The island nation, called ‘Dhivehi Raajje’ by locals in their native language (Dhivehi), is located southwest of India and west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is a tropical paradise made up of an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands, only 192 of which are inhabited. The Maldives has an elevation of a mere 1.5 metres above sea level, making it the lowest-lying country in the world. The capital city, Malé, is home to around 133,400 people and is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Maldivian culture is a mix of South Indian, Sinhalese and Arab influences that can be seen in the country’s traditional music, cuisine and art. Islam is the dominant religion. As the Maldives is a Muslim country a conservative dress code should be adhered to when visiting any of the islands. Not to fear though, there are designated ‘bikini beaches’ on local islands, like Thulusdhoo, where you can relax in your swimwear.