Travel Tips

As a tourist destination, the Maldives is very accommodating to guests, but below are a few things you may like to take note of before your arrival:

Arrival and Immigration
No prior visa arrangements are required but each visitor must have a passport valid for more than six months.

The airport of your arrival to Maldives is Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in the capital Male'. You will need to fill in a landing card, which should be distributed by the crew of your fight. Alternatively, you can find the cards immediately before immigration booths. To obtain immigration clearance, it is a requirement to indicate an address in the landing card or provide proof that you have a booking at a hotel/resort.

To/From Airport
The capital city Male’ is located on a separate island from the airport island. If you are heading to a resort via speed boat or sea plane, you will be able to proceed to the reservations desk of the relevant company after you exit the immigration and customs area. If you are headed to the capital Male', you will need to take a small local ferry called “Dhoni” across to the capital which takes around 15 minutes. These ferries arrive and depart every 15 minutes. The fare for these local ferries is 10 Rufiyaa or $1 per person (may change without notice) for one-way crossing. You can also take a speedboat express service, and buy tickets at the booths in the Airport harbor. Taxis are normally available at the jetty of your arrival and will charge a flat fee of 20 Rufiyaa per trip, or 25 Rufiyaa during 24:00-6:00, plus an additional 5 Rufiyaa if you place bags in the car trunk.

Customs
The below list of items are prohibited into the country:

  • Religious materials offensive to Islam
  • Idols for worship
  • Pornographic materials
  • Narcotics and psychotropic substances
  • Live pigs

Maldives Customs also has restrictions on the following items:

  • Arms and ammunition
  • Alcohol and spirits
  • Pork and its by-products
  • Dogs
  • Dangerous animals

Cultural Consideration
While on inhabited islands across the country or in the capital Male' area, shorts that expose the leg above the knee are to be avoided by both men and women, as are revealing dresses, halter-tops, see-through gear, minis, etc. Although you will see plenty of sometimes worn by tourists in Male', such attire is still not accepted by the older generation or island communities. Therefore, comfortable but not too revealing style of clothing is recommended.

Local Currency
Maldives has a non-convertible currency; therefore, Maldivian Rufiyaa(MVR/MRF) cannot be purchased beforehand. Major international currencies can be changed at the airport on arrival or in the capital Male’. The USD$ is accepted as legal tender and its exchange rate fluctuates between 12.75 to 15.42 to a dollar. The exchange rates for other currencies vary daily (www.bankofmaldives.com.mv/inforation/pages/rates.aspx) The currency exists in the following bank notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 and in the following coin: 1 & 2 MVR as well as 25 & 50 laaris.
(http://bankofmaldives.com.mv/exchange-rates)

Clothing
Giving the tropical climate and limited variation in the temperature, only lightweight clothing should be brought to the Maldives. We also recommend that your dress modestly and refrain from wearing bikini’s and bathing suites while in the capital and other inhabited islands as the Maldives out of respect for local customs and laws limiting revealing clothing. While on resort islands, you are generally free to wear whatever you please.

Personal Health
Please be cautions to avoid sunburn and dehydration. On arrival and when traveling in the Maldives, having bottled mineral water on hand is important.
Though infectious diseases are under control, dengue fever is common, especially on the islands. Medicines are available in the Maldives. There are two hospitals on the main island, Male’. The hospitals can treat non-trauma injuries, but any severe injures requiring specialist attention would need to be referred abroad. There are also dental facilities available and you can seek advise on the ones for specific needs.

Banking
All major credit cards can be used at resorts, hotels, shops, travel agents, etc. Most restaurants and shops will accept USD in payment, providing change in local currency.

Transportation/Transfer
Most of resorts and live-aboard safari boats offer an airport welcome and collection service. You can either take a seaplane or a speedboat to get to the resort. Your resorts will offer such arrangements for you. However, if you prefer to fly on a seaplane, you could request the resort to make such a booking. Live-aboard safari boats are normally docked at Hulhumale’, a reclaimed island, north-east of Male’ International Airport. It takes just 10-15 minutes by boat to get to your select vessel.

Communication
The two major private telecommunications and internet providers are Dhiraagu and Wataniya. You can purchase a prepaid SIM card from either one to make International calls and cheap local calls. Pre-paid internet cards are also available, but most resorts and hotels facilitate broadband internet access to visitors (usually for purchase).

Security
Male’s is a relatively crime-free city. However, petty crime does exist, though minimal, and pays to be careful and use common sense. Females may find them stared at very often: in the marketplace, tour spots and etc. It may be out of curiosity rather than to offend, unless you are not in the appropriate dress code.

Emergencies/Useful Phone Numbers

  • Police 119
  • Ambulance 102
  • Fire 118
  • Coast Guard 191
  • Hospital: IGMH 3335335, ADK Hospital 3320436
  • Sea Plane: Trans Maldivian Airways 3315201