There’s much to discover about the Maldives. Beyond its pristine shores (and there are thousands of them) and hyper-luxe resorts, the Maldives is a true marvel of nature, and a cultural gem found in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Here are 10 of the most incredible facts about this tiny but magnificent nation that’ll blow your mind.
1 – Many Islands, One Country
Many people think the Maldives is a single island, but it’s in fact a sovereign nation that’s made up of nearly 1200 islands! Only about 200 of them are inhabited, and 100 of them are resorts. Naturally, the sovereign territory of the Maldives is 99% water.
2 – Coralline Beaches
Not all beaches are the same. Maldives’s beaches are coralline, which makes their sand amazingly white and impossibly fine. Coralline beaches are extremely rare. In fact, only 5% of the world’s beaches are coralline, with the rest usually composed of quartz or other rocks.
3 – Coral Houses
Because the Maldives is surrounded by coral reefs and their sand is naturally coralline, Maldivians build their houses out of coral. You can find these traditional coral houses in the many local islands. However, Maldivian law forbids anyone from building houses using coral thanks to the environmental threats facing the world’s coral reefs. This means that all existing coral houses are perhaps all there ever will be in the world.
4 – Pristine Natural Habitat of the World’s Greatest Ocean Life
The world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark, calls the Maldives home. Three official sanctuaries for these majestic fish are all along the Maldivian achipelago. This makes the Maldives one of the only places on Earth where you can see Whale Sharks all-year round.
5 – Lowest and Flattest Country in the World
Being only 1.5 meters above sea level, the Maldives is geographically the lowest country in the world. Its highest point is only 2.4 meters above sea level. This is why the Maldives takes climate change issues very seriously, because it is perhaps the nation that’s most vulnerable to rising sea levels.
6 – Home to the World’s Tiniest Islands
Many of its thousand islands are no more than a few square meters in size. The largest island in the Maldives is barely 6 kilometers long.
7 – Ever-Changing Beaches
The shapes of the Maldivian islands are always changing. Beaches shift to the tune of the waves and winds; and littorals lift and ebb all year round. The bulk of the sand shifts to the southwest during the north-east monsoon in January-March, and is reversed in May-September.
8 – Iconic Dhonis, Authentic Sailors
You can find the traditional Maldivian boat, the Dhoni, almost everywhere in the Maldives. They are icons of the country, and a symbol of their proud, seafaring heritage. They have a unique, high crescent-shaped bow that’s perhaps inspired by the ancient Arabian sailing “Dhow”. The heritage of these ancient sailing boats survives today. Many skilled Dhoni captains do not use compasses or modern GPS to navigate the seas of the Maldives. Some have the nigh-supernatural ability to detect and avoid coral reefs just by observing the waves.
9 – Tiny Country, Mighty Minds
Despite their general isolation from the world thanks to their remote geography, the people of Maldives can boast a 99.6% literacy rate (as of 2015). That’s at least three percentage points higher than Singapore, and is way above the global average of 86%.
10 – Most Breathtaking Airport Touchdown
Maybe this is more of an opinion than a fact, but we think that landing in the Maldives offers the greatest and most breathtaking arrivals at any airport. The Maldivians built their international airport right on a beach! Imagine touching down at an international airport surrounded by nothing but azure blue waters. You’ll find yourself grinning from ear to ear, because the Maldives is already delivering everything promised in the brochures. And you haven’t even unfastened your seat belt!
Eager to experience these awesome things for yourself? Contact us and we’ll make it happen!