Maldives is a tiny island country in the India Ocean. There are 1192 coral islands with stunning beaches and clear water lagoons that attract over a million tourists every year. Tourism is the main economic activity in the island nation and tourists fly in from every corner of the globe. Natural beauty of the Maldives islands make this the dream destination of all, from common man to the rich celebrities.
The Maldives archipelago has 20 natural atolls which are divided into 26 atolls for administration purposes. Each atoll comes with a capital island and usually provides better education and health care services as people from other islands could conveniently travel to the atoll capital.
Male' (pronounced as Maaley) is the capital of Maldives. Velana International Airport is the main gateway of the Maldives which is located on Hulhule' island, just 10 minutes from Male' by ferry boats that operate around the clock. Male' is home to about 130,000 citizens out of 350,000 in country's population.
Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, introduces the Maldives to the southern hemisphere. It is about 541 km from Male'. Gan International Airport is located in Addu and direct flights from Combo (Sri Lanka) makes visiting Maldives a lot more cost effective. Shangri'la Maldives Vilingili is the only 5 star deluxe resort in the atoll. The other resort is a 4 star called Canareef. More resorts are under development in Addu. There are many guesthouses serving to budget market.
Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo are one large island of about 4 km long, divided into two islands for administration purposes. Both islands collectively called Hulhumeedhoo, it is the heart of Addu's tourism zone. At the southern tip of Hulhudhoo there is a short overpass that connects to Canareef resort, on the north there is a new resort under development. Many guests from walk across to Hulhumeedhoo to explore local culture and lifestyle.
Addu is a strategic location that has a long history. In 1956 the British colonized Maldives and setup an air force base in Gan island of Addu, it had 600 personnel permanently stationed which at times rose to 3000 during peak operations. However, in 1976 the British pulled out, leaving the Gan airport and other infrastructure. During the British presence many locals learned speaking English and experienced working for westerners.