8 Facts you Probably Didn’t know about Maldives

Maldives is without a doubt one of the most coveted destinations for tourists. Thoughts of luxury resorts, water villas, beach bungalows, crystal clear water and sunbathing on pristine beaches flood the mind when thinking of this magical archipelago. Maldives, however, is much richer and diverse than luxury resorts and beaches and is a champion in protecting the environment.

To dig deeper into the country and peel back the surface, here are a few facts about Maldives you probably didn’t know about.

Not just a Holiday Destination

Maldives has been a highly popular tourist destination for around four decades, when its first resort opened for business. Its history however, dates back to thousands of years, to around 500 BC. As a popular trade route, the country was like a second home to Indian as well as Southeast Asian traders for centuries. After the 16th century, Portuguese started exerting their influence on Maldives before the British made it one of its colonies.

The World’s First Underwater Cabinet Meeting

The year was 2009, when President Mohamed Nasheed held a cabinet meeting that sent waves through the world. Why? You may ask; because the meeting was held at the bottom of the sea, with parliament members donning the scuba gear.

This innovative meeting was an ingenious plan to help the world understand how global carbon emissions are causing sea levels to rise, threatening to completely submerge most of the country’s low lying areas by 2100. The meeting entailed 11 ministers co-signing a document which urged the world to cut down on its carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the signed wetsuits worn by the ministers were auctioned off in order to raise money for coral reef protection. The president also made a suggestion to establish a fund to help the population in case the Maldives is enveloped by water.

1200 Islands

Home to around 550,000 people, the Maldives might sound like a tiny spec of land. These half a million plus people are spread across approximately 1,200 islands. The most fascinating part of this fact might be that only around 200 of these 1200 islands are inhabited by people.

From 1984 to 2009, tourists were not even allowed to visit the inhabited islands but after the ban lifted, visitors were welcome to experience the cultural side of the archipelago. This also gave way to budget tourism in Maldives.

Budget Travel

With the emergence of countless guesthouses on local islands, budget travel has picked up in Maldives. These guesthouses offer rates at a fraction of luxury resorts – around USD 40-250 in inhabited islands, as opposed to USD 500-1200 in luxury resorts.

Gone are the days where paradise was accessible by a few as now almost everyone can experience the beauty and magic of the Maldives.

Whale Sharks

Perhaps the most majestic sharks in the world – certainly the most peaceful, whale sharks are a sight to behold. These creatures that can span up to 20 feet and survive almost solely on plankton have made Maldives amongst only a handful of locations their home.

Given their gentle nature, anyone can swim or dive alongside whale sharks without any fear or reprise.

The Flattest Country in the World

The highest ground surface in Maldives is 9.9 feet or 3 meters with the average land area below 3.3 feet or 1 meter, making it the flattest country in the world. With a lack of topography, the archipelago is one of the few nations in the world that are extremely vulnerable to coastal flooding and rising sea levels.

The only elevation you find here are occasional sand dunes that can rise as high as 2 meters or 6.5 feet.

Extremely Rare Sand

One of the most striking aspects of Maldives are the pearl white beaches. This is because unlike normal beach sand, which is made out of quartz, sand in Maldives is made from crushed corals, most of which were broken from live corals by parrot fish chomping down on seaweed that grow on the corals. What makes this sand so special is the fact that it does not heat up even under the scorching sun.


Maldives is not just paradise for humans but for turtles as well. Out of seven species of marine turtles throughout the world, Maldives houses five. The species found in Maldives are Green turtles, Olive Ridley turtles, Loggerhead turtles, Leatherback Sea Turtles and Hawksbills.

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