The Maldives is one of the most famous honeymoon destinations in the world and for a good reason. In this article I will tell you a bit about the country and give you my guess as to why people like to come here for a honeymoon.
The Maldives is a country (yes, not a city or a region in another country as some people tend to believe) consisting of about 1200 islands in 26 atolls. An atoll is a ring of coral reefs or coral islands, or both, surrounding a lagoon. Despite being a total size of 90.000m2 the Maldives is 99% water, and has just 298 km2 of land. It is located west of Sri Lanka and south of India, deep in the Indian Ocean.
The Maldives has a population of about 300.000 people. A third of the population live on the tiny capital island of Male which is just a couple of kilometres across. The rest of the population are spread out on the atolls and there are basically no other towns in the entire country.
100% of the Maldivian population are Sunni Muslims and since the 2008 constitution it is not possible to be a Maldivian citizen and a non-Muslim. The annual population growth is about 3%.
Polygamy is legal and a man can have up to four wives, but it is not common practice to have more than one wife.
The Maldives has three industries of which the country live: Fishing, ships and tourist. Tourism accounts for 20% of GDP and about 90% of government tax revenue. Every traveller pays 8$ ”bed tax” per night they spend in the Maldives.
The Maldives has a ”one island – one resort” policy. This means every resort always has an island to itself. The guest house business (for cheaper accommodation) is also developing slowly, but it lacks public transportation and the places in which you can currently find cheaper accommodation (say 50 – 100$ per night for a basic room with/without breakfast) are ”public islands”. This means it is the home of Maldivians and wearing a bikini or shorts is strictly forbidden. A modest/Muslim dress code is required.
The Maldives receives about 600.000 visitors every year (most spend minimum one week). Most of them come on a fairly expensive package tour which includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
So what makes this place a popular honeymoon place?
Well it’s very beautiful. If you dream about a small bounty island with coconut palms, very white sand and warm, turquoise water…this is it! You will have plenty of time to look your sweetheart in the eyes for endless amounts of time (as much as you can pay for). The activities here are very limited: sleep, eat, read, swim, sunbath, snorkel and dive, trips to other islands or Male, fishing, spa treatment, surfing, and other water sports. Obviously cultural activities and sightseeing is severely limited on a small island and so is shopping.
I believe the Maldives is attractive to people who are looking for complete relaxation with no decisions needed to be made (usually there are only one or two restaurants in the resort). Hence you see a lot of old couples here and honeymooners and I am sure most of them have a fantastic holiday.
A few recommendations for responsible travel in the Maldives:
1.Drink desalinated water at your resort rather than imported mineral water or bring your own bottles and boil the tap water (which is desalinated) and drink that.
2.Take your bottles, plastic and batteries home with you. The Maldives does not have facilities to dispose of them.
3.Minimise the use of air-conditioning in the room
4.Ask for your towels not to be rewashed every day.
5.Keep the use of running water in your room to a minimum – water is expensive to desalinate and uses fossil fuel to do so.
6.When diving and snorkelling, do not feed, touch or otherwise interfere with the corals and fish.
7.Don’t purchase turtle-shell products.