1192 ‘beads’ have been strewn across the turquoise satin surface of the ocean in an oval chain that almost encloses the equator. It is pure paradise on Earth.
The Maldives have always been a favourite among businesspeople and celebrities, for where else can you forget about the daily grind so quickly and hide away from the world? The local hotels are celebrated for their excellent service. Hotel owners there try so hard to create an atmosphere of total privacy that if you do want to forget the world completely, then just stay on your own stretch of beach and take delight in the purple sunsets and beautiful sea life.
On the majority of the tourist islands there is usually only one hotel resort with individual bungalows that appear like mushrooms growing out of the crystal clear water. In the most luxurious of them, guests can expect swimming pools and jacuzzis with fresh water and transparent floors, from where you can marvel at the emerging colourful abodes of the Indian Ocean.
There is a legend, according to which the Maldives are thought to be the remains of the mythical Atlantis, that is, ancient Lemuria, which itself received a very unusual name owing to its large population of lemurs.
If you linger in the city of capital Male a little while, go and find the city’s oldest building – The Friday Mosque (17th century), which was built from genuine coral. The president’s residence and the tiny little houses of the locals are as remarkable – due to their size – as the island itself. Incidentally, around a third of the country’s population (100,000) resides inside of 2 km2. As surprising as it may be, this is the only place in the Maldives where you will find high-rises and tarmac roads.
What’s interesting is that children are taught from an early age a simplified form of English – Globish – and also a course in hospitality. Both will be required in the future for the most prospective work on the Maldives: in the hotel and restaurant business. The professionalism of the hotel staff is clearly evident. The Maldivians do not do this in vain – tourism makes up 30% of the country’s total GDP. Note that neither agriculture nor industry are developed there. But this doesn’t stop the Maldivians from serving up the most delicious food on hotel tables, and refined beverages brought in from abroad.
Once you’ve experienced the glory of Maldivian sea life, you will never forget the real beauty found only on coral reefs. Visitors to this fairy-tale land will confirm that true paradise is right there, among the atolls and equatorial reaches. If you are not yet quite familiar with the existence of complete harmony and the absolute romance of the islands, think of the city on the water, Venice. Well, the Maldives are almost the same, just a hundred times cooler!