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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Joanna James Joanna James
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List of Islands of the Maldives - The Island in a Nutshell

The Maldivian Republic is a stretch of tiny coral islands going as far as 750 km over the Indian Ocean. It is grouped in 26 natural atolls with their own history, culture and language.


Inhabited Islands

These are the towns, villages and communities which are known to the public to be places of long-term residence. Amongst the inhabited islands are Ukulhas, Thoddoo, Rinbudhoo and Kudahuvadhoo. Ukulhas is an island which is full of commercial activity. There are guesthouses with leisure activities, clean beaches and good conditions for snorkelling with abundant marine life for you to see. The locals living in Ukulhas are also very friendly and hospitable. Thoddoo has a far cleaner beach and an enormous lagoon where swimming can be an amazing experience. While guesthouses offer expeditions, the main highlight of Thoddoo is its beach. Rinbudhoo translates to "Jewellers Island". Located in the Dhaalu Atoll, this is where the most skilled silversmiths and goldsmiths live. Kudahuvadhoo Island is home to Dhaalu Atoll hotels and is known as the urban hub of central Maldives. Those planning to visit Dhaalu Atoll can opt for luxury accommodation options such as PER AQUUM Niyama Maldives.


Uninhabited Islands

While most Maldivians live in Male and 200 other islands, the rest of the islands have been turned into holiday resorts while the others remain uninhabited. Maldives islands have so many uninhabited islands. A few uninhabited islands are Ariadhoo, Firunbaidhoo and Maakandoodhoo which are unique in their own way. Ariadhoo is an uninhabited island in the Alif Dhaal Atoll close to Maamigili Island. The island is important in terms of its archaeological significance (Buddhist remains). In Shaviyani Atoll lies Firunbaidhoo which has an interesting story as well. In fact, it used to have as many as 120 settlements. In 2004, the people moved to the atoll capital Funadhoo due to government issues. Maakandoodhoo is yet another uninhabited island in the Shaviyani Atoll which was formerly the residence of several Maldivians. Unfortunately, the island suffered the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 and therefore people had to be evacuated.


Disappeared Islands

Speculators say that it is expected for Maldives islands to be swallowed by the sea in the future. History has shown many islands of Maldives to be a victim of mass erosion, sea reclamation from a rise in sea level possibly related to global warming or simply a result of integration with surrounding islands. Some islands used to be inhabited in the past and have become a piece of history within Maldives. Certain natural atolls have been named after islands which have disappeared. These former islands include Thiladhoo and Addu from which came the Thiladhunmati and Addu atolls. The other atolls have been named after the places where the first homes in Maldives were sighted.


Artificial Islands

In order to tackle the major crisis of possible submersion by the sea, the Maldives Islands have begun constructing a series of artificial "floating" islands. This could provide an alternative should low-lying land be unsuitable for habitation in the future. One of the man-made islands is Thilafushi, also known as "Rubbish Island". This floating land mass was once upon a time an actual lagoon made up of shallow coral reefs but after the government deemed it a dumping ground for waste from the tourism industry, it began to expand grotesquely in size by one square meter every day. Hulhumale, on the other hand, is an island which was reclaimed by the sea. Located in North Male Atoll, this artificial island meets all the housing, industrial and commercial development requirements of Male. The island is also undergoing construction of a "China-Maldives Friendship Bridge" which is also expected to provide a means of getting between Hulhumale and Male.