An article for those who are only planning their dream trip. General information about Maldives will help you better understand the country, its features, traditions, attitudes towards ecology, and many other facts. The more you learn about the country before your trip, the more comfortable it will be. And some facts may even help you save both time and money.
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General information about Maldives
Below you will find a lot of useful and general information about Maldives, which will help you form a correct picture in your mind.
- The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. Technically, the Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, but if you dig a little deeper, it’s actually the Laccadive Sea. The article “Which sea surrounds the Maldives” contains a lot of interesting information on this topic.
- The country is located on 1200 islands, and only about 300 of them are inhabited by people.
- All 1200 islands are of coral origin.
- The capital of the Maldives is Male. It is also the only city in the country; there are no other cities.
- There is not a single river or lake in the Maldives. There are no sources of fresh water.
- The highest point in the Maldives is 2 meters and 40 centimeters.
- Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa. But almost everywhere, US dollars are also accepted on an equal footing with rufiyaa. Read all about the currency, what to bring, the exchange rate, and where cards are not accepted in the linked article.
- People often ask: which part of the world do the Maldives belong to? The Maldives are part of Asia.
- Official name: Republic of Maldives or Maldives Republic or Republic of Maldives Islands.
- Population: 560,000 people. Read more about the people, how they treat tourists, their habits, and religion in the linked article.
- Form of government: presidential republic. The country is governed by the President, who appoints the cabinet of ministers. There is also a parliament, which is the highest legislative authority.
The country has a very interesting history, which you can read about in a separate article linked.
About the Maldivian economy
On one hand, everything here is quite ordinary, but on the other hand, it’s all very fascinating. Below is some general information about Maldives and Maldivian economy.
The country is both small in size and population, and consequently, its GDP is low compared to other countries. As these are coral islands, there is absolutely nothing here. There is no oil, no gas, no valuable minerals, and not even fresh water. There are no building materials, not even sand. The Maldives are forced to import everything.
There are two sectors in the Maldivian economy that generate over 60% of the GDP, while all others are far behind. These are fishing and tourism. With regards to tourism, it is clear that a vacation in the Maldives is expensive, and tourists bring in large amounts of cash.
However, here’s what you should know about fishing. The waters around the Maldives are abundant in fish, with the main commercial fish being tuna. Tuna is so plentiful here that it is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even some national desserts are made with tuna. The country’s main source of income from exports is, in fact, tuna. Apart from tuna, the Maldives do not export much else.
- As for Maldivian cuisine and what awaits tourists on the islands – read the article at the link.
Interesting to know:A budget deficit is when imports exceed exports in a country. Countries with a budget deficit need to buy additional currency somewhere, which has a negative impact on the economy. The Maldives has a colossal budget deficit because the country imports almost everything. The country’s export covers only 7% of imports, and the remaining 93% requires currency, which is brought in by tourists. Therefore, tourism is vital to the Maldivian economy, and the border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic showed this.
General information for tourists
You have already learned the general information about Maldives, but below are some facts about the Maldives that will be helpful for your travels:
- The power sockets in the Maldives are English, Malay, and Indian. The sockets are the same in all these countries, so our plug won’t fit them without an adapter. However, today, resorts and guesthouses for tourists sometimes install universal sockets. The voltage in the network is 220V.
- Green Tax – also known as a “green tax” on tourists. Every tourist must pay this tax, which is currently set at $6 per day if staying at a resort, and $3 per day if staying on a local island. The tax even applies to children. Details on how to pay this tax and the types of accommodation available in the Maldives can be found in the linked article.
- GST – another tax you will definitely encounter in the Maldives. It is the equivalent of VAT in our country. There are two types of this tax: GST 8% in the sector for local residents, and GST 16% in the tourism sector. Food in restaurants, excursions, accommodation, diving – all are subject to GST. Sometimes it is already included in the price, and sometimes it is added on top of the agreed price. Read all about this tax in the article: prices in the Maldives.
- General information on driving in the Maldives. It is not like in our country, as they drive on the left side of the road, like in England. You will only experience this in Male, where there are proper roads and traffic. On local islands and resort islands, there is almost no traffic. There is transportation available, but there are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.
Ecology in the Maldives
And of course, I would like to highlight some general information about the ecology in the Maldives. The topic is at least interesting.
One would think that the country is located in paradise, with nature, the ocean, and the underwater world simply mesmerizing. And all of this needs to be preserved for future generations. But no, environmental awareness here is still weak.
In the Maldives, you are unlikely to come across solar panels, wind turbines, and other sources of renewable energy. Some hotel resorts are trying to introduce them, but it is currently a sporadic initiative of the resorts themselves. One such resort that has almost completely switched to renewable energy and cares for the environment is Soneva Fushi. It is a luxurious hotel where you can purchase a package tour. A hotel review can be found at the link.
- Today, electricity in the Maldives is generated by a diesel power station on each island. And it rattles and smells around the clock.
- Each island also has its own desalination plant that supplies the island with fresh water. There are no problems with it here. Freshwater is available in any quantity, and it is simply poured on the streets every day to control the dust. But it is better to drink bottled water.
- Septic tanks are unheard of here, and all of the island’s sewage simply flows into the ocean. On each island, there is a pipe that goes out to the ocean at a depth of 300-500 meters from the island, and that’s where the sewage goes. It is believed that the fish will eat all the organic waste. Therefore, it is prohibited to throw any hygiene items in the toilets in the Maldives.
Often, when I’m on a ferry, I see locals throwing papers and other garbage directly into the ocean. It’s terrible. And yet, I can’t call them dirty, as they’re pretty neat and tidy, cleaning not only their own homes and yards but also the streets of the islands on a daily basis.
I believe this is all because the government is not paying enough attention to ecology, not working with the population, and not launching programs to develop alternative sources of energy. They just transport diesel fuel to each island every week to keep the power station running.
In conclusion, you have learned a little more about the Maldives. The general information provided in the article will help you better understand the lives of locals. And the brief overview of ecology in the Maldives has provided an understanding that things are not as idyllic as they seem in the photos, and the country has room to move forward.
Come to the Maldives – a vacation here is like a fairy tale, despite all the negatives you have learned about this paradise!
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives