Maldives – What to expect

About Maldives

The Maldives is a tropical nation in the Indian Ocean composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It lies Southwest of India and Sri Lanka. It’s known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. The capital and largest city, Malé, has a busy fish market, restaurants and shops on the main road, Majeedhee Magu, and a 17th-century Hukuru Miskiy (also known as Friday Mosque) made of carved white coral.

Historically linked with the Indian subcontinent, Maldives is a Muslim-majority country. From the mid-sixteenth century, colonial powers dominated the islands. The islands gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, becoming a republic in 1968. The country is ruled by a president and its government is authoritarian.

The Maldives economy is dominated by tourism, and fishing. Encompassing a territory spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres, Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically disperse countries. It is the smallest Asian country in both land area and in population.

With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level, it is the world’s lowest country. The government has pledged to make Maldives a carbon-neutral country by 2019 amid concerns about rising sea-levels. The islands are specks of palm-fringed emerald green, surrounded by sparkling white beaches and warm waters. The surrounding coral reefs are home to an abundant variety of marine life, providing for hours of wondrous snorkelling and diving that Maldives is famous for.

Climate In The Maldives

Maldives, the sunny side of life is blessed with magical and breathtaking displays of sunshine for the better part of a year. Similar to tropical countries, the Maldives enjoys a dry and wet season. Conveniently, the hot and humid weather is complemented with cooling sea breezes and periodic rain. The average temperature in the Maldives is around 29/32° Celsius. The wetter times are normally between May to June and September to November. These periods can be daily patches of light showers to good thunderstorms. The water temperature ranges from 24/30° Celsius. It’s a good idea to pack an umbrella.

There are two distinct seasons, the dry season (the Northeast Monsoon) and the wet season (Southwest Monsoon) in the Maldives. During these two seasons, the temperature tends not to fluctuate much and the weather and climate remains pretty stable across the entire region. Since Maldives consists of small islands and are surrounded by sea, hot days are often tempered by cooling sea breezes and balmy evening temperatures.

The wet season which is during the Southwest Monsoon runs from mid May till October. In this season, Maldives experiences certain amount of rainfall but with the fact that the Maldives is located at the equator, it receives plentiful of sunshine throughout the year.

Airport Transfers – Once you forward through your flight details we will arrange your transfers. You can reach us from Malé International Airport via a 20 minute domestic flight to Dharavandhoo followed by a 12 minute speedboat ride. Flights run at least 4 times a day. Or you can travel by ferry which takes 2 hours depending on sea conditions and this service runs on Saturday, Monday and Thursday (departing from Maalhos at 07:00 to Male and coming from Male at 13:00 to Maalhos). We will recommend and book the best option to match your international flight times.

Arriving – When arriving, you will land on the airport island called Hulhule. The airport does not have air bridges and you can expect 30 degrees Celsius as soon as you leave the plane. Once you have cleared immigration, you will pass customs. Please note the very strict rules as mentioned below. Once you have cleared customs, one of our team members will be waiting with a Island Spa Retreats signboard.

Clothing – Casual clothing is normal in the Maldives. Lightweight cotton and linen clothes are recommended. Items for ladies would be sundresses, kaftans, light shirts, sarongs & skirts. To respect the a local Island, it is advisable to have your thighs and shoulders covered. It is important to dress modestly when visiting the local islands. You can wear T-shirts and knee length shorts. If you would like to sunbathe at ease, you may wear your swimsuits at the private beach which is also called the “Bikini Beach”. Nudity is prohibited in the Maldives law, and unlike tourist resorts, it is prohibited to walk around the local island in your swimwear.

Currency – The Maldivian currency is the Rufiyaa. The American dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency so there is no real reason to exchange or bring Maldivian Rufiyaa. It is important that the USD are new notes as local banks do not accept old or torn notes. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted in the Maldives.

Dietary Requirements – We are able to cater to a number of dietary requirements. Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten Free, Halal and Jain can be catered for. Not all dishes are suitable for all guests and we request at least 48 hours notice. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know

Electricity – The electrical current is 230 volts & 50Hz. This is a European three pin, type G or British Standard 1363.

Health – We do recommend wearing mosquito repellent and sunscreens. In terms of vaccinations, we recommend that you research your countries government travel advice website. The island has a Health Care centre, and there is a hospital in Eydhafushi Island which is a short boat ride away. The closest decompression chamber to Maalhos is located in Kuredhu Island which takes about an hour to reach by speedboat.

Language – The official Maldivian language is called “Dhivehi” however English is widely spoken and used especially in the hospitality field.

Laundry – Laundry can be completed on the island.

Location – The island is located in Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (Baa Atoll). The island is not only rich with amazing greeneries and stunning white beach but also with awe-inspiring marine life. One of the worlds best spots for Manta Rays, the famous Hanifaru Bay is also located in Baa Atoll. If you love big animals, Hanifaru Bay is a must visit.  The Atoll was declared a UNESCO Biosphere in 2011.

Entry and Exit Requirements – Traveling to Maldives is easy. No pre-arrival visa is required to enter and upon arrival, a 30 day, free visa is be granted for all nationalities.  Make sure you have a valid passport, with at least of six months validity and a return ticket. You may also need your booking confirmation and proof of enough funds to cover your holiday in the Maldives. Requests for extensions to this visa (up to a total of 90 days) should be made to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. These are generally approved provided there is evidence of sufficient funds to finance the extension.
A Departure Tax is payable, but this is usually included in your airline ticket.
Strict rules apply for importing of narcotics, alcohol (will be confiscated), religious materials contrary to Islam, pork, pornographic materials, explosives or weapons.
For the most up to date tourist visa information, please visit http://www.immigration.gov.mv
For the most up to date customs regulations, please visit http://www.customs.gov.mv

Local Time – Maldives is 5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+5). The Maldives international country code (dialling code) is +960

Payment & Money – The island does not have a Bank or ATM. However, ATM facility is available in Eydhafushi Island which is a short boat ride away. If you need to exchange currency, it can be arranged, or you could exchange currency at Velana International Airport. We recommend taking out your money beforehand as getting to a ATM is quite difficult. Please note that we accept cash payments in US Dollars. Also accepted are Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards (Diners Club, Maestro and CUP credit cards not accepted). There is no need to exchange your currency into Maldivian Rufiyaa prior to arrival. If you intend to pay in cash, the resort will only accept tender that is free of tears, fading or any other defects as per the guidelines of Maldives Banks. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted by the banks.

Prices – Prices are all inclusive of 23.2% Government Tax and Service Charge.

Religion – Moderate Islam is practiced in the Maldives. Government regulations do not allow any form of other religious statues, monuments or celebrations within the Maldives. There is no bar or shops that sell alcohol on the island due to the local regulations. We can take you to visit the bar in a nearby resort if you wish.

Shopping – There are a few small general stores on the island as well as a few cafes. Each Guest House operates their own cafe as well. The capital, Male stores are open between 08:30 and 22:00 and close during prayer times. On Friday, they open at 14:00 and close at 22:00.

Travel Insurance – The reality is that with any holiday, we should all strongly consider Travel Insurance.

Telephones – Please check your roaming costs as this can be expensive. You can purchase a pre-paid sim card at the airport just outside of arrivals. Skype or similar programs can be used however the internet speeds can be intermittent throughout the Maldives. If you require fast Wifi having a local sim with 3G data access is the best option.

What To Pack List

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
 Passport
 Flight tickets
 Travel insurance documents
 Booking voucher
 Credit card (Visa, Bankcard or American Express)
 US dollars (local Maldivian currency is not really required)
 Medical certificates/documents (if you have special medications)
 Diving certificates, log book and medical documents (if applicable) if you wish to scuba dive
TOILETRIES
 Sunscreen with high SPF
 Insect repellent
 Lotion (aloe vera) or after sun cream
 Skin care products
 Regular toiletries (toothbrush & paste, razor & cream, deodorant)
 Personal medications
 Cosmetics
CLOTHING & ATTIRE
 Sunglasses
 Hat or cap for shade from the sun
 Light clothing (ie. sarongs, sun dresses, lights shorts, pants and shirts)
 Bathing suits (ie. board shorts and bikinis)
 Comfortable Footwear (ie. slippers, sandals and casual shoes)
 Smart casual wear for evening meals
OPTIONAL ITEMS
 Digital Camera or video camera
 Reading materials
 Personal entertainment equipment (ie. iPad, iPod)
 Knapsack/Rucksack for tours and excursions
 Snorkelling gear

This is not a comprehensive list, however we hope that it is helpful to your enjoyment when staying in Maldives.