When you think of the Maldives you evoke visions of soft sand, warm sunshine and idyllic blue lagoons.
The picture-perfect islands lie south west of India and are famous for their many island resorts and honeymooner appeal. It is very likely you have heard of the destination as it has a propensity for being at the top of most luxury vacationer’s lists as one of the most classic island getaways.
1. THE MALDIVES ARE A MUSLIM NATION
With numerous pictures of scantly clad holiday-goers sipping cocktail as they stroll through beautiful beaches you would not have guessed that the Maldives are actually a Muslim nation. Outside of the resorts strict rules are adhered to such as no alcohol and a t shirt and shorts (or more) as the norm in swimming attire.
If you stay within the resort islands you wont have to adhere to these cultural norms, however it is best to ask your concierge if you plan to visit local towns and non-resort islands about attire and customs. Strict Muslim laws are in place in the locally inhabited islands so if in doubt, ask.
2. IT IS ONE OF THE FEW PLACES YOU CAN EXPERIENCE BIOLUMINESCENCE
Bioluminescence occurs when small sea organisms emit light in a biochemical process. This results in beautiful vistas such as the one in the photo above, however the effect is often less widespread.
Bioluminescence is primarily used by small organisms such as plankton to deter larger predators, but can be a beautiful experience to swim or dive in for visitors. Certain dive operators and resorts may be able to help you experience the phenomena although the effect often occurs on its own accord and is difficult to predict.
If you do encounter the phenomena the effect can be encouraged by motion in the water such as moving your hand around or by the natural movement of the ocean’s waves.
3. THE MALDIVES ARE SOME OF THE LOWEST LYING ISLANDS IN THE WORLD
Because of this fact Maldivians have an embedded interest in raising awareness of the effects of global warming. They were the first country to create a political example through the holding of the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting. The government of the Maldives has also pledged to become carbon neutral by 2019.
The lowest lying part of the Maldives is at 1.5 metres, and the highest part reaching to 2.4 metres. A few of the islands have already needed to be evacuated due to issues relating to global warming and there are fears for the future of these beautiful atolls.
4. THE MALDIVES HAVE A LITERACY RATE OF 98%
The Maldives has adopted the British education system and many will be surprised to hear of the astounding 98% literacy rates. They also have an extremely high rate of children in attendance at primary schools of roughly 100%.
Part of this can be attributed to the help of UNICEF and also though the community’s understanding of the importance of educating youth.
5. THERE ARE OVER 1100 ISLANDS THAT MAKE UP THE MALDIVES