Map of Maldives

April 15, 2016
Map of Maldives - Title

Have you been searching for a map of Maldives? The despicable truth is most of Google’s top search results for a search on Maldives map or Map of Maldives will display travel agent and local travel media websites publishing a scanned image of the map of Maldives which initially was published in the printed edition of Maldives Destination Guide by the Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation.

While you could have actually been searching for a comprehensive map of Maldives’ tourism, residential islands, tourist resorts and guesthouses, uninhabited islands, historical and religious sites, mangroves and biospheres, harbors and airports, surf breaks and diving sites, a guide to explore the country, literally none are available on the internet to help you find your way around or guide to simply to get lost amidst the splendor and beauty of the country.

The first thoroughly surveyed map of Maldives was done by Robert Moresby, a draftsman, maritime surveyor and a distinguished Captain of the British Royal Navy in 1844. He braved the hazardous waters of the Red Sea and some archipelagos of the Indian Ocean including Maldives, Laccadives and Chagos between 1820 and 1844.

Map of Maldives - Moresby 1844

Here is an effort from me to provide a comprehensive map of Maldives which I intend to update from time to time with feedback and support from visitors and locals:
Map of Maldives

This is not a major concern for tourists, who’s got their accommodation booked with travel agents, resorts and guest-houses, and for them transportation will usually be arranged in speed-boats, sea-planes or domestic flights; but for the avid traveler, the dispersed geographic placement of the islands in the Maldives will make transportation an immensely arduous challenge to prohibitively expensive, especially domestic air transport for foreigners. So make sure you understand the distances and travel time involved if you are planning a journey across this necklace like 1200 coral islands . All of these islands are categorized under 22 geographical atolls – divided into 20 administrative divisions.

Atolls are best explained as ring-shaped reefs, or chain of islands formed of coral that encircles a lagoon partially or completely; some islands are visible during low tide and disappear during high tide, while others are just sandbanks with no green foliage, and will usually be washed away with the next storm. The strange formation of Maldivian atolls and their uniqueness was so fascinating that the Maldivian term “atholhu” was borrowed by early scientists and geographers to include it in the English dictionary as “atoll”. The term atoll (atholhu) has multiple meanings in the Maldives, both administrative and geographical.

Administrative DivisionNatural AtollNumber of islandsInhabited islands
Haa Alifu AtollThiladhunmathi Uthuruburi4314
Haa Dhaalu Atoll Thiladhunmathi Dhekunuburi3814
Shaviyani AtollMiladhunmadulu Uthuruburi5114
Noonu AtollMiladhunmadulu Dhekunuburi7113
Raa AtollMaalhosmadulu Uthuruburi8817
Baa AtollMaalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi7513
Lhaviyani AtollFaadhippolhu525
Kaafu AtollMale Atholhu9210
Alifu Alifu AtollAri Atholhu Uthuruburi338
Alifu Dhaalu AtollAri Atholhu Dhekunuburi4910
Vaavu AtollFelidhe Atholhu215
Meemu AtollMulaku Atholhu339
Faafu AtollNilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi236
Dhaalu AtollNilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi567
Thaa Atoll Kolhumadulu6213
Laamu Atoll Hahdhunmathi8215
Gaafu Alifu AtollHuvadhu Atholhu Uthuruburi8211
Gaafu Dhaalu AtollHuvadhu Atholhu Dhekunuburi15310
Gnaviyani AtollFuvahmulah11
Addu AtholhuSeenu Atoll326

Much of the transportation are done through sea, because 99% of the country consists the sea and less than 1% land. The most common mode of sea transportation are done by Dhoni’s, a multi-purpose wooden boat with 2-stroke diesel engines, travels at an average speed of 7 knots, and are the cheapest choice to get from island to island. Dhoni’s are suggested only for distances up to 25 kilometers, and anything by a greater distance will take more time to reach (25 kilometers is about 1.25 hours) by Dhoni. Speed boats travel much faster but are also more expensive options.

As Maldives is increasingly becoming a popular haven for the off-the-beaten-track travelers, getting around Maldives is important, Sadly, there is no single resource pointer to provide all these information. Where to find a dhoni? What’s the ferry schedule? What are the distances? How much time does it take to get from one island to the other? If you find a map that shows popular dive sites, it could miss the boundary line that separates two atolls, or if you find a map that include the surf breaks, it could miss the names of the islands in its vicinity. There are few unexplored resources that could answer few of these questions;

Measure Maldives
A useful website and tool to calculate the distance in nautical miles and kilometers; and bearing between any two islands in the Maldives. The data generated shows the geographic coordinates, and the approximate duration by dhoni, speed-boat and sea-plane.

MTCC Rashu Link
Rashu Link is a service brand used by Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) to refer the integrated sea-transport network (ferry service) provided within Kaafu Atoll, Alif Atoll, Alif Dhaal Atoll, Vaavu Atoll and linking Malé to them.

Atolls of Maldives
A website providing comprehensive information about the Atolls of Maldives, including the residential islands, uninhabited islands, knolls, lagoons, sandbanks, patch-reefs and much more useful information.

Meerubahuru Bandharu (Malé North Harbour)
Cargo and passenger boats arriving Malé from distant islands dock here, much of the cargo include locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices from the islands to be sold at Malé Local Market. A thirty-six hour ferry journey could take you to the South of Maldives for as little as 150.00 MVR each way, this is relatively cheap compared for a tourist to fly a domestic flight from  Malé to Addu or Fuvahmulah which could cost over 4500.00 MVR for a return flight. There are lots of large ferries parked in the dock, simply speak to the head or Captain of the boat to find out the ferry charges, duration of the journey, destinations, the islands that will be stopped over en-route or any other information you need to know, usually the boat agent’s contact number will be printed in large on the exterior of the boat.

Malé South West Harbor
The South West harbor area of Male’ is populated with many outdoor eateries, including ferry terminals to Maafushi – the island that houses the central prison of the country along with several guest-houses and touristic products for the backpack travelers, Thilafushi – an artificial island created for industrial purpose situated 6.85 kilometers west of Male’, Villingili – the fifth ward of Male’ and has the only natural beaches left in Male’ city and ideal for snorkeling, it is about an eight minute boat ride from Male’ with regular ferries departing every 5 minutes costing 3.00 MVR each way.

Airport – Male’ (Ferry Service)
Ferries operate between Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) and Male’ in ten minute intervals, the cost is 10.00 MVR or USD 1 per person/per way; from midnight till morning 6am, ferries will operate in thirty minute intervals and the cost is 20.00 MVR per person/per way. Handbags and luggage are not charged, unless the passenger is carrying more than three baggage’s and will be charged at 10.00 MVR per bag.

Airport – Hulhumalé (Metro Bus)
Metro bus service operates between Hulhumale’ and the airport on a thirty-minute interval basis, the shuttle service schedule could be downloaded from the MTCC website. The service is available from morning 0500hrs till morning 0255hrs, and the service shutdowns for prayers on Fridays between morning 1155hrs till afternoon 1340hrs. The bus fare is 20.00 MVR  per person.

Male’ – Hulhumalé (Ferry Service)
Ferry service between Male’ and Hulhumale’ operates on a  thirty-minute interval basis, the duration in a high-speed Dhoni is 25 minutes and the fare is 6.00 MVR per person/per way. The service is provided by MTCC and the Male’ – Hulhumalé ferry fleet offers space for passengers to carry their motorbikes too.

The first thoroughly surveyed map of Maldives was done by Robert Moresby, a draftsman, maritime surveyor and a distinguished Captain of the British Royal Navy in 1844. He braved the hazardous waters of the Red Sea and some archipelagos of the Indian Ocean including Maldives, Laccadives and Chagos between 1820 and 1844.

What do you need to find in a Map of Maldives? Please share your feedback in the comments below and I will try to improve my map. Thank you for reading!

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  • Reply Maldives Complete April 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Per Paola’s shout out, here is the ultimate map of the Maldives, on which all others are based, the British Admiralty map. the good news is that it is zoomable and interactive. The bad news is that (a) it requires Internet Explorer and the SIlverlight plugin (it uses the DeepZoom technology), and the edges are a little misaligned between some segments. –

  • Reply Hassan April 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Good ???✊✊

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