The Maldives is a magical destination with beautiful beaches and clear waters. However, that's about what most people know about this island nation. The Maldives is actually a very unique destination in regards to its climate, geographical layout, and culture. If you're planning to travel to the Maldives, there are a few things you should know about it so you can make the most of your trip. Who knows, you might even get a whole new appreciation of this gorgeous archipelago.

1. It's Made up of Over 1000 Small Islands

The Maldives is located about an hour's flight away from Sri Lanka, and it's made up of almost 1200 islands scattered across the vast Indian Ocean. With all the islands in this country, you'd probably think that it's a huge country. However, its landmass is small as most of the islands are tiny. In fact, many hotels in the Maldives occupy a whole island due to the size of the islands.

2. Its Official Religion is Islam

A good thing to remember during your Maldives travel is the official religion of the country is Islam and 100% of its population are Muslims. As a result, the local islands have strict rules that must be observed. For instance, alcohol and pork products are banned on the local islands, including Malé. During the holy month of Ramadan, which is usually around May and June. During this month, Maldivians and Muslims in general will fast throughout the day and some shops and restaurants may be closed.

3. The Maldives is A Surfer's Paradise

The Maldives is actually a great place for surfing during the monsoon season from June to August. This peak surfing season has the best swells for avid surfers. If you're an intermediate surfer, the months of April, May, September, and October has smaller swells and fewer surfers to compete with.

4. Resorts are Basically on Their Own Private Island

Most resorts and hotels in the Maldives have their own private island, so if you stay at Club Med Kani or Club Med Finolhu, you and other Club Med guests have the whole island to yourselves. On these resort islands, local cultural restrictions don't apply to tourists. Guests are free to consume alcohol and pork, and wear clothes like bikinis and shorts.

5. Not All Islands Have The Same Time Zone

Some resort islands in the Maldives have their own time zone, so don't be alarmed if you discover that you've lost an hour or two on the way from Malé to your hotel. Many resorts are one or two hours ahead of the local time to make the most of the sunlight, and staying at these places gives you more time to enjoy your day.

6. About Cash, ATMs, and Credit Cards

A good thing to know when travelling to the Maldives is that the US dollar is accepted across most islands, along with the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), meaning you should have no problem obtaining food, drinks, and booking excursions. Being an international holiday destination, credit cards are of course, widely accepted. While it's not widespread, you can also find ATMs at major islands, so it's still possible to withdraw cash when you need it.

7. The Drinking Water in The Maldives

Being an archipelago surrounded by an ocean, the freshwater supply on the Maldives is limited. To produce enough drinking water, they use reverse osmosis desalination which produces perfectly clean water, but also removes the natural minerals from it. However, some islands do remineralise their drinking water. If you plan to stay in a Maldives hotel for an extended period, it's best to carry rehydration salts to make sure you remain properly hydrated.

8. It's Illegal to Take Seashells Home

The ecosystem here is a fragile one, and the government takes great steps to protect the biodiversity of the archipelago. Although it seems harmless, there's a strict policy against collecting seashells, tortoise shells, and corals. Hermit crabs love to make the shells you see on the beach their home, and these crabs are vital in controlling the sand fly population.

The Maldives is a great place to travel to, as it has something for everybody from families with children to couples on a romantic getaway. With these tips, we hope you can better appreciate the beauty of the archipelago and enjoy your trip even more. So put off your dream trip no longer, book a flight to the Maldives!