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Essential Travel Information for Visitors
|Reaching Maldives |Back to top|
a country missed by many cartographers,
the Maldives today is well known as
a tropical dream destination. Hence,
many of the major airlines fly to
the Maldives, some even daily. In
addition, many companies offer regular
charter flights. More than 1/2 million
tourists visited the Maldives in 2003
and most of them arrived by air. If
you wish to have a good deal, it is
best to check with a travel agent
or an airline.
Maldives is an island nation and there
is no prospect of arriving here by
land. However, if you have your own
boat, the waters of Maldives are welcome
for you. You may experience the bewitching
sight on the horizon that has attracted
many a visitor for hundreds of years.
Similarly, you may be tempted by the
comfort and the degree of local hospitality
that so many shipwrecked sailors found
attractive, hundreds of years ago.
We hope that your arrival shall be
more smooth with GPS and high-tech
navigation instruments with you and
the Maldives being marked on your
|Entry & Customs Regulations |Back to top|
is not a requirement for tourists.
A 30-day visa is provided upon arrival.
If a visitor intends to extend his/her
stay, proper documentation should
be obtained from the concerned government
authorities. A valid passport is needed
for arrival. An airport tax of US$
10 is needed on departure. This tax
will increase to US$ 12.00 from 1
October 2004. A passenger can use
most popular international currencies
to pay this tax.
immigration clearance, Customs will
inspect your baggage. It is advisable
for you to declare any audio-visual
material with you. Maldivian law prohibits
the import of alcoholic beverages,
narcotics, pornographic materials,
weapons, ammunition, explosives and
idols of worship. It is also prohibited
to export turtle shells, black coral
and other protected species and products
made out of such species.
have made reservations for your stay
at a resort or a liveaboard, you may
find the agents as you step out of
the arrival terminal. If not, you
might be able to locate them at the
counters representing the travel agents.
Independent travellers may also find
assistance from the travel agents.
There is also an information counter
at the airport operated by Air Maldives
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climate is influenced by the monsoon
winds blowing across the Indian Ocean.
The monsoon type brings two major
climatic variations to the Maldives.
The South-west monsoon extends from
May to October and brings more rain
accompanied by wind. The North-east
monsoon extends from November to April
and is drier and brings less wind.
Being an equatorial country, the Maldives
has abundant sunshine and an average
temperature of 28 degrees Celsius.
Convection air currents bring huge
downpours occasionally. The relative
humidity ranges from 73% to 85%.
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the unique language of the Maldives
has traits of South Indian languages,
Arabic and Persian. The language must
have originated from the first settlers
of the Maldives and evolved over time
with the influence of different visitors
who frequented the Maldives. The script
thaana is written from right to the
left. Even though Dhivehi is the official
language, English is widely spoken
and is used intensively in business
and government sector. With its deep-rooted
Islamic traditions, Arabic is also
a familiar language to the majority
while not many are fluent in it. Some
Maldivians working in the tourism
sector converse in other languages
such as Italian, German and Japanese.
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Maldivian Rufiyaa is the official
currency of the Maldives. The current
exchange rate is US$1 = MRF 12.85
and €1 = MRF 15.00. One Rufiyaa
could be divided into a hundred smaller
units known as Laari, the local version
of cents. The Rufiyaa comes in eight
different denominations of Five Hundred,
One Hundred, Fifty, Twenty, Ten, Five,
Two and One. The denomination of One
Rufiyaa comes in the forms of coins,
while for Two Rufiyaa denominations
both notes and coins are used and
the rest comes in notes. The laari
comes in denominations of fifty, twenty-five,
ten, five, two and one.
US Dollar is the most popular foreign
currency. However, other international
currencies can also be exchanged at
the banks and authorised moneychangers.
The commonly used credit cards are
MasterCard, Visa, American Express,
Diners Club, JCB and Eurocard. Travellers
cheques are accepted by most hotels,
resorts and banks.
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Maldives is an Islamic country and
nudity is strictly prohibited. Tourists
are requested to wear clothes that
cover thighs and upper body while
visiting inhabited islands. Beachwear
and swimsuits are allowed in the resort
cotton dresses are recommended to
suit the humidity and the equatorial
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Maldives being an island nation, water
transport is the most popular mode.
Dhoani, the locally made wooden boats
are primarily used for transport.
Speedboats are also used to cater
for the tourism industry. Speedboats
can be hired as well.
International Airport at the island
of Hulhulé is the hub for international
air traffic. From the airport, tourists
are transferred to the resorts in
dhoani, speedboats, helicopters and
seaplanes. If a visitor arrives with
a booking at a resort, the representatives
of the travel agents or the resort
will cater to the transport between
the airport and the resort. The national
airline Air Maldives, operates domestic
flights to the other four regional
airports in the Maldives.
and some other islands offer taxi
services. The taxis have a fixed fee
and the normal fare for a taxi in
Malé is MRF 15.00 per trip. Most islands are small
enough for a brisk walk to cover the
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telecommunications services are provided
by Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Pvt. Ltd,
or Dhiraagu, a joint-venture between
the government of the Maldives and
Cable & Wireless PLC of United Kingdom.
International Direct Dialling, telephone,
telex, telegram, facsimile and Internet
services are available. A mobile phone
network is accessible within Male'
and atolls. Card phones are set up
in most of the islands. In addition,
Dhiraagu provides a paging service,
maritime radio service and telephone
and telex Immarset services to ships
and oilrigs. Cyber Cafés are set up
in Male' and in Addu Atoll.
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the Maldives, a visitor can find different
types of accommodation to suit his
or her needs. The resorts of the Maldives
are located in self-contained islands
and offer wide choice of rooms. Even
though there is no official star rating
given to the resorts, there are resorts
providing facilities and services
equivalent to levels ranging from
two-star to five-star. There are 87
resorts for you to choose your dream
a different experience, the Maldives
offers the opportunity to spend your
holidays in liveaboards. These vessels
are specially designed to accommodate
tourists on board and provide diving,
cruising and other activities. The
liveaboards vary in the size and facilities
provided onboard. Some may have merely
six beds while others can accommodate
over hundred people. There are more
than 100 vessels to choose from.
capital city of Malé, the only inhabited
island permitted to accommodate tourists,
there are hotels and guest houses
catering to different tastes. Hotels
provide bed and breakfast and usually
have restaurants in which you can
have your choice of delicacies. Other
amenities of city hotels are also
included. The guesthouses are more
limited in the facilities provided.
The facilities offered in the guesthouses
also differ from place to place. Some
provide only accommodation while few
provide food. Some places have air
conditioned rooms while others are
fan cooled. It is wise to check the
facilities of the place before checking
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resorts offer diverse international
cuisine including oriental, Middle
Eastern, Indian and continental ones.
Most resorts have more than one restaurant
to cater the needs. For light snacks
and refreshments the coffee shops
in the resorts are ideal.
the liveaboards feature set menus
while some may have restaurants that
offer ample choice.
hotels and restaurants in Malé serve
the customers with western and eastern
specialities. Few of the guesthouses
offer food. The cafés in Malé (locally
known as hotaa) is an ideal place
to experience local tastes. Maldivian
food is spicy but milder than the
food found in some neighbouring countries.
Sweet, sour, hot and spicy food is
found. Hedhikaa is the short eats
popular in many cafés. Hot and spicy
savouries are made of smoked fish,
grated coconut, lime juice, onion
and chilli. They include bajiyaa (pastry
stuffed with fish), kulhi boakibaa
(fishcake), keemia (fish rolls) and
gulha (fishballs) and masroshi (small
pancake stuffed with fish). The sweet
items are made from flour, sugar,
and essence. They include foniboakiba
(cake made of flour), githeyo boakiba
(made of flour, onions, and butter),
and huni hakuru folhi (made of grated
coconut, sugar and flour). A cup of
black tea (kalhu sai) is the usual
option to wash down the short eats.
local cafés and restaurants are usually
open till 1.00 A.M. The opening hours
in the morning differ with some cafés
opening at even 5.00 A.M.
meal consists of rice and garudhiya
(fish soup), with fish, chilli, lemon
and onion. Curries are also used instead
of garudhiya. Fish paste known as
rihaakuru is also a fine side dish.
Alternately, roshi (chapati) and mas
huni (made of grated coconut, fish,
lemon and onions) are a popular dish.
Fried yams are also widely eaten.
Sweet dishes include custard, bodibaiy
(rice mixed with sugar) and fruits
such as bananas, mangoes and papayas.
Watermelons are a favourite during
the fasting month of Ramazan.
dishes can still be found in the local
islands during Eid, Maloodh, and other
festivals and occasions such as christening
of a child, marking the anniversary
of a death. The traditional dishes
are now less common in the Maldives
as western items like bread, sandwiches,
margarine, jam, noodles and pasta
are introduced. Most of the resorts
have special nights called Maldivian
Night serving traditional local foods.
beverages and pork are prohibited
by Law and only found in tourist resorts
and liveaboards for tourist consumption.
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Malé is the commercial hub of the
Maldives in addition to being the
capital city. Varieties of consumer
goods are imported to Maldives and
are sold in Malé. Electronic items,
beauty products, perfumes, chocolates
and cosmetics are available from shops
in different parts of Malé. Garments
are mainly found in shops in Majeedhee
Magu and Chandhanee Magu, two well-known
streets of Malé. Garments are mainly
imported from Thailand, Singapore,
Indonesia and Dubai. The shopping
area of Chandhanee Magu is known as
Singapore Baazaar, named after the
shops that used to be there, with
products imported from Singapore in
1960s and 1970s. Today, the area is
flooded with souvenir shops. Nevertheless,
one can still find varieties of other
products in this area.
of the souvenir shops are located
in the area of Chandhanee Magu, Orchid
Magu, Fareedhee Magu and Faamudheyri
Magu. The shops offer diverse items,
both imported and locally produced.
Lacquer works, locally woven mats
from dried coconut leaves and reeds,
wooden fishes, T-shirts, sarongs,
caps, scarves, bracelets, rings, necklaces,
shells, models of local vessels (dhoani)
made out of wood and oyster shells,
postcards, books on Maldives, and
maps are some of the items available.
Not all these items are produced in
Maldives. Some of them are imported
from Dubai, India and Indonesia.
better to visit some shops and compare
the prices before purchasing anything.
You may find a lot of people trying
to persuade you to visit a certain
shop and it is in your best interest
that you should be independent in
duty free shops in Malé International
Airport offers you a variety of commodities
including from electronic items, liqueur,
chocolates, jewellery, souvenirs,
stationary, perfumes, and toys.
resort, you will find a shop catering
for in-house guests. Items like cosmetics
sun protection and tanning products,
sarongs, shorts, swim wear are found.
local islands in the tourism zone,
souvenir shops have flourished. They
also provide diverse range of souvenirs
for the tourists who might visit the
islands on excursions. Himmafushi,
Maafushi, Huuraa, and Guraidhoo of
Malé Atoll are famous for its souvenir
shops. Rasdhoo, Mahibadhoo and Dhagethi
in Ari Atoll are also well known.
shops in the Maldives open at different
times in the morning but usually before
9.00 A.M. The shops closes for prayer
times for an interval of 15 minutes.
The latest time for the shops to close
business is 11.00 P.M.