The Maldives, a group of about 1,200 islands, separated into a series of coral atolls, is just north of the Equator in the Indian Ocean. Only 200 of the islands are inhabited. Many of these tropical atolls and islands are simply gorgeous, with swaying palms, white sandy beaches and deep-blue lagoons; none of the islands rise higher than 7.8 ft. above sea level.
These low lying specs of coral are subject to erosion, and stand at the mercy of any sea level rise. Some were severely damaged during the December, 2004 Tsunami. The Maldives was long a sultanate (a territory ruled by a sultan), first under Dutch control, and then under British protection. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, and three years later, declared itself an independent republic.
Riots in the capital city of Male in August 2004 garnered worldwide attention, and subsequently, the president and his government have pledged much needed democratic reforms, including a more representative political system and expanded political freedoms. Over the last few decades the Maldives has transformed itself into a popular fishing, scuba diving, surfing and exotic resort and spa destination.
The Indian Ocean has a great effect on the climate of the country by acting as a heat buffer, absorbing, storing, and slowly releasing the tropical heat. The temperature of Maldives ranges between 24 °C (75 °F) and 33 °C (91 °F) throughout the year. Although the humidity is relatively high, the constant cool sea breezes keep the air moving and the heat mitigated.
The Maldives are the smallest Asian country in both population and land area. With an average ground level of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level, it is the lowest country on the planet. It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world, at 2.3 metres (7 ft 7 in).
Have you ever been to the Maldives? Do you have any experiences, travel times, cost, booking agents or feedback you’d like to share if you’ve visited? Tell us tour thougts in the comments below. [via Just Paste (IT)]