Millions of years ago, in a tumult of geological change, a great range of volcanoes rose from the floor of the Indian Ocean. Over the years the volcanoes sank back leaving only coral reefs in the expanse of the sea. They finally transformed into tiny islands, and adventurous sailors in search of wealth, drifted upon them.
The Maldives Islands comprises of roughly 1190 small coral islands, and covers a total area of 104,000.00 sq. Kilometers. These islands are no more than six feet above sea level and lie 73 degrees East Equator. The islands are grouped into nineteen administrative 'atolls', and vary in size and character. Some are sandbanks, while others are tropical islands, with lush vegetation, ringed with coral reefs, turquoise lagoons full of marine life, and white sandy beaches.
Maldivians are a homogenous people - of one race, one culture, and one religion, Islam. Physically, Maldivians resemble Asian, Arab, Negroid and a Mongoloid mix. The people are friendly and naturally "sunny and warm".
LAND AREA : 1,190 islands with a land area of 115 square miles (298 sq. km)
SEA AREA : Approx. 41,500 square miles (107,500 sq. km)
CAPITAL : Malé – the capital island has an area of 1.77 sq.km
TIME : Maldives Standard Time +5 hrs GMT ( 5 hours ahead of GMT )
RELIGION : 100% Sunni Muslim. Maldives is perhaps the only country with a 100% Muslim
population. Islam was introduced around A.D.800, and the moderate form practiced in
Maldives has remained virtually unchanged.
LANGUAGES : Dhivehi and English. Dhivehi, an indigenous language spoken only in the Maldives.
The script is called "Thaana". English is the main taught language at schools.
Most people in Male and tourist resorts speak English.
CUSTOMS : The import of firearms, liquor, drugs, pornographic materials and idols of worship are prohibited.
Note: For more details or updated information of custom restrictions to the country, please check online
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS: Moldavians, being as Muslim country, are prohibited by law from consuming alcohol, hence there is a strict restriction on the alcohol available in inhabited islands. Foreigners who reside in Maldives can have a private supply arranged by an authorized licensing procedure. All tourist resorts and hotels, as well cruise ships and yachts have alcohol for consumption guests.
Maldives is amongst one of the toughest countries in dealing with drugs. Lengthy jail sentences are normal if found in possession or whilst using them, even with a joint. Please do not try to import any form of drug into Maldives. Also, please do not use drugs even if offered whilst there, it is not worth the risk!
CURRENCY : Maldivian Rufiyaa Mrf and unit Laari (100 Laari's in 1 Rufiyaa)
US dollars are widely used in all the islands and accept by all the resorts, other common currency can be exchanged at most of the island resorts like EUR, Sterling pounds, etc….
CREDIT CARDS : American Express, Diners Club, EuroCard, JCB, MasterCard, Visa are accepted by all the island resorts.
TRAVEL INFORMATION: It is the passengers responsibility to obtain all required travel documents, visas and permits, and for complying with the laws, regulations, orders, demands and other travel requirements of countries of origin, destination or transit.
We strongly recommend that you go to the IATA Travel Centre website http://www.iatatravelcentre.com for more information.
CLOTHING - DRESS CODE : Casual clothing is normal in Maldives. However, it is advisable to have your thighs and shoulders covered. Bikini's are not permitted in inhabited local islands since it is a Muslim country.
Light weight cottons and linens clothes are common.
FOOD AND DRINK: Fish and coconuts are about the only products which do not have to be imported and they find their way into most menu. The spiny backed lobster is a delicacy.
HEALTH : Maldives is a tropical country but the people are extremely clean. You will be safe there but please get advice from your doctor or health visitor regarding vaccinations.
SHOPPING : The capital Malé, being the centre of commercial activity is the ideal place to shop.
Shops open between 7.30 and 9.30 am, closing at 11 PM. On Fridays they open at 1.30 PM, closing as usual.
WEATHER : The Maldives has an equatorial climate, with two main seasons. December to May is light and fairly dry. June to November occasionally brings brief rain showers followed by sunshine. The temperature ranges from mid-20s to mid-30s centigrade (77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and is highest in April and May. http://www.maldiveisle.com/weather.htm
MONSOONS : South-West: May-October, North-East : November-April. Average Annual Rainfall: 1948.2 mm.
WORKING HOURS :
BANKS : 8 am - 1.30 PM (Sun to Thus)
GOVERNMENT OFFICES : 7.30 am -2.30 PM (Sun to Thus), Fri and Sat holidays.
PRIVATE OFFICES: Open between 8 am and 10 am and close between 6 PM and 8 PM, with a lunch break.
Closed on Fridays only.
Road Transport -Travel on most of the islands takes no more than half-an-hour on foot. Bicycles and motorbikes are popular modes of transport. Taxis are un-metered, charging Mrf 15, if hailed on the road or Mrf 10, if called on phone from the taxi services, (325656, 323132, etc.).
Sea Transport - Local boats, or dhoani's (average speed 7 knots), are the most common means of water transport.
Kilometers to the east on the Hulule' Island. Modern speedboats are also available for hire.
VISA : No prior visa arrangements are required. A tourist visa of 30 days will be given to visitors with valid travel documents,
on arrival. Visitors should be in possession of at least US$30 per day of stay in the Maldives.
For those coming from yellow fever infected regions, an international certificate of inoculation is required.
A passenger service fee of US$10 is levied per person payable upon departure.
Your passport or travel documents must be valid for at least 6 months.
It’s absolutely essential to have adequate travel insurance covered, especially for the purposes of flight cancellation or delay, as it often happen due to weather condition.
Take the travel insurance that meets your needs and understand its coverage.
HEALTH INFORMATION FOR TRAVELING ( FOR TRAVELLERS FROM HONGKONG )
OUTBOUND TRAVEL ALERT ( For travellers from Hongkong )
If you are traveling from Hongkong and would like to know more about the outbound
Travel alert please explore the website: http://www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota/
If you are a Hongkong Resident holding a valid HKID card and have register a MyGovHK account, you can use the ROTI which is free of charge. Or explore the website to register.