Information & Facts
The Maldives does a lot of trade as everything is imported.
Business tends to be conducted in a more informal way, with more
casual attire in lightweight materials. Meetings are usually
scheduled for mornings and are typically conducted in English.
Women, in particular should dress conservatively. Business hours
are usually 7.30am to 2.30pm Sunday to Thursday.
The temperature of Maldives is hot throughout the year and
although the humidity is relatively high, the constant sea breezes
help to keep the air moving. The best time to visit the Maldives is
between December and April, during the dry season. However this is
also the tourist high season, and resorts are not only more
expensive, but often fully booked. The wet season runs between
April and October, when strong winds can also be expected. November
and April are reported to be the best months for diving.
The international access code for the Maldives is +960. The
outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001
for the United States). No city/area codes are required. IDD
facilities are available at all resorts and card phones are
available on all inhabited islands. The major islands are covered
by the mobile network; the local operators use a GSM 900 network,
which is compatible with many international cell phone operators,
but it is best to check whether your network has roaming agreements
with the Maldives. Dhiraagu, the Maldives Telecommunications
Company provides mobile telephones for daily rental. Internet
access is available in hotels and main tourist resorts.
Maldivians are all Muslim, and therefore Islamic customs should
be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating,
drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it
is forbidden by the Muslim culture. No pornography is allowed (or
any material considered offensive under Islamic law), and
homosexuality is illegal. Same-sex relationships are not tolerated
and carry jail sentences and fines. Alcohol consumption is confined
to the resorts. Dress is informal but nudism and topless bathing is
prohibited. On visits to inhabited islands it is important to
respect local customs that adhere to conservative dress codes, and
public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited.
The Maldives has strong anti-drug laws that carry severe
Travellers to the Maldives, irrespective of age, do not have to
pay duty on cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and gifts within reasonable
quantities. Prohibited items include alcohol, firearms, pork,
opium, marijuana, cocaine, pornography and religious idols.
Electrical current in Maldives is 230 volts, 50Hz. A
variety of plugs are in use, including the two-pin flat blade plug
and the round three-pin plug.
Getting around in the Maldives involves three options: boats,
seaplanes, and private yachts. Planes operate regular schedules to
many of the islands, none of which are more than a 45-minute flight
away. Most resorts have their own boats to shuttle guests from the
airport; these range in quality depending on the hotel and
generally only operate during daylight hours. Visitors who want to
travel independently and are not part of an organised tour must
apply for an Inter Atoll Travel Permit from the Ministry of Atolls,
and will need a copy of their passport and an invitation from a
resident of the island you wish to visit.
Visitors to the Maldives should take precautions against
mosquito bites as cases of dengue fever and Chikungunya virus have
been reported. Precautions should be taken to avoid sunburn and
dehydration. There is a good private hospital on Malé and first aid
facilities are available on all the resort islands. In the event of
diving emergencies, a decompression chamber is available. Food and
water in the resort hotels is generally risk-free. Medical
insurance is advised.
Dhivehi is the national language in Maldives. English is
widely spoken in addition to German, French, Italian and Japanese,
spoken by the resort staff.
The Maldivian Rufiya (MVR) is divided into 100 laari. The
resorts in Maldives are generally expensive and travellers should
ensure they bring sufficient funds. There are no cash machines and
travellers' cheques are rarely used, but there are currency
exchange facilities available at resorts and banks. Major credit
cards are accepted at most resorts and hotels. US Dollars can be
exchanged at the airport, banks or hotels. Guests staying at
resorts can settle their accounts in hard foreign currency (US
Dollars are best), credit cards or travellers cheques. Banks are
usually closed on Fridays and Saturdays.
All foreign passengers to the Maldives must hold onward/return
tickets, and the necessary travel documentation for their next
destination. Furthermore, visitors entering the Maldives without a
hotel reservation or a Maldivian sponsor must hold at least USD 30
per person per day, to cover their expenses while in the country. A
disembarkation card must be filled in by every passenger, and
submitted to the Immigration Officer upon entry into the Maldives.
Nationals of most countries can obtain a tourist visa on arrival,
for a maximum stay of 30 days. Extensions of stay, to a maximum of
90 days from the date of the visitor's arrival in the Maldives, are
possible, by paying a fee of MVR 750 to the Department of
Immigration in Male, at least one day prior to the expiry date of
the initial 30-day entry period. Note that a yellow fever
vaccination certificate is required to enter the Maldives, if
arriving within six days of leaving or transiting through an
infected area. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport
has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date
of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials
often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and
Crime levels are low in Maldives but petty theft does occur. It
is best not to leave goods unattended on the beaches or in hotel
rooms. There is a measure of political instability and visitors are
advised to avoid gatherings and demonstrations, particularly on
Malé Island; however resorts in the Maldives are considered very
safe and there are rarely any disturbances.
Officially, tipping is not encouraged in the Maldives, but if
the service is good it is customary to tip waiters and room staff
in the resorts, even if a service charge has already been