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Maldives Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT+5

Electricity

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.

Language

Dhivehi is the national language in Maldives. English is widely spoken in addition to German, French, Italian and Japanese, spoken by the resort staff.

Travel Health

Visitors to the Maldives should take precautions against mosquito bites as cases of dengue fever and Chikungunya virus have been reported. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for all travellers to the Maldives, and a yellow fever vaccination is required for all those arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Visitors who will be spending a lot of time outdoors and are at risk of animal bites may be advised to get a rabies vaccination as well. Precautions should be taken while on holiday in the Maldives 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 for travel to the Maldives. If you require certain medications on holiday it is best to take them with you, in their original packaging, with a dated and signed letter from your doctor detailing what the medication is and why you need it.

Tipping

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 added.

Safety Information

Crime levels are low in the 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 public gatherings and demonstrations, particularly on Malé Island, as these can turn violent; however, resorts in the Maldives are considered very safe and there are rarely any disturbances.

Local Customs

Maldivians are predominantly 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 penalties.

Business

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.

Communications

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.

Duty Free

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.

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