Best Tour Operators in Sri Lanka

Tour Operators Sri Lanka
best tour operators sri lanka
Location

The Maldivian archipelago located 300 miles southwest of the southern tip of India and 450 miles west of Sri Lanka is a beautiful string of 1,1 90 low-lying coral islands scattered across the equator in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, giving us a rare glimpse of what is aptly described as a tropical paradise. Just consider this - sparkling white sun-kissed beaches; crystal-clear lagoons studded with profusely-coloured corals; azure warm seas with an undisturbed, exotic marine life; palm-fringed islands; the pervading serenity; all of it summarised by the famous Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta on describing Maldives as "One of the wonders of the world".

There are also indications that the Maldives, being on an important trade route, was settled by people from all over the world. This leaves the origins of the people enshrined in mystery. However, the main stock of the Maldivian people, as seen from physical features and supported by historical evidence of migration, are predominantly Aryan or Dravidian.

Throughout the Maldives a language which belongs to the Indo-Iranian group, Dhivehi, is spoken. It shows a strong Arabic influence. Dhivehi written from right to left is the official language of the country. As a second working language, English is widely used in government offices. Other foreign languages, however, are widely used within the tourism industry. Foreign languages, mainly English, are also frequently used in commerce.

The Maldives has been an independent country, except for a brief period of 15 years and 6 months of Portuguese rule in the middle of the 16th century. Between 1887 and 1965, the Maldives was a British protectorate though Britain did not interfere with the internal affairs of the country.

Maldives regained her full sovereignty in 1965. The newly independent country changed from a sultanate to a republic on 11 November 1968.

The Sun, the Sand and the Sea. These are just the three simple realities beckoning tourists from far and wide to these little islets, giving as a result, a glorious sense of happiness and proving to be a heavenly getaway from the world and its worries. The Maldives teaches the visitors the pleasurable art of doing nothing, simply lazing around and enjoying some of the most spectacular and colourful vistas offered by Nature. No wonder then that tourists flock in large numbers to the 70-odd self-contained island resorts provided with all the comforts and warmth exuded by traditional Maldivian hospitality. Which is why Maldives is considered to be the ultimate destination, the future world for holiday-makers.


Tips and facts

Location : South West of Sri Lanka, on the equator.

Geography : 1,190 coral reef islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Stretches 820 km north to south and 120 km east to west. 200 islands are inhabited, 74 are exclusive resort islands.   

Climate : Generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average temperature around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius.  


What to wear : Dress is generally casual. T-shirts and cotton clothing are most suitable. In Male', the capital island, it is recommended that women wear modest clothing without baring too much.   

Population : 263,189 people according to the 1997 estimate. Origins of the Maldivians are lost in  antiquity, but history reveals that the islands have been populated since 3,000 years ago. Early settlers were travellers on the Silk Route, and from the Indus Valley civilization. Inherently warm, friendly and hospitable by nature,  it is to feel comfortable and relaxed with the Maldivians.

Culture : A proud history and rich culture evolved from the time of the first settlers who were from various parts of the world travelling the sea in ancient times.

Language :Dhivehi is the language spoken in all parts of the Maldives. English is widely spoken by the Maldivians, and every visitor can make himself understood when getting around the capital island. In the resorts, a variety of languages are spoken by the staff including English, German, Italian, French and Japanese.


Economy :The Maldives economy is growing at an average of over 10 percent since the past two decades. Tourism is the main industry, contributing close to 20 percent to the GDP. Fisheries and trade follow close behind. The Maldivian economy is regarded as exemplary in the region, and welcomes foreign investment

Currency : The Maldivian currency is Rufiyas and Laaris. The exchange rate for US Dollars is Rufiya 11.72 for one US Dollar (1998). A Rufiya is equal to 100 laarees (coins). The Rufiyaa comes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500. The American Dollar is the most common foreign currency. Payments in the resorts can be made in most hard currencies in cash, traveller's cheques or credit cards. The most commonly used credit cards are American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, JCB and Euro Card.


Education : The functional literacy rate is 98 percent. Educational standards are among the highest in the region, and schools follow the British education system.

Health : Health care facilities are improving on a daily basis. The Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Male' is the biggest hospital in the country providing sophisticated medical care. ADK Hospital is the biggest private health care facility, and follows high medical standards. Experienced European doctors work at the AMDC Clinic, and some resorts have an in-house doctor. Decompression chambers are within reach of most resorts in case of a diving emergency.;


Business Hours :From Sunday to Thursday 7:30 - 14:30 in the government sector, and generally from 9:00 to 17:00 in the private sector. Weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.

Communication :Up to date technology and international satellite links allow Maldives to have a sophisticated communications system. IDD facilities are available on all resorts, and card phone facilities are available on all islands. Dhiraagu, the Maldives telecommunications company, an affiliate of the British Cable and Wireless Company, provides mobile telephones for rental on a daily basis. Dhiraagu is also the Internet service provider.

 


Air Transpor :Apart from international flights operated by South Africa, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, the U.A.E., and a number of European countries to and from Malé International Airport (Tel : 322073), there are also regular domestic flights operated by Air Maldives to Hanimaadhoo, Kadhdhoo, Kaadhedhdhoo, and Gan.  Inter-island services are operated by Hummingbird Helicopters and the Maldivian Air Taxi, the latter having the largest air fleet. Sight-seeing trips, photo-shooting trips, and medevac operations are also carried out by them. 

Road Transport : Travel on most of the islands takes no more than half-an-hour on foot. Bicycles and motorbikes are popular modes of transport. Taxis are unmetered, charging Rf 15, if hailed on the road or Rf 10, if called on phone from the taxi services, (325656, 323132, etc.). 
Water Transport : Local boats, or dhoanis (average speed 7 knots), are the most common means of water transport. One can make use of the regular ferry service operating between Malé and the International Airport, two kilometers to the east on the Hulule Island. Modern speedboats are also available for hire.

 

 



Maldives at a glance

Location : South West of Sri Lanka, on the equator.

Geography : 1,190 coral reef islands, forming an archipelago of 26 major atolls. Stretches 820 km north to south and 120 km east to west. 200 islands are inhabited, 74 are exclusive resort islands.   

Climate : Generally warm and humid. Sun shines all year through. Average temperature around 29 - 32 degrees Celsius.

 



Area
90,000 sq.kms (1,190 islands). 
Geographical Location Indian Ocean, near India and Srilanka.
Latitude 07° 06'30" N to 00° 41'48" S.
Longitude 72° 32'30" E to 73° 45'54" E. 
Status Republic.
Population 2,38,368 (1993 official estimate).
Capital Malé (Area : 1.77 sq.kms).
Maldives Standard Time +5 hrs GMT
Currency Maldivian Rufiyaa ( 1 US$ = Rf 11.72)
Average Annual Rainfall 1948.2 mm.
Monsoons South-West : May-October, North-East : November-April. 
Temperature 30.4° C (Mean Max), 25.4° C (Mean Min). 
Literacy Rate 98.2% (Age group 10-45 yrs)
Languages Dhivehi, English.
Religion 100% Sunni Muslim.

 

 


Working Hours : Banks : 8 am - 1.30 pm (Sun to Thu), Government Offices : 7.30 am -2.30 pm (Sun to Thu), Fri and Sat holidays. Private Offices: Open between 8 am and 10 am and close between 6 pm and 8 pm, with a lunch break in between. 

Credit Cards : American Express, Diners Club, Eurocard, JCB, MasterCard, Visa. 

Major Industries: Tourism, fish canning, manufacture of garments, boat building, and handicrafts. 

National Tree : 
Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera).

National Flower : 
Pink Rose (Rosa pdyantha).

Clothing : 
Light weight cottons and linens.

 


• Shopping

The capital Malé, being the centre of commercial activity is the ideal place to shop. Shops open between 7.30 and 9.30 am, closing at 11 pm. On Fridays they open at 1.30 pm, closing as usual.

 

• Food and Beverages

Restaurants, coffee shop and well stocked bars with interior seating in all resorts provide varied and delicious meals with wide choice of fresh fruit juices, punches, cocktail, wines and spirits. All resorts serve food and beverages to suite demanding palate, be it favourite international dishes and or the fresh and exotic delights of seafood. Most resorts bring together tastes from many lands including highlights of local cuisine in set menus, altered daily for diversity. Many offer a-la-carte services that cover eastern and western flavours. Maldivian short eats served with tea or coffee are popular with most visitors as a snack in between meals while

 

• Entry

No prior visa arrangements are required. A tourist visa of 30 days will be given to visitors with valid travel documents, on arrival. Visitors should be in possession of atleast US$25 per day of stay in the Maldives. For those coming from yellow fever infected regions, an international certificate of inoculation is required. A passenger service fee of US$10 is levied per person, on departure.