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Maldives Travel Information with great hotel discounts and promotion rates at AsiaTravel.com
Maldives Travel Information
Nation of Islands
Scattered across the equator in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the gemlike islands of the Maldives depict the rare vision of a tropical paradise. Palm fringed islands with sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons, clear warm waters and coral reefs teeming with abundant varieties of marine flora and fauna, continue to fascinate visitors, as it has fascinated others in the past, for thousands of years. Measuring 820 Kilometres north to south and 120 kilometres east to west at its greatest width, the closest neighbours are India and Shri Lanka. With a population off 244,644 (1995 official estimate), only 199 islands are inhabited. Another 74 islands are set aside exclusively for tourist resort development.

Climate
The climate of Maldives is warm year round determined by the monsoons. However being on the equator the monsoons are mild and not as defined as in neighbouring countries. Of the two monsoons the southwest monsoon from May to October brings more rain and wind. The northeast monsoon from November to April, is the dry season with very little wind. The temperature varies little with an annual average daily maximum of 30.4 degrees Celsius and the minimum at 25.4 degrees Celsius. The annual rainfall stood at just over 2,000 millimetres in 1994.

Entry
Almost all visitors to the Maldives arrive by air. Male International Airport situated in Hulhule island is just over a kilometre or about ten minutes by boat from Male, the capital. All visitors must have a valid passport. For visitors coming from yellow fever infected areas, an international certificate of inoculation is required. No visa is required in advance. A tourist visa of 30 days will be granted to all visitors with valid travel documents.

Where to Stay
The Maldives has a wide variety of accommodation for the visitor. Choices vary from 73 resort islands which will increase to 74 in the very near future. A resort island is a world by itself. Developed on uninhabited islands each island is just one hotel exclusively maintained in pristine form and serviced for only a limited number of guests. The untouched white beaches are perfect for relaxation and a healthy tan under the Maldivian sun.

Transport
The tourist resort islands have their own transfer boats to carry their clients. Visitors with confirmed reservations are normally met on arrival at the airport and transferred by boat, helicopter or sea-plane to the resort island of their choice. Transport and communication services provided for tourists are generally of a high standard. Minimum standards of service and safety also apply. There is no regular inter-island transportation system between inhabited islands. The ad hoc transportation system is serviced mainly by local boats called Dhoni or Baththeli average a speed of about 8 miles per hour.

Excursions
An essential part of the visitor 's experience is taking part in the many excursions on offer. Visiting a fishing village to experience the Maldivian way of life or a trip to Male makes a visit to the Maldives more consummate. There are other excursions available: diving and sailing, safaris fishing trips by dawn and dusk and island hopping to fishing villages, resort islands and uninhabited islands.

Shopping
Male is the best place for shopping, given the choice and variety of goods available in this centre of commercial activity. Local and imported handicrafts and souvenirs, cigarettes and electronic items are sold. The prices in Male have now become highly competitive, with minimum or no duty levied on most items. Most of the shops are in the main business area which is only a five-minute walk from the jetty where tourists usually arrive. It is always better to browse through a few shops before choosing what to buy. Duty Free shops at Male International Airport offer high quality electrical and electronic, goods, cameras, hi-fi stereo equipment watches and cosmetics along with cigarettes and other merchandise.

Fishing
It is no surprise that with over 99 percent of the total area of the Maldives consisting of water, the country boasts some of the best fishing grounds in the world. Traditionally Maldivians, as masters of the sea, used small dhonis and trawled outside the atoll enclosure reef for big game such as sail-fish, sword-fish, marlin, wahoo, barracuda, yellow-fin tuna and other such fish.


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