No, it’s not a misspelling. It is always Sunni in the Maldives, Sunni Muslim. It’s also pretty sunny most of the time. Before you go, however, here’s a little information to help with your journey. It’s always good to be an informed traveler.
Weather Conditions in The Maldives
Best time of year to plan your trip (based on average rainfall and temperature):
- January: 6 days of rain, 4.5 inches of rain, and 82 F
- February: 3 days of rain, 1.5 inches of rain and 83 F
- March: 5 days of rain, 3 inches of rain and 84 F
- April: 9 days of rain, 5 inches of rain and 85 degrees
Let’s face it…It’s always in the 80’s in the Maldives. Also, really, I was there in August and it rained a couple of days and was still beautiful. I was told that you don’t want to be there during the monsoon season. But I if I had the opportunity, I would go EVEN during the peak of the season. Yes, it’s just that beautiful. Make sure you read the section at the end on the political climate in The Maldives. You’ll definitely want to know some of these details before booking a flight.
Dhivehi: The Official Language of the Maldives
The official language is Dhivehi. Want to really impress and delight the Maldivians? Learn these words (a very phonetic language).
Useful Phrases in Dhivehi
- Hello: Assalaamu Alaikum
- Thank You: Shukuriyaa
- You’re Welcome: Maruhabaa
- Goodbye: Dhanee
Malé: The Capital City
Malé is the main commerce island and is close to the Malé International Airport. It’s a big city on a small island. It’s not why you go to the Maldives to sit in traffic- there’s no need to stay in Male, trust me (although I have it on good authority that there is a Lamborghini and Ferrari on the island along with many Mustangs as it is universal that some folks need nice cars in big cities if only to sit in them in traffic).
History and Background
The Maldives were originally a Buddhist nation but Muslim traders introduced the islands to Sunni Islam. The Maldives converted to Islam during the mid 12th century.
The Flag of the Maldives is simple and, in my opinion, perfectly represents an island nation. The crescent moon represents Islam and floats in a rectangle of green, symbolizing peace and prosperity. The surrounding red rectangle symbolizes the blood of the nation’s heroes.
The Maldivian gained their independence from the United Kingdom on July 26, 1965.
In 2015, the population estimate was at 393,253 which is roughly the population of Oklahoma.
The currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. Don’t worry, you will never need it or see it. They want US dollars, euros, and pounds. They’re much better in exchange.
Maldivians drive on the left. Again, not a big deal as you won’t be on an island with cars. If you are, then you’re on Malé. And I told you. Get off of that island! We spent some time at Gili Lankanfushi.
The time change is weird. In Malé, it’s 12 hours ahead of Los Angeles (that’s easy) (GMT +5). However, once you go to any other island they add an additional hour to the time. I don’t get it, but it’s how it works.
The Maldives is made up of over 1000 coral islands.
Politics in the Maldives
Politics… It’s never your best idea to talk about politics, but especially now, both in the US and also in the Maldives. However, I am quite sure that if Donald Trump is without much to do in November, the current Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen would like to consult with him on successful campaign strategy.
President Abdullah Yameen
Truly, The Maldives has a story that People Magazine (I mean, there is a Clooney involved) could embrace. The current (and I use this very loosely) democratically elected president, Abdullah Yameen, is the half-brother of the ousted and not-such-a-great-dude dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Interestingly, President Yameen received his master’s degree in Public Policy from Claremont McKenna College in California where he probably did read his fair share of People Magazine. He’s had some tough times including in 2015 a HUGE money laundering snafu based on his relationship with a Singapore business man by the name of Tan Kuan Yew, (supposedly) the vice president tried to blow him up on his boat (it could have been just a random boat malfunction, but the VP who was speaking out against him is now in jail), he seems to like keeping his political opposition in jail and recalling elections until winning reelection, and imprisoning the former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (enter Mrs. Amal Clooney who had Nasheed shipped to London).
Former President Mohamed Nasheed
Nasheed was a good president. He was elected and had to take the Maldives through the 2008 financial crisis which dramatically impacted the islands. He also took steps (that increased taxes and costs) to have the Maldives become a global partner. He is a leader who understands that rising oceans due to climate change means disappearing Maldives, and, therefore, beats the climate change drum loudly. Unfortunately, in 2012 Nasheed claims that he was forced to resign at gunpoint (and the Vice President who was later accused of trying to kill the current president took office) and then in 2013 (after a couple of elections, I kid you not) President Yameen ascended to power.
In 2015, President Yameen arrested former President Nasheed for the “imprisonment of a judge” (Nasheed denies all charges). Enter Amal Clooney (who Nasheed hired) and Amnesty International who applied not so gentle pressure to have Nasheed released (he now resides in London).
Safety, Tourism and the Maldives
Are the Maldives safe? I never felt in danger. It’s hard to feel like bad things can happen in paradise. HOWEVER, the political situation is heating up. Reports are coming that foreign correspondents are being deported. Ties with China (China likes the ocean) are becoming deeper. This makes India, their longtime ally, nervous. There are also ties to radical Islam (which makes tourists nervous). Luckily, we have the internet.
At this point, I wouldn’t plan a trip to The Maldives without doing some due diligence. I’ve included some links below to help with research.
There are also certain resorts that you may want to avoid according to The Telegraph.