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Sun, sand and sea, a thousand ‘Robinson Crusoe’ islands, massive lagoons with different depths and infinite shades of blue and turquoise, dazzling underwater coral gardens; a perfect natural combination for the ideal tropical holiday destination. However there is more to the Maldives than just that.

An archipelago of 1190 islands, straddling the equator and scattered like gems across the Indian Ocean. Palm fringed islands with sparkling white beaches, turquoise lagoons and fabulous coral reefs. Clear, warm waters and magnificent marine life combine to create a water playground. Most resorts are located on their own island, many having beach, or over-water bungalows. And the lifestyle is absolutely relaxed, with little need to worry about footwear, at any time. Here you can sunbathe, swim, snorkel, scuba, visit nearby “deserted” islands, or undertake sightseeing or fishing expeditions. The marine life is absolutely stunning and you will never tire of the innumerable species of highly-coloured fish which flit about you.

Maldives is unarguably the best diving destination in the world. The fascinating undersea world is one of the main tourist attractions of the country. The reefs are full of vast numbers of species of tropical fish, with the spectrum of the species found more than anywhere in the world. The marine life found in the valleys, plateaus, plains and caves that form the natural landscaping of the coral gardens of Maldivian atolls is so breathtaking that it would be hard for even the most gifted writer to describe the undersea world. The crustaceans, turtles, shells and other fauna are simply spellbinding even for the instructors who visit these sites almost daily.

Maldives holds rich cultural traditions, pageants, feasts and festivals, a history of kings and queens and their very own language and script "Dhivehi." The language displays similarities to several other languages such as Sri Lanka, North India and South east Asia and contains many Hindi, English and Arabic Words. English is widely understood within the Maldives and is taught in schools as a main subject.

Male is the capital of the Maldives. It is a small capital in size, but is truly the heart of the nation and the centre of government and commerce. In the shops you can bargain for "touristy treats" such as hand-painted t-shirts, locally made jewellery and woodcarvings. In the markets you can sample Maldivian versions of "fast food". This island possesses exotic charm and a very relaxed atmosphere. The Museum with its wide range of historic relics and the 400-year-old mosque, the "Hukuru Miskiiy" with some of the finest coral carvings gives an insight into the country's unique history.

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