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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things to Know Before You Travel to Maldives - Be Prepared for Paradise
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to Know Before You Travel to Maldives - Be Prepared for Paradise

The very name of "Maldives" itself brings a picture of paradise to our mind. If you're one of the lucky ones heading over for a holiday in "paradise" here are some things that you must know.


It's Made Up of Almost 2,000 Small Islands

The beautiful archipelago of Maldives is made up of about 1,190 islands sprinkled across the Indian Ocean, just below Sri Lanka and India. Some are really, really small that you'll have to zoom 10 times more in Google Maps to see it. Of course, not each of these islands is inhabited. Its crazy to believe that out of the staggering 1,190 or so islands, only 200 are populated including the capital Malé which is home to about153,904 people and has an area of 5.8 km². Some islands are entirely dedicated to resorts; these are the ones that have the famous Maldives beach villas and over water villas. When it comes to uninhabited islands, there are two kinds, the ones that are of considerable size are used for agriculture and industrial purposes. The other kind is the islands so small that they are used by resorts for picnics or romantic meals.


Not All Islands Are Natural

Most of the islands in Maldives were formed by volcanoes millions of years ago. However, some of the islands that you will see in Maldives are actually manmade. One of the best examples for this is Hulhumale, that's the closest island to the international airport. This "artificial" or "reclaimed" island was created back in 2004 with a foundation of concrete and sand. Today, Hulhumale is a bustling island with many paved roads, houses, and shops.
But you might ask, why artificial when there are so many natural islands? The answer is quite sad- global warming. Yep, that's right the rising water levels and sea erosion is making the islands of Maldives slowly disappear. The statistics are simply frightening as it was reported that so far, over 100 islands have gone under. Due to this, you'll see seawalls constructed around the islands to help break waves. There'll also be pumps that are used to pump back sand into the land.


There's a Glow-in-the-Dark Beach

The beaches in Maldives are stunning, but out of all these there's one that's simply spectacular and that's the glow in the dark beach! Yes, it truly does it exist and if you head over to the Baa Atoll at night you'll be able to see it for yourself. This magical natural phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent plankton.


It Has a 100-Percent Islamic Population

Maldives is one of the only two countries in the world to have a 100% Muslim population. This is very important to know before you go on vacation, especially during the Ramadan season, as many shops, restaurants, and services including those by the government, will be closed during prayer times. Alcohol and pork are banned from the country all year round, but you still have access to these at resorts like the Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi. Since Maldives is a very conservative country, modesty is also a must. You can wear shorts, bikinis or any other revealing clothes at your resort, but when you go to visit Old Friday Mosque in Malé or any other public place, make sure to dress in modest clothing as it's forbidden. Public displays of affection like kissing or hugging are also forbidden.


Not your Everyday Glass of Water

Since Maldives doesn't have that many natural resources, fresh drinking water is very rare and the water bottles you buy will be heavily taxed, so be prepared. The water that is used for drinking in Maldives is recycled, treated and produced through a process known as reverse osmosis desalination. While this makes the water completely clean and safe to drink, it does, however, removes the natural minerals which make it less beneficial than ordinary water. This means you're going to get dehydrated a lot. Thankfully, the Maldivians have flavoured hydration packs to help you deal with that.