Few scenes inspire wanderlust and a desire to get away more than crystal clear water, white sand and sunshine, and few places in the world do these things as exquisitely as the Maldives.
Here are ten interesting facts about this beautiful nation of islands.
Most islands are deserted:
The Maldives are comprised of 1,190 islands, only 200 of which are inhabited! That leaves 990 deserted and untouched islands to explore.
All resorts are located on their own islands:
There are 105 resort islands to choose from, each offering restaurants, bars, sporting facilities and entertainment.
It is the lowest and flattest country in the world:
The average ground level is just 1.5m and the Maldives highest point at a certain spot on Villingili Island is the lowest ‘high point’ for a country in the world.
It’s one of the world’s best dive spots:
The coral reefs and its marine ecosystem make this area amazing for diving. Whale sharks, manta rays, grey reef sharks, moray eels and turtles abound and you are likely to see anywhere from 10 to 12 different species of whales and dolphins on a sight-seeing trip.
They have underwater cabinet meetings:
With the highest point of the Maldives only 2.3m above sea level, rising oceans and climate change are a very real threat. In fact, residents of 16 islands are already being relocated to other areas of the country due to issues stemming from rising sea levels.
There are serious restrictions on alcohol and other items:
The Maldives is a strictly Muslim nation – law on the island is based on Shari’a and Jafari systems, and the president and cabinet members are all required by law to be Sunni Muslim.
Tourists are expected to behave in a manner that respects and obeys these traditions, and alcohol is banned everywhere except resort hotels. So keep your cocktails on the resort property.
Their religious beliefs are taken very, seriously:
To the point where no public acknowledgement of other faiths are allowed and the constitution explicitly forbids the following of any other religion by Maldivians.
Tourists may worship in private, though until recently you were not permitted to bring other religious texts in to the country, and you are certainly not allowed to bring in any other religious idols, pornography, alcohol or pork products.
Disrespecting or offending religious sensitivities can result in a prison sentence, while getting caught with drugs will likely put you in there for life.
A coconut was detained on suspicion of rigging the election:
Yes, you read that correctly. Belief in the supernatural is widespread in the Maldives, with coconuts supposedly a common ingredient in black magic spells.
An extraordinarily high literacy rate:
The Maldives boasts a 98% literacy rate amongst adults and 100% enrolment of children in primary school. With the aid of UNICEF, the Maldives sought to implement a unified education program and they have done so with great success, following the British educational system.
Their weekend starts a day early:
In keeping with the Muslim calendar, Maldivians’ take their weekend break on Friday and Saturday.