna of the region. Clash of ocean currents and vertical slopes of reefs in this region leads to the formation of giant clusters of plankton eat that comes a lot of marine life. And the abundance of shipwrecks and allows you to master exciting diving to sunken ships. The consequences of global warming impact in these heavenly places - dying coral markedly in many areas, but thanks to the efforts of the Government of the Maldives was able to slow down this process, and many previously damaged reefs now regenerate quickly. Off the coast of the outer atolls becoming more popular surfing and sailing. Organized even real sea safari from atoll to atoll. Often they are combined with sea fishing and diving under the water, which makes this type of vacation more and more popular - there are few places in the world where fishing can be just as effective.
Tropical sea. Temperature throughout the year, on average does not fall below 25 C at night. The average temperature is about 28 C all year round (daily high - about 32 C, night minimum - 25 C). Rainfall is about 2500 mm. per year, most often in the form of brief rain in the evening and at night. The water temperature is also constant - about + 24-27 C all year round.
Ahead of Moscow for 1 hour in the summer, and at 2 o'clock - in the winter.
Official language - dihevi (close to the Sinhala). The tour centers speak in English.
Local Currency - Rufiyaa, is 100 GEL. Circulation are banknotes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 Rufiyaa and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25 and 50 GEL. Universally accepted USD and major credit cards ("American Express", "Visa", "Master card", "diners Club", "JCB" and "Euro Card"), so be sure to exchange on arrival dollars for local currency .
Tourist visa is issued at the point of arrival (airport Male) free and is valid for 30 days from the date of entry. At passport control, must present a passport, a return ticket to the specified date of departure, as well as vouchers for travel services. Israeli passport holders are not allowed into the country. When leaving the country a fee of $ 10 per person.
Religion: The majority of the population is Sunni Muslim.
According to the Muslim lunar calendar, religious Holidays b> falls on different dates.
January 1 - New Year's Eve.
Early January - Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan or "Rorda Mas").
March - Eid al-Kebir (the Day of Sacrifice).
Beginning of April - Islamic New Year.
June 4-5 - National Day of the Republic of Maldives.
June 15 - Mouloud (Milyad an-Nabi, Birthday of the Prophet).
July 6-7 - National holiday dedicated to the expulsion of the Portuguese invaders in 1573
26-27 July - Independence Day, the feast of the declaration of independence of the Maldives in 1965
11-12 November - Day of Republic.
September - Day Huravi.
October 28 - Day of the Martyrs.
November 3 - Victory Day.
November 9 - Day of the victims.
11-12 November - Day of the Constitution of the third Republic of Maldives.
December 25-26 - Christmas.
Friday in the Maldives - a day.
To get to the "not a tourist island", you need a special permit from the Ministry of Atolls Administration, stating the name of the island or group of islands (useful for traveling on their own), for which it is necessary to have a passport to indicate the purpose, the time, the name of the island or atoll and provide proof of a place to stay. For group visits such permits are issued through a travel agency. Landing on any island tourists staying elsewhere permitted only with the consent of the administration of the island (the hotel). In this case, to be on the island is only allowed until 6 pm.
Prohibited the use of alcohol in public places (outside the resort).
It is strongly recommended to use protective creams, and in the early days of rest always wear hats and sunbathing limited amount of time - it is easy to "burn" even when it is cloudy. In addition, even swim recommended T-shirt - solar radiation easily penetrates the surface layer of water. While diving and swimming usual should closely monitor the surrounding environment - coral arrays have very sharp edges, and many marine species are poisonous. Particularly dangerous sea urchins some marine predators. Mosquitoes bit, but in the evening it's worth to use repellents. At night the air is almost stationary, so the sense of closeness. Change of time typical of equatorial regions - morning and evening lasted nearly 15 minutes, no more, and immediately there comes a bright day with the hot sun.
Environmental issues on the islands are of paramount importance. Most tourists give special garbage bags, and their garbage in these bags should be removed from the islands. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you carefully monitor the implementation of environmental procedures and follow the instructions the hotel, otherwise there may be large fines and even deportation. Spearfishing and unauthorized fishing is prohibited, is strictly forbidden to lift from the bottom of the sea corals (and live and dead), shells and other marine life. For violation of large fines. The country has one of the largest markets in the region for the sale of shells, coral and a variety of exotic marine animals, so you can buy these gifts without breaking local laws. At around freely organize all kinds of sea fishing, a self-fishing is also punishable.
Diving schools are usually supplied with all necessary equipment. All classes associated with scuba diving, controlled high quality instruction (there are Russian-speaking). Diving equipment, training PADI, single and group scuba diving, boat hire or helicopter to be paid separately. Delivery of the dive is usually done yachts or dive bots, via the shallow-draft boats "dhoni" for the passage of the reef, so often it takes quite a long time. Dive outside the reef should be carried out only when accompanied by local instructors, since the nature of the ocean currents off the shelf zone rather unpredictable. Night diving in the Maldives are organized quite rare because of strong currents and unpredictable marine life. Swim in the seas is not recommended.
Traditional cuisine Maldives
Local cuisine is built on the traditions of Indian and partly Arabic culinary traditions. Widely used rice, seafood and a variety of spices and spicy seasonings. Smoked, dried and boiled fish are used in most traditional dishes. Foundation of the kitchen - boiled tuna with rice flavored with a variety of sauces (first of all - coconut curry) and pepper, as well as "hikimas" - dried and smoked fish. Also good with fish cake, coconut and onion "Budge" fish pie "coolies borkiba", a traditional fish soup and rice, "Garuda", tuna cakes with coconut "buzz", baked fish with chilli paste "fihunu weight" rolls fried fish "Kimia" fish paste "rihaukuru" grilled fish with pepper and garlic "teluli May" and others.
Meat, mostly - chicken, used only on holidays or as part of special dishes. Basically rice is used in all variations - boiled in coconut milk, with a variety of vegetables, pepper, all of the same fish or marine arthropods, as well as bananas, papaya, mango, pumpkin, sweet potato, or breadfruit. The main dessert - coconut in all forms, as well as sweet dishes of rice and vegetables. Widely used coconut milk, various puddings, vegetables, fruit salads and pastries. The main drink - tea, as used with lots of milk and sugar. Black tea is infrequent, but there are everywhere, the locals are just not used to drink it. Many involve coffee, basically - in Arabic, but as with all imported products it is quite expensive. In the heat very good juices, local sweet milk "Cyrus sarbat" sweet toddy "one" drink "Sugi" and low-alcohol beverage "ma" from fermented palm milk.
Political system Maldives
Maldives - a democratic republic, part of the Commonwealth. Head of state and government - the president (elected for 5 years). Legislative - unicameral parliament (54 deputies). Administrative Maldives separated by 19 provinces (atolls), and metropolitan area of Malia.
About 301 thousand. Persons. About 99% of the population - Maldivians (ethnogenesis is not entirely clear), as well as Arabs and immigrants from the African continent. The average population density is about 832 people per square kilometer. km. Average SMS, male life expectancy is 61 years, for women 64 years -. The main part of the population are Maldivians (Sinhalese, Indians) - 90% of the Arabs - 9%. Living on the islands a few dozen Europeans. The most densely populated atolls - is Male, Suvadiva and Siladumati.
The import and export of foreign currency there are no restrictions. All baggage undergo strict customs inspection. The import of up to 200 units. cigarettes to 125 ml. perfumes and articles of personal consumption within a reasonable (not more than one item per person).
It is strictly forbidden to carry alcoholic beverages, salami, pork and products from it, pornographic publications and drugs. Banned the export of black coral and products thereof (other than gifts made officially certified by the Government of the producers), products of sea turtle shell, as well as objects and things found on the seabed.
Medical aid Maldives
No special vaccinations are not required, but recommended vaccination against hepatitis A and B. If necessary, medication is recommended to bring with them, as the islands are practically no pharmacies and medicines sold in hotels, are extremely expensive. Medical insurance is recommended international standard.
Working hours Maldives
Banks are usually from 09.00 to 13.00 Saturday to Thursday. Output, as in all Islamic countries, Friday.
Schedule shops unstable. Most, especially on the larger islands, working with up to 07.00-08.00 21.00-23.00, but in the summer many of the shops are open from 13.00-15.00 to 18.00-20.00.
Almost all tourists visiting the island, come here by plane. Male International Airport is located on the island of Hulhule, at a distance of 1 km (10 minutes away by boat national "dhoni") from the capital of the Maldives - Male. On the islands there is no regular transport. Airline "Air Maldives" makes regular flights only a few distant islands. Hotels provide travelers shuttle boat dhoni (speed of 7 knots per hour), high-speed boats, helicopters or airplanes water, which bring tourists to the most remote corners of the country. Relaxing on one of the islands, you can always rent a speed boat or dhoni.
Any Maldivian island can be crossed in 1.5 - 2 hours. Bicycles and motorcycles are the most popular types of ground transportation. For movement on Male working taxi. The price of a trip in either direction costs 10 Rufiyaa. In Male and other large islands can be rented car.
Potable water Maldives
It is recommended to drink bottled water and soft drinks. Although local water and cleaned carefully enough (often desalinated sea water), but due to the high temperature deteriorating rapidly.
Voltage - 220 B.
Officially, tipping is not accepted, but unofficially, if the service is really deserves, is customary to leave a small amount of personally serving employees (US $ 10 per week at the employee or 5% - the waiter). Some resorts added payment service account (typically 10%), in this case the tip is not necessary. In the case of renting a boat or boats should negotiate the amount in advance.
The country has strong traditional Islamic norms of behavior, but without any sign of bigotry. To walk on Human Settlements is recommended to wear long pants or a skirt and a light shirt (not a T-shirt). At the same time to visit most restaurants strict evening wear is not necessary. When visiting mosques clothing must cover the arms and legs. Shoes must be removed and wash their feet in the ritual bath. Forbidden to photograph. Mosque guards usually insist on accompanying tourists, hoping to take charge, but in fact a mosque can be viewed independently. Bathing naked prohibited on all islands of the archipelago except the island of Kuramathi.