Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Travel North Philippines - Best Value Group Tours

5-Day Quick getaway (US$400/person) - Hundred Islands/Bolinao/Pinatubo/Manila
10 Day Northern Discovery (US$800/person) - Banaue/Sagada/Ilocos Norte and Sur/Pinatubo/Manila
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Welcome to the Beautiful Maldives


Welcome to the Beautiful Maldives

The Maldives (Dhivehi: ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ Dhivehi Raajje) [1] are an archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.
The Maldives are formed of 26 atolls, or atholhu in Dhivehi — the source of the English word. These are not single islands, but giant ringlike coral formations hundreds of kilometers wide that have fragmented into countless islands.

Atoll naming is complex, as the atolls have both lengthy traditional Dhivehi names like Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi, and snappy code names like Baa that refer to administrative regions and may consist of more than one geographical atoll. The code names are actually just the letters of Dhivehi alphabet, but being rather easier to for non-Maldivians to remember and pronounce, the code names are popular in the travel industry and are hence also used on Wikitravel. Of the 20 administrative atoll groups, only (parts of) 10 are open to tourism, and from north to south these are:



* Lhaviyani (Miladhunmadulu Uthuruburi)
* Raa (Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)
* Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
* Kaafu (North and South Male Atoll) — site of the capital Male and the airport, home of most Maldivian resorts
* Alifu (Ari) — to the west of Kaafu, the second most popular group
* Vaavu (Felidhu)
* Meemu (Mulak)
* Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi)
* Dhaalu (Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi)
* Seenu (Addu) — the southernmost atoll, the second-largest in population and site of Gan International Airport

The other atolls are Gaafu Alifu, Gaafu Dhaalu, Gnaviyani, Haa Alifu, Haa Dhaalu, Laamu, Nyavinani, Seenu, Shaviyani, and Thaa.



Tourism

Tourism, Maldives largest industry, accounts for 20% of GDP and more than 60% of the Maldives' foreign exchange receipts. Over 90% of government tax revenue comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes. Almost 400,000 tourists visited the islands in 1998. Fishing is a second leading sectorCulture

Maldivians are almost entirely Sunni Muslim, and the local culture is a mixture of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences. While alcohol, pork, dogs and public observance of non-Muslim religions are banned on the inhabited islands, the resort islands are allowed to exist in a bubble where anything goes.

Note that the weekend in the Maldives runs from Friday to Saturday, during which banks, government offices and many shops are closed. You won't notice this at the resorts though, except that lunch hours may be shifted for Friday prayers.



Climate


The Maldives are tropical, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year. However, rainfall increases considerably during the April-October southwest monsoon, particularly from June to August.




How to get to the Maldives

How to get to the Maldives


The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy: everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort or US$100 + $50/day in cash. This can be extended up to 90 days at Male, but you'll need to indicate where you're staying for that long. See the Department of Immigration and Emigration website [2] for details.

Importing alcohol, pork or pornography (very broadly defined) into the Maldives is forbidden and all luggage is X-rayed on arrival. On the way out, note that exporting sand or seashells is also forbidden.


By plane

Practically all visitors arrive at Malé International Airport (IATA: MLE, ICAO: VRMM), located on Hulhulé Island right next to the capital Male. The airport is served by a wide array of flights to India, Sri Lanka, Dubai and major airports in South-East Asia, as well as an increasing number of charters from Europe. Many flights stop in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on the way.

Gan Airport (IATA: GAN, ICAO: VRMG), on the southern atoll of Addu, also serves an international flight to Milan several times a week.

Departure taxes are included in your ticket.


By boat

There are no regular passenger boats to the Maldives. Even yachts usually steer clear, as navigating around the reefs is hazardous and permits are expensive.