Maldives Islands: Common Questions and Answers

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evening panorama of Male with jetty and street

Frequently Asked Questions about the Maldives

What is the Maldives?  The Maldives is an archipelago of small scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, comprising about 1,900 single islands located across the equator, with an average temperature of 31 degrees Celsius.

When is the best time to visit the Maldives? If you’re looking for a few extra hours of sunshine then you should visit the Maldives during the dry season between December and April. This is the high season, however, and resorts can be fully booked and prices are higher than the rest of the year. The Christmas to New Year period is the busiest and most expensive part of the high season. Between May and November it’s still warm, but the skies can be cloudy, humidity is higher and rain is more likely. This is the low season, and there are fewer tourists and prices are lower. The transition months of November and April are said to be associated with increased water clarity and better visibility for divers.

What’s the time difference? Maldives is five hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Do I need a Visa to visit the Maldives? You do not require a Visa prior to arrival in the Maldives. All tourists from all the countries are granted a free 30-day visa upon arrival. However, all the visitors need a valid travel document. If a passport expiry date falls within 30 days of arrival, tourists cannot extend their stay beyond the passport expiry date. Working/Employment under tourist visa is prohibited. Working visas are provided by the Ministry of Human Resources Employment and Labour.

What vaccinations should I have? Normally, no vaccinations are required. However, if you are from a Central African nation or South American, or if you have travelled through these areas to get to the Maldives you need to have a valid certificate indicating that you have been vaccinated against yellow fever. If not, you do not need any specific vaccination certificates to get into the Maldives. If you want to be extra careful, do consult your personal physician for their recommendations.

Will I be able to use my electrical equipment in Maldives? Voltage in Maldives is 110 or 220 volts, depending on your location. An adapter is recommended for using appliances you bring with you. Most major hotels provide hair dryers and other amenities.

Is the water safe to drink? Each resort has its own water desalination plant. Bottled water is readily available in all islands.

Can I use my Visa Card, Master Card, and Debit Card to get cash from the bank? Most of the local and souvenir shops in Male accept all major credit cards but none of these shops can get you cash from your card. There are two or three merchants who get can get you limited cash and this is only possible during weekdays as these merchants will be issuing you a cash check which you will have to en-cash it from the bank. One bank in the Maldives offers encashment of credit cards. However the withdrawals are well limited.

Are there hospitals and medical facilities? Maldives has excellent medical and dental services, pharmacies, a large government hospital and many private clinics in the capital city of Male, all of the resorts are also equipped with outstanding medical facilities and clinics.

What is the capital city? The capital of the Maldives is “Male”, pronounced “Maa-ley”. Male is one of the smallest capitals in the world in terms of its physical size. One third of the country’s population, of about 75,000 people lives in Male. Different from any other island in the country, Male’ is a city of high-rise buildings and paved roads. While the government offices are located in one area, the main streets are lined with shops and offices. In the old bazaar area, which still houses the country’s hub of wholesale and retail trade, the lanes are so narrow that a single vehicle would find it difficult to navigate through, especially with its throngs of busy people.

What is the currency? In Maldives the currency is called the “Maldivian Ruffiya” (MRf). One United States Dollar is equivalent to 12.85 MRf (Maldives Monetary Authority buying rate) and this value doesn’t vary much.

Where is the best area to stay? All the hotels in the Maldives have an excellent transportation system so visitors can easily reach other islands, no matter where they stay. Most hotels are located on their own private island or small islands where only a few resorts exist along the waterfront areas, all offer a high standard of service and unless you need to be in a particular spot, it really doesn’t matter where you stay.

What types of water activities are available? Most visitors enjoy the lagoons as the natives do, swimming and snorkelling in the warn, turquoise waters, or canoeing, sailing, wind surfing, parasailing, deep sea fishing, jet skiing and water skiing. The Maldives are world renowned for their scuba diving and snorkelling. Or you can go on a shark-feeding expedition, where you’re in the water with hungry reef sharks that are being hand-fed by a guide. You can charter a yacht, perhaps with a captain and chef, to sail among the islands.

Will I be expected to pay tips? Tipping is not very common in Maldives. It is prohibited at the airport and discouraged at hotels and restaurants, as most have already added a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxis drivers do not get tipped.

Could I be able to take liquor to the capital city/island? Nobody is allowed to bring in liquor to Maldives, unless he or she has a special import license for liquor, beer and related products. If somebody has bought liquor and beer and related items on his/her way to Maldives from a duty free centre, then products should be bonded in custom on their arrival to Maldives. And the goods will be released on their departure.

Is Maldives safe? Yes, the Maldives is probably one of the safest places in the world and the only danger to be concerned about is a coconut falling on your head…do not stand under these trees if the wind is blowing harder than a gentle breeze. Even then though, the resorts trim their palm trees regularly and this shouldn’t be a problem worth worrying about.

Is English widely spoken? Yes, there will be no problems in communicating with people in many hotels, restaurants and on the public transport.

Are there ATMs? The ATMs are located at a few places on the capital island only and at the moment provide service only for locals and will not accept your credit or debit card.

Why is Maldives a favourite among honeymooners? The Maldives is simply the ultimate in romance. Couples can immerse themselves in the incredible beauty of the islands and the casual, relaxed pace. With its mesmerizing sunsets and sweet aroma of flowers, Maldives radiates romance. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast brought to your overeater bungalow by canoe. Find a secluded islet for a private picnic. Arrange a traditional Maldivian wedding ceremony or renewal of vows. Spend a romantic evening dinner for two at your hotel. Or simply take a leisurely stroll along a secluded white sand beach and enjoy the most spectacular place on earth.