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Overview

A scattering of palm trees in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the islands of the Maldives appear from nowhere as you descend into Male airport. Grouped into coral atolls around warm, shallow lagoons, the 1,190 islands make up less than 1 percent of the territory of the Maldives. The rest is clear blue ocean, hiding a string of pristine coral reefs that attract divers from all over the world. Rising just nine feet above sea level, the islands were damaged during a 2004 tsunami, but the resorts bounced back impressively. As well as sand-dusted beaches and swaying palms, most resorts offer scuba diving, snorkeling, water-sports, island ...

A scattering of palm trees in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the islands of the Maldives appear from nowhere as you descend into Male airport. Grouped into coral atolls around warm, shallow lagoons, the 1,190 islands make up less than 1 percent of the territory of the Maldives. The rest is clear blue ocean, hiding a string of pristine coral reefs that attract divers from all over the world. Rising just nine feet above sea level, the islands were damaged during a 2004 tsunami, but the resorts bounced back impressively. As well as sand-dusted beaches and swaying palms, most resorts offer scuba diving, snorkeling, water-sports, island excursions and night-time entertainment. Each occupies a single island, adding to the castaway mood. When it comes to luxury, the sky is the limit.

The most popular atolls are North and South Male, close to the international airport, but some of the most exclusive resorts are hidden away in the remote northern and southern atolls, only accessible by flying boat.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands.
  • Language: Dhivehi
  • Currency: Maldives Rufiyaa
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to April, but also busy in August