8. The islands have been inhabited for over 3,000 years
There is archaeological evidence to suggest that the Maldives had inhabitants as long ago as 1500 BCE.
Before the Maldives converted to Islam in 1153 CE, Buddhists are thought to have arrived from Sri Lanka and settled briefly. For years, the islands had been used as a stopping point by Arab traders on their way to Asia, and many of them decided to stay.
Although most Maldivians can speak English with no problems (and resort staff often speak a range of other international languages), the national language is Dhivehi. Why not learn a few phrases and words to impress the locals?
Hello – Assalaamu Alaikum (from Arabic, meaning peace be with you)
Nice to meet you – Baddhalu vee thi varah ufavejje
Goodbye – Dhanee/Vakivelan
What is your name? – Kon nameh tha kiyanee?
My name is (name) – Aharenge namakee (name)
Yes – Aan
No – Noon
Please – Adhes kohfa (not commonly used as it means “I beg you”)
Thank you – Shukriyaa
You’re welcome – Maruhabaa
Excuse me – Ma-aaf kurey
Do you speak English? – Ingireysin vaahaka dhakkan ingeytha?
I don’t understand – Ahannakah neyngunu
Good morning – Baajjaveri hendhuneh
Good evening – Baajjaveri haveereh
Good night – Baajjaveri reygande
Good night (when you retire to bed) – Ufaaveri nidhumeh
10. Weekends are different in the Maldives
Last but not least of our 10 facts about the Maldives is the structure of the week. The weekend in the Maldives is on Friday and Saturday, which you might have experienced if you’ve visited an Islamic country, or been to Egypt, Jordan or Oman. This won’t affect your stay if you’re at a resort but factor this in if you’re planning to visit a local island as services may be reduced.