The Republic of Maldives is made up of a double string of 1,190 coral islands located to the southwest of Sri Lanka, in the Indian Ocean. Stretching north to a point just south of the equator, the archipelago is 130 kilometres (81 miles) wide at its widest point and 820 kilometres (510 miles) long. It is the flattest land in the world, with the highest natural point less than 2.4 metres (8 feet) above sea level.
Grouped into 26 atolls – ring-shaped coral formations that provide a natural defence against wind and waves, enclosing a lagoon – the Maldives covers a total area of 859,000 square kilometres (331,661 square miles), only 1% of which is land. Not surprisingly, this aquatic nation is considered one of the top 10 diving spots in the world. With only 200 inhabited islands and an additional 98 islands developed exclusively as tourist resorts, the Maldives gains the majority of its economic support from tourism.
Malé, the capital of the Republic of Maldives, is an island 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) long and 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) wide. Malé is clean and quaint, with markets, mosques and a maze of small streets that approximately 103,000 people call home. Thirty minutes by seaplane northwest of Malé, visitors are transported into the idyllic world of Four Seasons Resort Maldives on the enchanting island of Landaa Giraavaru. Alternatively, a pleasant 25-minute speedboat ride from Malé International Airport takes visitors to the enchanting island of Kuda Huraa, where Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is the point of embarkation for Four Seasons Explorer as well as a destination in itself.
- Sea Conditions: Seas are generally calm with a glass-like surface, providing excellent opportunities for a variety of water sports, including wakeboarding and waterskiing.
- Marine Wildlife: Guests can see coral spawning during night dives, with the greatest display in late March.
- Migrations: The Maldives is on the migration path of dolphins and some of the world's largest whales, including sperm, false killer and blue whales. Limited sightings of these gentle giants are possible during dives.
- Sea Conditions: A combination of large swells from ocean currents and the western monsoon creates ideal conditions for surfing charters.
- Marine Wildlife: Guests can see manta rays while diving and snorkelling at pelagic hotspots close to the Resort, such as Hanifaru Bay and Bathalaa.
- Ramadan takes place for an entire month, with the Maldives operating on shortened work and school hours to fast throughout the day.
- Independence Day is celebrated with parades, fireworks and abbreviated work schedules.
- Marine Wildlife: This is the season to see sharks, eagle rays and dolphins during dives.
- Eid al-Adha celebrates the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Animals are sacrificed across the nation in honor of the prophet's actions.
- Marine Wildlife: Guests can see Napoleon wrasse, reef fish and turtles while diving and snorkelling.
- Islamic New Year is celebrated in a quiet manner, with house cleaning, new clothes buying and praying the primary activities.
- National Day marks the day Muhammad Thakurufaanu gained victory over the Portuguese colonial powers. The day is marked with fireworks, parades and marches.
GMT +5 hours in Malé
GMT +6 hours at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives
Dhivehi, a language spoken only in the Maldives, is as exotic as it sounds. With a strong Arabic influence, it has its own script. Since the 1960s, English has become widely understood, spoken and written by locals.
Local voltage is 220 to 240 volts AC. Adapters are available in all rooms, and transformers are available through Housekeeping.
The Resort Shop at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa is open daily from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Sunday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, in Malé, the capital city
Sail from Kuda Huraa to Landaa Giraavaru via the Malé and Baa atolls.
Public Holidays in Maldives 2015
|New Year's Day
|Ramadan||18 June – 18 July
|Independence Day||26 July
|Eid al-Adha||23 September|
|Hajj Day||24 September
|Islamic New Year
|National Day||13 December|