The Maldives refer to an archipelago comprising of 1192 coral islands that are grouped in 26 coral atolls out of which 200 islands are inhabited and 80 of the islands have world class tourist resorts. Situated in Indian Ocean, the Maldives lie south western part of India and the islands are generally in Southern Asia. In 2004, the Maldives was extensively damaged by a massive Tsunami with most inhabitants being left homeless. After the disaster, international donors helped in the recovery of Maldives which show the rebuilding of damaged infrastructure and homes. The islands have since then recovered and regained their lost tourism glory.
Tourism is the largest industry in Maldives with more than 90 percent of government revenues coming from tourism related activities. The islands receive close to a million tourists every year. The locals are mostly Sunni Muslim and the local culture of Maldivians is a mixture of influences from Sinhalese, Arab and South Indian influences.
Being a Muslim nation, alcohol, dogs and pork are banned in inhabited islands but resort islands do not observe Muslim religion as strictly as such. In Maldives, Friday and Saturday make the weekend in which case government offices, shops and banks remain closed. However, most of the resorts remain operational during the weekend and only closed on Friday for lunch hour.
Generally, the climate of Maldives is tropical and mostly characterized by sunshine in the better parts of the year. The largest and capital city is Male with Addu City being the second largest city. When entering Maldives, note that you are not allowed to import pornography, pork and alcohol and when leading, it is forbidden to export coral, seashells and sand. Getting around is done using sea planes, private yachts and boats. A visit to Taj Exotica will give you an opportunity of seeing the extravagance of Maldives as it houses health spas and large beachfront houses.
Diving and snorkeling is a common tourism activity in Maldives. The atolls offer awesome coral reefs and have excellent water clarity. During your diving expedition, you will encounter Manta rays, ship wrecks and sharks. Surfing is also a great tourism activity in Maldives and it is being marketed as a popular world surfing destination.
The perfect waves and turquoise water makes the Maldives one of the best destinations for smooth surfing. Shopping in Maldives is always an awesome activity to engage in. most of the hotels have onsite shops which mostly sell holiday essentials and diving items like sun cream, disposable cameras and sarongs. A good tube for boating is also an option if you are not an experienced diver.
Male is the only place you can find hotels for your sleeping purposes while all other places in Maldives have resorts to cater for your sleeping needs. The themes and range of resorts in Maldives is simply impressive and are grouped into dive resorts, holiday resorts and luxury resorts. Crime rate in Maldives is quite low especially in tourist resorts where you can enjoy your holiday vacation without any worries. Apart from the 2008 political tensions that involved street rioting, Maldives is relatively a peaceful place to visit.