The Maldives is an incredibly popular vacation destination, full of history, culture, and unique traditions. But did you know that this tropical paradise with white sandy beaches also attracts a lot of attention for some of its fascinating facts?
That’s right, you won't believe some of the things that have happened and continue to happen on the island nation! Let’s take a look, shall we?
What Are the Maldives?
The Maldives (or the Republic of the Maldives, to be precise) is an independent archipelago state in the Indian Ocean.
The islands lie southwest of India and Sri Lanka and are one of the most geographically dispersed sovereign states in the world.
Fun Facts About Maldives
The Maldives has clear waters, pristine beaches, and diverse marine life. This is also a country rich in history and traditions, so you'll really never run out of things to see and do here.
Let's look at some fun facts about Maldives you might enjoy as a first-time visitor or returning enthusiast.
Fact 1: It is the Flattest Country in the World
The Maldives has an average altitude of 1.8 meters above sea level. This is quite a difference from the second flattest county, Qatar, which has an average elevation of a respectable 28 meters. What's even more, the highest point in the entire nation (in Villingili Island) is... just 2.3 meters high.
Fact 2: An Underwater Cabinet Meeting Was Held There
In 2009, Mohamed Nasheed (the President of Maldives) held a cabinet meeting with all ministers underwater. They did this to raise awareness about climate change and the dangers of meddling with freshwater resources.
Fact 3: Its National Tree is the Coconut Tree
Maldives beaches are full of coconut trees. So much so that this island nation decided to honor it by making it their national tree. It makes sense, for the coconut provides shade, oil, and milk. Plus, its fibers can be used for ropes, and its wood for sailing.
Fact 4: Maldives is Slowly Sinking Into the Ocean
Because the Maldives is the flattest country in the world (and only about two meters above sea level), the island country is more prone to erosion and rising sea levels. Thus, even though there are efforts to minimize this, Maldives is slowly sinking into the ocean.
Fact 5: It was Founded by an Indian Prince
Did you know that the Maldives was actually founded by an Indian prince sent to exile? It happened around 270 BC (well over two thousand years ago) when Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya was punished and sent to the islands to rule them.
Fact 6: It has the World's Biggest Whale Shark Population
The Maldives has plenty of Olive Ridley turtles and green turtles, but it's also home to giant whale sharks, especially around the local island called Sun Island . You can see this species in Rangali Island and Hanifaru Bay, and even dive with this majestic underwater beast!
Fact 7: The Beaches are Coralline Beaches
The beaches of the Maldives are beloved for their white sand, but did you also know this color is due to its coralline origins?
That's right, the sand here is not made of broken-down quartz, like 95% of beaches in the world. It's particles from marine environments!
Fact 8: There Are Wet and Dry Seasons Here, Too
Although the Maldives has a tropical monsoon climate, the islands experience two seasons. From November to March comes the winter monsoon (dry and mild), while June to August brings heavier rain.
Fact 9: Most of the Maldives is Uninhabited
The Maldives is composed of 1,200 islands, many organized in clusters. About 100 of them are reserved for tourism, while the rest remain uninhabited and used for agriculture.
Although there was a travel ban, visitors can now see these islands, too, but they are mostly educated as sources of livelihood.
Fact 10: The Weekend is Friday and Saturday
Be careful when you make plans in the Maldives, for the local weekend is not Saturday and Sunday... but Friday and Saturday!
This is a relatively common choice for Islamic countries (it's similar in Jordan, Egypt, and Oman), but keep this in mind because some accommodations and services are not available these two days.
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