Maldives Overview

The Maldives are located about four hundred miles south west of Sri Lanka. On average, the coral atoll islands are only six feet above sea level, part of some two thousand coral atolls, of which only a couple of hundred are inhabited. The Maldives is an ideal location for a gentle 'away from it all' type holiday. The swaying palm fronds, hotel front beaches and sparkling waters provide an opportunity to experience a slower beat of life. The large variety of marine life and clear coral waters allow for exciting snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities, and many resorts have Dive Centres offering Beginners courses as well as more challenging Dives for the experienced.

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  • The highest point in the Maldives is on the Wilingili Islands in the Addu Atoll. It’s 7 feet 11 inches above sea level. Sitting an average of just 4 feet 11 inches above sea level, the Maldives are the Earth’s lowest country.
  • Maldives are one of the most dispersed countries in the world; its coral atolls encompass a territory spread across approximately 90,000 square kilometers.
  • More than 2,000 species of fish have been identified in the waters surrounding the Maldives. Approximately 300 species are reef fish, including seven species not previously identified elsewhere in the world’s seas.
  • The gentle incline of each island's shoreline made them an ideal shelf for the deposit of millions of little cowrie shells. Each of these tiny grey-white shells were so even, containable and individual, that they were used for centuries as currency in China for most of their day to day produce in the countryside for rural produce. There was a massive demand for them from the Chinese authorities in ancient times which sustained the economy and importance of the Maldivian islands.
  • The Maldives were the first country in the world to hold an official presidential cabinet meeting underwater. During the meeting, which the president and vice president attended, a declaration on global climate change was signed.
  • The adult literacy rate on the 300,000-person islands is nearly 99 percent – among the highest in the world.
  • The population of the Maldives is 99.4% Islamic.
  • Only 200 of the Maldives’ 1,192 islets are inhabited.
  • The Maldives is forecast to disappear in less than 10yrs due to global warming at current levels of carbon emissions.
  • Each atoll is administered by an Atoll Chief (Atholhu Veriyaa) appointed by the President. The administrative head of each island is the Island Chief (Katheeb), appointed by the President. The Island Chief's immediate superior is the Atoll Chief.
  • The Maldives set a record in 2006 for the largest number of scuba divers participating in one dive, with a grand total of 958 divers descending into the water at the same time.

  • Spend a day in Male, one of the smallest urban capitals in the world with a bustling city life. It’s unlike anywhere else in the Maldives.
  • Situated in Sultan’ Park, the national museum displays artefacts of past Maldivian royalty as well as relics show casing Maldives’ rich cultural heritage.
  • The Friday Mosque ‘Huskuru Miskiiy’ is the main mosque in the Maldives. Built by Sultan Ibrahim Iskandhar in the 17th century and can accommodate more than five thousand people.
  • Take a walk through the local Fish market and Male’s local market, for a great chance to mingle with Maldivian locals.

  • Tipping is not compulsory, as a 10% service charge is added to everything; however it is a nice gesture to staff in your resort. 
  • In Male, the  Seagull Cafe is a popular choice with its American style dining and best ice cream in the city! 
  • Symphony Restaurant in Male has a broad ranging menu with great Indian food and is said to have the best vegetarian selection around. This dimly lit restaurant is popular amongst both locals and tourists. 
  • Visit Fish Head ( Mushimasmingali Thila) it is one of the best dive spots in the world with an abundance of coral, anemones and sea life, including barracuda, but the major attraction are the grey reef sharks. 
  • For the best diving equipment in the Maldives, visit Water World and Dive shop, they have a complete range of equipment from big name brands. 
  • The Royal Garden Cafe is located in a rare existing Ganduvaru (a noble’s house) in Male. The menu is a fusion of Indian, Indonesian, Italian and American cuisine. 
  • Enjoy a taste of modern Maldivian culture and visit the Olympus Cinema (opposite the stadium), it shows recent Indian and Maldivian films.


Three non-stop flights a week (outbound – Wed, Fri, Sun / inbound – Mon, Thu, Sat) from London Gatwick to Maldives (Malé) with complimentary food and drinks. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in, choose your seat and print your boarding card. Available up to 24 hours before your flight or at a check-in kiosk at the airport terminal, print the boarding pass and drop bags at the Fast Bag Drop desks.

Travel Classes:
Euro Traveller & World Traveller (Economy Class) - seat pitch approx. 31”; luggage allowance 23kgs (1 bag). World Traveller Y class can take 2 bags. Gold and Silver Executive Club members can carry an additional checked bag up to 32kgs as part of their free allowance. Entertainment’s Audio and Video system - choose from over 200 entertainment options is available for World Traveller passengers.

World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy Class) - seat pitch approx. 38”; luggage allowance 23kgs (2 bags). It is a private dedicated cabin with a maximum of six rows. Entertainment’s Audio and Video system - choose from over 200 entertainment options.

Club Europe (Business Class) - seat that converts into a 6ft fully flat bed; luggage allowance 32kgs (3 bags). Enjoy personal space in a separate, spacious cabin. Relax before your flight in one of BA lounges; enjoy complimentary hot/cold snacks and refreshments. A member of the British Airways Executive Club can take advantage of 50% more Avios when flying Club Europe. Gold and Silver members can also boost their Avios with an additional Tier bonus.

Four non-stop flights a week (outbound - Mon, Thu, Sat, Sun / inbound – Mon, Tue, Sun) from London Heathrow to Maldives (Malé) or a daily flights from London Heathrow to Maldives (Malé) via Colombo. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in or choose your seat.

General Facilities include:
  • A choice of video and audio channels on the personal seatback TV, including special programming for children.
  • Complimentary food and drinks with an option reserve your meal.
Travel Classes:
Economy Class - seat pitch approx. 32”; luggage allowance 30kgs.

Business Class – seat pitch approx. 48” (19.5” wide); luggage allowance 40kgs. Each seat is electronically operated with an adjustable footrest, headrest, and lumbar-support, and own reading lamp.

To Malé via Dubai - flights from six regional airports: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, and Glasgow to Maldives (Malé) via Dubai. There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in, choose your seat and print your boarding card.

General Facilities include:
  • “ice” entertainment system – personal seatback monitors provide up to 1200 channels to choose from (international movies, TV programs, music, video games) in all classes.
  • Dining - choose from regionally inspired dishes with locally sourced ingredients and free drinks in all classes.
Travel Classes:
Economy Class – seat pitch approx. 32-33”; luggage allowance 30kgs.

Business Class – seat pitch approx. 48-60” / lie-flat beds approx. 79” long; luggage allowance 40kgs. Priority check-in & baggage handling; complimentary chauffeur-drive service (mileage restrictions apply); executive lounges in the UK and Dubai.

First Class – seat pitch approx. 69”; luggage allowance 50kgs. First class passengers enjoy individual private suites on selected aircraft; personal mini-bar; exclusive cabin crew service; dining service with fine wines and champagne.

To Maldives (Malé) via Oman (Muscat) from London Heathrow – an outbound service (Mon, Fri) and inbound service (Mon, Thu, Fri, Sun). There are a range of pre-departure facilities such as online check-in or choose your seat.

General Facilities include:
  • Complimentary food and drinks.
  • In-flight audio and video entertainment with a choice of comedy or sport programs.
  • Selection of newspapers and magazines in English and Arabic (subject to availability).
Travel Classes:
Economy Class - seat pitch approx. 34”; luggage allowance 30kgs.

Business Class - 77.5” long lie-flat seat with a pitch of 82” is 22” wide; luggage allowance 40kgs. Offers electrically-controlled backrest, leg rest and seat depth, PC power outlet and two USB plugs.

First Class - fully flat bed, full size bed length 82” with seat width 25.5” and seat pitch 85.5”; luggage allowance 50kgs. Mini suite offers direct aisle access, eight point massage system built in, storage, dedicated space to hang a coat and 23” video monitor and a la carte dining. Electrically-controlled backrest, leg rest and seat depth, PC power outlet and two USB plugs.

Language: The official language is Dhivehi. However, English and French are widely spoken and understood.

Currency: The official currency is Maldivian Rufiya (MVR; symbol MRf) = 100 laari. US$, Euros, £GB & Credit cards are widely accepted.

Time Difference: +5 hrs GMT in Male (some islands +6 hrs GMT)

Tourist Board:

Visa Requirements: No visa required prior to enter Maldives for UK passport holders. Tourist visas for 30 days will be issued on arrival only, and are free of charge to all visitors in possession of valid travel documents.

Passport: A valid passport is required with a minimum 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of return to the UK and an available empty page.

Security: For the latest information visit the foreign office website at and select ‘Country Advice’.

Voltage: 230v – two pin plug

Religion: The major religion is Islam.

Health: Hepatitis A / Tetanus / Typhoid vaccinations are recommended. Check with your Doctor for latest information.

Water: Bottled water is recommended.

Travel Advise 

Please check latest Travel Advise from the Foreign Common Wealth Office